I Make Because .. part II

I tried writing about why I like making books, but I don’t think I captured it too well. There’s no single reason I do this, so I probably can’t answer the question in one post, or even two, but here’s a bit more…

I make stuff with my hands because it’s not a computer.

In my day job, I sit on my ass for 8 hours a day, staring at a computer screen. I love technology, and will happily geek out to things, but after doing computer stuff all day, I suffer from two problems:

  1. I get bored of looking at computers
  2. I get terribly unfit

I just spent an hour in the shed preping paper for two new mini books, and making a new awl for punching holes to sew through.

My first awl isn’t doing too well. The nail I made it from is apparently low carbon steel and won’t temper, so the point is soft and keeps bending. I just made this new one by gluing a large needle into a handle of apple wood from the apple tree in our back yard.


Cutting, drilling, carving, gluing. Not one of these things is high tech, and I love it, and they all keep me moving. No ass sitting.

Of course I’m now sitting on my ass in front of the computer writing this. Irony perhaps?

The sun is shining so it’s time for me to hit the publish button and get back outside.

price hike

I’ve had a few people tell me my prices are too low. I guess my first few books didn’t feel like fully fledged works. They were still experimental. But my technique has quickly evolved, and those last few books I made to sell certainly took me longer to make because I took a lot more care with the finish. So I’ve increased my prices.

I’ve also added shipping to the USA and UK.

Long Stitch

I just tried making my first long stitch books.


I used the instructions in Keith Smith’s book called Non-Adhesive Binding, Vol. 1: Books without Paste or Glue. Its a remarkably comprehensive book, and the first few chapters are downright poetic, the way he talks about books.

I’m happy with my results. They are rough, but there are first attempts. I’ll get better as I experiment with materials and processes. I think I like the binding on the red one better. The basic long stitch on the black one is functional, but ends look messy where the thread crosses from one signature to the next. I’m not a neat freak, but I like the neatness of the red book much better.


After I made the little cut out dioramas (city scape, dark cave, and red riding hood), I decided to made little covers for them.

little books

Then I thought I’d go a step further. I designed a slipcase for the three little books to go in.


All that was left to do was make the slip case.


I confess I mucked the first one up. I thought I’d measured everything carefully, but once it was done, it was a poopteenth (technical term) to short and the books didn’t fit.

Two if by wood

I finished binding two larger format books.


These two are about A5 size.

I’m really happy how they came out. The finish on the surface just feels great.


I especially love this one with the little stick in it. When I split this one, the knot around the stick came off clean.


The other book has a corresponding knot hole in it.


Nearly Done

I have another batch of books nearly done.

This time I’ve got 2 coptic bound journals about A5 size, 2 minis like the previous ones, and one in between size. The in between one is done, so here’s a photo of it…


This batch have all been varnished, then burnished with steel wool and wax. I really like the look and  the feel of them.

I also made another little cut out accordion things, for fun…

cave02 cave01


While I was in the states I picked up a book kit for making a leather bound journal.


I was expecting it to be a little more involved, but once I got around to making it, the instructions just say to glue the text block onto the leather with PVA. The text book was already bound in the kit.

I think it took about ten minutes.

In spite of how simple it was, I kind of like the results. The bone thingie I’m using to close it was my own little addition. I like the feel of the leather. It’s got me thinking about trying out some leather bound books. I just need to find a source of leather. And maybe learn how to use it…