What In The World Is This?! (Week 2)

So last week I posted this picture, and asked if anyone could guess what it was.  A couple of you thought it might be related to needlepoint, and another suggested that maybe it was a flower press.

Good guesses, but sorry, no cigar.  I did warn you that it wasn’t something that ‘normal’ people would own…

It’s actually called a ‘book jig,’ and I built this oh-so-classy little beauty about four years ago when the idea of self-publishing first crossed my mind.  It looks a bit rough because I just used scraps of wood I had laying around.

As you will note by the cover in the following two pictures, I am not an artist.  However, I did turn out about a dozen paperback copies of Reluctant Guardian (and sold most of them).

Obviously this is just showing the finished product.  This is the first experiment, and the only reason I didn’t sell it, too.  The binding on each subsequent copy looked better than this one (which didn’t have the extra strip of paper, explained below).

Basically you insert an unbound copy of your manuscript so that everything is lined up.  Then you apply a thin layer of Gorilla Glue with a damp cotton swab…and sit patiently for the next half hour or so smoothing it out with more damp cotton swabs, and pieces of waxed paper and cellophane.

When the glue finally stops expanding, and is still just the tiniest bit tacky, you apply a strip of the same material your book cover is printed on, and finally some good old Elmer’s glue on top of that.

The last step in the process is to apply your pre-folded cover…and I mean you use something like a ruler to make sure the folds along the spine are flat.  Hold it tightly for another few minutes, apply a weight for a couple of hours and there ya go.  A paperback back book that looks…homemade.

For anyone who might be interested in hand-binding books, apparently someone published a guide this year called ‘How To Build a DIY Bookbinding Jig-A Step-by-Step.’   I found instructions online for free.  Just a word of caution though…  The printing costs are astronomical, and it takes quite awhile to print an average size book.  Then  you need to plan on a good hour per copy to deal with the Gorilla Glue and cover.

Thanks for playing ‘What In The World?! Wednesdays’ with me.  Let’s see if I can stump you again next week.  🙂

*If you’re wondering about the paper taped on the jig, I added it because a few pages would slide between the bottom and side pieces, effectively screwing up the binding.

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16 Comments

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16 responses to “What In The World Is This?! (Week 2)

  1. you are one very creative lady.

  2. This is really amazing. While you might think it looks homemade now, can you image how much something like that made by one of the big name authors would go for. Just a future thought for you to keep in mind for down the road 😉

    • Hmm. Maybe I’ll do something to preserve this copy for when I’m famous someday. 😀

      It’s kind of funny how much people will pay for some things, isn’t it? I read about people paying small fortunes for original scripts and posters and think…wow. Really??? Although I paid a pretty penny for a vintage women’s magazine and Old Farmer’s Almanac (for research). I guess it’s all just a matter of what gives people pleasure. 🙂

  3. What Marcy said! Scott is always telling me to hold onto all my hand written journals and I just laugh. He responds by saying, “Imagine what someone would pay for J.K. Rollings journal.” Um, yeah. Again, I laugh. But, seriously, put that in a safe place lady.:)

  4. Wow, I totally love this! A book jig ~ I’ve never heard of such a thing, but now I think I want one. Your book is a tad thinner than my beast, but it could still work since you have those screws to make it bigger or smaller. What a fun item, thanks for showing us your super cool book.

    • It actually was an interesting experience, Tameri. And even a little fun-except for the printing, which was mind-numbingly boring. But you can’t walk away because it puts a hex on the entire process (meaning it’s a guaranteed way to make sure your printer JAMS up).

      It wouldn’t be difficult to do thicker books. You might want to use wider edge pieces. And continuously smoothing Gorilla Glue isn’t going to take much longer on a wider spine so…if you give it a try, do a post on it so we can see. 🙂

  5. Making your own books is extremely cool, Kristy. You rock.

  6. I have one of those hand bound copies and they didn’t look home made to me they looked hand made. Made more valuable because they were created from beginning to end by Kristy. 🙂

  7. Aww, thank you, Jaki. That’s a sweet thing to say. Maybe it will be valuable someday and you can have a nice vacation out of it. 🙂

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