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Not quite perfect

Mar 1, 2009 12:00 AM

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FOGRA reportedly investigates more than 400 adhesive binding failures annually. Many complaints concern splits between pages two and three, a problem that is especially evident on hardcover bindings. The cover's lever action generally is the culprit. When you open a book and lift the cover, unusual pressure is exerted onto the binding. Those forces are looking for the weakest point — typically, the adhesive binding.

To combat such problems, large book printers rely on multimillion dollar equipment including gathering machines, endpaper attachments, side-gluing or back-lining equipment. They add single folio endpapers to their machine infeeds which are off set to allow milling the spine. After the adhesive is applied, the spine is lined with a special back-lining paper. On certain book blocks, the width of the lining paper is such that it extends only 3/16 inch on each side onto the end sheets. With appropriate side-gluing, the small strips are then glued into place. A clamping effect results. The first and last sheets of the fragile adhesive binding are now secured. That feature is further enhanced when rounding and backing.