I get asked all the time if we can bind a brochure, catalogue or journal “paperback book” style so as to create a spine that, without doubt, enhances the look and perceived value of the finished item. This binding style is referred to as “perfect binding” – but as with so much in the industry there is more than one way to skin a cat. So as well as “Perfect” binding you will also hear terms like “thread sewn”, “burst” and “PUR”
Whilst they all look alike, the type of glue or technique used actually makes quite a difference to the quality of the product you will receive; the following will I hope ensure you ask for what you need!
As most of us have sadly experienced when reading novels on our holidays, standard perfect bound books have a tendency to fall apart. The “hot melt” glues used – little pellets that liquefy when heated up and solidify when cooled down – often go brittle when they dry out. As such when folded back or pushed flat, a must with a brochure a catalogue, the spine can crack allowing pages to simply fall out. Bad for your image, bad for business.
To get round this most traditional perfect binders offer to “thread sew” the book in sections first – exactly as it sounds a thread is sewn in to give each section considerable extra strength. Certainly does do the job but, as it’s a timely process, it can be an expensive additional option. As such alternatives were devised – burst binding was one, where the spine of each section is slotted or perforated during the folding operation. Glue is pushed up between the perforations during binding to give it a bit of extra strength. But the key word here is a “bit” and as such is rarely a recommended solution.
However the real breakthrough came with the advent of what we now term PUR Binding. Using a polyurethane adhesive (hence PUR) gives the final bond far more flexibility. Like standard perfect binding it is processed hot and hardens by cooling, but once bonded it is impervious to heat. What we end up with is a great looking product that once set (takes 24 hours to fully “go off”) gives the strength, and then some, of thread sewing but at a speed and a cost more akin to traditional perfect binding. Although the set up costs are a little higher, as once open the canister cannot be re-used, in our opinion it is worth every penny. Spending a small fortune on your next publication only to risk it falling apart with use is, surely for all companies, a risk that can never be worth taking. So next time go PUR and assure yourselves a purfect finish!