Bindery Technical Tips
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Bindery technical tips & post-press finishing tricks that help before Pre-press even starts.

Welcome to the Bindagraphics Technical Tips section. Below you will find an extensive collection of binding, finishing, and specialty packaging tips that might assist you on your next project. We will continue this section much like the rest of our site with the most useful information about post press finishing and specialty packaging available on the internet. Be sure to sign-up for our monthly Newsletter and E-info Feature Item of the Month.

Drop down to the section of your interest, if your looking for something not on here drop us a line and we be glad to inform you.*** All trademarks or product names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.

Paper Weights Conversion Chart

Perfect Adhesive Binding

  • Cover Layout
    • Keep the grain direction parallel to the spine.
    • On thin books, avoid using cover stock thicker than 10pts.
    • Ink, Varnish and all other coatings should not be in the spine or hinge areas inside the cover.
    • Allow at least 3/16" more than the untrimmed signature size at the foot for a "glue trap".
  • Text Layout
    • 1/8" grind-off margin is standard.
    • If Bindagraphics is folding the project, call for imposition advice.
    • Head, foot, and face trims should be uniform and at least 1/8" but no more than 1/2".
    • Avoid two-pagers as the first or last signature. If this situation is unavoidable, the thicker the stock the better.
    • Pack signatures high folio up on skids. Brick pack and do not crisscross in a lift.
    • Light signatures (4,6, or 8 pagers) should be imposed to be adjacent to heavier signatures.

"Otabind" or Layflat Binding
  • Keep copy at least 1/2" away from the spine on the inside cover and on the first and last pages of the text.
  • Knock out the varnish and other coatings 1/2" from the spine on the inside of cover.
  • Otabind covers have two hinge scores positioned 1/4" and 1/2" away from the spine on the outside front and back cover. Plan your copy on the cover accordingly.
  • For uncoated text, it's best to keep grain direction parallel to the spine; for coated text it's critical.
  • The cover should have the grain parallel to the spine.

Saddle Stitching
  • Each signature should have a consistent lip or lap - ideally 3/8" high folio lip (1/4" to 5/8" is OK).
  • When stitching accordion folded, gatefolded, or 6 page foldouts, glue tacking is sometimes needed in the folding process to keep forms from unraveling. Your layout should include a minimum of 3/8" (ideally 1/2") trim area so that the glue will be completely removed by the trimming process.
  • When refolding jobs against the backbone, position the stitches so that they do not overlap each other after folding. This will help prevent the stitches from stressing the paper and possibly ripping out.
  • When folding against the backbone, stress on the internal and external pages increase with product thickness, which results in more wrinkling, push out, gusseting, and possible tearing of the backbone.

Mechanical Binding
  • Wire-O Binding
    • Allow sufficient margin on the bind edge so that copy does not get punched through. For books that bulk less than 1/2”, copy needs to be placed a minimum of 3/8” away from the spine. Books bulking 1/2” or more require that the copy be placed 1/2” away from the spine.
    • If you collate your product prior to sending it to Bindagraphics, make certain that all the pages are the same size. If there are short pages within the product, to Bindagraphics may have to punch first before collating.
    • If you slip-sheet your job, make certain the slip-sheets are the same size as the job.
    • If the covers are the same size as the text, save time and money by gathering them with your text which also eliminates the need for slip-sheets.
  • Spiral Wire Binding
    • Position type 1/2” away from bind edge of sheet to avoid punching copy or type.
    • Please note that spiral wire or plastic coil products are not the best solution for cross page alignments.
    • If you collate your product prior to sending it to Bindagraphics, make certain that all the pages are the same size. If there are short pages within the product, to Bindagraphics may have to punch first before collating.
    • Uncoated silver wire has a tendency to mark when it rubs against some paper stocks.
    • If you slip-sheet your job, make certain the slip-sheets are the same size as the job.
    • If the covers are the same size as the text, save time and money by gathering them with your text which also eliminates the need for slip-sheets.

Ultraviolet "UV" Coating
  • Make certain that the inks or coatings used are free of waxes, anti-oxidants, and mineral oils or the UV coating will have an "orange peel" appearance and it's scuff resistance will be reduced. Watch out for the silicone content of the ink that you plan to use. A high silicone level will cause poor adhesion between the ink and the UV coating.
  • Call your ink manufacturer and request inks that are specially formulated for use with UV coating.
  • Clay or enamel coated stocks are the best paper surfaces for UV coating. Uncoated stock will yellow and absorb the coating resulting in greatly diminished, if any, high gloss affect. UV coated stocks lighter than 60# cover tends to curl and crack when folded.

