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Needle breakage in oversewn binding

Our local custom bindery does virtually all the bindings on theses and
dissertations for graduate students at the University of Illinois. The owner
reports that in the last year he has has a striking increase in the number
of broken needles on the machine he uses for oversewn bindings. The problems
are so severe that he is thinking seriously about abandoning the use of
sewing in favor of double-fan adhesive binding.
    We can think of only two possible causes for the breakage problem: a
decrease in the quality of the replacement needles or changes in the paper
on which the dissertations are laser printed. He thinks that the latter is
more likely. He continues to get his needles from the same vendor, but he
has no control over the source of the paper. He is not sure, but he believes
that the needles are getting dull more rapidly, which leads to breakage, and
that the paper which seems to cause the most trouble is designed for laser
printers, feels strikingly smooth and heavy, and is more difficult to fold..
    Is it possible that the culprit might be the tendency of manufacturers
to increase the loading of paper with calcium carbonate (now up to 30% in
some cases)? Among the types of CaC3, might not ground marble (with some
naturally occurring silica) be a more likely problem than chalk or
precipitated calcium carbonate?
|   Rupert N. Evans                                 Voice
217-337-7833              |
|   Prairie Publications                                    Fax
217-337-7469              |
|   101 West Windsor Road, #4107          e-mail         r-evans4@xxxxxxxx
|   Urbana, IL 61801

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