Wooden Binder




Introduction: Wooden Binder

Binders always seem to be extremely flimsy and not aesthetically pleasing. Two years ago I set out to change that. This binder design has been thoroughly tested and has held up to the beating of school. I only replaced the binder because of how dirty it had gotten of the course of these years.

Have fun making and using!

Step 1: Parts

One sheet of 12x24 birch plywood that is around 1/8th of an inch thick; I used Revell RMXR7681
Two 12 inch long hinges. These can be found at most hardware stores
One two inch binder that you are willing to take apart/destroy
Enough machine screws with matching nuts to fit into every hole in the two hinges. I had 24 holes so I bought 30 screws

Not shown:
Two long screws with nuts to attach the binder release mechanism to the wood
(optional) Furniture Finish or oil

A drill with High Speed Steel (Gold in color) bits to fit the two types of screws
Loctite or other  Thread Locker
A ruler
A saw, I used a table saw
Somthing to write with
And finally a grinder or sandpaper

Step 2: Cut the Wood

Cut the wood into three pieces with the following dimensions.

Two pieces of 12x11 

One piece of 12x2 (hence the two inch binder)

Step 3: Drill Out the Binder Release Mechanism

The binder release mechanism is held on with two rivets that can be drilled out very slightly to release the mechanism. These rivets hold a spacer between the mechanism and binder, DON'T LOSE THE SPACERS.

Step 4: Drill Holes for the Hinges

Place the hinge on top of the boards as you wish it to look if the binder was open. then use a pen to mark where the holes for the hinges should be aligned.

Then drill the holes!

At this point I realized that a 12 inch hinge is not 12 inches long so I marked it to be as tall as the binder and used a grinder (or sandpaper) to make the hinge flush with the boards.

Step 5: Align the Mechanism With the Binder Partially Assembled

Put four screws into the hinges to temporarily assemble the binder. Place the mechanism with the spacers underneath it to set alignment. When the binder closes, it should not touch the wood. Then use a long marking tool (mechanical pencil graphite in my case) to mark where the holes should be drilled. Now drill it!

An optional step you can take now is to coat the wood with some furniture finish or oil.

Step 6: Final Assembly

Assemble all of the pieces together remembering to put in the spacers for the mechanism. Before you tighten the screws and add thread locker, move the hinges so that they bend easily without being warped by being tightened down. After it is aligned then you can add the final twist of tightening and some thread locker.

Step 7: Use It

The final step is to try out your new aesthetically pleasing robust binder.

If you built a binder, liked this instructable or would like me to put in a change, just put it in the comments below. 

Also if you think I deserve my first instructabe (this one) to be entered in a contest I would greatly appreciate it if you would vote for it!

Happy Building,




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35 Discussions

this was a good idea bc my tech teacher said we could built something and i picked this

Countersinking the screws worked for me!

Thanks! Take my favorite! ;)

Lol I need this binder for school! Most kids need to replace at least 2 binders during the school year. I would know that because I'm going into eighth grade this year.

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An idea, rivets instead of bolts. They are lower profile and would in theory look a bit better

1 reply

find someone tossing out a leather couch that good sized pieces are let, cut them off. lay out pieces over the leather to be sure you have enough schmear rubber cement over all the suede side of the leather and one side of the panels when glue is set put on your panels, press on flip over roll out any air bubbles. for the inside use a piece of tyveck material (unrippable envelopes used for overnight mail). trim the edges, then attach the ring binder bar.

I am getting old so I can't remember exactly how, but spraying the cured rubber surface with distilled water before placement allows you to slip parts into place then press home, (non removable).

that is how I was shown to make parts of a wallet line up before lacing.We glued in linings/pocket parts pressed home , then stitched/laced.

Someone please remind me how it is done, I learned it at Tandy Leather.


1 reply

This is a fascinating idea for creating a leather binder with a built in hinge. If you make one post it in the comments or make your own Instructable about it!

Where did you find the steel? In my searching I only found aluminum Diamond Plate.

Very nice work. I was wondering about two alternatives.

1) Use sex bolts, instead of machine bolts. Sex bolts are similar to machine bolts, except that the nuts resemble the screw head, but without slots. You will often see such bolts in toilet partition assemblies. The sex bolts do not extend as far from the surface, and the screw heads can be placed on the inside.

2) Use a little sandpaper to round over the edges and corners. Not a lot is needed, just enough to prevent splintering.

1 reply

I looked into many fasteners and decided that nuts and machine screws were the easiest items to find for others that were building the project. Sanding is a good idea if you do not pick up the same wood as I did. (my plywood seems to not splinter)

Using plexiglass or something like that would be cool too. Could tape a picture of something on the inside cover.

Great Idea!

1 reply

I looked into a clear material for the binder. Every one that I had easy access to was not shatterproof so that idea was dropped. If you find a way to make a strong clear binder, I would love to see it! I am always looking for new ideas!

Here it is used Chicago screws as suggested in earlier comments

photo-2013-08-17 7:19 PM.jpgphoto-2013-08-17 7:19 PM.jpgphoto-2013-08-17 7:19 PM.jpg
1 reply

The quarter inch wood will make the binder much stronger than my design. I hope you enjoy using it!