You can press a book with just weights, but this is a much nicer and professional way to press books for book repair. My wife is a librarian graduate student, and wanted to repair the old fashion "paper" books. I was going to get her a book press, but they are very expensive. I thought I could make one that would cost less than buying one.... and I did it!
Step 1: Gather the Parts.
I had to ask my wife what size books she'd be pressing. She told me that most books are 30cm tall, or less. So I designed for 1 foot of book. If you are going to press bigger books, you might have to alter some of these dimensions. But that's what I built.
You'll need several parts from your local hardware store or hobby store. Here's what I used, although you might have to alter the list slightly based on what you find. Oh yes, I don't know why, but every book press I saw on line used brass strips. I understand that the 1/8" thickness and the 1/8" overhang are important for making the crease in the spine... but I don't know what brass is important.
Materials for platens (plates)
(4) 1'X1'X3/4" wooden boards
(20) Brass screws
(4) 1 foot long brass strips, 1/8" thick, 1" wide
Materials for Press
(2) 3/4" pipe clamps, with slide lock and clamp on the same side.
(2) 3/4" black pipes, 12" or 18" long - YOU CHOOSE! :)
(2) 3/4" black pipe caps
(2) 3/4" black pipe flanges
(1) piece of wood for the base - I used a 2x6 about 20" long
(1) piece of metal - I used a steel U-channel
(8) 1/4-20 bolts, 1" long
(8) 1/4-20 nuts
(16) 1/4" washers
Tools that might help
Drill with various drill bits
Step 2: Make the Press Plates.
The first thing to make are the press plates (or platens).
In my press, I am making 12"X12" plates. Sand them down so they are real smooth. Then sand them again. You don't want to get any splinters in your book cover.
Next, draw a line down the center of the brass strip and punch and drill 5 evenly spaced holes in the brass strip. I know - I didn't get mine evenly spaced. Drill pilot holes into the wood if necessary. Then screw the brass strip to the wood. Make sure it's centered both vertically and horizontally. You want, ideally, 1/8" on the top and bottom of the plate.
That was easy. I made 4 of them so I could press 3 books at a time. You really only need 2, but as long as you are making them, might as well make a few. Remember, you need one plate on the top and bottom of the book to make the spine crease.
Step 3: Make the Press Base.
The base of the press needs to be made next. I used a spare piece of 2X6 left over from my work bench.
You'll need to find the center of the wood. Next you'll need to find out where you need to put the center of the pipes. The easy way to do this is to take one of your plates and lay it down on the wooden base. Then take the 3/4" pipes and place them on either side of the plates. Give yourself some space between the plates and pipes. 1/4" to 1/2" should be good. You don't need to worry about the pipe flanges, because we'll mount them under the base. It is a bit more difficult, but it makes a more compact press design.
Drill holes so the 3/4" pipe just about fits through the base. It'll be about 1".
Now the hardest part - you need to cut pockets into the bottom of the base for the flanges to fit into. I did mine with a router, but it doesn't need to be pretty - you just need to allow the flanges to fit in and lay flat. (That, and mine aren't that pretty - the camera hides my many gouges and screw ups.) Depth isn't that important - as long as you can get a nut and washer in. (Or use furniture pads to raise the base up a bit - that's what I did.)
Once you have the pockets made, you are done with the base - this was the hardest part. Good job!
Step 4: Add the Posts.
Now we should add the posts to the base.
Push the pipe through the holes, and thread them into the flanges.
Tighten. (Can you tell I had some problems with the step? It took alot of elbow grease, because the hole in the wood was just smaller than the pipe.)
From the bottom of the base, drill holes for the flange.
Countersink the holes from the top of the base, so the bolts don't interfere with the plates.
And put the bolts, washers, and bolts on to hold the flanges in place.
That was easy, wasn't it?
Step 5: Cutting the Metal Crossbar.
Now we need to cut the metal crossbar. This is a very important part, as it spreads out the pressure and prevents that pipes from bending outward. (I added this part after I finished to fix this exact issue. Oops - Live and learn.)
I may have lied earlier when I said you already did the hardest part. (Back in step 3) This CAN be hard if you want it to be hard.
You need to measure the distance between the pipes fairly accurately. in order to find the location for the crossbar holes. If you get it slightly off, it's OK. You need some slop in the holes anyway to help slide the cross bar up and down.
This is the hard part. Once you have the locations for the holes, drill them. It will be about 1" in diameter. If you have a stepped drill bit, this will go easier. Don't try to just drill a 1" hole into steel. It's just not worth it. In fact, that's about the best way. Hole saws will hate you... don't use a wood bit... I had a 3/4" stepped bit, and then I cut the rest with a rotary tool. My drill press wouldn't do it, and my mill was in many pieces.
Once you get the hole cut, fit the crossbar on the pipes. Make sure it slides up and down freely. Grind it down and clean it up to make it slight up and down freely, but don't make it too loose. If it's too loose, it won't support the pipes when it is under pressure.
STEP 5 - DONE! WOO HOO!
Step 6: Putting It All Together.
Now we'll put it all together.
Slide the crossbar onto the posts.
Slide the pipe clamps on.
Screw the caps onto the ends of the pipes.
How easy is that?
Step 7: Using the Press.
Using the press is rather easy. Just slide a plate between the pipe posts. Put your book that needs pressing onto the plate, with the brass plate pressing into the spine. Put another plate on. Slide the crossbar down. Slide the pipe clamps down. And tighten the screws. So easy a kitten can do it!
OK, that doesn't tell you how to repair a book. That's a story for another instructable.
Or you can check out these links:
University of Illinois
Thanks for checking this out. Let me know what I can improve for other guides for the future. I'll try to add more to my website, located at: Sally's Gecko Ranch (www.sallysgeckoranch.com)