I recently went back to reading books (never stop reading until you're blind by the way) and remembered seeing a couple Instructables about making "book helpers", those wood triangles with a hole for the thumb that you use to keep the pages open when holding the book single-handedly (you can find them easily there's a bunch of them).
I really like the concept of those but find them too bulky and impractical, so I decided to make my own version of a thinner one : by removing the bulkiness you get rid of an inconvenient (carrying it) andadd a function : it's now a bookmark! It's a very easy woodworking project, takes around half an hour to make entirely if your tools are ready and a good gift for the bookworms in your family.
Alright, let's get to it.
TL;DR : Well. You should read.
Step 1: Tools, Materials
In order to enjoy this trip to woodworkland, you will need to own or borrow/steal from your favorite neighbor :
• Thin hardwood (I used scraps from my Wooden iPhone Case project) here it's 3mm thick Walnut
• Olive Oil
• Drill press/hand drill
• Belt sander (always optional, but always very appreciated)
• A 14mm drill bit (vary the diameter accordingly to your thumb size)
• Dremel tool (very optional here... Really you can do everything with sandpaper)
• Scroll saw/coping saw/any kind of saw really. You're going to be making two tiny straight cuts and be done
• Fine sandpaper
• A piece of cloth
• His prosthetic leg :)
Step 2: Drill & Cut
Or cut & drill. Really it's up to you.
Draw an isosceles triangle shape. The angle at the tip is important - it's going to be the part you press against the book. I started with a 90° angle and then made it a bit bigger (ca. 105°) to fit more comfortably, you should find an angle you like and go for it!
Mark the altitude of your triangle and drill a hole in the middle. Then enlarge the hole to fit your thumb, you can also outline your thumb first and then drill.
After drilling you can test the fit, adjust and cut the triangle with your choice of saw.
Step 3: Sand It Thin!
So this is the part when if you started this project with 10mm wood thinking "Well it's okay I'll sand it down no big deal" and then your belt sander died, well this is the part when you start crying a little bit.
Okay so you are going to be smoothing it and thinning it at the same time, start with the belt sander or rough (120) sandpaper to make it thinner (see picture) and round the edges. Keep in mind that you are trying to get to bookmark-thin. Well maybe a bit thicker, but not too much.
Then I used a dremel with a polishing disc to make the inside of the hole smoother, you can also use sand paper but I'm just lazy. And I love my Dremel. But mostly I'm lazy.
Then go from 220 to 400 grit by hand on the sides and edges (I had a bit of bark on mine and wanted it to stay there so I did not sand it off. It gives it a neat natural look imo)
A good tip when sanding is, when you reach the finer grits (300/400) to sand the wood then wet it a little bit and you'll see tiny tiny tiny shards poke out as it dries, sand these again and it'll be smoother than you can imagine.
Oh and always sand following the grain of the wood! This website gives good advice about sanding in general.
Step 4: Oiling, and You're Donezo!
Wipe some olive oil generously on the triangle, let sit for a couple hours, rub off and then let dry for a day or two.
Or you can be an idiot like me and just put it in a book. And it will soak the extra olive oil from the triangle directly in the book. Meh.
When it's oil-free, just leave it at the page you're at and find it next time you start reading, right where you need it!
Let me know if you made it and if this has been useful, and you can also check my other project(s).
See you around, Deluges