We are living in a material world, and I am a material girl
March 13, 2013 12:31 PM   Subscribe

I need help with finding a few things: 1)Some wood that would work well as a book cover 2)A large sheet or roll of what I believe is called chipboard. 3)A continuous/piano hinge, 12 inches, that is not stainless steel or bright brass

Ideally, all of these things should be able to be purchased online.
For the first item, I just need advice on what type of wood, and where to get it. Home depot seems to only have particle board in the thickness (I think) I need. I'm making a portfolio book much like this or this and just don't know enough about wood to make a smart purchase. I can stain it myself, so natural is fine. I also have access to power tools, so I don't need it to dimension. Would something like this work? In a singly ply, which is 3 mm. Would it be too bendy?

For the second, I'm just having trouble all over the place. Here's some pictures of the kind of material I'm after. I've seen this stuff all over the place. I've bough products packaged in it. But I can't, for my life, find where to buy it. Some people call it chipboard, carton board, paperboard, it has a million names and I can't figure out what exactly will give me what I need. But, here's the kicker:I need a large sheet (at least 25" on one side), and I don't need that many sheets. I'd settle for a roll. I've been able to find small (8.5x11) sheets, and large sheets that come in 50 lb orders that you have to contact a sales rep at some warehouse to get. I do not want that.

Third is least important. Ive been able to fin 12" hinges, but they're ugly. I just need your help finding pretty ones in my size.
posted by FirstMateKate to Grab Bag (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Oh, I meant to tag on this question to the last part:Is there a way to stain aluminum myself?
posted by FirstMateKate at 12:32 PM on March 13, 2013

The birch plywood you linked to looks ok, as long as it's of a sufficiently fine grade - difficult to tell without seeing it for real. It won't be all that bendy, because the grain of each ply is at 90 degrees to the next. To get the very best finish, you might consider gluing a thin hardwood veneer onto the surface - it's not too difficult if you do some research beforehand.

There are lots of good, durable paints that work well on metals, even on hinges. Or, if you can get an alumin(i)um piano hinge, you could have a go at anodizing it...
posted by pipeski at 12:56 PM on March 13, 2013

3mm is an eighth of an inch. I think that's plenty for a book cover. You can experience a quarter of an inch by going to any big box home improvement store and seeing what a sheet of luan floor underlayment feels like. Some stores may even carry "door skin", which will be a 1/8" thick.

The Baltic Birch is likely to be a much better grade of plywood than either of those, but that's a way to get a feel for it before you spring for the order.

On pipeski's suggestion, the easiest way I've found to apply veneer is to spread a thin layer of Titebond I or II (not III!) wood glue, a hacksaw blade makes a great weay to get an even layer, on both surfaces. Let it dry one hour (and definitely no more than 12 hours, but really between 1-2 hours is optimal), and then iron the veneer on to the surface. You can also get iron-on adhesives from Rockler or Woodcraft or whatever, but that's been the best way to apply veneers without a vacuum press I've found so far.

I don't have a good answer on the chipboard, but I do know that my first job out of high school (mumbledy-mumble years ago) was in a print shop, I'd find a high end print shop and ask where they get their paper products and go sweet-talk a salesweasel there, see what they've got in large samples. Which is basically what you found, so what I'm saying is: Talk to a sales rep. See what they'll do. See if they've got a customer who has tail ends. The other thing is that most trade sales folks seem to get all excited when I go in and say "I want to do this weird unexpected thing with your product!". Use that excitement to your advantage.

On the continuous hinge/piano hinges: You can cut 'em. you'll have an exposed end that won't be plated, but Rockler has a whole bunch of 'em in different finishes, although the reviews on a few of the lower rated ones complain about the finish flaking when they were cut, so move cautiously.

On coloring aluminum: Can you find a local powder coating shop? They're not uncommon, seems like any city over a hundred thousand people has one or two of 'em. Barring that, Harbor Freight has a $60 powder coating tool, which probably means that there's a better version for twice as much that'll last 10x as long.
posted by straw at 1:02 PM on March 13, 2013

I've been able to get chipboard sheets of fairly large size and various thicknesses at pretty much any art supply store. Generally, sheets sell at 30"x40", but I've seen them sold as 24"x36" as well. Thickness will depend on how many plys of material are included - I don't know if it's official, but I've referred to single ply (what most packages seem to be made of) as 1/32", two-ply as 1/16", and then there's 1/8", which is holy hell to try to cut and you probably don't want to deal with it. I've never seen it in roll form - once it bends, it stays bent.

