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- To: Multiple recipients of list BOOK_ARTS-L <BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Subject: Adhesives
- From: "Peter D. Verheyen" <pdverhey@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Fri, 18 Oct 1996 20:00:37 -0400
- Message-id: <199610190001.RAA20775@SUL-Server-2.Stanford.EDU>
- Sender: "The Book Arts: binding, typography, collecting" <BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Understanding What's Available and What's Best for You.
By Brandon Rasch, Vice President
Bookbinding...Literally the term may be defined, from a historical
viewpoint, as "a process of joining together a number of leaves or
folios within covers to form a codex or book," (as opposed to a roll or
scroll). Many well-known works have been gathered in sections to form a
book=D0The Bible and the Koran to name a few.
Over thousands of years, this process has evolved to meet ever-changing
needs of writers, publishers, printers, binders and, most of all, the
public. From early times bookbinding was a highly respected art form.
Ancient editions of The Bible represent some extremely ornate
decorations and have become valuable as collectors' items. The gamut
therefore ranges from the very valuable to the ten cent novel.
Actually the ten cent novel is the bookbinding industry's answer to the
proliferation of books at an economical price. In fairly large
quantities, some book products can be gathered, bound(glued together)
and trimmed for approximately ten cents. This form of bookbinding is
generically known a perfect binding. In reality, perfect binding is one
of many forms of adhesive binding. According to Webster, adhesion is
"the act or state of being united." It is "molecular force exerted
across the surface of contact between unlike liquids and solids which
resist their separation." Simply put, it means clinging, sticking
In adhesive binding, the signatures (a group of pages printed on one
sheet) are gathered in proper sequence; the spine or "backbone" of the
book receives a "grind" so the adhesive can penetrate into the paper; a
coating of adhesive material is applied to permanently bond the leaves
together within the cover.
The first mention of adhesive binding, as the term is used, appeared in
a patent issue in 1887 in the United States to Horace L. Arnold. After
100 years we are now confronted with terms such as Otabind, PUR, EVA,
Perfect Binding, Lay Flat, Burst Binding, RepKover, Falberg and terms
so numerous it would be impossible to name them all.
As a purchaser or seller of these products how do you know what to but
or sell, when to buy or sell it, and how much should it cost? In the
following paragraphs I will attempt to concisely explain the answers to
As mentioned earlier, adhesive binding is a generic term that can be
used to describe only in general terms the form of a final finished
product. Within the term "adhesive binding" one would find only four
major categories of binding: Cold Emulsion, Perfect Binding, PUR
Binding, and Otabinding (or RepKover).
Perfect Binding provides page pulls and flex characteristics equal to
cold emulsion. The few disadvantages can all be overcome through proper
planning at the design stage. The most important advantage of perfect
binding is its high speed and relative low cost.
Cold Emulsion adhesive binding uses a polyvinyl acetate commonly
dispersed in the form of solid resins and water. The water in the glue
itself makes it near impossible to bind and trim in-line at high speed,
even with high frequency dryers. However, as a result of the water base
of both the glue and the paper, superior flex and pull strength
characteristics make cold emulsion the most durable method of adhesive
Perfect Binding is a hot melt adhesive binding. The term itself was
developed by the Sheridan Bookbinding machinery company in 1911 when it
attempted to overcome the disadvantages of cold emulsion while
retaining the desirable characteristics of pull strength and
The results achieved over the past 80 years have permanently elevated
perfect binding to its place of prominence. Advances in plastic hot
melts have driven the market-place to refer to all adhesive binding as
perfect binding, rather than ranking it simply as part of the adhesive
Perfect binding with higher end EVA (hot melt) glues provide page pulls
and flex characteristics equal to cold emulsion. The few disadvantages
can all be overcome through proper planning at the design stage. The
most important advantage of perfect binding is its high speed and
relative low cost.
PUR Binding is a new term as it refers to bookbinding. Actually, PUR is
a hot melt adhesive similar to EVA hot melts, but the adhesive is
manufactured with polyurethane resins (PUR). When the adhesive product
dries, a natural chemical reaction occurs creating a bond that is
superior to ordinary hot melts, sometimes as much as two times the
strength. However, one great disadvantage of PUR is that the books may
not be tested for strength for 24 hours. Plus, the application
equipment and adhesives (compared to typical EVA products) are very
expensive, and the cost may not be recoverable.
Otabind is a process of binding patented originally by Otavia
Publishing in 1981 and now licensed by Gerard Hexpoor. Basically, the
books are gathered; glue is applied to the spine; then, the book block
is capped covering only the glue. Next, the capping is side-glued, and
a cover is applied--adhering only to the side glue, detached from the
This process has been very successfully marketed as a "lay flat
binding." By having the cover detached from the spine, the books have
somewhat of a tendency to lay flatter, due to the lack of resistance of
the cover glued to the spine of the book.
The disadvantages of Otabind are that the binding equipment is very
expensive, that the process requires the producer to purchase a license
from the patent holder, and that generally it is compared to the pull
and flex tests of perfect binding. The greatest disadvantage is cost.
We'll take this topic into greater depth in upcoming issues. If you
have any questions in the meantime, just give me a call. I'd be happy
to visit with you by telephone.
About Rasch Graphics | More Info | E-mail RGS
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>>Drink and be merry, for our time is short and death lasts forever<<
Peter D. Verheyen <wk> 315.443.9937
Conservation Librarian <fax> 315.443.9510
Syracuse University Library <email> pdverhey@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Syracuse University <www> http://web.syr.edu/~pdverhey/
Syracuse, NY 13244 <listmgr> Book_Arts-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx