artist · bookbinding · diy · unplugged woodworking · woodworking · writer

The Making Of, Part 1: Crafting Covers – Unplugged Woodworking


We’ve had a great time at our craft shows lately and gave out a million business cards that bring you guys here…so we thought we would show you just how handmade our books are!

Our books are always a work in progress. It seems like every day Ian and I run up to each other with an idea on how to make our product better or more exciting. We absolutely love what we do and we are so excited that you are all enjoying our creations as much as we are! The small books featured in this post were for a custom Etsy order.

So, here’s how it all comes together. It all starts with lumber. Our wood comes from a few different sources – Hardwood To Go , logs we find while hiking, hardwood flooring or furniture we find in the trash, and scraps and logs that are given to us by friends and family. This order we started with a big ole piece of Jatoba, a dense hardwood often referred to as “Brazilian Cherry.”

file_0026unplugged woodworking, bookbinding , woodworker










First, Ian measures and cuts free a piece of the wood about the size of the cover. He then has to slice this chunk of wood into four cover slabs. He uses a kerfing plane that he built himself to mark a groove a little wider than the width of the cover around all four sides of the wood block – a groove that will work as a guide for the frame saw to cut the cover slabs.


The slabs are then trimmed to the appropriate size and planed smooth on all sides.

He then matched up the covers, tapes them together tightly and drills the binding holes using a hand drill. He adds a little chamfer to the edges with a small block plane. In order to save time, he does use an electric hand sander on the covers though I imagine that practice won’t follow us to bus life. Have you ever sat there and sanded six covers through three different grits by hand? It’s probably the least fun bit of this whole thing.

We had a little brand 3D printed by Shapeways and we use it on every book to give it our stamp of approval!

This process can take about 2-3 days alone depending on the amount of orders we get. While Ian is outside working in the wood shop, I’m usually inside preparing and binding text blocks. In the next post, I’ll show you a little more about that process!

Thank you all again for all of your support. We appreciate every compliment, every word of encouragement, and every sale. We work hard to give you something special that will last a long time.

Until next time,

Remember to be kind and live purposely.

Bowtie and the Bandit


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