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



Smyth Sewing: All About Strength

Following a few guidelines for Smyth sewn binding will result in books that last.

Smyth sewing is a favorite binding solution for publishers because it’s flexible yet durable. Common applications include art and photography books, case-bound directories, and children’s books. There are some planning guidelines to keep in mind to ensure your Smyth sewn book is built to last.

Avoid perfing signatures

Often printers perforate the signature folds on adhesive binding projects to remove air from signatures during folding. This should be avoided for Smyth sewing projects, as perforations on the spine remove too much paper for strong sewing. Only light perforations (more paper than perforation) may be applied to the head to maintain the integrity of the signature for machine processing.

Keep signatures uniform

Signatures must be uniform in size and trim margins to run as efficiently as possible on the binding equipment. Projects without uniform signatures may require costly and time-consuming hand production.

Remember grain direction

Print your signatures with the grain direction of all pages parallel to the spine. Pages will expand after binding as moisture enters the paper fibers. Paper grain bound perpendicular to the spine will be restricted from this natural expansion, causing distortion to the spine text pages.

Leave space for glue

After each signature is sewn together, a thin layer of glue is applied to the spine of the sewn signatures. This is called 'back gluing' or 'gluing off' and offers additional strength and durability to the book by locking the signatures together and preventing the threads from unraveling. To ensure proper glue adhesion, be sure to leave an area free from inks and coatings at least 1/16" on both sides of the spine area on the outside of each signature.

The Pease Advantage

At Pease Bindery, we can produce a wide range of Smyth sewn book sizes with both hard and soft covers. We offer numerous decorative options for your covers, including foil stamping, film laminating, and cloth and imitation leather materials. Contact the binding experts at Pease for help with planning your next book project.

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