I haven’t bound a book or pressed a paper for a few years, mostly because my old press broke and I never got around to fixing it. Well, I have the need for a few new journals and decided it was time to make another press. Here are three great presses I’ll be modeling mine after
- Four Post Hardboard Press – This press is pretty simple to make, 4 lengths of threaded rod, pvc pipes, and a few layers of thick plywood, with a larger threaded center rod and twist handle. This design gives plenty of downward pressure, but it isn’t very consistent because of the single point pushing down. I like to modify the pressing panel by running the whole panel through the threaded rods so I can add bolts and cinch down all 4 sides (see #3). Because it only takes a table saw, glue and a drill to make this press it’s a great starter project. For a more consistent pressure while binding, I’ll modify this design with a strengthened frame.
- Dual Post Press – This press has a strengthened frame that consists of layers of jointed hardwood for the posts. The thinner design gives more focused pressure for more consistent binding results. The design is also a bit smaller so it’s easier to store (but the press isn’t as versatile). If properly strengthened, using a hydraulic jack gives much more pressure in the press, but be careful because that extra pressure can literally explode with dangerous results.
- Simple Four Bolt Press – This is the most basic press, easy to make and easy to use. It doesn’t have good center pressure and the parts are a bit hard to store, but an hour in the shop makes this a quick press in a pinch.
So my combination design will look a bit like #1, with a solid base, 4 large threaded rods (with bolts to tighten down the corners when needed), and a center point where I can place my small hydraulic jack. The top of the press will be made of layered hardwood, strong enough to stand up to the hydraulic pressure. Stay tuned for the project steps and photos within a few weeks!