Monday, January 7, 2008

DIY Bookbinding update

We printed the first copies of the "Askar" book ourselves. The hardest part was diy bookbinding. Following advice found elsewhere on the Internet gave us books that held together OK, but were very flexible at the spine so that the spine artwork was quickly creased and worn by normal handling. But by experiment 15 we have a method that is meeting the challenge of our rather large 464 page epic.
IN BRIEF - Start with contact glue then cover that with cloth-based gaffer tape.
IN DETAIL - Conventional paperback binding is a complex hot glue critical temperature mass production process that is quite impossible to emulate for cottage industry one-offs. My answer is lateral thinking for the niche unpredictable small demand situation - I have after a lot of trials come up with a cloth-tape spine with contact glue. The result is very flexible rather than having the conventional gutter stiffness and some find it a better lie-flat reading experience. Most people who have inspected examples of both have preferred this version. The minority report was concern that the flexible spine would not last but examples have gone through our test reader program with no problems. Hey it's gaffer tape - my film-making influence shows!

We start by using a cotton bud to paint contact glue eg ADOS F2, PASCO on the spine edge of the block of paper including the covers which are separately cut front and back covers to match the paper size. Let that dry then paint another layer. Then cut a piece of gaffer tape and place that sticky side out in a jig (wooden frame) so that it will align with the book block when we stick it on the spine and wrap it about 10mm over the spine edge of the covers.

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