I've seen hobby stores sell really thin birch plywood, like 1/32 or 1/16, but it's a rarer item than chipboard. We used to use it for architectural models so it's generally pretty stable, but if you're using it for a larger piece you may want to go thicker.

Hobby or art stores may also sell bottles of stuff you can use to give various metals a sort of "patina" (I think that's usually included in the product name).
posted by LionIndex at 1:07 PM on March 13, 2013

Alternatively for chipboard: you can check with a print shop that does large-format printing (NOT KINKOS/FEDEX OFFICE) to see if they have any - print media that comes in sheet form, like vellum or mylar will typically come in a plastic bag with a layer of 1/32 chip on either outer side to protect the media.
posted by LionIndex at 1:10 PM on March 13, 2013

It looks like this place sells individual 28x44" or 22x28" sheets of chipboard, with only a 10-sheet minimum.
posted by rebekah at 1:11 PM on March 13, 2013

If you find a 24" hinge you like, and you're making a 24-25" wide book (which I realize you may not be doing), could you hinge the top instead of the side? I realize this might be unwieldy and not an option, just putting it out there.
posted by amtho at 1:21 PM on March 13, 2013

Another term for chipboard is book board. How's 26" x 19"?
posted by advicepig at 1:33 PM on March 13, 2013

3.) The last time I needed some hardware not found in my local ACE, I got it online at McMaster-Carr. They have primed piano hinges that can then be painted (they also have some other finishes and types of hinges). Also, if you email them, they're pretty knowledgeable (like if you want to know what kind of paint you need for the hinge).
posted by bluefly at 1:49 PM on March 13, 2013

Oops, both of my links seem to go to the same page -- if you click on "Primed" in the left sidebar, that's the page I was trying to paste here.
posted by bluefly at 1:55 PM on March 13, 2013

You may know this already, but I'd like to point out that the hinges in your second example are riveted on to the cover. This is what you'll probably want to do. Screws will pull out of wood that thin. You'll need to get a rivet gun, which pulls rivets tight and mashes one end so it stays together. A hand-operated rivet gun is $10-15.
posted by echo target at 1:58 PM on March 13, 2013

I think the fasteners in the second example are actually Chicago screws. Unlike pop rivets, both sides look sharp and they can easily be taken apart . They come in preset lengths, so figure out your wood thickness and hinges first. A well-stocked hardware store should carry them, although often by other names.

Many woods don't take stain well. I'd much rather see birch ply left it's natural color than an ugly stain job like your second example (which is fir, but stained birch can still look pretty splotchy.) Plywood bamboo, like your first example, comes in various colors and is pretty dang strong, but harder to find, especially if you don't want a full 4' x 8' sheet.

Lumber stores that cater to woodworkers will have plywood where the final veneer is a fancier wood. However, you will have exposed edges which might have flaws and be prone to splintering and chipping--Home Depot sells oak veneer ply but it's quite fragile at the edges.
posted by hydrophonic at 4:20 PM on March 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

I think the fasteners in the second example are actually Chicago screws. Unlike pop rivets, both sides look sharp and they can easily be taken apart . They come in preset lengths, so figure out your wood thickness and hinges first. A well-stocked hardware store should carry them, although often by other names.

You might also be able to get these from large-format reprographics shops, although they're normally used on things that are more than an inch thick, so that might be your minimum length if you try that route.
posted by LionIndex at 4:43 PM on March 13, 2013

Thanks for the answers, everybody!

Here's the result:
1)There's woodcraft store not too far from my house. I'm going to go there and see first hand about the birch plywood I linked to, if they have it.
2)I found this here. Neenah Paper has their environment series that's recycled, non dyed, etc. and the "desert storm" color is close to the finish that I want. It comes in a crap ton of different weights, and looks perfect. I can order it by the sheet, with a size up to 26x40, which will actually give me 2 items per sheet. Woohoo!
3)I'm going to try LionIndex's suggestion of buying bottles of patina, and if that fails I'll go with the suggestions of painting it.

As for the screws, I know that normal screws won't work. hydrophonic suggested the method I already had in mind, though in book making terms I hear them referred to as "screw post" books.

posted by FirstMateKate at 12:10 PM on March 15, 2013

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