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What supplies do I need to bind my documents with comb bindings?

posted this on Jul 7, 2015

Plastic comb binding is easy, affordable, and it can help you produce great-looking documents. However, before you can use this binding method, you’re going to need to have some things to get started. Check out what you need to start binding with plastic combs.

  • Paper. One of the most important things you need to get started with plastic comb binding is your paper. Chances are you’ll be using 8.5” x 11” (letter-size) paper for your document which is just fine. Most of the available machines can handle this size. You can use white 20 lb. bond or you could used colored paper. If you want to use different sizes of paper, such as legal-size (8.5” x 14”) make sure your machine can handle it. (We’ll talk about binding machines in a moment.) If you want to save time, you can purchase sheets that have been punched for use with comb binding machines.
  • Covers. Using the right covers is an important part of producing a professional-looking document. For one document, you’ll need a front and back cover. There are many different types of covers to choose from including leatherette, regency, recycled poly, and even holographic ones if you want to give your work a unique look. Covers come in a variety of thicknesses and colors such as black, red, blue, and so on. Clear covers are particularly helpful because readers will be able to see the title of your document. They also look great.
  • Binding combs. If you’re going to use a bookbinding machine, you’re definitely going to need plastic binding combs. As you’re probably aware, most combs are about 12” long for use with letter-sized documents. The combs come in different thicknesses so you can bind short and long documents. (The thickest combs can bind up to 425 pages.) Different colors are available as well. There are some combs that are made for use with legal- and half-sized sheets if you want to avoid using letter-sized paper. However, if you want to work with those combs, you need to look for a machine with a couple of special features. Which brings us to….
  • The machine. Finally, you’re going to need to select a machine. The most basic elements of a device are the paper punch, comb opener, punching handle, and punching dies. Most machines can handle letter-sized paper. That said, you should look for a machine with disagreeable punching dies and an open throat so you can work with different sizes of paper. Some optional features that can make your job easier include a comb selector, adjustable depth of punch settings, and so on. Make sure you check out the device’s punching and bookbinding capacities before buying anything. You want to make sure you get a machine that can work with your supplies.
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