Binding Supplies

Written by Sarah Provost
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Binding supplies are available in three basic systems: comb or coil binding, strip binding (Velobind) and thermal binding. Each system has its advantages and disadvantages in terms of cost, convenience, appearance and durability. Here is a quick overview to help you decide which system will best suit your needs.

Choosing Binding Supplies

Coil and wire bindings produce a finished product that looks like a wire-bound school notebook. Sheets are punched all along the edge and a plastic coil is inserted and spiraled through the holes. Alternatively, a wire or plastic comb can be used. Coil binding systems and binding supplies are relatively inexpensive, very durable in terms of shipping, and can be opened to 360 degrees or lie flat. Pages can be torn out but are not likely to fall out. Hand insertion of coils, however, is time consuming, and the more automated machines lose the cost advantage.

In Velobinding, the paper is punched and plastic strips are inserted and heated to create a rivet. You can bind up to three inches of paper in this manner, and it will be practically impossible to rip apart. However, the book will not lie flat, so a larger manuscript will need a sizable gutter allowance. Crisp appearance and ease of operation are balanced by the higher expense of this system.

Thermal or "perfect" binding uses glue and a tape spine to bind the pages. This can be used for both soft and hard covers in a variety of sizes. Easy to use, the thermal system creates a professional-looking product at a very reasonable price, especially for soft covers. (The binding supplies for hard covers are not as economical.) The only real disadvantage to this system is that pages can fall out if they are not in perfect alignment when the heat is applied.

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