Uncommon Handbound Books by Cindy Leaders

Open Door Tryptych Book

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I took a class a couple of years ago and learned to make this unique book. It makes a great statement displayed open, so it's perfect for a special art journal, scrapbook or wedding guest book. I've had couples use one side as a guest book and the other for candid photos from the wedding. The coptic binding allows it to lay completely flat for signing, painting or journaling.

I've been snatching up all the pretty books I could find with identical front and back covers just for the purpose. Old Readers' Digest Condensed Books work well. Not the waxy ones from the 80's but older. Anyway, I've finally gotten on a roll and made a few that I wanted to share.

The trick to making these is getting the angles in both the covers and the paper to match perfectly. If you have a paper trimmer sturdy enough to cut binder's board, I've discovered a method that gets it right every time. I started by marking the angle I wanted on one cover and carefully cutting it on the band saw leftover from my woodworking days. The little triangle you remove becomes the key to getting all the other angles right. I couldn't begin to give you step by step instructions for the rest of the procedure, but a picture is worth 1000 words . . .

The only trick is marking the height of the spines from your first cut on the other front cover piece and adjusting the paper guide on your cutter so that it lines up to cut the right height. Once that adjustment is made, the back cover is a cinch. Prepare and fold the signatures, then cut them the same way, reducing the height by about 3/16 with one further adjustment of the paper guide.


Lizzie April 7, 2010 at 2:15 PM  

Lovely books! I can imagine they would be very popular as wedding guest books/albums.
The idea of using the cut-off triangle to help with cutting the other covers is very good. The only thing would be remembering that some have to be cut face-up and others face-down, like in your picture.
Thanks for sharing this great idea.

Linda April 8, 2010 at 7:57 AM  

WOW! This is beautiful!

Useful Books April 8, 2010 at 8:05 AM  

Thanks, Lizzie and Linda!

Useful Books April 8, 2010 at 8:07 AM  

Oh Lizzie, you're right about that! I actually messed up on what I "thought" I wanted on one and cut the angle the wrong direction. I'm actually happy with the result in this case, as it makes for a different, interesting look.

freebird April 12, 2010 at 8:41 PM  

You are right! One picture was worth 1000 words in this case. Great idea. Neat books too. Why don't you just cover your own boards with whatever paper you like?

Useful Books April 13, 2010 at 4:26 AM  

Thanks, freebird! I really love using old books because of the character they bring and also to keep them out of the landfills. If I use paper, it's paper I've painted, marbled or embellished myself because I want my books to be truly unique.

Kate February 24, 2012 at 2:21 PM  

What kind of cutter is that? It looks awesome...and cheaper than the board shears I covet that are $40K a piece. :)

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