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Re: [BKARTS] The fairy dust that is required in making adhesive lay-flat bindings?

Hi, Ben
>So what improvements did I make for my test book to turn out so much better
>this time?


>   6. I was much more careful in applying the glue during double-fanning. I
>clamped the bent book block between two boards and held the boards with my
>hands while applying adhesive. I waited for 1 minute before bending the book
>block so that the adhesive could sink into the paper then carefully bent the
>book block the other way trying not to twist it, then applied adhesive

    You will get even better results if you buy Pete Jermann's beautiful
fan-gluing press. Or, I can show you how to build one, if you have skills in
   It is not necessary to wait before bending the book back to apply the
second coat of adhesive.

>   7. I straightened the glued book block very carefully.
>   8. I applied a 0.015 inch thick bookbinding cloth with fairly dense weave
>to the spine and wrapped it around 1/2 inch on each side of the book block
>and applied glue to the cloth after it was in place. In this form the book
>is a lay-flat tightback. My previous test books used either thin paper or
>nothing at all.

Don't use bookbinding cloth as mull. Better to buy material designed for this
purpose (you can get it at any bookbinding supply house) or use unbleached
muslin, instead.

>  9. I waited about 30 hrs before testing the book. It seems to take a long
>time for the PVA adhesive to reach full strength. Previously I started
>testing after about 10 hrs.


>Here are the page pull test results of several books I tested. Notice that
>my double-fanned book #3 is right in the middle for strength:
>   1. Hot melt adhesive, Thermal Binding, noncoated paper, Page pull
>average=6.3 lbs/inch
>   2. Polyurethane adhesive, Clamped at spine single application, noncoated
>paper, Page pull average=3.2 lbs/inch
>   3. PVA adhesive, Double fan single application, nondiluted,  noncoated
>paper, Page pull average=2.54 lbs/inch
>   4. PVA adhesive, Clamped at spine single application, nondiluted,
>noncoated paper, Page pull average=2.2 lbs/inch
>   5. Polyurethane adhesive, Clamped at spine single application, coated
>paper, Page pull average=2.09 lbs/inch
>   6. Hot melt adhesive, Typical perfect bound, noncoated paper, Page pull
>average=1.9 lbs/inch

Questions: What Polyurethane adhesive did you use? Where did you get it? Was
it a hot-melt or an emulsion? What caused the very large difference between
tests 1 and 6 above?
>After some of the comments I received, I phoned the bookbinder where I had
>bought my PVA adhesive. Some people there were interesting in seeing my
>problem. I showed them the bottle they had sold me marked P.V.A. They swore
>that this was the glue they used for bookbinding. My PVA is apparently
>quality bookbinding glue, not padding glue. We had a lively discussion on
>binding. Their opinion is that the only way to make a PVA adhesive bound
>book is to apply lot's and lot's of glue, several sheets of scrim cloth on
>the binding plus lots of deep notches and strings in the notches. They say
>the book binding is not supposed to curve very much on opening, like a
>typical perfect bound book. If it curves it will come apart. Pete Jermann in
>a short note to me recently said "I probably disagree with everything your
>local binder has told you about adhesive bound books". I would agree with
>Pete Jermann after reading his article
>Rupert Evans and Pete Jermann may not agree with my testing methods but my
>recent double-fanned test book and one better made commercial book survived
>a good round of these tests while other lay-flat books with visible problems
>did not. I now have also done page pull tests but to me page pull test
>indicates little of whether the book will survive repeated flexing and
>pounding. In the Rebsamen Subway Test a lay-flat book is doubled back on
>itself repeatedly. In the Wiens Whip Test one side of an open lay-flat book
>is held with one or two hands, and the other part of the book is whipped
>open and closed rapidly from the fully closed position to the fully doubled
>back position with the page ends rotating through about 360 degrees.

The page pull test is good, but not sufficient. If the book fails the pull
test, it is definitely bad. If it passes that test, then page flex tests are
in order. One doubling back of the book in the Subway test is normally
sufficient. I can't imagine how the Wiens Whip Test could be standardized. I
would imagine that another problem would be that even if the book passes the
test, it would be unsalable.


>   4. I am wondering if the PVA glue I have is on the weak side. Has anyone
>seen technical spec sheets for different cold emulsion adhesives or even hot
>melt adhesives. It is better to have a spec sheet rather than saying this is
>stronger than that.

The most likely problem with your PVA is that it is old. Who knows how long
your bookbinding friends have had it on hand? Most manufacturers suggest using
it within one year, but others suggest six months. I have had no difficulty
with one-year-old PVA which was designed for bookbinding.


Rupert N. Evans
501-391 S LaPosada Circle
Green Valley, AZ 85614
Author of Book-On-Demand Publishing
I love to print and bind books

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