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Subject: Bookbinding method

Bookbinding method

From: Robert J. Milevski <milevski>
Date: Monday, December 27, 1993
With regard to Peter Graham's query about a binding style he has not
witnessed previously:  I have not looked at the publishers bindings he
has recommended but based on his description it sounds like a
perfo-punch adhesive binding.  The following description (written in
1983) comes from my book "Book Repair Manual," page 30.  "Perfo-, burst
and perfopunch bindings have sections which look like thread-sewn
sections.  Instead of being sewn, however, each section is held together
by holes or slots which are perforated, burst, or punched-out along the
fold, inside to outside.  The advantages are that the folded sections
stay intact and there is no time-consuming spine preparation or costly
removal of paper.  [Certainly part of this sentence is saying that the
publishers find/found that this binding method is/was cheaper than
cutting off the folds and perfect binding the loose pages.]  Adhesive is
applied as with the two-shot method: first, thin primer [of adhesive] to
penetrate the slots of each section [to keep it] together; and second, a
thicker layer applied to the spine of the assembled textblock sections
to bind them together as a unit."

Of course this publishers hardback binding method may be obsolete by
this time as I have not kept up with the technology [so much to do, so
little time] but my experience, especially that based on working in a
public library receiving best sellers, tells me that this binding is not
strong.  After several uses the folds of some sections loosen and fall
out.  Textblocks split easily because there isn't any thread holding the
sections together, even in the event that the binder has applied some
type or types of spine liner(s) to the textblock spine.  This binding
method seemed to have been applied to uncoated papers although it may
also have been used on those which were coated.  But I see its use on
coated paper as being nothing but a disappointment for the consumer and
a disaster for collections conservation folk.

It is possible to repair these volumes once they start to self-destruct
but I would look at the cost of the repair versus the cost of a new
volume.  Assuming the folds of the sections have not been damaged, it is
possible to pull the book from its case and sew it together in situ for
real.  Not the most glorious or handsome solution.  It can also be
double fan adhesive bound should the binding margin be adequate
throughout the book.  Certainly a quick and simple solution which might
also allow the re-use of the original cover.

I probably have lots of these bindings in my personal collection of
books, but as I have no time to crack open these books to read them, let
alone all the other reading matter crossing my desk, being beamed at me
on my computer video terminal, being deposited in my mailbox, or being
purchased impulsively at the grocery store while food shopping, I find
the issue irrelevant.  Let my kids worry about it. How many collectors
actually read what they purchase?

Robert J. Milevski
Preservation Librarian
Princeton University Libraries
One Washington Road
Princeton, New Jersey 08544
Fax: 609-258-4105 or 609-258-5571

                  Conservation DistList Instance 7:47
                  Distributed: Sunday, January 2, 1994
                        Message Id: cdl-7-47-002
Received on Monday, 27 December, 1993

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