Frequently-Asked Mechanical Binding Questions
Mechanical binding is a time-tested marriage of form and function that allows products to lie completely flat. Design options such as foldouts, inserts, die cuts and index tabs are easily added. This style also offers plenty of cover options, including semi- and fully-concealed and cased-in, that give you more design flexibility.
Mechanical binding is a relatively simple binding style. Yet there are many potential problems that can arise during the mechanical binding production process, all of which can be overcome with the help of good planning and communication with your bindery. Schultz Bindery is here to guide you toward success on your next mechanical binding project by answering some frequently-asked questions on the topic.
Which mechanical binding style is the best solution for my book project?
In many cases, the ideal mechanical binding style for your product will be determined by its end use. If your book project has crossover images such as artwork, maps, or diagrams, for example, we’d recommend choosing Wire-O®, which opens without "stepping up".
If your book will typically be held with one hand or is designed to fold back cover-to-cover, there are three popular styles to consider: plastic spiral, spiral wire and Wire-O.
How much of a margin should I leave between the copy and punched holes for the binding elements?
Depending on the bulk of the book, Wire-O® binding uses either a 2:1 or 3:1 (two or three holes per inch) punching pattern. For books binding 3:1, make sure the copy is placed at least 3/8" from the binding edge; for 2:1, that margin should be between 1/2" and 5/8."
Generally speaking, the more punch holes per inch of your book, the narrower the margin needed between copy and binding edge. Punch patterns for spiral coil and plastic wire styles come in various pitch, size and pattern designs, which can vary from one bindery to the next. Ask Schultz Bindery to help determine the appropriate punching patterns and margins for your specific project.
What's so important about supplying a mock-up prior to production?
Supplying a dummy or a mock-up of the finished product allows us to measure important copy, punching and trim margins, which help us alert you to potential problem areas. If your books include features such as multiple stocks, wraparound covers or index tabs, a planning dummy helps us ensure that all elements will work in harmony in the finished product. size, tab placement and book bulk prior to production. It's especially important to provide a dummy for mechanical-bound books with wraparound or concealed covers, which require careful measurement of score and fold placement to yield accurate results.
Have a mechanical binding question that wasn't answered here? Email Tom Schultz (firstname.lastname@example.org) and he’ll be happy to answer it for you.
About Schultz Bindery
For almost 25 years, Schultz Bindery has provided quality mechanical binding solutions to Midwest-area commercial printers. We offer spiral wire, plastic spiral and Wire-O® binding styles in a variety of color and design options. Give us a call today to start planning your next mechanical binding project.