One of the things I love about bookbinding is that you can do it with so few tools. Sure, it's nice to have a press and specially-constructed beaded pressing boards but in a pinch, if you know what you're doing, bricks and smooth hardboard and knitting needles also work.
And it's nice to have a sewing frame that is professionally made of polished wood and a thing of beauty on its own. Sadly, the boss wanted $450 for it, so I had to leave "mine" behind when I left my job, and ever since I've been making do with sewing on the edge of a piece of hardboard and taping the sewing tapes to the back side. Which works fine for one book. Or two. But it takes time to set up, and when I contemplated making a series of books I tried not to think of the time that would be spent taping little pieces of tape onto the backside of the board, and flinging them back when they got in the way of the sewing, and otherwise fussing around with them.
So I went out into the world to have a little look-see, and this is what I found:
It's made of aluminum tubes, is very lightweight, and telescopes sideways to a maximum of 28", for those big books. And it has shelves - a number of them, though I'm only using two here. You get 8 shelves with it, each about 3" wide. As a sewing frame, it works great. The only problem is that you have to elevate your textblock somehow, but I have lots of books handy, and just shoved a couple in to support the textblock.
This tool didn't cost anywhere near $450. In fact, it cost $32.98.
What is it? It's an expandable under-the-sink storage shelf. I got mine at Bed, Bath & Beyond, but I'm sure they can be found any number of places.
Do you have any tools that are really something else?