Strip the Existing Cover

Before you can begin rebinding the book, you’ll first need to remove the existing cover and glued spine. I found that MAKE‘s cover pulled away cleanly by simply applying gentle but heavy pressure where the cover meets the spine.


Use a utility knife and a heavy ruler (a carpenter’s square is ideal) to cut about 1/8″ from the spine (or as far in as it takes to clear the thickness of the glue).


Not counting the two pages of advertising on a single leaf, which you’ll probably feel comfortable excluding from the book (sorry, ofoto), you now have 192 loose pages (96 leaves).

It’s not a coincidence that this number divides evenly into six groups of 32 pages each (not counting the ad, which was likely printed separately from the rest of the pages and added to the process just before the pages were glued). Because of the way books and magazines are produced (many pages are printed on large sheets, which are then folded and cut as a group), it’s more cost efficient to keep the page count to a number that is divisible by a standard number of pages for a pass on the printer. Even if the magazine ends up being perfect bound, the publisher doesn’t want to waste any pages for a pass the printer’s already making any more than they want it to make an additional pass for an extra page.

When each group of pages leaves the press, it’s then folded and cut to form a signature: a collection of pages that looks just like a saddle-stitched magazine and acts as a basic building block for a longer book.


  1. Introduction
  2. Strip the Existing Cover
  3. Create Signatures
  4. Prepare Signatures for Stitching
  5. Stitch the Signatures
  6. Glue the Spine
  7. Build Cover Boards
  8. Attach the Cover Boards
  9. Cover the Cover
  10. Finish Up