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Old 09-21-2008, 04:03 PM   #1
acidzebra
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DIY Hollow Book Case

So this weekend I bought a dummy book for 3.50€, a pot of white glue and an x-acto clone knife for next to nothing, and sat down to create my hollow book.



Grabbed a HOWTO from the net, and set off. First up was mixing the white glue with water, then liberally applying it to all the sides. Then I put it in a vise and let it dry.



The vise method was quickly abandoned to the advanced "stick it under a heavy table leg" method.



Once it dried it was knife time. With a ruler and a knife and waaay to much patience I hollowed out the book.



A perfect fit!



Then I repeated the procedure for the other side. Another coat of glue was applied to the inside edges to make them more 'solid', then paper was glued over them to make it neater, and then it was vise time again.

When it came out it looked like this:



For the moment I've stuck a CD cover in the other hollow area, it fits snugly and holds memory cards + cable but I am still looking for a better method for stashing a couple of memory cards, a USB cable and possibly a reading light.

I'm also still looking for either magnets or velcro to secure/affix the reader to the book, and perhaps some slim padding material.

It was a fun weekend project, it looks great, and the "tactile book-lover crowd" should be pleased: it looks like a book, it smells like a book, it handles like a book, except you can store a small library in it. It is also sturdy - it should offer excellent protection once the padding and velcro/magnets are in place.

I took a dummy book because I couldn't bear demolishing a "real" book, but I have spotted some water- and otherwise damaged books that might make for good conversion targets. I might do it again next weekend to make a 'slimline' case - I have a beautiful but sadly damaged copy of Psyche by Louis Couperus with awesome artwork on the cover:


That is, I have it somewhere. In 10 identical boxes with books.

Last edited by acidzebra; 09-21-2008 at 04:12 PM.
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Old 09-21-2008, 04:11 PM   #2
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looks great !!! any plans to go into the hollow book-making business ?
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Old 09-21-2008, 04:14 PM   #3
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looks great !!! any plans to go into the hollow book-making business ?
Only if I can outsource it - because it was suspiciously like doing actual work
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Old 09-21-2008, 04:17 PM   #4
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Only if I can outsource it - because it was suspiciously like doing actual work
heh... which is why you could probably go into business doing it...

that copy of psyché is beautiful.
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Old 09-21-2008, 05:17 PM   #5
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heh... which is why you could probably go into business doing it...

that copy of psyché is beautiful.
I just remembered, while googling for examples and methods I came across this outfit who have made a business out of it.
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Old 09-21-2008, 05:33 PM   #6
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I wonder why that company has all their books hollowed out with one end curved?? I rather like your method better.

As for magnets, if you decide to go that route, the best company I can think of is emovendo. They make a number of really good and thin magnets that you could stick on your book. Then, you would just need to glue a sheet of metal flashing to the back of your book. (I mean the back part of the cut out pbook.)

Although, velcro would work as well, I suppose.

Has it already been determined that magnets don't do anything to harm the data or screen??

And ... well done project by the way. If you do it with the Psyche covered book, you will really have a piece of art on your hands.

Just occurred to me ... here's a thought about the cable storage side. What if you put together a clear plastic box with a finger hole in the bottom, and then upended it so that it sat over the cables and such ... sort of tucked into that side of the book. Then, if you wanted to get to the stuff, you'd just stick your finger in the hole and pull the box out exposing the cables, memory and the like.

I may not be making myself real clear about that .... but do you see what I mean??
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Old 09-21-2008, 05:35 PM   #7
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Nice job!

I just wonder about the hollowing out process. Would it be easier if just the pages were glued into a block, without sticking them to the cover?
Then you could use a jigsaw to cut the rectangular hole, smooth the edges with emery paper, then stick the block of hollowed pages to the cover.
It seems like it might be less work than cutting through the pages with a knife.
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Old 09-21-2008, 05:40 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickyMaveety View Post
Has it already been determined that magnets don't do anything to harm the data or screen <...>
I may not be making myself real clear about that .... but do you see what I mean??
Well, the original Sony cover has four small magnets sewn into it at the corner edges. Of course, they are extremely weak. I more or less have decided on Velcro anyway, but I might use two small magnets to help keep the book closed.

Yeah, I see what you mean, and that is definitely one solution. I'm still tossing the idea around, right now I favor something like cable clips to wind/grab the cable and an SD/memstick holder much like this where you just sort of jam them in:

(not the prettiest version I've seen or the flattest, but one of the first that showed up in a google search)

Quote:
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Nice job!

I just wonder about the hollowing out process. Would it be easier if just the pages were glued into a block, without sticking them to the cover? Then you could use a jigsaw to cut the rectangular hole, smooth the edges with emery paper, then stick the block of hollowed pages to the cover. It seems like it might be less work than cutting through the pages with a knife.
That might work too - I wonder how the inner paper (which is not glued together at that point) would how up under sawing action, and how rough and straight the edges would be (not that I didn't screw up with the knife at least 4 times). Soaking the edges with a 50/50 water/glue solution is relatively easy and the knife work (at least for this size book) is not a big chore - 10-20 minutes per block, and I was taking it easy watching some TV in the background. But a really new/sharp knife is important. Old boxcutters won't, um, cut it.

Last edited by acidzebra; 09-21-2008 at 05:57 PM. Reason: Needed to think before posting, really.
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Old 09-21-2008, 07:16 PM   #9
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Nicely done. Maybe that would help with people bugging me with questions on the plane.

Smart Bitches, Trashy Books did a post the other day on books that are sold for decorative purposes, as opposed to contents - it might be a good source for pretty books like the Psyche you showed.
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Old 09-21-2008, 07:23 PM   #10
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Check the craft sites, like HGTV. Gluing the pages and cutting out a center is well known by crafters.
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Old 09-21-2008, 07:35 PM   #11
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Quote:
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Well, the original Sony cover has four small magnets sewn into it at the corner edges. Of course, they are extremely weak. I more or less have decided on Velcro anyway, but I might use two small magnets to help keep the book closed.

Yeah, I see what you mean, and that is definitely one solution. I'm still tossing the idea around, right now I favor something like cable clips to wind/grab the cable and an SD/memstick holder much like this where you just sort of jam them in:

(not the prettiest version I've seen or the flattest, but one of the first that showed up in a google search)



That might work too - I wonder how the inner paper (which is not glued together at that point) would how up under sawing action, and how rough and straight the edges would be (not that I didn't screw up with the knife at least 4 times). Soaking the edges with a 50/50 water/glue solution is relatively easy and the knife work (at least for this size book) is not a big chore - 10-20 minutes per block, and I was taking it easy watching some TV in the background. But a really new/sharp knife is important. Old boxcutters won't, um, cut it.
Oh yes, I see what you mean. Actually, that would be pretty easy to make with just a block of foam from the craft store. Just cut your own slots to suit your needs. And, that certainly would keep them from clunking around. At least with the make your own, you don't need to worry about finding one that fits all of your stuff AND fits the dimensions of your book cut out.

I'm tempted to make something like that for my Kindle, but I might try faking the pages by texturing some wood and then painting it and gilding it. Then again ... I might try your method.

I'm still a little curious if there is any information on how strong magnets can be without hurting the memory. I was thinking of those magnetic strips that are sticky on one side, magnetic on the other. Those aren't all that strong.

I still really recommend Emovendo if you do decide to use magnets. If only because you can purchase them in pretty much any thickness you want and both square and disk.
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Old 09-21-2008, 08:44 PM   #12
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Maybe it is just mine but the magnets are in the reader, not the case. A paper clip sticks to the reader in the corners, not my case. They are still very very weak.
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Old 09-21-2008, 09:05 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickyMaveety View Post
I wonder why that company has all their books hollowed out with one end curved?? I rather like your method better.
...
Perhaps a certain element of function posing as style (or, for the cynical, style posing as function) is in play. The curve at the top forms an arch which is more supportive when such a book is placed on a book shelf, the theory being that a square cut at the top (especially one too close) may cause the top to "slump" a little when sitting on the bookshelf for a while, thus perhaps revealing its secret.

I'm not saying that this actually is the case. I'm just hypothesising in response to your wonder.

I also think the arch looks neat, sort-of like a trompe-l'œil; a window into another place, which might be a metaphor applicable to the book, which might make the arch a metaphor of a metaphor (with a pinch of irony in that the actual "window" of the book's contents has been removed).

...or maybe this is just a slow Monday morning, and I'm writing any old crap that dribbles through my brain. Maybe I'll just wander over there and talk to myself for a while, until this fugue passes.

Nice work, acidzebra.

Cheers,
Marc (I'll get my coat)
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Old 09-21-2008, 10:04 PM   #14
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Quote:
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Perhaps a certain element of function posing as style (or, for the cynical, style posing as function) is in play. The curve at the top forms an arch which is more supportive when such a book is placed on a book shelf, the theory being that a square cut at the top (especially one too close) may cause the top to "slump" a little when sitting on the bookshelf for a while, thus perhaps revealing its secret.

I'm not saying that this actually is the case. I'm just hypothesising in response to your wonder.

I also think the arch looks neat, sort-of like a trompe-l'œil; a window into another place, which might be a metaphor applicable to the book, which might make the arch a metaphor of a metaphor (with a pinch of irony in that the actual "window" of the book's contents has been removed).

...or maybe this is just a slow Monday morning, and I'm writing any old crap that dribbles through my brain. Maybe I'll just wander over there and talk to myself for a while, until this fugue passes.

Nice work, acidzebra.

Cheers,
Marc (I'll get my coat)
Oh, yes .... I can see that the arch would be stronger if the book were to be placed upright on a shelf. I guess it just wouldn't be quite as functional for holding anything rectangular and roughly the size of the book.

However, the inside of those hide-a-books are very pretty. I'm still debating about making one out of 1/4 inch plywood and doing a little fun with textures to mimic pages. Or, maybe scoring the wood a bit with my Dremel.

Eh ... it will go on the projects list after all the other stuff I need to get done.
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Old 09-21-2008, 10:14 PM   #15
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I've seen some really beautiful handmade journals that would make spectacular liseuse covers. I'm a crafty chick, so maybe I'll try my hand at making a couple.
There is the problem of what to do with the cutout portions. I hate waste. Perhaps I could use them to make a bunch of hand-bound mini-journals as gifts, or something like that....

I have also made a number of padded fabric-covered boxes over the years, and it would be pretty simple to make one for my iLiad. If I use sheets of acrylic for the box, rather than cardboard, I would think it would provide considerable protection, as well.
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