Bookbinding/Perfect binding

Intro - Why? - Perfect - Japanese side stitch - Saddle stitch - Long stitch - Equipment - Materials

Perfect binding is not a stitch binding at all, but a solely adhesive based binding. It is the easiest and least durable way to produce books, and is how most paperback books are bound. Single leaves are jogged to form a straight block, and the spine edge is glued with a hotglue - PUR or EVA - and glued instantly inside a card cover. Hot glue results in a stiff inflexible spine that is prone to cracking over time.

Below is a description of cold-glue fan-binding which is not perfect binding. A proper description of commercial perfect binding needs to be edited in here and a separate page on cold-glue fan-binding (or double-fan binding) written.

Gluing is done with a stiff brush, and is done with a jabbing or light stabbing motion more than a painting one.

The text block is held in place by a screw press, or just something heavy, like a couple of bricks for a small book. About an inch on the spine side is left hanging over the table in the case of the bricks, and the glue is brushed onto the spine in layers. Press down on the inch over the table to slant that part of the text block and paint glue over the spine again, so that the glue will get into the little spaces between the very edge of the pages. Then, holding the text block, slant the spine pages upward. Without the screw press, these two steps could get all of your pages scattered on the floor if you are not careful. Finally, letting the text block return to its unslanted state, paint glue on again.

You will need to press the glued pages together at this point and reinforce with a piece of mull that is the same height as the book; otherwise, you will find that the glue will separate the pages sufficiently where you may end up with two or three books instead of one. If you have a screw press, drop the book into the press so that the spine takes pressure and let the glue set in this manner. Protect your book and press with some waxed paper, being careful not to adhere the wax paper to the spine. If you don't have a screw press, take some boards (binder's board, wooden boards) and use these to protect and distribute the weight of the pressure you apply, whether it be in the press or with bricks.

After this dries, the cover is generally glued to the spine to complete the book. Be aware that if you reinforce with mull and intend to glue the book into an existing cover, you will have space issues. If you are making the cover to fit afterwards, there will be no such difficulty.