A Simple Clamp For Making Pocket Notebooks

The clamp shown on this page is simpler to make than the one shown in the page on making Pocket Notebooks. The other clamp was made as a press for binding sewn hardcover books and can exert much more clamping force than is required for making pocket notebooks.

Figure 1 shows the parts needed to make the clamp:

  • two boards, 3.5″ by 0.5″ by 14.5″
  • two 1/4-20 carriage bolts 4″ or 6″ long, threaded their full length
  • two 1/4-20 wingnuts
  • two 1/4″ fender washers

These materials should be readily available at your local builders supply The dimensions of the boards are not critical. The length is determined by the size of the books one will be clamping. The length specified is long enough to clamp standard 8.5 by 11 inch printer paper so that the printer output can clamped for binding. 3.5 inches is wide enough to be convenient and is narrow enough that the cost is reasonable. Half an inch thick is sturdy enough for the clamping required and thin enough so that the razor knife can cut all the way through a 100 page composition book from one side using the edge of the board as a guide for the multiple cuts needed to neatly trim it to size.


Figure 1

The holes in the boards for the carriage bolts are visible in the pictures. Drill a 1/4″ hole through one end of the two boards with the boards lined up with each other so that they will be even when the clamp is used. Use one of the carriage bolts to keep the two holes lined up while drilling the holes in the other end of the two boards. The holes should be perpendicular to the boards so the the edges remain even as the clamp is opened and closed. Enlarge the holes in the board that will move to open the clamp so that it will slide freely. Drilling the holes out to 5/16″ will allow the board to slide freely on the 1/4″ bolts.

Figure 2 shows the carriage bolts in one of the boards. Slide the second board onto the bolts, then put the fender washers and the wingnuts on. Tighten the wingnuts to pull the square under the heads of the carriage bolts into the wood, which will keep the bolts from turning when you tighten the clamp on a notebook.


Figure 2

Figure 3 shows a composition book in the clamp with the amount to be cut off protruding.

Figure 3

Figure 4 shows the cut down composition book in the clamp.


Figure 4

Figure 5 shows the trimmed book after it’s out of the clamp, ready to go back into the clamp to be split into two pocket size notebooks.

Figure 5