Chris Schwarz's Blog

Video: Sawing a Book – Safely

Say you want to scan one of your books so you can have it on your iPad or other tablet device. The easiest way to scan the book is to remove the binding and run it through a sheet feeder.

This, of course, destroys the book. But it does make for nice scans.

Recently lifehacker.com showed how to remove the binding with a circular saw. Check out that video here. Of course, not everyone has one of these finger-flaying mechanical monsters, so I decided to show how this can be done with a handsaw.

The paper and glue binding was surprisingly tough to cut through. I started with the crosscut teeth and switched to the rip teeth on this Ryoba so that I didn’t get bored.

Next week: Megan shows you how to make meringue with a plunge router.

— Christopher Schwarz

13 thoughts on “Video: Sawing a Book – Safely

  1. BillT

    Hmm… gotta wonder what an IP attorney (or the copyright holder) would say about scanning in a book and making an electronic copy of it. Exception for archival backup purposes?

    Just don’t start e-mailing it around to all your Internet friends!!

  2. Mitchell

    I’d be afraid my grade 5 teacher would be back from the dead to slap my knuckles again if I ever cut up a book. She went ballistic when I coloured in a line drawing in one of my texts, and I was pretty good back then at staying within the lines. She scared the bejeebers out of me so badly, I still sweat when I write my name in the inside covers.

  3. fletcherj

    If that was a perfect bound book you can take them apart with the heat gun to undo the hot glue of the binding. And possibly use it to put them back together again when you’re done.

  4. Gene

    Watched both videos. Couldn’t help but be amused by the kid using the circular saw. No safety glasses was bad enough, but then he sets the still-spinning saw on the floor, next to his BARE FEET. Alert the safety police! (I hear they share office space with the copyright police.)

    Then, I smiled when I saw the publisher’s logo on the book Chris de-spined.

  5. cbf123

    Given that it’s a pull saw, wouldn’t it have been easier to clamp it on the end of the bench, hold the handle below the bench top, and let gravity help you out?

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