Find the best bookbinding press for hand-bound notepads, books, journals, and more

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A bookbinding press can work wonders to achieve tip-top results during different stages of your bookbinding ventures.

If you’re pursuing this creative hobby from home, there’s really no need to consider complicated contraptions or outsourcing bookbinding services to get the job done.

In fact, those with a few woodworking classes under their belts or familiar with woodworking tools tend to make these themselves! However, we aren’t all wood-crafting wizards or have the time and/or space to DIY.

That said, make life simple! Check out our suggestions below if beautiful bookbinding presses at great value sound good to you.

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Best press for bookbinding

Got your bookbinding kit and are ready to give your projects the beautiful finishes they deserve? A bookbinding press will help get the job done; check out our top picks below.

Birch Plywood & Pine Book Press by Simplied Wood Craft

Birch Plywood & Pine Book Press by Simplied Wood Craft

First up on our list is a bookbinding press made by Etsy Star Seller Simplied Wood Craft. It’s our top pick due to its high quality and versatile, multi-functional design.

Made from birch plywood and select pine, this book press features square-shaped boards with smooth sanded surfaces to press everything from books and notepads to hand-bound journals and more.

The highlight of this handmade device is undoubtedly its versatility: it incorporates unique elements like side rails and extra-long bolts. How does this help? The align rails will allow you to adjust your device to a variety of book widths, ensuring more compact pressing and, therefore, better results.

Align rails are also especially helpful if you’re pressing large stacks of paper or very thick books. You can also purchase an additional 3-inch rail for a slightly higher value: this will give you more options to accommodate a broader range of project sizes.

Also, having 6-inch bolts will provide greater flexibility, allowing you to press everything from heavy-duty items to multiple thinner items simultaneously. This is ideal if bookbinding is a creative hobby you enjoy frequently; you’ll be able to press more books in one go.

The oversized fluted knobs are also definitely a plus! They’re easy to spin and will help lock down bolts effortlessly without having you strain your wrist or hurt your fingers — yes, we’re talking about you, wing nuts! This product is shipped from the US and delivered worldwide.

Laminate Surface Book Press by Simplied Wood Craft

Laminate Surface Book Press by Simplied Wood Craft

Next up is another book press also created by Simplied Wood Craft. This is a more straightforward alternative than the previous model and one of the brand’s most recent releases (and slightly cheaper!).

This press for bookbinding features a laminate surface and a more simplistic design with a 12×12-inch (30x30cm) working area. In addition, this seller offers three different bolt kits to choose from to accommodate different project sizes.

That said, before purchasing, consider which of the bolt options will suit you most: 6-inch, 4-inch, or a set including both sizes. Will you be sticking to thin stitched pamphlets or thicker, leatherbound journals? Stacking multiple books at the same time? Give this some thought beforehand.

Like the model above, you’ll also have the perk of chunky, oversized fluted knobs, making twisting and applying pressure easier on your wrists. Note that this model is also very effective in achieving crisp, ripple-free outcomes when pressing individual sheets of paper or lightweight folios.

Also, know that a few basic tools will be needed to assemble your bookbinding press, although nothing major! Your set will include instructions on everything you’ll need, but ultimately, as long as you have a good pair of pliers, you’ll have no problem getting most of the work done in a jiffy.

As someone who sees beauty in crafty works-in-the-making, I love the idea of having this book press on display on a bookshelf or coffee table. This product is shipped from the US and delivered worldwide. There are a few destination restrictions, so be sure to double-check if your location is listed beforehand.

Bookbinding Press by MemoruBookbinding

Bookbinding Press by MemoruBookbinding

This book press by MemoruBookbinding is perfect for beginners looking for their first tools to jumpstart their bookbinding ventures. While less elaborate or versatile than the previous items, this book press offers great quality and unquestionable value for money.

Made of thick plywood, this large press for bookbinding measures 11×7 inches (~27x17cm) with a gap range of roughly 1.58 inches (4cm). You’ll have fewer height adjustment options with this device. On the other hand, it’s a reliable, more budget-friendly investment if you’re currently focused on small-scale projects.

Besides papercraft ventures, this bookbinding press is also suitable if you’re looking to upgrade your microwaveable flower press kit to something a little more artisan. It also works very well with individual paper; just make sure to tighten your bolts!

Speaking of bolts, this product comes with wing nuts vs. fluted knobs. Personally, I prefer the ease of chunkier, comfortable hardware, especially when unwinding your press. However, if you’re like me, remember this is an easy device to customize if you eventually want to substitute your wing nuts for something a little sturdier.

Although a fuss-free, straightforward press for bookbinding, I love the polished surfaces and rounded corners of its boards, reflecting simple but beautiful craftsmanship. It makes for an extremely thoughtful, creative gift for anyone exploring this creative hobby.

And if you’re all about supporting small businesses, this is your chance to show some love! This book press is shipped from Poland and delivered worldwide, but there are some restrictions on locations. Therefore, we advise checking this information in advance.

