Back to Parent

I wanted the book to have a somewhat flexible yet rigid cover, but nothing fragile, though it should not be able to bend in half easily. The usual backboard for sketchbooks seemed like the best idea, as opposed to wood, which was my first thought. The decorations and lock should be in wood, however, because I wanted these to be more rigid and have a different colour from the cover boards. Any additional and smaller decorations could be in a thick cardstock, so as to not have each layer be so thick---it would not be ideal to have the parts on the cover sit half an inch above the surface. 1/8" thick parts is already pushing it, but this book could always just be a display piece, as the addition of the decorations make it a bit impractical.

Materials List

  • Block of 9"x12" paper (40 pages)
  • Needles
  • Cloth tape
  • Binding thread
  • 9"x12" 1/8" Plywood sheets (2)
  • 16"x20" 1/8" Backboard sheet
  • Lightweight canvas cloth
  • Sheets of thick card-stock (2)
  • Leather strip
  • 2ft of 1/8" Dowel
  • Glue - paper glue
  • Brushes

I decided to start with making the book block---with binding the pages together---so that I could then determine the dimensions of everything that I would need to make in Solidworks.

After researching a little on different methods and aspects of bookbinding, I found that a sort of coptic stitch would work best according to my established criterion. Combining that with some improvisation, I created a few sketches on how I wanted the book to look and how each part fits together.

Game Plan

  1. Create book block -- sew signatures together with cloth tapes and measure their position.
  2. Design cover boards and flap in Solidworks -- cut out a test or two and measure for where the sewing holes for the leather should be with all lining in place. Record general dimensions of prototype.
  3. Design gears -- relatively easy to do in illustrator and import to Solidworks for assembly. Cut out prototypes and test/make adjustments.
  4. Design housing for gears -- spline tool, my friend...
  5. Cut out final designs and assemble -- not sure of the best way to go about it, but it is probably best to start with attaching the cover boards to the book block, then the leather, then wooden pieces, then lining and flap.


Unlike the professionals, I do not have a bookbinding press, awl, rectangular weights. Though I do have a clothes-drying rack, serrated knife, and a lot of textbooks. I found that using something like an awl would have taken too much time---especially with thicker paper---though a saw or serrated blade has been used by professionals, so it was not like it was unheard of to use such tools in lieu of an awl. In retrospect, the rack was actually a little unnecessary, as this could just as well have been done by hand, although using the rack means less items for me to hold and keep track of at once.

Content Rating

Is this a good/useful/informative piece of content to include in the project? Have your say!