One of my pet peeves is that nowadays hardware and software manufacturers don’t provide paper manuals with their products. I’m the sort of person who likes to flip through the pages to find what I need to know, not load up some .pdf file and scroll through it. A while back I found a web site about binding your own books. Then, when I got the new printer, I realized I could easily take those inconvenient pdfs and turn them into real manuals.
I made a clamp similar to the one described in the web site, though I used some scraps of aluminum angle that I had lying around rather than wood. So far I’ve bound three different manuals with varying degrees of success.
I didn’t have paper the proper weight and size for a regular cover so I just used a strip of gaffer’s tape to cover the spine.
I’ve had a few problems but all the manuals are serviceable. First, it’s important to spread the glue evenly, otherwise it leaves bumps and irregularities on the spine. It’s possible to smooth this after the glue drys but it’s an extra step.
The second problem is having the glue soak in too far near the ends of the spine. This can be dealt with by not applying glue to that last 1/8 inch or so.
My third problem comes from the need to dampen the spine before applying the Gorilla Glue. For some types of paper this causes the spine to develop a wavy distortion. I haven’t found a cure for this yet but I think it may just require care in how much water I use.
All-in-all this has been a fun project an I’m please to have manuals I can thumb through in the fashion I’m used to. An added benefit is that when a manual gets worn, torn or tattered, I can just make a new one.