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sewing frames summary
- To: BOOK_ARTS-L@LISTSERV.SYR.EDU
- Subject: sewing frames summary
- From: Annette Wagner <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Wed, 8 Dec 1999 21:12:01 -0800
- Message-Id: <199912091424.GAA06496@palimpsest.Stanford.EDU>
- Organization: O'Brien & Wagner
- Sender: "Book_Arts-L: READ THE FAQ at http://www.philobiblon.com" <BOOK_ARTS-L@LISTSERV.SYR.EDU>
This long email is the collection of answers I received when I asked
buying a sewing frame.
Date: Sun, 28 Nov 1999 18:30:41 -0700
From: Pat Baldwin <email@example.com>
Get the simplest and cheapest sewing frame you can. Even copy one from a
book. All it does is hold the sections more efficiently while you are
sewing them together. There are fancy, adjustable ones out there, but
don't do much more than the simplest board-4 feet-post & lintel top
of frame made of pine and varnished to be smooth.
Any book on bookbinding will give you an idea of how to use it. Use
tacks across the top to hold your tapes or cords. Under the base, thumb
tack the other end. They only have to be taut.
I've been binding for 10 years now and find sewing frames unnecessary.
were making extreamly large books then one could be helpfull but with
16 in. spines I usually do it freehand. Save you money for the many
expensive tools you can get.
From: Betty Storz <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The sewing frame makers won't like me, but I don't think you need to
$200 or more for a sewing frame. I have one that a friend made from
instructions in HAND BOOKBINDING by Aldren Watson. You might be able to
find it at the library. There is a good section on how to make your own
BOOKBINDING BY HAND, by Lawrence Town, who taught bokbinding for years,
tells how he taught many students at a time to sew on tapes without
sewing frame at all. It's faster and saves tape. That book is out of
but a similar technique is described in Creative Bookbinding, by Pauline
Johnson. On page 126, she shows a very simple frame you could make
I have sewn many books on tape, both with and without a frame. I think
keys that are made for affixing the tapes to the frame are a pain in the
neck. I cand sew half the book in the time it takes to get one tape
adjusted on the frame.
The three books I mentioned are a good start for your own library. You
be able to find them on the internet at www.bookfinder.com. All you need
Betty Storz email@example.com
From: "Stuart Newbanks" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Pauline Johnson covers this subject rather thoroughly in her book
Bookbinding"--an old but good reference. They are simple to make and
includes instructions on how to do so. One tip she does not include is
put a small stack of paper (or a book) under the signatures you are
together to give your hands to move--you are not sewing snugly against
From: jane brown <email@example.com>
I am familiar with two types of sewing frames (actually I'm sure
there are many types of homemade varieties), the Cockrell Frame
and the traditional frame.
The traditional frame has posts which go up the sides and
the posts are designed like screws. There is nothing wrong
with this frame and you may be able to pick up a used one
The Cockrell frame was designed to eliminate the posts which
one has to work around and might be described as a *canterlevered*
If you can get a copy of Douglas Cockrell's book on bookbinding which
been reprinted and should be available through Bookmakers or some of the
dealers who sell book related books, there are pictures of the
I have a Cockrell frame which my uncle made for me from pictures and
dimensions I gave him. Several of my friends have made their own as
It might take me a little time, but if you'd like me to photocopy the
*plans* for the cockrell frame, send me a message with your snailmail
Also, look send a message to the listowner and ask for the address to
the suppliers list for the Guild of Book Workers. There will be some
addresses of suppliers of such equipment which will also help.
Joseph Christian, a violin maker by trade who is connected to
North Bennet St. School, has, with the help of a half dozen bookbinders,
designed a wonderful, and very useful sewing frame which many of us
A handy quality is that it actually folds up and is easily transportable
storable. It has everything on it that we wanted, and has corrected
problems in standard frames that were driving us crazy. He's a very
and can be reached at
617-720-1543. Address: 39 North Bennet St. Boston, MA 02113. I can't
remember now how much it cost and I don't want to guess, but it struck
the time as very reasonable.
Good luck, and feel free to use my name if you'd like.
I am something of a small tool pack rat myself, so I am not really the
one to be asking you this. However, I will: Are you sure you want to
spend your money on a sewing frame?
If you sew mostly on tapes, and produce one book at a time it is
hardly worth having, and almost any kind that requires minimal tying up
will do if you want the convenience of something to hold up the tapes.
If you are interested in sewing multiple copies at a time, then a frame
is necessary, but you still really only need the traditional basic
model, look for one with a cross bar that adjusts with minimal trouble.
The really fancy ones that allow for precise tension adjustments for
each sewing support matter only if you expect to do supported sewing on
alum taw or leather cord supports.
New ones will usually come with some instruction for tightening and
assembly, but for your purposes a used one would do fine. I am sure
there are binders in your area who could help you. The problem with the
older wooden ones bought used is often that the threads on the vertical
uprights are worn or warped, making the adjustment of the cross bar
difficult. Do not buy one sight unseen.
From: "Michael E. Morin" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
If you can bind a book, you can make a sewing frame. The attached scans
_Bookbinding _as_a_Handicraft_by Manly Banister, published by Sterling
Like most of Manly's books, he has used basic hardware store
nuts-n-bolts to construct basic
equipment. His design may help you make a sewing frame fro yourself. If
yon don't have the
skills to make one from scratch and can't find awoodworker who will swap
a handmade frame
for a bound book or sketchbook, then I would have Peter Jermann make one
for you. He lives
in Olean NY and hand makes binding equipment for one of the big library
The best frame design I've seen places the vertical adjustable posts in
back with a cantilevered
horizontal bar for attaching the tapes in front. This allows the user
unencumbered access to
the book block and less entanglement for the thread!
P.S. Don't pay too much attention to Mr. Banister's techinques...they
are not always sound
less than professional. His book has been republished a few times and
may have a different title.
Try your local public library.
Tim Ely of Planetary Collage in Portland has designed and produced a
number of very high tech, practical sewing frames. Contact him by phone
503.23.6812 or e-mail<email@example.com>
I have seen it and it is very cool.
Bonnie Thompon Norman
Hello, I'm replying off list as there will probably be several of the
posts: Keith Smith gives good instructions for building an inexpensive
sewing frame in his book, "Exposed Spine Sewings" .
Melissa Jay Craig
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