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Pease Bindery
111 Oakcreek Drive
Lincoln, NE 68528
Phone: (402) 476-1303
Fax: (402) 476-2978



Avoid (Un)Sticky Situations with Inks, Coatings and Adhesives

Like Red Sox and Yankees fans, inks, coatings and binding adhesives don’t always mix very well. The chemistry of these substances is to blame: While inks and coatings are designed to stay near the surface of the paper, glues work best when they can get as deep as possible among the fibers.

Book designs that call for heavy ink and coating coverage all the way into the spine pose the biggest challenges. However, they can be overcome with a little advance planning:

Keeping inks and coating out of the gutter can ensure the strength of finished books.

Solvent Degradation

This is the technical term for the chemical reaction between adhesives and inks or coatings, which prevents the adhesive from making a firm bond with the paper. Solvent degradation is of particular concern in projects with heavy varnish or UV coating coverage, and can result in poor adhesion quality and book longevity.

Adhesion and Sewing

The Smyth sewing process gives books superior durability and allows them to lay flat. Threads are sewn in the middle of the signatures and then each signature is sewn together. To keep everything together, the sewn block is then “back glued,” using a thin layer of adhesive applied to the spine. This process prevents the threads from unraveling.

Inks and coatings can compromise the glue adhesion and, subsequently, the strength and durability of Smyth sewn books. On the outside of each signature leave an area free from inks and coatings at least 1/16" on both sides of the spine area.

In a process called tipping, the separate end-sheets are attached to the front and back pages of the book. In the final stage of the case binding process, glue is used to join the case (cover) to the book block by the end-sheets. But solvent degradation can occur at this stage, too. Tipping end-sheets to the front and back pages of text also requires an ink- and coating-free space of ¼” from the spine.

Perfect Binding

To help alleviate the possibility of solvent degradation on case-in adhesive-bound books, keep all coatings at least ¼” from the spine. This allows for a 1/8” for grind off and an extra 1/8” for glue adhesion. While not all book designs allow for coatings to be kept free of the spine area, this is the surest way to achieve the best adhesion.

The Pease Advantage

At Pease Bindery, we specialize in high quality hardcover case binding and hard and softcover Smyth sewn binding. Our experienced planning and production personnel will help you create the strongest, most durable and attractive books possible.

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