Bookbinding with PUR and Hot Melt

What is bookbinding?

Bookbinding is the process of connecting individual pages of a book into a single volume. The history of bookbinding started in the first century with religious codices that were printed on vellum and bound. This technique was the beginning to bookbinding and the same concept is still used today.

How did the bookbinding process evolve?

Before the invention of Gutenberg’s printing press the art of bookbinding was practiced mainly by monks who copied and recopied entire libraries. But in 1447 with the Gutenberg's invention it increased reproduction capabilities and allowed books finally to take to the streets, however all the binding was still done by hand. During the Nineteenth century techniques were developed to create paper out from wood pulp making the cost of paper significantly less. The biggest breakthrough in the advancement of bookbinding came during latter part of the Nineteenth and early Twentieth Century. In 1868, David McConnell Smyth patented the first sewing machines that were designed for bookbinding. Smyth went on to develop machines for gluing, trimming, case-making and casing-in during the next three decades. Many of his machines are still in use today.

The perfect binding was invented in 1895, but wasn’t used popularly for bookbinding until 1931 when Albatross Books first introduced paperback books. Soon Penguin Books followed in 1935 producing paperbacks in their classic books. Then Pocket Books in 1939, started producing its popular titles in the paperbacks, they caught on quickly and soon everyone was reading paperback books. However, the early perfect binding was done with cold glue which got brittle over time. But in 1940s the DuPont company developed a hot melt adhesive for the binding process, which made longer lasting books.

Fast forward to today, the techniques and technology has changed but bookbinding is still used today to compile information in a volume. The development of a hot melt adhesive for bookbinding dropped the cost of producing books greatly and allowed our world to become flooded with books.

Styles of Bookbinding

Bookbinding with Hot Melt and PUR

Perfect Binding: Perfect binding is a quick and inexpensive form of binding used mainly for binding paperback books. The pages are roughened at the edge of the text block. Then fast drying adhesive is applied to the roughened pages and the case or cover is attached without sewing.

PUR Binding: A spin off from perfect binding, due to the use of PUR, this hot melt adhesive is similar to EVA hot melts except it is made with a polyurethane reactive material. As the adhesive dries, a chemical reaction occurs naturally when exposed to the moisture in the air. This chemical reaction increases the book’s pull and flex strength. When PUR is used in bookbinding it makes books more durable, causes less wrinkling in the backbone and gives them excellent lie-flat quality. The disadvantages of using PUR is the cost is slightly higher but you use less adhesive per application and the curing time takes longer than. *PUR adhesive was approved for Otabind style binding also.

Other styles of binding to note: Cold Emulsion Binding, Double Shot Hot Melt Binding, Otabind, and Sewn Book Block w/ Soft Cover

Our most popular product for bookbinding is Power Adhesives TEC 1241F. This product was formulated as a high quality spine glue. TEC 1241F offers a high molten tack, long open time and adhesion to a wide range of paper and cover stocks. This product can be sprayed, roll coated or jetted. Contact us if you have any questions about Power Adhesives TEC 1241F or need dispensing equipment.

We carry both EVA and PUR adhesives for bookbinding. Need further help finding the correct adhesive for your books? Just give us a call 1-877-933-3343 or contact us here.

We don't carry our Bookbinding PUR online, you will need to contact us. 

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