Large Bookbinding Finishing Press by Bear Dog Designs

Large Bookbinding Finishing Press by Bear Dog Designs

Demanding crafters looking for unique items and impeccable results will love this bookbinding finishing press by The Bear Dog. Featuring a walnut finish ply, this device is both functional and highly aesthetic — perfect to showcase at home, your workshop, or craft station.

It’s also one of the more inexpensive suggestions on our list, as well as one of the most unique regarding overall design. Your order will include smooth walnut ply boards, stainless steel wing nuts, 5-inch carriage bolts, and steel washers.

Each handmade piece has a 14.25-inch (-36cm) capacity to handle books of various thicknesses and measures 17.5 inches (~44cm) long. Apart from its unique, sturdy build, I really appreciate the layout and dimension of this tool: it doesn’t only look great but will be easier to store vs. standard models.

This brand also sells a smaller version of this bookbinding press that we highly recommend! Essentially, it’s a small-scale replica featuring a 7.5-inch (~19cm) capacity and measures 9 inches (~23cm). And yes, it’s cheaper!

Looking for something in between? This shop also sells this medium-sized version. The Bear Dog store ships all of its products from the US and delivers worldwide. Double-check if your location is listed and/or if additional shipping fees are required.

Standing Bookbinding Press with Pivoting Base by Jay’s Custom Covers

Standing Bookbinding Press with Pivoting Base by Jay's Custom Covers

This standing bookbinding press by Jay’s Custom Covers is the ultimate collector item for passionate bookbinders looking for sublime craftsmanship and authentic artisan tools.

At almost $600, this stunning piece is made of solid maple with Peruvian walnut accents. In addition, it features a unique pivoting base, allowing you to position your work and craft at various angles.

So what’s the highlight of this piece, and why is it so expensive? It’s completely customizable. For example, this press features a large steel screw down its middle to clamp books up to 12 inches long and 6 inches thick.

However, you can request a customized wooden screw instead, as well as adjustable press plates, different wood types for construction, lettering, and additional hardware.

This is a costly investment, no doubt. But if you’re looking for a real-deal book press for a longtime bookbinding devotee, they’ll absolutely adore getting this standing bookbinding press as a gift!

This product is shipped from the US and is only delivered in-country for the time being; shipping fees aren’t applicable.

FAQS

What is a bookbinding press? What is it used for?

A bookbinding press is used to clamp, apply pressure, and compress stacks of pages, books, notebooks, etc., whether binding projects for the first time or rebinding items/book repairs.

Loose sheets of paper can also be pressed efficiently, depending on your device. In addition, these tools work very well with different bookbinding materials, such as bookbinding glue, and are just as easy to use as a flower press.

How long does it take to get a book fully pressed?

This will depend on the type of bookbinding technique/style and material you apply. For example, hardcover hand-bound books can take up to six weeks. On the other hand, perfect bound books may only take between 10-15 days to fully settle. Spiral notebooks commonly take three to four weeks.

Can you DIY a book press?

Yes! Like flower presses, DIYing a book press is an excellent, budget-friendly alternative to purchasing handmade artisan models. Overall, these are easy to make, given you have the appropriate tools for wood crafting, woodworking skills, and space.

In addition, you can find many free online tutorials on YouTube covering different ways to make a press for bookbinding. However, please, always craft safely!

Is using a bookbinding press essential?

You can improvise different solutions to press your bookbinding projects. But, if you’re serious about your craft, a book press is definitely a tool you want to add to your craft desk. It will not only benefit the final outcome of your work but can be applied during different stages of the bookbinding process.

Who invented the bookbinding press?

While there is some discussion regarding who created some of the first bookbinding tools, it’s believed that English bookbinder William Burn invented one of the first-ever machines used for the craft: the rolling press.

This machine would pave the way for the modern-day book press. Its purpose was to flatten and compress folios before they were fully integrated and sewn into books. Until then, this method was achieved by hammering sheets manually.

In 1872 William Burn received official recognition from the Society of Arts for his invention of the bookbinding rolling press.

Are book presses expensive?

Bookbinding presses can get a little expensive. However, since they’re primarily handmade, artisan items (unless you’re looking for something heavy-duty and industrial!), there is a lot of craftsmanship to take into account and value.

Price will also depend on the size of your book press, the materials used/the wood quality, if you’re purchasing customizable models from a small business, etc.

Keep bookbinding capacity into account whenever purchasing. Even if you have to pay more for a more flexible gap range or larger surface, a quality book press will last a lifetime and will be well worth the investment.

What materials do I need for book pressing?

Before you consider a book press, be sure you have all the bookbinding materials and essentials to get your projects started!

Here are a few tools you’ll want to have at hand:

Book binding kits and paper making kits are great resources to help you segue further into the craft and customize projects down the line.


That’s it for this guide to the best press for bookbinding! If you have any other questions, feel free to drop them in the comments below, and we’ll address them as soon as possible.

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