Bookbinding is an ancient process still used in modern times. It involves attaching each page to a bind, so that it creates a book. It is very important to use the right type of adhesives in bookbinding, which all depends on the type of paper that is being used and the type of book that is being created. While bookbinding started as a crude science in the 19th century, it has now been refined to create beautiful works of art.
Types of Bookbinding Adhesives
- Animal glue, which is a protein colloid adhesive. It is made when collagen from bones, skin, tendons and other animal tissue goes through hydrolysis. A sturdy molecular bond is made with whatever object is being glued through the protein content. It comes in a powder, granules or flake. Most of the time, it is used in bookbinding, book conservation and book restaurant in antiquarian books.
- Wheat paste, which a general purpose type of glue, most suited for binder's boards, leather and paper. It also works really well for paper to paper purposes, for instance in repairing corners and torn pages, bookplates, hinging and so on. Wheat paste adhesives include methylcellulose and PVA.
- Rice starch, which has one of the best water retention properties of all adhesives. A transparent film is formed when it is applied to an object. It can be used in the same way as wheat paste.
- General purpose PVA (polyvinyl acetate), or school glue, wood glue or white glue. This is one of the most common types of glues out there. It is not often used in professional bookbinding applications, being more common for box making. However, it enjoys some popularity for fixing art canvases, repairing ceramic objects, sticking cloth to leather and wood or paper to paper gluing.
- Methyl cellulose, which is used very frequently for sizing fabrics and papers, but also for bookbinding, cleaning off and loosening old glue from book boards and spines and giving marbling paper thickening water baths.
- Hot melt adhesives, or HMA, which is a type of adhesive that is thermoplastic. When purchased, it is a solid cylindrical stick and a hot glue gun is then used to melt and dispense it. The glue is pushed forward via a mechanical trigger, at which point it touches the continuous duty heating element, where it melts. It hardens again within just a few seconds. Within bookbinding, it is generally used in the production of pulp paper books.
If you are interested in the process of bookbinding, it is very important that you learn about the different types of adhesives used in the industry first. You cannot use the same glue for different applications, with books such as the Bible requiring very different adhesives than the latest edition of Vogue, for instance. This is why you need to spend some time researching the different options that are out there before choosing the product most suitable to you. A good adhesive manufacturer or supplier should be able to give you all the information you need.