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I’ve been looking for a solid metal press for a while now. Big standing presses are massive beasts and I had neither the budget nor the spare space for one. My lying press does the job but it is often occupied by other bookbinding tasks. I’ve been using a small wooden press I made 8 years ago as a nipping press but she’s past her glory and has been asking -through various squeaking sounds- for a semi-retirement for some time now.

Dimitri's Bookbinding corner - Modified and restored nipping press I found this used old press at a fair price and decided to make an addition to the bindery. It is somewhat larger, space-wise, than your average nipping press but boy – talk about beefy for its size! There’s a “1880” engraved on it (along with the number 7 on the handle. Anyone able to enlighten me on that – perhaps a model/size indicator by the maker?), which shows this fellow carries some history on his back. Furthermore the previous owner had made a modification to enlarge the pressing area by attaching 2 wide metal plates.

My problem with it was its opening span, which was less than 8cm (3.1 inches) – simply too small for pressing several books simultaneously. Owning several presses is currently not an option and having to press books in turns is impractical. I had the idea of upgrading the press by adding my own modification; 2 industrial-grade steel cylinders that increase press height.

Now the press is tailor made for my needs; it can accommodate 5-6 regular sized books, exert tremendous force and still be -by general standards- a “small” press.

Dimitri's Bookbinding corner - Increasing press heightThis upgrade should be possible with most nipping presses and can save you a lot of money and space if you need a stronger press or one that fits more books. All you need is a visit to a local machinist!

I took the press for a sandblast and painting before putting it together, turned out great.
Till next time!