Shop Manuals - Create the Ultimate Workbench Companion!

Here's a little piece I wrote up and included in the Feb 2013 Newsletter regarding what to do with those shop manuals coming apart at the seams:

Turn that “Falling Apart” Shop Manual
into an Ultimate Workbench Companion!

by Jason Edge

You know we all love and cherish our shop manuals and use them constantly in that never-ending pursuit of restoring our 1963 & 1964 Cadillacs. The problem is they start coming apart at the seams, and get torn and soiled after almost 50 years of use.  Instead of discarding or throwing into a box or drawer you can turn them into something even more useful than before!!  If you are serious about your work on these cars I recommend keeping a clean desk copy, but also keep a workbench copy as described below.

The trick is very simple, in that you take each individual page and put them in acid free clear sleeve protector which in turn goes into a Large 3 ring notebook.   If you get the very large 5” notebooks and thinner sheets you can fit a complete shop manual in one note book, otherwise, it will take two notebooks.  The shop manuals will require a little over 300 plastic sleeves.   (306 for the 63 shop manual)

ADVANTAGES?  You can thumb thru the pages with greasy fingers without worry of tearing or soiling the pages, and the pages turn easy.  You simply wipe the clear sleeve down when you are finished.  In addition, you can remove individual pages to make copies or scan, or to have by your side as you work on the Caddy.  In closing, you can often find great deals on shop manuals that might otherwise be considered poor condition…but perfect to put in a notebook!

ps...just to add, I do the huge Master Parts books the same way...which are almost always found on ebay, etc in loose leaf form!

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Comment by Jason Edge on March 19, 2018 at 1:29pm

ps. I've got a few nice book shelf copies, also... :-)

Comment by Jason Edge on March 19, 2018 at 1:21pm

Anders, I have the 1963 and 1964 Cadillac Shop Manuals on my iPhone X, and can immediately pull up the manuals, search, screen shot etc., however, you seem to have missed the point of this post. When working on a car, and your hands are in the grease, it is nice to be able to pull the page you need, protected by a sheet protector, and have it right there with you on work bench, on the engine, or where every you need it, with no worries of getting grease on your nice pristine book shelf copy or your mega dollar smart phone!

When I am about to work on something or test something I will often search the iPhone Shop Manual PDF file, then go straight to my workbench companions. I usually end up pulling a sheet form the large workbench books at lease several times a week.  Yesterday it was testing the antenna, and that sheet came straight out, was right there under my tester, then when I was done just wiped it clean and put it back in.

Back to point, I noted this eBay auction because the pages are coming apart, and someone may be able to get much cheaper than an intact manual.  This is a perfect example of an shop manual that can be repurposed into an "Ultimate Workbench Companion" as noted in the Help Article.  As long as it has all the pages it is the perfect candidate this "2nd Chance" as a useful document.

Comment by Tony and Ginny 429 on March 19, 2018 at 11:56am

My compliments on this binder
The binder is one sweet creative idea for sure protecting the shop manual pages
Nice clean way to work
I have seen this before a while ago but now i am inspired to do the same
A very nice idea

Comment by Anders on March 19, 2018 at 11:28am

English luxury cars requires a lot more pages than American luxury cars.

Comment by Anders on March 19, 2018 at 11:20am

I have the 63, 64 & 66 Shop Manuals in good book-shelf condition. As I only own a 64 I have also a 1964 CD from Detroit Irons. When I look up something its usually in the CD. Makes it easy to search and find. It also makes it easy to do a print-screen thing with and insert it into the post. When working on the car I print out the page or pages I need from the CD.

For my Rolls-Royce I have the complete four binders and makes photo copies when I work on the car.

Comment by Jason Edge on March 19, 2018 at 10:46am

Just to note, this 1963 Shop Manual would make the perfect "Ultimate Workbench Companion" as noted above:

Comment by Kevin Campbell on March 25, 2017 at 1:01am

Yes, so if anyone has an old Workshop manual, i'm your man to buy it. I like the idea Jason has for putting all the sheets in binder with clear sleeves. I'll set one up the same.

Comment by Jason Edge on March 24, 2017 at 8:37pm


Comment by Jason Edge on May 10, 2014 at 3:59pm

I was just pointing someone to this link on our Facebook site and thought it might be worthwhile to bump this post back up.

Comment by Jason Edge on March 29, 2013 at 9:53pm

My original desk copy of the 1964 Cadillac shop manual seen in top picture as been put in a nice 5" 3 Ring Notebook with acid free clear sleeves and is for sale for $50. I used a practically new notebook and brand new clear sleeves. If interested email me at  You can see more pictures by Clicking Here.



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