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GRA420: Binding and Finishing II_ Winter2015
January 22, 2015: Lecture#2
• One of the biggest first run books was the Da Vinci Code. There were 5 million first run books.
• The record for the longest first run edition for hard cover book was Harry Potter: Deathly Hollow. 12
million copies were made in the first print
• The first process in booking making starts with collating signatures together into a book block
• In case bound it is usually gathered or collated.
• Gathering: taking signatures and placing them on top of one another. The spine of each signatures are
facing one direction
• Inserting: taking a signature and inserting it in one another
• For case bound books, we gathering or collate
• The signatures can either be sheet fed offset printed and folded by some folder OR they may have come
off a web press that has a finishing unit at either end of the press. These signatures can be done in many
• These folded signatures come together on palettes and stacked up in a pre-storage area. These palettes
have to fed into the actual machines. So there is one feeder (pockets) for every signature. Some of these
machines will come with 40 pockets to hold 40 different signatures. Each of the signatures goes into the
pocket and they are separated, because they are all stacked up in the pocket, and deposited one at a
time onto the raceway (the conveyer belt). The conveyer belt has little slots (pushers) that push against
one edge of the signature (pushes it down the raceway). Each feeder deposits one signature at a time
and continues down the raceway.
• Feeders can be automatic but in most cases people run between the palette and a pocket
• If you have too many signatures and not enough pockets, so a lot of the collators have a part block
feeder at the front edge. At the beginning, there may be a start conveyer belt that is open, then a human
can take a signature or maybe multiple that are already collated together and placed onto the conveyer.
Do not use often because the speed of the machine slows down due to the slowness of the human.
• Sometimes you can run the job of a machine twice. Ex: lets say we only have 20 pockets but 40
signatures, so put the first 20 signatures together and put them in storage palette then reload the whole
thing and take what came off the delivery the first time and bring it around the collator and set up the
pockets for the next 20 signatures.
• The collator can be a stand-alone machine or you can have the machines that make the signatures can
be hooked up OR instead of having the delivery going onto the palette you can have it go onto the next
step in the binding line. You can build machines and link them together
• 2nd: Collating Gathering:
• This is what might look like. There is a palette of signatures that is going into the pockets and then inside
the machine is where each signature is take out from the bottom of the palette and put on the race-
wagon. There may be many people working here. Very labour intensive.
• Because this a care bound book, it is gathered, so no need for a lip. The signatures are not going to
open so no lip
• These people need to open up the bundles. Bundles can be banded or on rotated stacks. You need to
think about what is happening before and after so you can band everything together, to make it easy for
operators to get the bundles. Also there are machines that can roll up the signatures and feed directly
into the pockets, so it is one big roll of folded signatures. In the pockets, you can only stack a small
amount before it is too much pressure. So the pockets can have 50-120 depending on the thickness on
the signatures. These are vertical pocket feeders. There are horizontal feeders where the stack is laid
down on its spine and it is pushed towards the machine. Horizontal can hold more signatures.
• 3rd: Feeder Variants:
• There are a couple of designs for these feeders. The pincher/gripper feeder and there is a drum feeder.
They work in a similar way. The pincher feeder has magazines in the pocket and are stacked with the
spine towards the bar and that stack is held over top of this opening by the pile support (the fingers that
hold the spine edge from falling through the crack. So the first thing that happens is that the fingers
moves out of the way, allowing the spine to be exposed. Second, the sucker tilts up and grabs near the
spine and takes just the bottom signature and sucks it down. The rest of the signatures is supported by
the pocket. The pincher/grippers comes up and grabs the spine and pulls it away from the pocket and
down and places it on the race-wagon (on an angle so the spine is forced by gravity down into the
registration). It is pushed by the little pushers into the race-wagon. The spine get pushes against the
actual support at the bottom of the tray by grabbing. The other point of reference (registration) is when
the pusher pushes it down the race wagon and pushes it into the “screen”.
• The drum design works the same work. There is a pocket with magazines that holes and the pile support
gets out of the way just so it can get one signature at a time. The sucker grabs one pile from the bottom
of the pile and it get it down just enough so the gripper on the drum can grab the spine. Once it is on the
gripper, the gripper drags it around the drum onto the race-wagon (angled). Then a pusher pushes it
down the race-wagon.
• Three-point registration are maintained at the bottom of the race-wagon (2 points) and the 3rd being at
• 4th: Thread Sewing: After the signatures are collated, we need to bind them in some way. We can do a
sewn book, perfect bound or adhesive bound book. In this care, we have a Smyth Sewing Machine.
Some of the best-bound books are sewn and it is expensive because it is a slower process. Generally for
thread sewing, we have to stitch the actual signatures together and apply glue to the book block (spine)
then apply gauze. The gauze over-laps by 2 cm so we have extra reinforcement that over-laps the actual
spine. Sometimes we back-strip to the back of the spine. Because this is going onto another process, we
can’t just let wet glue go into another machine, so we will apply backing (paper that sticks onto the glue
so glue doesn’t get everywhere). This machine doesn’t apply a cover.
• 5th: Endpaper Tipping and Pasting: