Bookbinding Stitching Cradle

I originally wanted a GF to help with bookbinding, primarily in cutting book board. Not only have I not figured out the right settings for that, I’ve done almost no bookbinding at all! But last week while at a class I realized that I wanted a stitching cradle for some projects I’m partway through… and she had a laser-cut cradle. Duh. ** The purpose of the cradle is to hold signatures in place for punching holes for stitching.

I attempted to do this in Fusion 360 and didn’t have the skills (yet) or patience to pull it off, so I just did it in AD. By some miracle, it all fit together on the first try. I used 3mm Baltic Birch and it’s a snug fit once assembled. It should come apart for flat storage, but it’s meant to be fairly sturdy. I do think it would be better in 6mm, but that’s a project for another day. Maybe with some decorative elements added…

** I would suggest that, once assembled, you glue a piece of bookcloth (or other sturdy fabric) over the gap at the bottom. This has the dual purpose of stabilizing the boards when punching and keeping smaller signatures from slipping through the crack.

As specified in the About section, this is for non-commercial use only.

This zip has the PDF (for easy cutting), the AD, and the SVG files. The SVG export from AD wasn’t working well for me, so double check before cutting: File removed. Please send a PM for file if you agree to use it for personal use only. (29.8 KB)


is “signatures” a fancy book-binders term for "pieces of paper "?


Oh very cool! (I need enough for a lot of books!) :grinning:

A signature is a set of papers. pics


Ahh… I’m almost there… so in this pic, are we looking at one signature, or eleven signatures?


that is 11 signatures.


yay, I learned something! thanks


to make things more interesting (maybe confusing), each signature is originally one very large sheet of paper. that sheet is folded down and trimmed on 3 sides to become a signature. usually a 16 page or a 32 page signature (based on the book you’re doing, page count, and the parent sheet size). larger signatures are possible, generally based off of a multiple of 16.

So if you have a 480 page book, you would have 15 signatures at 32pg each.

your parent sheet would look like these two sides:

Those would be folded down to the size of a single sheet and trimmed. and from there, there are a number of different ways to stitch and glue signatures together and then cover (or not cover) those bound signatures.


Are you making lots of books?




Thanks for sharing. I love learning about such a wide variety of things here that I never would have heard about otherwise.


Thanks for the design! Now, I’d like to see an action shot. :wink:


Thank you for sharing.

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I’ll see what I can do!


Bookbinding is one of those things I really want to get into and am hoping GF can help me on (when I have time). What other tools have you been considering making with the GF?

I want to use the GF for cutting book board and leather covers. I just cut out some wood covers, but I haven’t had a chance to bind them yet.

I’m also thinking acrylic templates for cutting cover paper. Some of y cover paper could be cut in the GF, but some of it I fear would immediately burst into flames!

Dear Christy, if you would be so kind, please send me a copy of your file for the bookbinding stitching cradle. It would be much appreciated. thanks, Georgia


Please send a PM for file if you agree to use it for personal use only. (29.8 KB)

You will need to send her a private message. Click on her name and you will see where you need to click to send one to her.


Sure thing, Georgia!

Thanks, @Xabbess


@ChristyM, I also like to to make tools to solve problems, but have you considered placing the signatures in the :glowforge: and printing a line of dots (or miniature circles) instead of having to punch them with an awl in the cradle?
Some testing would be necessary to calibrate the power needed depending on the number of pages. I have seen passports that have the serial number punched with a laser through all the pages.
Just food for thought.