Have you ever wondered how a book is made? How pages fit perfectly into a spine or ornate string patterns, how a hardback book will open with ease despite being made of book board? How handset type works? How the art of bookbinding has stayed alive, and how Batcat Press celebrates the unique combination of an ancient style and high school students? If you’d like to discover the answers to these questions, keep reading!
Along with glue binding and sewing styles, we also use the perfect binder to bind our books. A perfect binder is a machine that applies hot glue to the paper and presses the pages to the spine, securing both soft and hard cover books. This binding technique is currently being used by member Sarah Bett for reprinting Snowmen Losing Weight by Noah Falck.
On a much smaller scale, members Victoria Wolfe and Dorien Brown have been making journals and adorable soft-back notepads with the perfect binder. The process is simple, and we’d like to share it with you!
The first step, universal to many binding styles, is to pick the
cover paper, the spine paper, and the internal pages. Once this is done, it’s important to cut down the spine paper to the same width or length of the book, which depends on how it will be opened. The spine paper is then folded in half and placed into the perfect binder. The bulk of the book – the covers and the pages – is then placed into the binder so that it fits perfectly into the crease of the spine paper.
The second step is to secure the book by adding pressure. The lever sticking out of the machine must be pushed forward, pressing the book into the machine, and then pulled up, securing the book in place.
The third step flips the book upside down so that glue can be applied to the pages. To do this, the lever on the right side of the machine must be pushed upwards.
Next, it’s important to hold the spine piece down so that the hot glue doesn’t seep too far down the sides of the spine paper. This would glue the spine unevenly to the cover paper. To the left of the machine is a tool that slices the edges of the paper, creating indentations that the glue can stick to. While holding the cover piece away from the pages, the tool must be brought over top of the pages about four times to ensure deep indentations. After this, while still holding the cover piece aside, the tool to the right side of the machine must be pulled across about four times. This will apply hot glue into the pages of the book.
The fifth step is to pull the lever on the right side of the machine down, which flips the book. This brings the cover paper and the glued pages together. Next, the same lever is pushed down, causing a metal slide to move forward to press a crease into the cover paper and glued pages. It’s important to make sure the slide goes underneath the cover paper, not over top. Hold the lever down for at least ten seconds, ensuring that the bind is secure.
For the final step, release both levers and pull out the book. After it dries, the cover paper can be pinched and torn off at the desired place.
And there you have it! A perfectly bound book!
Written by Torie Wolfe, BatCat staff member.