My original design didn’t work with the wood I was using. I used the same cypress I use for my books. It’s the same stuff I buy from the hardware store, and it splits a lot. My design called for two big dove tail joints to connect the main cross beam at the top to the uprights at the side. Appart from my joinery being sloppy, the wood split and the join just won’t hold.
There are some great pictures online of old book presses. But mine isn’t going to be like that. For a start, I’m making it out of wood, not cast metal.
There’s plenty of instructions online for making simple book presses, but I’ve decided to design my own. I’ve taken inspiration from a number of presses I’ve seen online, but in the end, it’s my own design.
The pressure will be generated by a small bottle jack I bought off ebay. It’s rated as a 4 ton jack, so I think it’s will be sufficient for books. In fact I think I need to be careful that it doesn’t rip the whole press apart from too much pressure.
I’m not an engineer, but I think I’ve come up with a design that will hold up to a bit of pressure and not break or distort. It needs to be able to stay flat under pressure so that it doesn’t bend the books.
Today I cut up some bits of wood and squared them off (they had twisted a lot when they dried). Tomorrow I’ll hopefully get the first part of the frame done.
(I just went looking for an illustration of an old book press for this post, but I had trouble finding anything free of copyright. Then I found the British Library’s Flickr page. Still couldn’t find a book press picture but I found heaps of other cool images, like the one at the top of this post.