SUPPLIES, TOOLS,MATERIALS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM
This page is a work in progress.
Below you will find a few different sections, including a list of tools that I use regularly and find necessary for bookbinding, a list of supplies or consumables, and a list of stores where you can find bookbinding supplies.
Many of the items listed below may be found at local art stores, hardware stores, or even floating around your house. If you click on the photos of the tools, you will be directed to the Amazon page for that item. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
IN MY TOOLBOX
These are made of cow bone and can be gently shaped using sand paper.
Look for the current best buy, or a shape that looks like it will feel good in your hand. I have not experienced a difference in quality based on the price of teflon folders.
I use a Starrett 166B Pin Vise. In classes, I provide a less expensive pin vise that you can also find on Amazon, which does require extra elbow grease to tighten, but your needle should stay in place after your initial efforts. Another option, is to use an awl or stylus with a very narrow shaft. I really like this one from Colophon Book Arts Supply.
Spring dividers with a split nut, or quick speed nut and nice points is what to look for in a set of dividers. The pair pictured is economically priced and fits the bill. I use Starrett No. 77 spring nut, flat leg dividers. Starrett is a great brand that lasts and lasts, so this is a good item to keep an eye out for at estate sales and antique shops.
You’ll want a ruler that is thick, doesn’t flex too much and has the measurement marks engraved right into the metal. The eBoot set has a bonus metric to inch conversion chart on the back of both lengths. I use a metric Starrett No. C635.
Olfa Cutting Knife
I love the feel of this slender Olfa blade and it is so easy to snap of old blades with the removable clip. I recommend buying a pack of replacement blades when you buy your knife so you never have to hesitate to use a sharp blade.
I use needles that are at least two inches long and have an eye that is just large enough for the linen thread we use. For many sewing structures it is helpful to sew with a needle that is slightly curved or bent. I don’t buy special curved needles, I just gently bend a straight needle.
It’s handy to use a mechanical pencil since the tip is ever sharp. This is especially helpful for precise work, measured in millimeters!
Anything heavy will do the trick for a weight. Bricks covered in paper or bookcloth are commonly used. I use heavy antique sad irons that I’ve found at antique shops and rummage sales, as well as 5 lb and 10 lb hand weights. I thought this 10 lb kettle bell with it’s handle and flat bottom could be just right if you want to purchase something new.
I like round glue brushes for everyday bookbinding. I enjoy using Anza, which is a Swedish paint brush brand. You can get them from Colophon here, and from Northport Company here. They have a clever little piece that extends out where the brush meets the handle that allows you to either hang the brush bristle down on the edge of your glue pot, or set it down flat on a table without getting glue on the table.
Japanese Screw Punch
ON MY SUPPLY SHELF
Beeswax is used to thinly coat thread before sewing.
Replacement Snap-off Blades
If you just buy one spool, go for the 25/3, which is a good all purpose thread. It happens to come in lots of great colors, too. 18/3 (thicker than 25/3) is nice for coptic bindings to showcase the thread pattern on the spine. Thinner 35/3 is great for books that need less swell, and is what I use in miniature books.
GET STARTED WITH THE BASICS
I’ve shared a lot of tools and materials in the sections above, and if you’re just getting started that might seem like a daunting list! Below are the most basic tools that you’ll need to get started.
BLICK & Local Art Stores
Look for the Lineco Brand (glue, board, bookcloth). Also a great source for endsheet and decorative papers.
Colophon Book Arts
One stop online or phone shopping for all of your bookbinding needs. Gorgeous bookcloth, unwaxed linen thread in a variety of colors, marbling equipment. Friendly service and reasonable shipping. Owned by Mary Uthuppuru based in Indiana.
One stop online shopping for all of your bookbinding needs, online or in Michigan. Nice variety of smaller sizes.
I have purchased binders board and PVA from them. Foil stamping machines and accessories, including capabilities for making dies. Based in New Jersey.
Talas One stop shopping for all of your bookbinding needs, online or in New York.
Northport Binding Co. My very favorite glue brushes (Anza) as well as bench weights.
Leather and parchment, based in New York.
Harmatan Leather for fine binding, based in England.
J Hewit & Sons Leather and Bookbinding Supplies, including leather dye, and 19th & 20th century reproduction endsheets that are great for miniature books! Based in Scotland.
Magnesium and brass dies for stamping with a kwikprint.
Genuine gold and imitation metal leaf for gold tooling. I buy it by the roll on a thin paper backing.
The Augustine Company
Magnesium and brass dies for stamping with a kwikprint.
Rulers, pin vises, squares, high quality precision instruments.
Kelly Paper Great variety of sizes and brands including Mohawk. Can make custom orders and they have a great sale section if you visit a local store.
Limited Papers Online Source for text block papers
Direct from the source! My favorite text paper is Mohawk Superfine Softwhite Eggshell 80lb text.
Paper Source Parent sheets and smaller of lovely colors of text weight paper, decorative paper, and some bookbinding supplies.
Great places for press boards cut to size, decorative painting tools for paste papers, and bricks for weights.
Heat'n'Bond Lite for making bookcloth, silk thread for endband sewing, ribbon for bookmarks.
What can't you get on Amazon? This can be a test!
Do you know of a source that I'm missing? Please let me know, and I will add it to the list!