Big Jump Press

Tool Magnet

You know what I like to do when I should be replying to emails and sending invoices? Obsessively photograph all of my tools. I’ve added some doozies to my collection since the last time I posted, so I thought I would introduce you to them.

IMG_9490What does Itokiri mean? It means one hot pair of Japanese scissors. Do I use them every day? No. Do I feel like a delicious snob when I do use them? Yes. Oh, yes.


IMG_9494Hey look! A bone folder I (clumsily) made last summer in my dad’s basement after finding a box of debris from a 2006 Jim Croft workshop.


IMG_9530You know who doesn’t make clumsy things? Shanna Leino. I am now the proud owner and daily user of one of her double-ended steel awls. That lady. She sure knows what she is doing.


IMG_9498This mystery press, found at a junk shop in Lewes for £8, is one of my favorite acquisitions. You can’t tell from the photo, but its total length is only 12″. It’s like a finishing press you can throw in your bag when you go out drinking with your bookbinding pals.


IMG_9499Legos are my favorite tool for making partitioned boxes. I’ve also found them useful for putting together the tiny walnut corners I need for my new book. I will now be corrected by purists who will insist that the plural of “Lego” is “Lego.” To this I respond with a frosty silence:


Legos are surprisingly expensive. I suggest stealing some from a child rather than finding them on ebay as I did.


IMG_9491This is The Ruler That Changed my Life.  Not only does it have a grid and a metal cutting edge, it is also self centering! I didn’t even know that was a thing until my students at Penland gave me my first self-centering ruler a couple of years ago. Does everyone know that’s a thing? Was I the only one?


IMG_9496This tool cup was made by Alison Milner and Christiane Kersten, fellow exhibitors at Made Brighton last year. It is impossible to be surrounded by craftspeople and not make a purchase, even when you are desperately trying to turn a profit. It was worth it for the smug bit of joy I experience every time I put a tool into this cup. I don’t know why it is smug, but it is.

Ok over and out! Until next time, blog friends. Please send links to your favorite tools, I am always looking for more.


10 comments on “Tool Magnet

  1. Cindy
    February 23, 2016

    Awesome set of unique tools! Your “mystery” press is actually an old handmade woodworker’s bench vise. It screws onto the side- or end- of a workbench to hold a piece of wood in place for handplaning, sanding or chiseling. Somebody worked very hard to make that and I cannot believe you found it for only £8! Although I admit I have no idea at the moment how much £8 actually is- but it still sounds like a bargain.
    BTW- LOVE your box-making handouts from Etsy!! You are a f****ing genius creator of box-making handouts!! Thx. : )

    • Big Jump Press
      February 25, 2016

      Thanks so much, Cindy! I am so glad to know a bit more about my mystery press. I could tell it is handmade but was unsure of its original use. It was SUCH a good find. today £8 is $11. A steal! So glad you like the handouts!

  2. I so need that self-centering ruler….

  3. ann edelman
    February 24, 2016

    What kind of ruler is that – centering and with one metal edge? Fantastic!

    • Big Jump Press
      February 25, 2016

      I know! It’s awesome! It is a Staedtler, but it seems like this particular ruler is made in Japan. I know that’s where the London Centre for Book Arts gets them. It is AMAZING. I have the small one and I need to get the big one now.

  4. riverlark
    February 25, 2016

    Oh tools! I remember when I bought my micro-spatula! The first of many lovely tools. My favorites include:
    *teflon bone folder, the slim size
    *a lovely sharp-pointed bone folder from Jim Croft
    *a 1/4″ strip of brass (many hardware stores have these). It’s fabulous for a quick 1/4″ measure anytime, anywhere
    *a circle cutter. If you’ve taken a class with Macy Chadwick you need this. (
    *a pin vise with tiny drill bits,7804.html

    • Big Jump Press
      February 25, 2016

      Excellent! Thanks, Mary! That pin vise looks delicious. . .

  5. Candis Litsey
    February 28, 2016

    Did you know that Lego used to be made of wood? Did you know you can still buy interlocking blocks made of wood? How about a set for use in your cool box making workshop at LCBA?

  6. Candis Litsey
    February 28, 2016

    (just signed up to follow…I think I was successful…maybe twice or more?) Did you know that Lego(s) used to be made of wood? Did you know you can still buy interlocking wood blocks? Take a look Wouldn’t they be useful at one of your box making workshops at LCBA?

    • Big Jump Press
      March 1, 2016

      THOSE ARE AMAZING. Thank you so much for sending this link! I love them. I hope all is well, Candis! I miss seeing you at the LCBA! Back to teaching these days.

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This entry was posted on February 23, 2016 by in Uncategorized.
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