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What should I know about Comb Binding?

posted this on Jul 15, 2015

Although there are more than a dozen common desktop binding styles available on the market, more users choose comb binding than any other style. This may be due to the fact that comb binding has been around the longest. Or it could be that comb binding is the most accessible binding style (equipment and supplies are available at most office supply stores). Whatever the reason, this article will introduce you to six important facts about comb binding that will help you to determine if this binding style is correct for you. 

  1. Sizes: Plastic binding combs are available in a number of sizes for virtually any project. The smallest size of combs available is three sixteenths of an inch. These are ideal for documents that are just a few pages long. The largest size of combs is two inches and can handle documents with as many as 400 sheets of paper. Combs that are 1.25″ or larger are oval in shape while smaller combs are round.
  2. Colors: Spines are also available a huge variety of colors to match your company logo or the color of your report cover. The most common colors are black, white, navy blue and clear. However, combs are available in over a dozen colors. If you can’t find the color that you need you can have combs flood printed with a PMS color or you can custom order an extrusion of another color. However, PMS flood printing is expensive and an extrusion of a custom color will require huge quantities (often between 10,000 and 50,000 pieces).
  3. Hole Pattern: Plastic binding combs use a nineteen hole pattern that features rectangular holes that measure 9/16″ on center. These holes are used by virtually all plastic binding combs. However, this hole pattern can also be used with Komtrak Inspiral coils and with Spiral-O 19-ring wires.
  4. Finishing: Using your comb binding machine you will need to punch your sheets. However, in order to finish your documents, you will need to use a plastic comb opener. Many smaller comb binding systems include an opener on the top of the machine. Or, higher volume users will sometimes choose to use a stand-alone comb opening device. The comb opener will spread the combs so that you can insert the pages onto the fingers of the spine. The opener can also be used to edit bound documents if you ever need to add or remove pages from the book.
  5. Printing: It is also possible for you to buy plastic combs that are printed with your name or company logo. They can be foil stamped or can be silk screened. This is a popular option for annual reports, cook books and for financial documents produced by accountants. However, virtually anything can be printed on a comb as long as it will fit.
  6. The Finished Product: Documents bound with plastic combs will open flat on a table to allow for note taking or photocopying. The pages turn easily and the binding is secure. However, the spine of the document will not allow the pages to flip from the front of the book to the back (360 degree rotation).
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