Wow! The Bindery Produced That?

Most of us (including me) have a fairly narrow definition of the finishing arts—wire-stitching, adhesive binding, mechanical binding, and so on. However, in the past year, I’ve had to get up close and personal with hardcover binding. In the process, my horizons have been greatly stretched as to what can be turned out in the finishing department.

Take the standard hardcover case (or cover). This is typically made from pieces of book board, which are glued to paper, cloth or even leather. The corners are then tucked, and the rest of the material is “turned in.” The material edges (which have adhesive applied) are folded over the board.

You can glue a printed sheet onto the other side of the board (this is called a lining), and voila!—you’ve got a game board! Then glue a few strips of cardboard parallel to the cover spine and you have an easel display. Slip cases are also part of the production stable, as well as ring binders.

Let’s get even more special. We’ve all seen those sample cards that contain paint chips, carpeting samples, textile swatches, flooring samples, and the like. Many of these are created by special machinery that picks up each little sample square from a segmented tray, then very precisely positions and glues them onto the sample card or display binder page.

Printed CD cases are done in a similar process. The CD holder is spot glued to the case/cover with hot-melt adhesive.

The latest electronic devices even offer opportunities for traditional finishing. A San Francisco firm, Dodocase, sells beautiful handmade iPad cases that are built along the lines of traditional hardcover cases. They’re literally “hand-built” and can be personalized.

So the next time you think “bindery,” allow yourself to expand your horizons as to what can come out of the finishing department. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Don has worked in technical support, sales, engineering, and management during a career in both the commercial offset and digital finishing sectors. He is the North American representative for IBIS Bindery Systems, Ltd. of The United Kingdom.
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