New tools day! I already have a couple of presses from Jim Poelstra and, as I expand my bookbinding toolkit, I look to his offerings first.

Image of a blank book block in a finishing press with backing boards, behind a punching cradle with awl and punching guide

Today brought a set of backing boards which fit nicely into my finishing press – not that I’m using them on this set of three, but I shall want to use them soon enough – and a punching cradle for signatures with awl and punching guide. I’ve wanted the cradle in particular for a long time, and decided that now was the time to stop stabbing myself in the finger trying to punch my signatures in-hand. Again, I didn’t get to use it on this set, but I have another project in flight.

Image of three blank book blocks with boards attached, two closed and one open to reveal attached mull and loose tapes

Today also saw progress on the set of three blanks. With visions of a Kutrimmer dancing in my head, I used a mat cutter and ruler to cut the boards for the set. Sanding down the board edges to round them took nearly as long as the cutting, although it was rather less painful! Finally I glued the mull on to the boards, with squareness against the untrimmed book blocks more of a hope than a reality.

Next up will be gluing down the tapes the same way, and then sewing on headbands. I’m walking through the first tutorial in Aldren Watson’s Hand Bookbinding: A Manual of Instruction and it doesn’t include headbanding, but he does cover headband sewing later in the book. I can rarely resist the urge to work with silk when the opportunity presents itself, so I’ll take this opportunity to add a little extra shine to this set of blanks.