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Re: [BKARTS] confusion on double-fan presses
Let me begin with the confession that I make the fan-gluing press sold
by Gaylord, as well as, University Products, Demco, and through my own
website at temperproductions.com.
Previous postings seem to beg the question, "what tools do you actually
need for fan-gluing?" The answer to this is that " it depends" (this is probably
the unqualified answer to most bookbinding questions). It depends how many
books your want to fan-glue, what type of paper you are dealing with, how
critical the alignment is to the finished product and what your time is worth.
Essentially, all fan-gluing requires is the ability to secure the foredge of a block
of pages such that the spine edge is aligned and can be fanned out for gluing.
On the most basic level you could use your knees, as mentioned in a previous
post. This can work for some books, particularly if book is thin and the pages
have sufficient friction between them such that they easily cohere as a
textblock. As papers get smoother and the pages tend to slide against each
other or the book block get thicker, this system would become awkward very
When I first started fan-gluing, I used a backing press. I shuffled the
textblock on a table, gripped firmly, inserted the foredge into the backing press
and clamped. This was sometimes workable, particularly with cohesive
papers, but often unwieldy and almost impossible with slick coated papers.
Proper and consistent alignment requires a tool that clamps the textblock while
the pages are held in aligment either by gravity or some clamping force.
Devices to do this can be jury rigged with c-clamps and blocks of wood. Two
lying presses can be used with one holding the book spine down on the table,
thus aligning the spine, while a second press is placed on top of the first one
and tightened on the book's foredge. The bottom press is loosened and the top
press is removed with the book secured by the foredge leaving the spine edge
loose and ready for gluing. One of my first fan-gluing presses worked on this
design, utilizing a lying pressed hinged to a sliding clamp such the lying press
pivoted on top of the clamp, picked of the book and swung back out, exposing
the spine for gluing. Another of my early designs worked basically the same
way the Talas clamp does (which can be seen at
The above devices, jury rigged or purchased, will pretty much
accomplish the job of aligning and clamping pages for fan-gluing. All are an
improvement on trying to align a textblock and transfer it in hand to a clamp
(knees or press). The question at this point is "what is your time worth?" The
Talas clamp is probably fine for the person who is bookbinding as a hobby and
is doing the occasional one-up binding. If your time is your paycheck you want
something that will work quickly; something that streamlines the process. My
early jury rigged press made with a lying press was easier to use than the Talas
type press but still fairly slow. The current fan-gluing press that I sell ( which
can be seen at http://temperproductions.com/fan_gluing.htm) evolved over time
and is designed for easy page alignment and rapid clamping and unclamping. I
routinely worked with runs of 30 to 50 books at a time and needed something
that allowed me to align, clamp and glue quickly and without a lot of fuss. With
experience I could move books through the fan-gluing process at a rate of one
to two minutes per book. If you are working with very large commercial runs
than there are very expensive automated machines that you should probably
consider. Ultimately, the value of your time will determine the level of your
Hope this helps.
117 South 14th St.
Olean, NY 14760
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