Saturday, March 14, 2015

Tools of the Trade...

So I dug out my tool kit from the last time I made a tiny Japanese stab binding book, and retraced my steps using what I found in the kit. I had to rediscover what I did and this time I am making notes so I don't have to think so much the next time I decide to make one of these little books with this type of binding. So here are the essential tools that really make for a success with this project:

You'll see 1] a hand drill with a bit holder that separates to allow the shank of a drill bit to enter and then be tightened into place. Notice what I have in place there. A sewing machine needle for leather as it has a very sharp and strong steel point on it. At least I think those sewing machine needles are made of steel. It's strong in any event, 2] a sewing machine needle all by itself so you can see what it looks like and see the scale, 3] an awl needle and holder. It's just like an X-acto blade holder that tightens up by screwing (turning) the handle. Instead of a flat blade, this holder has a round entry point that tightens up exactly the same way the hand held drill is designed to work. I love this awl and it is likely my favourite tool; well in the top 5 anyway, 4] a roll of linen thread which I'm showing just because of the beautiful colour of it, and, 5] two finished Japanese stab bound in the hemp pattern little books~one I made a year ago and this new one I just completed. His little beak wound up with the very tip at the exact point where the middle hole is placed. I'll have to be more careful about placement next time. The size of these books are 1 & 1/8" X 2 & 1/2" {3cm X 63mm}.

 The tools are used thus: I start by placing the needle end of the hand held drill where marked for a hole, and slowly start turning the handle and keeping the drill perpendicular to the hole. I just turn and turn slowly until the needle works its' way through to the other side. I have a heavy piece of plastic on the tabletop surface so the needle won't damage anything when it reaches the bottom side. Of course the stack of papers is held together FIRMLY with 3 strong clips. Once the hole is drilled through I reverse the direction of the drill to help pull the needle out. When the needle is out I then go in with the awl and just work my way through slowly and carefully, wiggling the awl back and forth to enlarge the hole all the way through. Then I enter from the bottom side of the hole and repeat with the awl. When it comes to sewing the binding it is done with a large needle by hand. If the needle won't go through the hole because there are already 2 or more threads through it, I clamp the needle shaft with a pair of sturdy pliers and push the needle until it is almost all the way through to the other side, and then bring the pliers around to the other side, and pull the needle through. It works like a charm. So that's my helpful hint section of this post! It's been a fun drawing challenge. See you soon I hope! Norma, x


  1. you're back! with a spring booklet, no less! how very charming... i loved your big tool straight away,its vintage appeal dazzles me, and it does do the trick! mhmmm... wanna see more, norma... x n♥

  2. ;^))
    love your last two posts
    that sweet bird is beautiful
    and your tutorial, well... thanXX!

    and thank you for your comment!
    my tiny VW i have for so many years
    we used to have such a car when i was little
    and my dream is to own one myself someday
    i love the shape and the sound they make
    and now i will think of you and your yellow one
    everytime i see or hear one ;^))))

  3. oh so very beautiful Norma! And I can understand why that is a favourite tool. What dear little delights you make.

  4. Your hand drill is the prettiest I've ever seen, Norma! It must feel good in your hands. xo

  5. So absolutely sweet! I love the little bird- and have always wanted to learn bookbinding! Thanks so much for sharing this!

  6. Your booklet is wonderful. I would love to hold this in my hands.

  7. Your booklet is fantastic - so much work - I can't believe you made a book for a drawing challenge. Love the painting on the cover!

  8. hello Norma,
    thank you for sharing your tools, tips and how to of your darling little books! I love seeing all of that. Your tiny books and art have always intrigued me.

    wishing you a lovely weekend.

  9. dear norma, thank you so much for your nice comment! I was happy to hear from you! like your little book so much - the birdie is beautiful!
    wish you a good and creative time!
    :-) mano

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  12. Hi! This is so cool. Thanks for your comment on my blog, super interesting. I wonder if you have a picture of any results of the technique you described?

  13. hi norma-tje... you never know, you may feel tempted to this HERE, feel very welcome to join, n♥


Your comments make my day! Thanks for dropping by and we'll see you soon, I hope, *smiles* Norma


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