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Re: "Perfect" replacements for "perfect" bindings.

There are many variations on the specific process of fan binding but the
overall concept remains the same.  The first method we used was almost
completely by hand.

You start with a text block of loose pages (single sheets).  If you are
starting with a previously bound book you need to trim off the spine to
free up the pages.  If the book is in folded sigs. the folds need to be
trimmed off also to allow for the fanning explained later.  The last
consideration in preparing the text block is to make sure the spine is
flat.  For example, if you were fan-binding a book that had been rounded
and backed you would need to flatten the backing and eliminate the round.

Once you have free/loose pages in a text block with a flat spine you place
a single folded endsheet both in front and back.  Jog the text block, with
endsheets, to the spine and the head.  This next step is where you need a
machine designed for fan-binding.  Ours had a bed or table about four
inches above the base of the machine (which sat on a table about waist
high). We placed the spine of the book on this bed.  A clamp running off of
compressed air then closed to hold the book tight.  The bed was on a track
and had small rollers/wheels that allowed it to be pushed toward the rear
of the machine leaving the text block hanging mid-air so to speak.  The
clamp was built to pivot 180 degrees.  After rotating, the spine of the
text was then pointing upwards towards the operator.

With me  so far.  It's difficult to do this with out pictures.

The rolling bed and the clamp were built so that each book, when pivoted,
had about four inches rising above the clamp.  You then push the text
block, still held upside down by the clamp, away from yourself fanning the
pages.  You then apply a coating of glue to the fanned pages; applying with
a brush in the same direction you are fanning the book, in this case away
from you.  Then you push the book from the other side, towards you, and
apply glue in the same manner.

Once the pages have been glued you run a special strip of
mull/super/backlining (which ever you want to call it) through a glue
machine and place it on the spine.  It is special because it is constructed
to stretch from short side to short side.  This is to allow for some give
both throughout the life of the book and, most importantly, during rounding
and backing.  The strip is wide enough to cover the spine and about one
inch on each the front and back.  Once the strip has been applied you
smooth down the spine just a little to remove any air bubbles but not so
forcefully as to squish out any excess glue.

Almost done.

Lastly you rotate the clamp 180 again and releasing and catching the book.
The book is then placed on a flat surface, spine down, to dry overnight.
The surface should be something that doesn't rust or isn't painted.  We
found that the moisture from the glue rusts our metal tables and the paint
drys to the spine and is pulled off the table.  We ended up covering a
table in buckram.

We've since moved upward to an almost fully machine operated process that
replaces the one machine, that was basically an expensive air clamp, with
three machines.  The first notches the spine of the book.  This has the
effect of tripling the surface area of the spine.  The next machine holds
the book in place, after the operator has added folded endsheets, while a
"staple" is used to hold the book together.  The staple is a small clamp,
two 1.5" X 1.5" metal bars, one front and one back, with two rods that have
springs and a quick release.  The staple is closed around the book in the
second machine securely with a foot lever.  The "stapled" book is then set
spine side down into a machine that has a roller and a glue basin.  The
roller makes six passes, three one direction three the other.  The machine
is built so that the passing roller does the fanning.  Then the stapled
book is set to dry by being hung in the open air on a rack.  It takes about
an hour to dry well enough.  Lastly the book has the same backlining
applied by an operator with a glue machine.  Since the book is dry by then
it's soon on it's way to be trimmed.

Not only is the second way easier to describe it's much faster and much
cleaner.  As I said there have been many variations on the mechanics but
over all each machine will notch the spine, fan the book, apply the glue
and attach backlining.

Hope you found it worth all the reading and sorry it took so long to post.


Happiness bought and paid for
is happiness none the less.



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