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Q: My company lost out on a job recently because we couldn't find a bindery to step-index the finished books. Can Bindagraphics do it?

A: Yes. Bindagraphics has installed state-of-the-art step-indexing equipment. As far as I know, we're the only trade bindery in the mid-Atlantic region offering this service.

Step-indexing-also known as step-cutting and index-cutting-is applicable to almost any kind of product: saddle-stitched, perfect-bound, mechanically-bound or looseleaf.

The new equipment we've installed at Bindagraphics can step-index in several different styles. 

If you think Bindagraphics can help you win a quote with our new step-indexing capabilities, please give John McGee a call.

-Marty Anson

Stringing and Looping

Q: I had a customer call the other day, and he wanted a small-format piece die cut and either "stringed" or "looped." I found out that stringing (tag-stringing) means punching a small hole and inserting a string and knotting it on the ends.

But what is looping?

A: Looping is very uncommon. As a matter of fact, at Bindagraphics we have done it only once, and that was 8 to 10 years ago. And we did it by hand!

Basically, it is punching a hold, inserting the string or more commonly, wire, and tying it or twisting it at the end of the product, leaving two loose ends which the ultimate customer would use to tie the tag onto something else.

We have automatic stringers, but no loopers.

Estimating Manager

Ink Jet Applications

Q: I'm glad to hear, through your Post-Press Solutions newsletter (Number 10), that Bindagraphics has entered the ink-jet imaging business. But your article put almost all the emphasis on addressing. I purchase a lot of ink-jet imaging and most of it is not addressing. I hope you're going to serve the many other "niches" in this market, because we buyers don't have many sources.

A: We're trying to learn all we can about the very diverse applications users have for ink-jet capabilities. Here are three examples of recent inquiries we've received:

  1. Customer is an insurance company that produces a 16-page self-cover questionnaire, saddle stitched, drilled, and each page perforated the 11" way, 3/8" from the spine. Each booklet must be uniquely numbered by ink jet on each page, so when the pages are torn away from the performated stub, the number on the page will allow it to be associated with the correct respondent.

  2. A scratch-off project-2,000,000 copies. The requirement is to print two series of randomly-generated numbers side-by-side on each piece. We would then cover one series of numbers with a scratch-off material. The end user would scratch off the covering on a number, and if it matched the number next to it, he wins. The software that drives our ink jets is a perfect way to guarantee absolutely random numbering, the correct number of potential winning pairs, and total secrecy.

  3. Newsletter for a non-profit. Although this project includes addressing, it also uses ink-jet imaging to personalize the newsletter.  This format, which incorporates a return envelope in a self-mailer newsletter, is not new, but it has been prohibitively expensive unless at least several hundred thousand copies were printed on a web with in-line finishing. We're working with printer partners to make the format available to smaller organizations (our first user has fewer than 25,000 members).

Binding Terminology

Q: Mr. Anson, your explanation [Solutions Number 10] of the difference between Otabind® and Perfect Binding was very helpful to me.  I recently shifted over from selling paper to selling printing, and I guess I underestimated how much I'd need to know about bindery operations. But now I see by the back cover of Post-Press Solutions, where you list your services, that I've still got more to learn. Notch binding? Sewing? How about Lesson 2?

A: First, distinguish between hard cover and soft cover books. Hard cover books are usually "case bound." meaning that signatures are enclosed between covers made of cardboard encased in a cover material (which may be leather, cloth, etc.). Signatures may be sewn or glued together and to the cover spine. Bindagraphics is not in the case-bound business, but for some customers we do sew signatures together within a soft-cover book.

"Perfect Binding" refers to soft cover books with flat spines. The term dates back to 1911, when the Sheridan Bookbinding Company introduced a machine that it called "The perfect way to bind a magazine." The term "perfect binding" technically should be used only when a hot-melt adhesive is applied to the signatures' spine.

"Notch binding" or "burst binding" is also a form of adhesive binding, but instead of milling off the folds by 1/8-inch to expose the individual leaves for gluing, deep perforations are made from the inside of the signatures on the spine prior to the last fold. In the binding process, glue is pushed up into the perforations, thus holding the pages, and then the cover is applied.

-Marty Anson

Dear Sales/Service Manager:
Incredible Service!!! That is my initial thought when I think of Bindagraphics. Over the last months you guys have been performing miracles for our company, without a problem. The deadlines we require are unreasonable, at best, but somehow your company always comes through. I am the sales representative for ***Bank and I know when you perf and glue applications they will be both right and on time. My SSR does a super job. He is to be congratulated for his outstanding efforts.

In addition, another employee needs special recognition for bailing me out of a tough situation recently. FedX miss-delivered a package to one of my customers and the situation became serious very quickly. Unfortunately, all this was taking place after hours, about 7:30 one evening. In desperation, I called Bindagraphics to see if there was anything your company could do, since you were perfect binding my book for me. The second shift supervisor answered the phone, researched the situation, put together some books for me and got a Fedex shipment out for delivery the next morning in New York. Certainly, you guys were busy, but in my mind, Bindagraphics went above and beyond the call of duty to meet customer requirements. He was friendly and willing to jump through hoops to make the shipment happen. The shipment arrived the next morning and we looked like heroes, thanks to your efforts!

As a sales person, I tend to recognize good service, so when great service comes along-you really recognize it! Please extend my thanks to everyone that makes Bindagraphics one awesome bindery. Keep up the great work.

Best Regards'
Ken Kumpe
Washburn Graphics Inc.


  • Design

  • Paper

  • Substance (ink, foil, etc.)

  • Process (printing, foiling, embossing, emgraving, etc.)

It seems that the communication between these four areas has deteriorated over the years... My observation is that... the instruction given to people entering these "specializations" is mostly limited to information relating specifically to that specification, with little consideration to its effect in combination with the other categories.

Many are the stories of the designer who creates the graphics, the paper is chosen, the substance specified and a process approved. Then it is discovered, for some reason or the other, that they do not work together-the paper causes problems, the ink won't dry, etc.

Then comes the finger-pointing. "Why didn't you tell me...?"

All of which should (and could) have been solved at the beginning of the project if all four parties had communicated the proper information. Hopefully there will always be more people able to sell the proper products in these four areas than there are "order takers."


-Merrill Brown,

Crane & Company, Inc.

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