*Bonus* Trimming and Professionalism

This post covers an extra step related to my Bookbinding class on Skillshare. If you are not a part of my class and want to know more, check this out: Bookbinding Basics: Making a Perfect Bound Book.

Check out the picture below to see what my books usually look like after I make them. You see the endsheets hang over the end of the textblock and my spine tape hangs off the edges as well. I’m going to show you a bonus step that I didn’t cover in the class but like to employ.

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My secret weapon is a Stack Cutter. I formatted the class so you wouldn’t need access to a Stack Cutter, cause hey, most people don’t own one and don’t have a friend with a cutter. But I still want to show you my process and what can be accomplished with a Stack Cutter.

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What I like about trimming with a Stack Cutter is the sharp, even edges it produces. It gives books a professional look that’s really impressive. The other reason, which you may have come across while making a book, is that it can be difficult to build a book perfectly square, and not have the cover overhang the edges of the endsheets. See how clean my book edges are after trimming:

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Now, I’m not suggesting you buy a Stack Cutter. A cheap Stack Cutter can cost between $100-150, I payed about $130 for mine. And you know what, it’s really not that good. I have to be really careful when cutting not to let the book slip and mess the whole thing up. Good, reliable Stack Cutters can cost $300+ and I don’t know about you but I can’t afford that.

So why even bring this up? Well, I wanted to let you know what is possible with a Stack Cutter as well as give you some ideas about finding one to use for cheap or free.

  1. Buy One. Not a free method, and I only suggest buying a Stack Cutter (even a cheap one like mine) if you are planning on really getting into bookbinding and selling for extra money.
  2. Make A Friend. Network with crafts-people in your area and become friends with someone who happens to have a Stack Cutter and will let you use it. There are some people out there who have Stack Cutters, just not many.
  3. Commercial, Educational, & Makers Spaces. Find a place that has a Stack Cutter that you can access. Check out local Makers Spaces (they usually have cool equipment you can use like Laser Cutters and 3D Printers), check out your local University (art and architecture departments may have a cutter you can use), check out local Print Shops (this could be tricky because a business may or may not let you use their equipment, but it never hurts to ask, so be nice).

I hope this gives you some cool ideas. A number of students have asked questions, so I will be adding more Announcements soon. The next one will cover Selling & Marketing your books! If you are not a part of my class you can join here: Bookbinding Basics: Making a Perfect Bound Book.

If you have any questions or comments you can leave a comment here or find me on Twitter at @calebsylvest

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