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What are my options for binding thick documents?

Jeff McRitchie posted this on Jul 16, 2015

When it comes to binding thick documents, you might think your options are limited. Luckily, that’s not the case. Here are several ways you can bind thick documents:

  1. Plastic comb bindingPlastic comb binding is perfect for long documents. The largest combs are 2” in diameter and can bind up to 425 pages. The big combs are oval-shaped instead of circular and they have locks on them to keep your document together. Also, plastic combs come in a number of different colors.
  2. Color coil binding. If you enjoy working with color coils, you’ll be happy to know that they can be used to bind thick books. Like plastic combs, they can be used to bind documents containing 400+ pages. Be aware that binding thick documents with coils can be tricky. It might take a bit of practice before you can do it successfully.
  3. Wire binding. Wire binding is one of the best ways to make any document look elegant. There are some wire spines that are 1.5” thick and they can bind as many as 300 pages. These wire spines require a 2:1 pitch hole pattern (i.e. 2 holes E Titan Comb Heavy Duty Electric Comb Binding Machinepunched per inch) so you’ll need to make sure that the binding machine you’re using can produce this hole pattern.
  4. Thermal binding. Another bookbinding method you should consider is thermal binding. This method makes documents look like they’ve been professionally bound which is a major plus if you need to impress someone. There are some thermal binding supplies that can bind up to 500 pages. These supplies can also be customized.
  5. Unibind. Unibind machines are very similar to thermal binding devices because the supplies used must be activated with heat. These machines require special Unibind supplies which can bind as many as 340 sheets of paper. Unibind machines and supplies are ideal if you need to put together photobooks.
  6. GBC Velobind and SureBind. GBC Velobind and Surebind devices are perfect for binding a lot of thick documents. Some of these systems can bind work that’s 3” thick. That’s equivalent to 750 pages. The supplies needed for these devices are affordable so they’re a great choice if you need to stick to a budget. Just be aware that it’s very difficult to edit your documents later on.
  7. Screw posts. Using screw posts is a good idea if your work is particularly long and if you need to save money. Screw posts can bind books that are up to 5” thick and if you use an extender, you can bind even more pages. Best of all, these supplies are easy to use and don’t really require any special equipment except a hole punch. (Or a paper drill if you need to punch holes in large stacks of paper.)