For years I’ve struggled with traditional tapered backing boards, never having enough hands to hold the boards and book block steady while I accurately positioned them in the backing press and tightened its screws. I recently resolved to do something about this and searched online for a set of lipped straight boards that I hoped would make aligning the boards just that much easier. After a bit of effort, I happened upon Jim Poelstra – a Californian cabinetmaker who runs Affordable Bookbinding Equipment as a sideline to his regular business as a cabinetmaker. His website is a delight. It includes short videos that demonstrate how to use his equipment and is worth visiting even if you’re not in the market for anything at the moment. I particularly liked Jim’s small plough (held in the palm of one hand) and a simple nipping press that converts to a sewing frame. I finished up ordering a set of backing boards and they arrived within a few days. Well made, good value for money and they work.