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Homemade Notebooks Photo Demo


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17 replies to this topic

#1 robeck

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 11:27

MJ4O9987.jpg

This is the final part in my series on how I make my own hand sewn notebooks. This part will show you how I assembled the individual components into the beauty you see above. To see more examples of the notebooks I have made click here.

I've shown most of the materials we'll need to assemble the book below. A couple of items I forgot to include are a spreader for applying the PVA glue - I use a leather key fob because it's nice and soft and can work the glue into all the creases. I also have a wad of damp kitchen towel to hand to wipe off any excess glue. You'll need a few A4 pages of clean scrap paper and 2 sheets of plastic film/acetate slightly larger than the notebook size.

You'll see that I've stuck two pieces of folded ribbon as decorative end stops to the bookblock spine - not necessary but it does give a nice finishing touch to the final item.
MJ4O9963.jpg

The first thing to do is offer the bookblock up to the cover and bend the cover into position to check that everything lines up and fits. This also places creases into the cover spine making it easier to locate and glue the bookblock later. You may have to "massage" the cover to get it to fit exactly as you want. When you offer the 2 together, make sure you push the bookblock spine firmly into/against the cover spine.

Next I stick a ribbon page marker to the hard spine of the cover. You can of course omit this stage if you don't require a page marker. I used Prit Stick to glue the ribbon but was very careful not to leave any residual glue that would stick the bookblock spine to the cover spine. We'll come back to this in a little while.
MJ4O9964.jpg

We'll be glueing the bookblock flyleafs to the cover sides. We do not glue the bookblock spine to the cover spine. Tips:
  • We stick one flyleaf to a cover at a time.
  • Apply the PVA glue to the cover first. This reduces the time that the PVA glue has to warp the thinner material of the flyleaf.
  • Apply the PVA glue very thinly and evenly using a spreader.
  • Place a scrap sheet of paper between the flyleaf that is being glued and the rest of the bookblock to prevent glue from going where it shouldn't.
  • Make sure the glue goes right up to the edge of the flyleaf. This is not so important for the cover.
MJ4O9969.jpg

Now offer the bookblock spine up to the cover spine and align as carefully as you can. Take a deep breath, press the spines firmly together and smooth the glued flyleaf down onto the glued cover using, at first, your hand to smooth the flyleaf from spine to edge. If you get this stage wrong and the 2 don't align correctly, you won't be able to pull the flyleaf off to reposition without damaging it.
MJ4O9970.jpg

Then apply further smoothing using a craft bone or soft cloth. Any excess glue that works its way from under the flyleaf should be wiped off with a damp cloth/kitchen towel.
MJ4O9971.jpg

Then repeat for the remaining flyleaf/cover. Remember to use scrap paper inserts to prevent glue from going where it shouldn't.
MJ4O9972.jpg

Now that the book is glued, with excess glue wiped off, remove the scrap papers and replace with the plastic/acetate sheets. When the book is dried under pressure (see later), the liquid from the glue will try to warp/buckle the writing pages of the notebook. The plastic sheets prevent this from happening. Don't leave these sheets out, as I did for one of my earlier books, as the glue really will spoil the writing pages otherwise.

At this stage you can also gently massage the book into proper alignment if it is not already.
MJ4O9975.jpg

Then place under some heavy books on a flat surface and leave overnight.
MJ4O9976.jpg


Finally, admire your handiwork. Your book will not be like the mass produced ones that you buy. It will not be perfectly symmetrical, it will have signatures that show (because we haven't trimmed them flat), it will be as plain or as decorated as you like, it will have the paper you want to use, it will be cheaper to produce, it will be yours.

I get a real pleasure from using a fountain pen. And it is only enhanced by using one of my notebooks.
MJ4O9984.jpg

I hope these articles have been informative and inspiring. I like to see comments so please feel free to add your thoughts.

Best Regards,
Dean



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#2 GeeTee

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 12:10

Ah...the Balvenie, 12 years double wood....mmmm....love it.

Love the notebook too by the way. I'm gonna try to make my own journals one day, when i find the right paper and cover material. I already have a copy of Applied Crytography luckily smile.gif

Can these postings get a "sticky" please?

Edited by GeeTee, 17 June 2008 - 12:11.


#3 robeck

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 12:18

QUOTE(GeeTee @ Jun 17 2008, 01:10 PM) View Post
Ah...the Balvenie, 12 years double wood....mmmm....love it.

Love the notebook too by the way. I'm gonna try to make my own journals one day, when i find the right paper and cover material. I already have a copy of Applied Crytography luckily smile.gif

Can these postings get a "sticky" please?


smile.gif Glad you liked it. All the articles should be, or are about to be, stickied here.

Dean




#4 English John

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 13:05

Well , I've bought the G clamps , and I will get the materials this afternoon !

Well done, you have inspired a non-DIYer to have a go!

Have you an estimate of the cost of a book ?
I have had a brief look, and it seems that the cutting board will be the main investment for me.

I will be ringing the changes of course, because I will be drinking wine during the final assembly , rather than whiskey!



#5 robeck

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 13:25

QUOTE(English John @ Jun 17 2008, 02:05 PM) View Post
Well , I've bought the G clamps , and I will get the materials this afternoon !

Well done, you have inspired a non-DIYer to have a go!

Have you an estimate of the cost of a book ?
I have had a brief look, and it seems that the cutting board will be the main investment for me.

I will be ringing the changes of course, because I will be drinking wine during the final assembly , rather than whiskey!


