Sunday, September 12, 2010

Binding- That Other Method

So far I've completed 12 volumes in my ongoing quest to bind my comic book collection. I figured it was time for an update, both because I have a bit more of an idea what I'm doing now, and because my current mission has required a change in approach.

As you may recall, I was sewing each individual issue on to tapes to form the book block. I'm very happy with the results I've been getting and will be using this wherever possible. I'm currently binding my Spawn collection (120 issues, plus the relevant minis and crossovers), which created one major problem. Unlike DC and Marvel, Image group all their ads at the back of the book. This means that in order to cut out all the ads, you're left with half the issue being loose pages. While I've been able to work around the occassional loose page in the past, trying to do that with 50%+ of the pages would require a ton of time and effort, and probably wouldn't look that good in the end. Which brings us to the other method of sewing your book together.

Instead of sewing each issue through the middle, the whole lot get sewn down the side, like so:

It's a very common method, and if you send books to a pro it's probably what they'll do. It's much faster (I can prep and sew 30 issues in an afternoon), and can be done by machine (not that I have one) so it's not as labour intensive as the other method. There's one immediately obvious flaw to it- by sewing through the margin you are losing part of the page. Not an issue for older comics that printed with margins on the page, but with comics these days you can count on missing things, particularly with double page spreads. Also unlike the other method, this one is essentially irreversable. Rebinding it would mean even more page loss. Still, it's the best/only method for sewing loose leaves together.

This is a little workstation I threw together for binding. The bit on the right is for opening out comics and piercing the spines.

On the left side, I've drilled holes so that I can pierce the margin of a comic, but still have it all supported.

The holes are an inch apart. I've actually found less info on this method online, so as always the way I'm doing things is a combination of info from various sources, and guesswork.

I have a little guide on the base to line up where the holes will go, as well as a top sheet to guide the spacing. Then it's time to get mutilating.

I find it hard to gauge how far in to make the holes- too little space and it will be prone to pages ripping out, but there's the gutter loss issue, so...

With that done, it's time to remove the staples. I figure it's smarter to remove the staples last, since they hold the book together while I punch the holes ;)

That leaves the comic in two parts- the pages with ads on one half, and the pages without.

I leave as much of the book intact as possible- no point in cutting pages in half if you're not removing content, and plus it seems logical (to me anyway) that the uncut pages will be stronger/less likely to fall out since they're essentially getting bound in two places. But then, like everything I'm doing here, it's just a guess ;) Time to remove those pesky ads!

I'm actually keeping the parts I remove, and I plan on binding the letter collumns into their own volume, since Todd ran a pretty entertaining show.

As I prep the issues, they get put on a couple of hat pins, so that there aren't loose pages all over the place

With all that done, it's time to sew. Remember to follow the same direction that the holes were made, as going the opposite way is next to impossible. I'm just looping from one hole to the next here- there may be a better/stronger way but I haven't found it yet.

Even following the direction of the holes, you're gonna need tools to help. I have no idea how many issues should be getting bound together- in this case they're getting broken up into 15-issue groups.

It shouldn't require a huge amount of force, but it's much easier on the fingers.

Just like that, we have a finished book block:

Note: don't borrow your mother's needles to do this, because they will get beat up

With two blocks done, the next step it to put them together. A bit of glue just to secure things...

...and then a vice to secure them

Obviously glue on it's own isn't going to be enough, so the two parts need to be sewn together.

Also, a bit of extra glue never hurt anybody ;)

That's that. From there, it's entirely the same process as before to make the cover etc. The only difference being the lack of tapes, so it's up to the cloth to hold everything together (which sofar hasn't been a problem).

Next update I'll show a little trick I learned with making the covers. Until then, try not to stab yourself in the finger (trust me, it hurts).