Big Jump Press

Tool Porn: where did they come from and how much did they cost?

#1 Talas Bookbinders Awl $4.49.

#2 Cherry Burl Pin Vice, handmade by Bob Walp at Chester Creek Press $45-65. I traded a book for it.

#3 Starrett Pin Vice, $20.

In the UK, Shepherds Falkiners sells a variety of awls for £6-20. When buying an awl, keep in mind that you want a thin needle for a small hole. Stay away from thick, woodworking awls. Pin vices are nice because you can punch the holes with the very same needle that you use to sew the book.

#1 Your average, everyday bone folder. Cowbone. Find online or in art supply stores. Dick Blick has an 8″ bone folder for $6.50.

#2 Mini bone folder. I got it from the lovely Nancy Morrains at Colophon Book Arts Supply. $4.50.

#3 Scoring bone tool. Colophon Book Arts Supply. $5.

#4 Beautiful, dainty bone folder, handmade just for me by Jessica Peterson during a workshop with Shanna Leino.

#5 I made it! Elkbone. Made in 2006 during a workshop with Jim Croft.

#6 What a ridiculous bone folder. I made this one too! see above.

In the UK, Shepherds-Falkiner has a wide variety of bone folders available, starting at around £5. You can also find them on Amazon.co.uk. Go for bone, not plastic.

#1 Starrett Dividers 83B with 4″ legs. Approximately $60.

#2 Starrett Dividers 83B with 6″ legs. Approximately $60.

Starrett makes high quality tools, but cheaper dividers are available. I see that in the UK, Shepherds sells dividers for £7-£11.

#1 Staedtler Mars White Eraser. Get it anywhere. $2-$5.

#2 Cut in half enormous Staedtler Mars Eraser. Stolen.

#1 Small, flat brush. Cheap. Probably came from Dick Blick, but who knows.

#2 My first gluebrush. Round Gluebrush #18 from Talas. $12.*

#3 Round Gluebrush #24? from Talas. $19.*

#4 Totally Sleek Cadillac of a Gluebrush. Found it in Florence. Who knows where, it was confusing there.

*Colophon also sells gluebrushes, and for less money.

Olfa SVR1 Utility knife. I have plenty of other knives, but this is the one I like so I left all the rest in America. Here it is at Amazon for $8 and Amazon.co.uk for £8.99. Life is hard in the UK.

#1 Tiny Scissors.

#2 Medium everyday scissors.

#3 Huge Comedy Scissors. Stolen, stolen, stolen. I am sorry, Wells College! I took them and I am NEVER giving them back.

#1 Small Teflon Folder. Talas $19.50.

#2 Large Teflon folder. Talas $21.50 In the UK these can be found at Shepherds-Falkiners for £20.

#3 Teflon Rib. Awesome tool. Colophon $24.

#4 Teflon Square. Great for box making. Colophon again. $20.

Teflon tools don’t burnish the way bone tools do, and the variety of shapes make some bookbinding tasks much easier. I use the ‘rib’ above when I am gluing large areas. I use the thin, square edges of the first two teflon folders for box making and for getting material glued into small, recessed areas. The little square one is my box making go-to guy, and also makes folding sections a bit easier.

Triangles, triangles, triangles. I have a lot of them. In case you are thinking, “That’s not so many triangles, I have more triangles than that,” let me inform you that this is a photo of a selection from my triangle collection, not the collection itself. My triangle collection would DWARF your silly little triangle collection.

Triangles are easy to come by. Look for metal, not plastic. The tiny metal triangle that appears to be a different color is the most useful of the bunch, particularly for box making. I got mine from Micromark, but Exacto also makes one, and it’s “L” companion (above.) If you can, get one with mm measurements on one side. Those are tops.

#1 Beeswax. Cut from a huge block of wax with a hot coping saw on my front porch in Tuscaloosa back in 2005 with friend MC Hyland. The red fuzz all over it came from sewing all of the little fore edge pamphlet stitches for this book. Has only lost about 20% of its mass in six years.

#2 Small disk of beeswax, available from most sewing stores, sometimes in an irritating plastic holder.

You can find beeswax all over amazon, and probably a lot of other places besides. Wax is used to lightly coat the thread that you sew books with. You don’t need much. While we are here on the wax topic, stay away from pre-waxed thread. As annoying a concept as windshield wipers on headlights and no-rub contact solution. There is way too much wax on it, it looks totally gross, and it sheds little wax balls everywhere when you are sewing.

#1 Japanese Screw Punch. For making tiny, perfect holes. They range in price from $25 to $70. Talas sells this as a “Japanese Push Drill” without the bits for about $30 or with 9 bits for $64. See their range here. In the UK Shepherds-Falkiners sells the punch with one 3mm bit for £32 and sells other bits separately for £8.50 each. I find the 1mm bit to be the most useful for bookbinding, but have had cause to use them all. The 5mm bit cuts holes big enough for screw posts. A quick search online (for “Japanese Screw Punch,” “Japanese Hole Punch,” “Japanese Book Drill,” and “Japanese Push Drill”) often yields screw punches and bits for much cheaper. WARNING: Once you have one, you won’t be able to stop yourself from putting tiny holes in a lot of things that don’t need tiny holes. Like shoes, clothing, precious sentimental items.

#2 Talas Microspatula #1. Adorable. Many weird uses. $3.50.

#3. Old non-serrated dinner knife. Used for tearing large sheets of paper into smaller sizes. Thrift Store/Charity Shop. Peanuts.

Disclaimer: These are not all of my tools, oh no! These are just my favorite tools. I have a whole other tool stash in America that I am slowly ferrying over. tools tools tools tools. tools tools.

If anyone out there has suggestions for other sources for these tools, particularly in the UK, please leave a comment!

Today I am going to print the colophon for the book. I’ll show it to you later.

UPDATE:  Abi Sutherland (of Evil Rooster) has suggested a couple of links: J Hewit & Sons, a tannery that also sells some bookbinding tools, and Boektotaal in the Netherlands. Thanks, Abi!

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12 comments on “Tool Porn: where did they come from and how much did they cost?

  1. velma
    September 12, 2012

    woohoo, the colophon! it’s happening. i have some nifty tools, too, especially when you add in the weaving tools. so there! (oh, and the other day when i cleaned work off my dining table so we could eat (!) i found three tiny scissors. why three?)

  2. Big Jump Press
    September 12, 2012

    It happened! The colophon is done! kaboom. Printing done. how tiny were your scissors? And I am curious about what weaving tools look like. If only we could put your tiny scissors next to my enormous stolen comedy scissors.

  3. velma
    September 12, 2012

    ooh HA! think of the hybrid scissors. maybe i’ll do a post about my favorite tools. that needs lots of organization, though-
    happy colophon day!

  4. Abi Sutherland
    September 18, 2012

    Ah, tools…one does end up with an assortment, doesn’t one? I’ve been binding for about 10 years, and I could match you tool for tool. My top tools list would have fewer triangles and more knives, though.

    I’d also add a stippling brush to the list. It’s just a cheap round paintbrush with the bristles cut short and flat, but it’s a great way to get paper to stick to uneven surfaces.

    You asked about suppliers for people in the UK. A couple of them that might be of interest:

    I started binding books when I lived in Edinburgh, so my go-to place for equipment was J Hewit & Sons. Although they’re mostly a tannery, they do have some tools. Their website is http://www.hewitonline.com/

    Another good source Boektotaal. They’re in the Netherlands, but their site has an English option, and they do ship. I’m particularly fond of the pin vice I got from them at an SoB conference. Their English-language site is here: http://www.boektotaal.nl/E_frame.html?http://www.boektotaal.nl/E_home.html

    • Big Jump Press
      September 19, 2012

      Hi Abi, thanks so much for adding to the resource list! I will add these links to the post and to my own handouts and materials. Agreed on the stipple brush, under-appreciated but hugely helpful. Mine didn’t make it into the post, but was in heavy use even yesterday while I was adhering spine linings.

  5. Sue Taylor/Mara
    November 21, 2012

    hi Sarah – this is great! and very timely as I was about to order some stuff to help a friend with a book…. Just one thing – could you add to this your paper cutter – what make, where to buy, etc?
    Sue

    • Big Jump Press
      November 21, 2012

      Hi Sue! My cutter is an from Ideal. In the states I have seen it sold as a kutrimmer but it may have a slightly different name in the UK. The model numbers seem to be the same, though. I have a 1071 in the US which I love and then a 1058 in the UK which is just a bit smaller. I am away from all of my records and things and about to have thanksgiving with my family here in the states, but I believe I got the UK cutter for about £360. When I get home I can scrounge around to find the records!

      • Sue Taylor/Mara
        November 21, 2012

        Thanks! I meant the one you had on the workshop I did at Inkspot a couple of months back. Was great, and my Rexel trimmer is currently falling to bits, so need to upgrade. Happy thanksgiving!

      • Big Jump Press
        November 21, 2012

        Yes, Sue, that was the Ideal 1058. It is a great cutter! Go forth! find one!

      • Sue Taylor/Mara
        November 26, 2012

        Well, after an evening spent researching to confuddlement, I’ve decided to buy the Ideal 1134, as it’s the best I can afford right now.

  6. Elissa R. Campbell
    January 26, 2013

    LOVE this post. It makes me want to go into my studio and lay out all of my tools so I can admire them. Or make an artists’ book about my tools and how pretty they are when I arrange them.

    I am such a tool nerd.

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This entry was posted on September 12, 2012 by in Bookbinding, How I do things. and tagged , , , , .
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