In an ideal world I would have on of these beauties. Unfortunately they are frequently over priced because they are antiques/collector’s items. If their only use or value was use as a nipping press, you’d probably pick them up for £50. So in keeping with my motto “stop whining and just get on with it” – I have a homemade book press of sorts.

After I did my first bookbinding course 3 years ago I knew I needed some form of book press. Our tutor suggested 2 sheets of thick MDF and some heavy weights to start with. I was idly talking to a work colleague about this one day because I was having great difficulty finding anywhere that would cut MDF to size. He said he had some left over bits from his Ikea work top which he could cut to size for me. I had also seen some home made ones which had bolts and wing-nuts on them, he said he could drill holes for this if I wanted.

You would have thought it would be easy to find the bolts I wanted, but after several visits to places like B&Q, Homebase, Travis Perkins etc. I eventually found exactly the ones I wanted on They still send me a catalogue every know then, the Screwfix catalogue is one of my guilty pleasures (do I sound a bit sad?)

I then had to decide on a size. I wanted it to go up to A3 if possible, but including an allowance for the bolts this would have been huge. I compromised, it will do A3 but I have to remove the bolts.

So with my all my measurements and instructions my work colleague duly made the press for me. I was delighted. The other people in work were very bemused by our conversations and when he eventually brought it in to work even more baffled, but not as baffled as the people who saw me lugging it home on the Train from Bristol to Cardiff! So big up to Kristian Benning for making the press for me, I am eternally grateful. The Blueberry Patch is the shop he runs with his wife.

French stitch ready for gluing

I also use it when marking and gluing the spine, its not perfect but its perfect for me at the moment. One day I will have an amazing studio with at least 3 cast iron nipping presses in all different sizes, and while I’m at it a lovely wooden plan chest for all my paper.

“Dreams are essential to life”
Anais Nin

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