It's just as easy with wine thumbup.gif

I used the most expensive paper I've ever bought for these books - Conqueror Wove. A ream of 500 A4 sheets cost me £19.99. I thought if I'm going to go to the trouble of making my own notebooks, I want the finest materials. It actually works out that I can get:
  • Five A5 notebooks each of 192 pages and
  • Ten A6 notebooks, each of 192 pages
from just this one ream. Fifteen notebooks for twenty quid on top quality paper!

If you buy an A3 sheet of photomount card, that will set you back about £4 to £5. I don't have to buy this because I have many offcuts left over from my photography. An A3 sheet will give you enough covers for several notebooks.

And then there's the tissue paper. I pay about £2.50 for an A3 sheet and again cut to size for multiple notebooks.

I reckon the cost per notebook is roughly half to 3/4 of the cost of an equivalently sized Black'nRed notebook bought from the shops. Of course, I would never go and buy 15 notebooks from a shop in one go but the materials you buy will keep.

If you get the chance and are able to, please post photos of your finished notebook(s). I'd love to see how they come out.

Best Regards,
Dean



#6 limesally

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 13:56

Many thanks for this terrific series, Dean! I've been following them closely, trying to shake the feeling of "oh, I could never do that...!" Your pictures are great and very inspiring. I'm working up the nerve to try it...mostly because I really want a notebook filled with hot-press watercolor paper. Thanks for putting this together, and thanks to the mods for making the series a sticky!

#7 Songwind

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Posted 26 June 2008 - 20:04

I may just head out to the store this evening and see if I can get the supplies to make my first book. Gotta decide on a cover material, though.
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#8 Siv

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Posted 27 June 2008 - 03:03

Ah, the Balvenie. You, Sir, are a gentleman.







Edit (appalling spelling)

Edited by Siv, 27 June 2008 - 12:39.

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#9 robeck

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Posted 27 June 2008 - 12:16

QUOTE(Siv @ Jun 27 2008, 04:03 AM) View Post
Ah, the Belvenie. You, Sir, are a gentleman.


smile.gif

Picture this:

It's the end of the day, almost the start of the next, everyone's in bed, I'm in my study, subdued lighting from my desk lamp, complete quiet, filling in my daily diary/journal (homemade of course), wondering which fountain pen to use and what to write, sipping the malt...

Peace.

Life is good.

Cheers,
Dean





#10 Siv

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Posted 27 June 2008 - 12:39

I'm not quite so gentile.

The end of the day, when everyone's in bed, is when I'm on my balcony with a glass of the water of life, a nice cigar and the laptop on my knee surfing FPN.

Cheers to you!
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#11 Paddler

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Posted 28 June 2008 - 00:38

Those notebooks look so good, you have proven yourself to be a master at overcoming technical difficulties. You should have a new project: show us how to clone that bottle of Balvenie. thumbup.gif

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#12 miketo

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Posted 28 June 2008 - 20:53

Dean:

Incredible.

Those aren't just notebooks, man -- they're works of art!

What I like best about the series is that your writing style inspires me to give it a go myself. That's a tough trick to pull off; I write tech books and it's hard to write like that. On the bright side I think you've given me a new hobby for the darker winter months.

Thank you again, Dean. I hoist high a virtual glass to you for this series!

--Mike
Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read anyway. --Groucho Marx

#13 robeck

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Posted 29 June 2008 - 11:28

QUOTE(miketo @ Jun 28 2008, 09:53 PM) View Post
Dean:

Incredible.

Those aren't just notebooks, man -- they're works of art!

What I like best about the series is that your writing style inspires me to give it a go myself. That's a tough trick to pull off; I write tech books and it's hard to write like that. On the bright side I think you've given me a new hobby for the darker winter months.

Thank you again, Dean. I hoist high a virtual glass to you for this series!

--Mike

blush.gif <-- that's a blush.

Thanks for your kind comments. It seems a few others have also been inspired to have a go. I hope they all remember to post photos of their efforts. As a hobby it's much more satisfying than sitting in front of the tellie. And it's been nice to give something back to the community.

Regards,
Dean



#14 gyrosan

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Posted 01 February 2009 - 15:41

Dear robeck,

you asked us to report back when doing the homemade notebook using your instructions. I found them very helpful and up to the point. Photos are posted in a separate topic.

http://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/in...t=0#entry915369

Thank you, robeck!

Kind regards,
gyrosan

#15 Deserter

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Posted 27 April 2009 - 15:45

Absolutely fantastic series on how this is done, I have made a couple of books myself before, but I think it may be time to make a few more, I'll post pics as I go.

Thanks again Dean for the write up, and BTW do you think it will make a big difference that I will be using Laphroaig instead of the Balvenie?
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#16 robeck

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 10:21

QUOTE (Deserter @ Apr 27 2009, 04:45 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Absolutely fantastic series on how this is done, I have made a couple of books myself before, but I think it may be time to make a few more, I'll post pics as I go.

Thanks again Dean for the write up, and BTW do you think it will make a big difference that I will be using Laphroaig instead of the Balvenie?

It depends upon how much you drink...

roflmho.gif



#17 dannoffs

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Posted 07 December 2010 - 05:52

With all the effort and skill that you have put into this tutorial I feel that by NOT making one of these would be doing you a great disservice.
I shall start on one as soon as winter holiday starts at the end of next week.
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#18 Greebe

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 13:42

Excellent tutorial. Thanks for sharing it.

Greebe






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