I have an extensive background in the field of printing and book publishing.
Do You Want to Bind Books?
You'll want to build a very simple binding jig that will allow you to press your book pages together and glue the binding. You can acquire all the materials at your local hardware or home improvement center.
What You'll Need
- Hand drill
- A 1/4" inch bit and a 5/16" bit
- 2 12"x6" poplar or pine boards (3/4" thick): I suggest you purchase a dimensional piece of lumber 1" x 6" x 48", which will give you enough lumber for two jigs.
- 4 carriage bolts (1/4" x 3")
- 4 wing nuts (1/4")
- 4 hex nuts (1/4")
- 4 washers (1" x 1/4")
Note: Before you get started, you'll need to have a cover for your book. You'll find instructions here: How to Bind a Hardcover Book
Instructions to Build and Use a Binding Jig
This jig will allow you to bind a half page (5 1/2" x 8 1/2") book that is up to 300 pages.
- Cut boards to 12" lengths. Sand and smooth the edges for safe handling.
- Label each board top and bottom.
- Measure a point 1" inside each board as shown in the illustration to determine your drill holes.
- Clamp both boards together and drill through both at the same time.
- Use the 1/4" drill bit. After you drill the 1/4" holes, drill wider holes in the top board with the 5/16" bit to allow bolts to slide more easily as you guide the top down over the bolts. The bolts should slide up through the holes.
- Take the carriage bolts and slide them into the bottom board so that they face upward. Use hex nuts to secure the carriage bolts to the bottom board.
- When you are ready to bind a book, place the unbound book on the bottom board and let the gutter edge protrude about 1/8th of an inch out from the bottom board.
- Before you lay the book in the jig, hold the paperback pages and drop them on an even surface to make sure the pages are flat and even so you can apply the binding glue.
- After the book is placed in the jig, carefully slide the top board down, allowing the bolts to come through the holes and let the top board rest on the book pages. Be careful not to move the loose pages of the book.
- Grab the big one inch washers. Drop them over the bolts and the use the wing nuts to tighten the top board over the paper book and tighten each wing nut a bit at a time until the paper book is tightly secured between the two boards.
- The next step is to lift the jig upright along the narrow edge so that the binding-side of the book faces upward.
- Apply the glue to the exposed edge of the book pages protruding from the jig with a small brush. You can purchase this glue at any art supply or office supply store where you purchase your book paper. Ask for Lineco neutral pH adhesive. An 8 oz bottle will offer enough glue to produces nearly a hundred books or more if you are careful. An 8 oz bottle costs only about 8 dollars.
- You will apply the glue with a small brush in thin layers. The first layer will dry very quickly. Be careful not to use too much glue on the first coats or the paper will swell outward. Let each layer dry before applying another. Apply about six separate coats, building up the glue to a thickness of about a 1/16th of an inch to secure the pages together.
- After you finish the gluing process, add layers, which may take a day or two. When the glue layer is dry to the touch, it will feel like a strip of rubber. You may unscrew the wing nuts and lift the binding jig top and remove your bound book.
- Proceed to bind a hardcover on your book.
Luis Sa Figueiredo on January 19, 2019:
Dale Anderson from The High Seas on October 20, 2017:
LOVE this article. Simple to understand and practical. Definitely going to give this a shot. Thank you very much for sharing it.
bettye harmon on March 03, 2017:
I would like to make a larger book with 8 1/2"x11" pages. Can I use boards 9"x12"- will it work the same way???
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auntiem422 on July 10, 2011:
You certainly are a thinking man!! This is great!! Thank you. Can't wait to try, will post results.
MB on June 29, 2010:
Very, very cool. I'm a "do it yourself" nut, so these types of instructions are awesome. Looks fun, but more importantly, looks functional.
ck on January 24, 2010:
Wondering why you didn't use a board to square the pages?
eddieMOBILE on September 14, 2009:
Great instructions for my google search, "how to print and bind books at home". Within the first few links. Clicked on first. Stands out well. Thanks a lot. Will be putting to practice. Thanks again.
Greg Palmer on September 07, 2009:
What an amazing use for a jig and fixture system! Never thought book binding by hand would use industrial products.
davidspyle on December 20, 2008: