Necessity is the Stepmother of Invention

I’m getting tired of this book thing.

Don’t get me wrong, I love matching the fabrics and papers and then picking just the right filler paper and thread to make each book special. However, making books is time-consuming and tiring. For each one, I have to cut two sets of boards, measure and cut fabric, padding, and paper and then there is the glue… lots and lots of glue. On top of that, for every book I make, I have to punch 35 holes before I can start the sewing.

Why 35, you ask? Well, there are five holes in each cover and in each signature. A signature is the technical term for the stacks of filler paper, folded in half. Each book has five signatures, the number of pages per signature dependent on the weight of the paper. Each hole has to be carefully measured and then punched so that they line up with all of the other holes. I could use an awl, but my arthritis makes that painful, so I’ve been using a 1/2 ton press to do the heavy work. The problem is that I’m still having to measure and punch each hole separately.

After several dozen books I couldn’t take it anymore.

I’m not the most inventive crafter, but get me tired and frustrated enough and even I can get creative. I got a couple of scrap pieces of wood, a handful of hardware and my power tools and got to work.

I present to you my “punch press!”

Punch Press

Punch Press – assembled and ready to start

Punch Press

Punch Press – signature placed over nails, on the fold

Punch Press

Punch Press – top board comes down, pressing paper onto nails

Punch Press

Punch Press – nails puncture paper, fitting into holes in top board

I still have to measure and punch the covers separately, but that’s the easy part. Now if I can just invent a sewing machine…

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