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Andrew Roach @ajroach42

I used to publish books.

I mean, I guess I still publish books. But now it’s through lulu, etc.

I used to hand bind books. I’ve made a number of paperbacks and a few hardbacks.

It’s fun!

It’s hard work!

What is your favorite method of diy bookbinding?

At home book printing?

@alice never done that. Does it work well? How do you affix the covers? What do you make them from?

@ajroach42 technically not bookbinding, i suppose: making zines with a long reach stapler

@ajroach42 that's how i used to make poetry chapbooks for shows: go make a bunch of double sided copies, staple them together by hand

@shoutcacophony we used a brother laser printer with refillable toner cartridges, but the end result was essentially the same.

@ajroach42 *nods* i eventually did the same on my hp that i've had for 10 years. not being locked into a "you play for the blades, not the razor" dynamic helps

@ajroach42 or longer, lol. that thing has lasted longer than some computers i've had

@shoutcacophony half page zines with a long reach is one of my favorite techniques too. Certainly the easiest to manage in terms of layout and design, and you don’t even have to trim them unless you get up over 40 pages or so.

@kensanata do you do covers? Do you trim the edges to keep everything even?

@ajroach42 And I do try to trim the edges, but I usually don't spend much effort on it. Trimming remains one of my unsolved problems because I lack the equipment and have been too lazy to remedy it.

@kensanata we had decent luck with a heavy duty scrapbooking trimmer, but only for zines. Did not work well for actual books.

A jigsaw did, but that seems silly, and left the edges rough.

I need an industrial paper cutter.

@ajroach42 Yeah. I'm trying to stay within the 64 page limit so a scrapbook trimmer should work.
Ever since I bought a Penguin Classic with untrimmed (or faux untrimmed?) margins, I feel that maybe trimming is overrated?

@kensanata what kind of stock do you use for thencoversn? Same as the copy or something thicker?

@ajroach42 I just use ordinary paper because these booklets are for use at the table and I like them to just lie there flat on their back, as small as possible. They don't need protection because they're not intended to last long: I keep updating the rules and will need to make new prints before a year has passed. Paper covers are good enough for that.

@ajroach42 i handbind all my sketchbooks and notebooks with paper torn out of previous unfinished books (which i often scavenge from art studio cleanup days)! usually kettle stitching for signatures, gluing old t shirts to cardstock for covers.

for zines, i do 5-hole pamphlet stitching usually; it's a lot more tedious than stapling but i like the look of it!

also i made this book a few years ago, still super proud of it

@ajroach42 since I'm at my house now! a few more samples; two pocket-sized daily journal/planner/whatever books with hardcover binding made from t-shirts and cardstock, a sketchbook with a paper bag cover, another sketchbook with a catalogue cover showing the five-hole pamphlet stitch. pretty much all reclaimed/scavenged materials, bound in hand without any special equipment. bookbinding doesn't have to be super fancy or stuff-heavy :)

@ajroach42 I've hand-bound small notebooks for anniversary and Christmas books for my wife, but nothing else. One of my bucket list items is to hand-bind a leather version of my novels when I get more successful.

@dmoonfire I recommended your work to a friend over the holiday. I think they will greatly enjoy based on what I’ve read so far.

Have any of you bookbinders done perfect (glue) binding?

It was way too much work, but it was the cheapest, best looking option I ever found for diy paperbacks.

@ajroach42 We have perfect bound books, but we went through a local print shop to get them made.

@ThatTupperKid Atlanta/GA local?

If you don't mind my asking, who did you use? I'd love to be able to go through a local house rather than dealing with Amazon.

@ajroach42 Yup! They're up in Roswell. Used to be called Colorwise, now they're Advanced Print & Finishing. They have an online quote site at

@ajroach42 no but I'd like to learn. I've only tried sewn bindings

@ajroach42 Stapler on 4.25 x 5.5 booklets. Any recommendations for a paper trimmer?

@zuz we were using an antique scrapbook style trimmer with a heavy wooden base and a cast iron arm.

As long as we remembered to Sharon’s the blade, we could cut about 16 sheets (64 pages) at a time.

When I was perfect binding books, I trimmed the edge with a tablesaw, or a rotary tool, or I had Office Depot trim the print block when I was done (cost about $1/cut) depending on the final destination of the book.