Film Laminating
  • Specify "layflat" nylon film to avoid curling of the finished piece.
  • Take care in selecting the appropriate weight of film laminate when downstream operations require folding. A 10 mil. Film, for example would be impossible to fold. The best would be to use a 1.5mil.
  • Films tend to have trouble sticking to uncoated or heavily textured stocks, because it is difficult for the film to get down into the valleys of the paper.
  • As with most coatings, film lamination yields the best result when used over wax and silicone free inks and varnishes. If some wax or silicon is present in your ink or varnish, ask your finisher to run a test.
  • Foil stamping is best done prior to laminating. However, a stampable polyester film is available which accepts foil more readily than other films.
  • For projects that require gluing as a down stream operation, specify a glueable film laminate.

Foil Stamping

Typesetting Tips

  • In general, larger text sizes work better than smaller.
  • ‘Fill in’ is a term used to describe bridging between the open areas of a character, or between two characters, which affects the legibility of the text and overall appearance.
  • Copy sizes that are too large can present problems with ‘air entrapment’ on heavily coated or laminated stocks that can cause the foil to adhere improperly or not adhere at all.
  • As a general rule, you can utilize smaller type sizes on coated stocks versus softer, more coarse or textured uncoated stocks.
  • The hot stamping die will deboss into the softer, uncoated stock much more easily and can potentially cause ‘fill in’.
  • Typefaces generally appear bolder when foiled, don’t track or kern too tightly.
  • It is a good rule of thumb to set type loosely and with more leading than you might ordinarily consider.
  • With embossing, if the letters are close to each other, create more space (kerning) to allow for the bevel (the edge of an embossed or debossed area made to a specific angle to the paper plane).

It is always best to communicate with your foil stamper first to help you determine the type parameters on your specific job and stock.

  • For roll folds, the outer two panels should be the same size as the final piece.
  • A rule of thumb for folding text weight stock is that each successive interior panel should decrease in width by 3/32'. The innermost panel should be 1/16" smaller than the one immediately preceding it. These figures may vary based on stock bulk.
  • For gatefolds, allow 1/8" total gap between gate folded panels (1/16" each side).
  • Plan gatefold projects to run one-up on folding machinery.
  • Don't ignore the paper thickness. Poor panel sizing decision can cause wraparound and push-out problems.
  • On a complicated folding project where registration is critical; a sample of the blank stock to be used should be folded into samples so as to see how the paper will react to the various folds.

Remoistenable Glue
  • Different stocks absorb remoistenable glue differently. Be careful when applying glue to uncoated stocks; matte or coated stocks are better.
  • Remoistenable glue doe not adhere well to coatings or ink. Before applying glue to UV, wax based ink, metallic ink, or varnish, a test should be made.
  • Do not apply hot melt remoistenable glue to products that will be run through laser printers; use water-based glue instead.

Kit Folders
  • Use a 3/4” glue tab to allow enough trap for glue squeeze, particularly when using coated stocks. Glue on a coated stock tends to spread out more as opposed to using uncoated stock.
  • We recommend placing the glue tab on the body of the folder so that any glue draw or pucker won’t show up on the face of the folder.

  • When supplying printed tabs that get Mylar, avoid excessive amounts of press powder because it can affect the adhesion of the Mylar.
  • When Mylar is attached to a tab, it is heated in excess of 350° which can make some conventional inks look like tie die on most stocks. Use heat-resistant and wax -free inks and varnishes when supplying printed tabs to help eliminate this problem.
  • Porous stocks are optimum for Mylar jobs because air has the ability to escape into the paper. Uncoated, 110# index stock is the most commonly used. Coated stocks, along with heavy ink coverage, can trap air and create bubbles that can distort the readability of the tab.

Hi-Die projects
  • Hi-Die is more efficient than individual die cutting.
  • We can cut a variety of substrates including paper, plastic, & paperboard.
  • Our multiple machines give us added flexibility to serve our customers.
  • Our minimum size is 13/16" x 13/16" & our maximum size is 13" x 15".
  • We can handle over 1 million per day!