Weekend Projects – Bookmarkers

Monday 9 July 2018

A bookmark is a strip of leather, card, cloth, veneer, or other material inserted between two pages of a book to indicate where the reader wants to resume reading or where there is some content of note. I use card strips cut from breakfast cereal packets and write on the blank side words that I see in the text which I need to look up in a dictionary. Bookmarker is a word which may be unfamiliar. It's not, however, a synonym for bookmark, but refers to a marker that's used not between pages, but between books. When you remove a book from a shelf of books, the adjacent books typically tilt, and eventually distort. To prevent this, and enable you to quickly put the removed book back into its correct location, you could temporarily substitute a bookmarker for the removed book. A bookmarker is essentially a body in the form of a right rectangular prism with a handle projecting from one, usually a long edge – the spine. If the body is solid wood then gently chamfering the sides will make inserting a bookmarker into a shelf of books easier. Larger or thicker bookmarkers are best bored or made hollow like boxes so that they're not too heavy. Bookmark bodies which need to be thin can be cut from plywood or another type of manufactured board. Book, CD and DVD markers are easy to make, and functional. And you can be pretty sure that anyone who receives any as a gift won't already have one. The project can be completed in around 30 minutes.

Tools used:

10mm bowl gouge

Detail spindle gouge

6mm parting tool

25mm skew chisel

32mm spindle roughing gouge

Other designs

As the cover sizes and thicknesses of books vary, so can the same dimensions of bookmarkers. While the side-size of a bookmarker should preferably be related to the books it will replace, it need not be full size. Similar markers can also be used for the same location-marking role for shelves of CDs, and DVDs, but their bodies – plywood with veneered spines – are best made the same size as their respective plastic cases


You don't need to make markers singly. You can make them in pairs or sets, with the markers of the same or different sizes, and if appropriate using different woods, ornamentation, or decoration. When not in use a set could be housed in its own rack or carousel


The first step is to decide on the project you are going to make – i.e. a bookmarker for books or one for CDs, DVDs, etc. You need to start by turning the handles. These are best turned between centres with the pin end of the blank located by a live cone centre


The next step is to sand and part off the handle. I transpose the handle and hold its pin end in a scroll chuck


What is the left-hand end of the handle can then be trimmed and sanded. Handles for single bookmarkers are usually located halfway up the spine. If making a set of markers, stagger the handle heights to allow markers which may need to be located alongside one another to be inserted and removed more easily. When boring the spine for the handle, if the body is thin, clamp the volume to be bored so that it won't split during the boring


The finished bookmarker should look something like this