Alright, this is my third notebook that I bound myself, the first one was kind of a disaster but people around me kept saying that it was a very decent one for a first try. I don't have that one handy right now, so I can't post pictures of that one, maybe later It was an A5 sized notebook, cloth covered and it used A4 sized Rhodia DotPad paper.
The second notebook was pretty much the same as the one I'm about to post, it had blue flyleaves and the paper was 100 gsm A3 paper. It used faux leather as the cover material and apart from a couple of snags, I think it was a pretty good one. I gave that one to my girlfriend as a gift. The size of the finished notebook was a little bit smaller than A4, because I had my local stationary trim the edges for me (a couple of millimeters at most) so that it would have straight edges.
The third one is another A4 sized notebook, uses the same material as the cover material and I did this with my girlfriend, so it has special value. We sewed the bookblock together and she helped me a lot with covering up the board for the cover. It uses 160 gsm paper and I'm happy with how it turned out. Here are some pictures of the finished notebook:
The board has bent a little bit, in hindsight I should have been a lot more patient with the weights... Oh well, I'm already planning my next one.
The flyleaves. The I chose red because I wanted the flyleaves to match the sewing thread I used. You can see that I've had trouble placing the bookblock in the cover because the flyleaves have bent a little bit into the crease. And the material I used for the flyleaves wasn't really my first choice. I'm waiting for the next month to place an order for some awesome Conqueror papers for my flyleaves. Along with bookbinder clothes (I'm leaning towards Buckram).
Random page from the notebook. I'm happy with how it lays quite flat.
The corners were the hardest part for me, they ruined my first notebook and they are extremely hard to cleanly pull off. Maybe that has something to do with the clothes that I'm using, we'll see when I get my hands on some proper bookbinding cloth.
Another corner. Notice that it's different from the other one, I screwed up cutting material from the corners and the previous one is different from the others. This one, I think, looks pretty good.
Side view next to a Pelikan M1000. You can see the bent cover and how the problems with the placement of the bookblock in the cover screwed up my flyleaves.
The thread color (kinda) matches the flyleaves, I really wanted to have that. My girlfriend's notebook uses purple thread and the flyleaves are a close blue color.
The paper I used is pretty good, absolutely no feathering/ghosting/bleedthrough but then again it is pretty heavy at 160 gsm. The only problem is that with very wet nibs there is some letter border definition loss because the paper can't handle with that much ink.
After doing two A4 sized notebooks, I now understand why TMLee doesn't do notebooks in this size, they are hard to handle! The stitching is pretty easy but aligning the bookblock with the cover and working fast enough to glue every piece is a pain in the neck.
For the foreseeable future, I plan to make open-spine notebooks as I like how they look a lot and case-binding has its own set of problems for me. And I plan to do some embossing/debossing and that would be quite painful with case binding.
TMLee, I have a question for you and if you could answer it I would appreciate it very much. Is there a way for me to use any cloth for binding my notebooks? I've seen some videos that back the cloth with a thin sheet of paper but my first notebook's cloth was quite porous and glue seeped at some places.
I would appreciate any feedback and pointers everyone could give me.