Rope-Wrapped Handles for a Lying Press

Looks like someone has a lot spare time and that someone is me. Yesterday I’ve spent an hour and a half wrapping handles of my newly made lying press with a rope. I know, I know, usually you can see something like wooden handles. But I don’t have a lathe in my workshop (yet). I had some old handles made with bare steel nuts and I thought: why don’t give that idea a chance?

But, first things first. I finally made myself a proper lying press. I mean the press that can be tightened with handles. Not with wing nuts or the ordinary steel nuts and pliers. For many years I’ve been using presses that needed some additional tools to be tightened both at my workshop and bookbinding classes I teach. I even sold them several times.

Frankly, I was absolutely comfortable with that process. However, lately I’ve decided to try something new (ok, that’s an old technology). The one thing I planned to keep the same was using metal screws instead of wooden rods. Some bookbinders use presses with wooden rods, but I’m not sure I’m ready for that endeavor — to craft them, I mean. I also suppose steel screws to be better. They wouldn’t chip and you can apply even more pressure if needed.

Luckily, I had some plyboard and decided to use it for my project. Six planks of 2 cm plyboard, to be precise. That gave me a chance to fix the screws in one of the boards prior to gluing the boards together. I just had to insert steel nuts in a mortise and cover the middle board with two boards — one at each side.

In the end I was a bit surprised how well everything fit and how nice the press is working. Next time I’m making a finishing press — I still have to figure out how to make that bevel on a 3” board!

If you have any good ideas how to fix the steel screw better or how to make that nice bevel on a finishing press board — I’d be really grateful to see your comments below. For smaller presses I just use my router. But that’s not an option with a thicker board. I have an idea and I plan to make a special jig next week. However, I’m still not sure it would work =)

Oh, and I love these rope-wrapped handles! =)


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