Monday, 29 April 2013


I wanted to look into possible binding methods for my hangover cures book. I didn't want to produce a stapled booklet, I wanted to produce a publication true to format and style of other cookbooks and recipe books. 

Below are research methods which I am looking into:

Coptic Binding:

This method of binding leaves your book with or without a spine depending on how the book is covered. It can be finished with either stitching or double sided tape depending on the aesthetic of the book. 

The pages open totally flat, and page spreads are to be printed one sided as designed on indesign. 

If using double sided tape, the pages are stuck back to back, with the right hand-side of the first page, to the left hand-side of the second and so on and so forth until completed. If neatly done no binding marks will be left, and the spine and covers can be added to both the front and back, or printed on a larger piece of paper than the book and totally covered so the spine is not seen. A fast, easy and professional finish to any hand bound publication. 

If using stitching the method shown below can be used:

Covers wrapped mount board.

"Once my cover boards and paper signatures are ready, I start to punch my holes for the binding. You don’t really have to space them evenly, just make sure they are spread throughout the spine to be secure. I’ve marked up my holes on the cover then punched them out with a holepuncher."

"Then I use the cover as my guide to punch holes in all my signatures." The holes do not to be evenly spaced, and the holes in the paper do not need to be big, just large enough for the thread to pass through.

"To start stitching, you go with one board and one signature inside. You can see I’m starting at the bottom hole inside the first signature."

"You bring the thread out and under the cover board to attach it to the signature…"

"I make sure everything is tight and aligned, then tie a knot. The important part of this method of binding is keeping the cover and signatures on top all aligned…because that’s exactly how it’s going to end up in the end. You want a perfectly aligned stack of signatures on the covers, nice and tight.

From this point, I just move up one hole and repeat the process of looping around the cover and coming back up. Only difference is that there is no knot to tie, you just keep looping through to attach the signature to the cover.

When you get to the last hole, after looping onto the cover, instead of going back into the same signature you stack on another signature and go into that hole."

"See how I’ve come up from the top hole in my second signature here…then I immediately go to the next hole…"

"…and on the outside I want to attach this signature to something, but there are no holes to go through like with the cover. Instead I loop my thread in between the signatures below it, in this case the first signature and cover. Just stick your needle into the left side of the stitch already there and exit to the right of it. This is a kettle stitch that connects the stitches together and creates the cool pattern on the binding. It is for this stitch that I use the curved needle, because it’s so much easier to stitch it in between the signatures."

"Repeat…repeat…repeat. Once you get the idea, you’ll be able to continue for as many signatures as  you have, no problem! You’ll see here I’ve added all 5 of my signatures. There are ways of binding the last signature with the cover together…but I find it all confusing. So I bind all my signatures in the same fashion until there are none left."

"Then when I just have the cover left to bind, I sort of do the same thing, but weaving through the last signature again. This means the signature will have a double thread inside, but I don’t mind that for the easy of understanding the process. When I get to the last hole, instead of going back into the paper signature, I actually go in between the cover and paper signature. I loop it around that stitch and tie a knot here to finish binding the book. Pretty easy!"

Thermally Activated Binding:

  1. Perfect binding is often used, and gives a result similar to paperback books. Paperback or soft cover books are also normally bound using perfect binding. They usually consist of various sections with a cover made from heavier paper, glued together at the spine with a strong glue. The sections are milled in the back and notches are applied into the spine to allow hot glue to penetrate into the spine of the book. The other three sides are then face trimmed. This is what allows the magazine or paperback book to be opened. Mass market paperbacks (pulp paperbacks) are small (16mo size), cheaply made with each sheet fully cut and glued at the spine; these are likely to fall apart or lose sheets after much handling or several years.Trade paperbacks are more sturdily made, with traditional gatherings or sections of bifolios, usually larger, and more expensive. The difference between the two can usually easily be seen by looking for the sections in the top or bottom sides of the book.
  2. Thermal binding uses a one piece cover with glue down the spine to quickly and easily bind documents without the need for punching. Individuals usually purchase "thermal covers" or "therm-a-bind covers" which are usually made to fit a standard size sheet of paper and come with a glue channel down the spine. The paper is placed in the cover, heated in a machine (basically a griddle), and when the glue cools, it adheres the paper to the spine. Thermal glue strips can also be purchased separately for individuals that wish to use customized/original covers. However, creating documents using thermal binding glue strips can be a tedious process which requires a scoring device and a large format printer.
  3. cardboard article looks like a hardbound book at first sight, but it is really a paperback with hard covers. Many books that are sold as hardcover are actually of this type. The Modern Library series is an example. This type of document is usually bound with thermal adhesive glue using a perfect binding machine.

The methods above using thermal activated binding in different ways. Perfect binding is very professional and looks as though the book is finished seamlessly. This is available to do at Vernon Street through the book binding workshops. I feel this is the best method to choose for the book as the majority of cookery books are bound using perfect binding, and would keep true to the aesthetics.

I would like to try both perfect binding and coptic binding using double sided tape as a stitched publication will not have a polished, clean aesthetic being stitched which is true to cookery books.

By trying both methods I will practice my book binding skills and improve my knowledge of the processes.