Classic Oak Book Press W/Dovetails

16,812

228

13

Introduction: Classic Oak Book Press W/Dovetails

About: Hi I'm Linn and on my Youtube Channel I have lots of great videos about building, construction and fun projects. You can also check out my site @ http://darbinorvar.com

This solid oak book press (an invaluable tool when doing bookbinding, but also useful for a variety of tasks such as printing, pressing leaves and flowers, and doing various tasks in the shop) is made with half blind dovetails using 2" thick lumber. It features an acme thread screw which was designed originally to be used in a Scandinavian style workbench vise. The pressing surface measures 13x13 inches which is plenty big for most bookbinding projects. All in all, this is a very sturdy and functional press that features classic construction. For a better perspective - make sure to watch the full build video that goes over every step of the process.

Step 1: Prepare the Wood

We are using white oak for this project, however any hardwood of decent thickness would work well. The first step is milling and cutting up the wood.

  • Bottom: 1 @ 17 1/2 x 13 5/8 x 1 3/4 inches
  • Top: 1 @ 17 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 1 3/4 inches
  • Sides: 2 @ 10 1/2 x 4 x 1 3/4 inches
  • Press: 1 @ 13 1/2 x 13 1/2 x 2 inches

These are the tools that are primarily used for the woodworking - a dovetail saw, coping saw, marking knife, chisels, small tri-square, and calipers - both precision dial calipers and these classic interior and exterior calipers.

Step 2: Mark Out Dovetails

The press is constructed with half blind dovetails connecting the sides with the top and the bottom pieces. The first step is marking out the dovetails on all sides of the wood. Because the lumber is so thick, it's important to mark all around, or else the saw can easily drift and it would be difficult to see.

Step 3: Cut the Tails

Begin by marking out the lines with a marking knife, and then using the saw. Since the dovetails are so chunky, we're just making two tails for each side, so there's only one middle section to remove with a coping saw and the chisel.

Step 4: Cut the Pins

Once the tails are complete, use the board and mark out the half blind pins. Make sure to mark out all the pins and tails (a-a, b-b etc...) to make it easier to attach later. The tricky thing when making half blind dovetails is that when you're sawing the lines on the pinboard you have to go at an angle, because you can't saw all the way through. So that means you finish the cut with a chisel. It can be hard to see if the cut is square in the back, so it's good idea to ensure squareness using the depth guide on the dial calipers and your square. Along the same lines, these interior and exterior calipers really come in handy for checking that the distances of the pins and tails are the same throughout, cause again, this thickness makes it much trickier, as opposed to if you're working with thin wood.

Step 5: Carving Out for the Screw

The next step is carving the top piece out for the metal screw plate so it can be inset. Basically, mark out the plate, and use a chisel (and plough plane if you have one) to clean out this section about 1/4 inch down. Drill a hole through the center that is big enough to allow the main screw to pass through.

Step 6: Aluminum Plate for the Press Piece

To keep the wooden press block attached to the screw, we'll be using a piece of aluminum. First step is drilling a hole in the center of the metal, and then cutting it into a square. At this point, mark a line through the center hole and cut the plate in half.

Step 7: Carve Out for the Plate

Find the center of the press piece, and mark out the outline of the two aluminum pieces. Carve out the section enough so that the plate will be inset.

Step 8: Glue Up

Glue together the sides and the top and bottom pieces. Also, for a decorative touch, we decided to glue on some thick bolivian rosewood to the press block to provide some contrast. Once dried, a chamfer was cut on the the press block with the table saw to provide a nice detail.

A thin piece of bolivian rosewood was also prepared (by gluing two sections together) which will be used to cap the metal plate and provide a decorative touch.

Step 9: Turn a Handle

For a handle, a piece of white oak was used on the lathe that was of the right size to fit through the holder attached to the screw. To cap the handle off on both sides, two knobs were made.

Step 10: Attach Handle

To attach the handle, first screw on the metal flange attached to the screw, then slide the handle through and glue on the knobs on both sides.

Step 11: Top Cap

To hide the top screw section, and add a decorative touch, a cap piece was added - a piece of oak, square with a hole drilled through the middle - faceted and rounded over with a plane and chisel - attached with screws from underneath.

Also, for a finishing touch, the sides of the press were marked out and shaped with a spoke shave and chisel.

Step 12: Finish

For a classic finish, we used an oil polyurethane on all surfaces. First one regular coat, then once dried, a second coat was added using a piece of sandpaper to achieve a smooth finish,

Step 13: Rubber Feet

To ensure better friction, rubber feet was attached to the underside of the press. This is a rubber mat, originally purchased at a farming supply store which was cut in sections and glued on underneath the press.

Step 14: Final Assembly

Once the finish was dry, it was time to finally assemble the whole press together, by adding the screw, metal plates, wooden top plate etc...

Step 15: Sign

To add a nice personal touch, we decided to cut a little sign on the cnc machine in rosewood and attach it to the press.

Step 16: Conclusion - Watch the Video

To see how the press finally turned out and how it works, make sure to watch the video that also goes over all the steps of creating this project!

Be the First to Share

    Recommendations

    • Puzzles Speed Challenge

      Puzzles Speed Challenge
    • CNC Contest 2020

      CNC Contest 2020
    • Secret Compartment Challenge

      Secret Compartment Challenge

    13 Discussions

    0
    JacenF
    JacenF

    14 hours ago

    Wow! Very impressive work! It certainly has that "olde" vibe to it...

    0
    jeanniel1
    jeanniel1

    18 days ago

    This is a beautiful and well-explained build. I press flowers and plants and a nice even press like this would have been a bit help.

    0
    mwinstructubles
    mwinstructubles

    Question 20 days ago on Step 16

    Nice project. The press looks beautiful. Where did you buy the metal screw?

    0
    darbinorvar
    darbinorvar

    Answer 19 days ago

    Thanks! The screw is from Lee Valley.

    0
    John Meister
    John Meister

    Question 20 days ago on Introduction

    can you provide a source for the acme screw and fittings used in the book press,

    0
    darbinorvar
    darbinorvar

    Answer 19 days ago

    Hi John, the screw is from Lee Valley.

    0
    Technicsau
    Technicsau

    Answer 20 days ago

    Many a machinery supplier has them as spare part or replacement item ,with the "nut" as well, buy these before building,If you are lucky,there used in bench vices for metal and larger for timber. check flea markets. it may help to fit the gland into the top bar.it has to stay fixed,can be loose but not rotating.

    0
    Euromongrel
    Euromongrel

    20 days ago on Introduction

    I have a flower press in this general configuration, but this is a piece of art- absolutely gorgeous. My hat goes off to your artistic talent

    0
    Technicsau
    Technicsau

    20 days ago

    Very nice in miniature, if build for real use,I would fit the flange from under the cross bar,for strenght. still would need to "hide" the top part. The screw type is not important ,it could need some dulling of the sharp treads . Love the use of oak,nice patern.
    Compliments on the idea and relative simplicity and excellent explanation.The novice should be able to follow.

    0
    JamesCielen
    JamesCielen

    20 days ago

    Beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

    0
    pemazzei
    pemazzei

    20 days ago

    Hello Darbin, I haven't seen your interesting projects here in a while, Very good, well done! Paulo, Brazil

    0
    MichaelB738
    MichaelB738

    20 days ago

    Great job! This is a beautiful piece of work.