Thermal binding is a method of binding a book, pamphlet or note pad without the need for a cover or book spine. Thermal binding eliminates the need for need for holes, threading and time-consuming insertion of pages into a book spine as with the other methods of bookbinding.
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Thermal binding is applied by using heat to bind together the sticky edges of a stack of paper. A large amount of meltable adhesive or plastic is used on both the front and back of the sheet of paper along the edge, the "sticky" edges are lined up together and a thermal binding press is then used to administer heat and bind the sheets of paper together.
Because thermal binding creates a secure hold on the sheets of paper, the book or pamphlet that is thermally bound can be opened to lie flat. Because of this feature, thermal binding is used extensively for workbooks, study books and other types of books that are often required to lie open without being held down. This is also beneficial because it prevents the spine from being broken by users trying to get the books to lie flat.
Thermal binding that is done for tear-sheet note pads is performed a little differently from the original method of thermal binding. Because the purpose is to be able to easily rip pages from the notepad, the adhesive or plastic is melted only to the tiny, thin outer edge of the pieces of paper.
Book covers and spines can also be adhered to the book with the thermal binding technique. Because the heat used for thermal binding is only hot enough to melt the adhesive or plastic to bind the pages together but not hot enough to ignite a fire, it is safe to use on various different covering types, from linen coverings and spines to leather coverings and spines. Hard covers will require the use of a thermal binding machine with temperature adjustments so that the proper heat can be used to adhere to the hard cover.
Unless you are planning on thermally binding several books or pamphlets for resale or starting your own company for book publishing and writing, you may want to consider having your books or pamphlets thermally bound by professionals. Thermal-binding machines start at over £65 and go up to several thousand dollars, depending upon binding options and maximum output.
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