First of all, it's useful to know how wide your regular metal ruler is, and to use a cutting mat that has grid lines printed on it. You can use the width of the ruler as well as its length as a measuring tool, and the paper or stock you are cutting can be placed square on the grid on the cutting mat to ensure a straight cut.
A trick I learned recently was to install a jig onto the cutting mat that can be used to jog up paper and hold it true and straight while cutting or folding. Such a jig can be made easily with a piece of thick, stiff board (here, a strip of Davey book cover board), attached with strips of double-backed tape.
|Peel and stick.|
|Once in place, the jig can be used to line up the edges of folded end sheets or signatures, to fold a sheet exactly in half.|
|Key stock in various widths.|
|Using a 3/4" strip of key stock against the jig to cut a 3/4" wide bristol board inlay.|
A square with a weighted, stable edge can be used to jog up text blocks evenly (for loose leaves, before adhesive binding; or for signatures, after sewing and before rounding and backing). It's also a useful tool for making sure the walls of a box are perpendicular to one another.
|A couple of ways to use an upright square to even up a group of loose sheets before trimming and tipping in.|
If you create a lot of custom enclosures for books, you may wish to invest in a "MeasurepHase" tool -- a tabletop book-measuring device that takes ambiguity out of measuring a book's three dimensions. Garry Harrison of Indiana University Libraries describes the use of the MeasurepHase here.
Quick and easy! Thanks for checking out this month's Fix-It Friday. Your comments, questions and suggestions are welcome! Next month's post will appear on Friday, May 11.
Portland State University Library
Andrew Huot, Conservator and Preservation Specialist, Illinois State University Library
Garry Harrison, Head of Circulating Collections Conservation, Indiana University Libraries Preservation Department, and the E. Lingle Craig Preservation Laboratory Repair and Enclosure Treatment Manual.
The Focus on Book Arts Conference, Forest Grove, Oregon
Talas Conservation, Bookbinding, and Restoration Supplies