Captain's Table

Mark Austen

2019.05.14 - A5 Wrap Journal - Proof of Concept (Yet more photos added)

Yesterday evening I made an A5 wrap journal. I want to make one in A4 but we don't have enough suitable leather to do that and making a smaller one would ensure that I knew how to do it. I try to keep A5 pieces of paper on my desk, usually a wad of A4 folded in half, but I'm forever losing the piece I was just using, so a journal for the desk would be useful.

I'm not going to describe how I did it, there are plenty of tutorials on the Interweb that demonstrate this from simple to very complex, so I'll just show you the almost completed item. I say 'almost' as I need to get some thin elastic cord to replace the waxed cotton thread I used to secure the signatures into the journal.

A signature, by the way and in case you didn't already know, is a number of pieces of paper folded in half and slotted one inside the other. You make a number of these and then bind them into the covers to make a book. A number of signatures put together is called a text block.

This is the almost-finished article.

With a couple of embellishments made from doubled and twisted waxed cotton thread.

Inside are 5 signatures each consisting of 20 A4 sheets folded in half.

Each signature is currently held in place by a length of waxed thread which will be replaced by elastic cord once I get it. This will allow a signature to be removed and replaced easily. I have yet to make two holes in every piece of paper through the fold that divides the length of the fold into three. I'll used these holes to tack the signature pages to the retaining cord with cotton thread otherwise the individual pages tend to slip out.

I'll get more photos when that is done and add them here.

It works well and I'm already using it. The longest part of the construction was folding up 100 sheets of A4 paper!

[Edit] New Photos:

All the pages separated out into individual parts and stacked together.

Carefully lined up and clamped between two small piece of wood.

Two pencil lines are now drawn where I want the holes to be.

The entire thing is gently clamped in the WorkMate...

...and two shallow cuts made where the lines were drawn with a hacksaw.

Now each piece of folded paper has two holes in the centre like this.

Reassemble into five signatures and put back into the journal (you can just see the new holes in the signature).

All done for now.


I noticed today that one of the cats, Bubble, has spent a lot of her sleeping time cuddled up to my new journal.

It does make it a bit difficult to use and she gets quite annoyed every time I have to move her to use it.

Another photo of the same thing but with a flash. I wonder what it is about the journal that makes her do this?

Never mind, I have the Bubble Seal of Approval for a nice cat pillow.

[Edit 2]: More photos added:

I quickly made an A5 book press this afternoon.

The folded papers can be easily put into the press and lines up. Then the whole thing is clamped up tight.

You can see the saw cuts I made last time nearly all lined up.

I added some more. Much easier this time.

You can also put the papers in the other way up, like this and then the clamping pressure makes the folds crisp and sharp.

The extra holes allow me to stitch the signature together.

Ensuring that the pages no longer try to slip out when the journal is in use.

Nearly there.

And the final touch, a bookmark.

Done and not too shabby at that.

Now to put everything I've learnt into making an A4 sized wrap journal.

But not today.