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How do I bind a document using Wire-O binding?

posted this on Jul 1, 2015

If you are looking for a highly professional and elegant binding style, you might be considering twin loop wire binding (also called wire-o, double loop or double-o binding). This binding style uses a piece of coated steel wire that is bent into a c-shape to provide an excellent and professional bound look to documents, presentations and proposals. This type of binding provides and excellent look and feel. However, if you have never bound a document with wire-o binding, you might be a little bit confused as to how this binding style works. Here is a quick step by step guide to binding documents with twin loop wire:

  1. The first step to binding documents using double loop wire is to prepare your document. If you are going to use paper or plastic binding covers, you should assemble your books with the covers in place. You will often find that your punch will be more effective if you punch the covers as part of the book instead of by themselves (if you are using oversize covers you will need to punch them by themselves since they are not the same size as the pages from your document). After you have assembled your document, you need to measure your book so that you can choose the correct size of binding wire for your presentation. In order to choose the correct size of wire-o spine, just measure the thickness of the document (do not compress the pages) and add 1/8” to allow your pages to move freely. If your document is less than 5/8”, then you will use 3:1 pitch wire and if it is 5/8” or thicker you will need to use 2:1 pitch wire.
  2. The second step to binding documents with twinloop wire is to set up your wire binding machine. Setting up your punch really isn’t that hard. However, you will need a few pieces of blank paper for testing your machine. You will notice that the binding table on your machine should have a paper guide to help you insert the paper so that the holes will be centered on the page. Most machines will have a marking on the binding table for the most common sizes of paper. This marking is a starting point to getting your machine set up. Simply move the paper guide to the correct marking, insert a sheet of paper into the punching slot and pull the punching handle on the side of the machine (or press the punching button if your machine is electric). After you have done this, take the piece of punched paper and fold it in half to check and see if the holes line up. If you notice that you have a half hole hanging over the edge of the document you may need to pull one of the punching pins above the punching slot to prevent that pin from punching. If all the holes are lined up and centered you are ready to punch your documents, if they don’t, you will need to move the paper guide and punch another piece of paper until you get the document set up.
  3. After your machine is set up, you are ready to punch your document. For best results, it is important that you separate your books into small sections. To prolong the life of your punch you should not try to punch the maximum capacity of your punch with every lift. Depending on the machine that you have you will most likely be able to punch between 10-15 pages per lift although some smaller machines may not be able to punch this many pages. Just remember that by punching smaller lifts, you can prevent paper jams and actually increase your productivity. As you punch the sections of your document, simply stack them up beside the punch so that they are ready to have the plastic combs added to them. It is often helpful to offset stack the documents to make them easier to pick up during when you insert the pages onto the wires.
  4. Now that your documents are punched, the next step is to insert them onto the double loop wires. Most twin loop wire binding machines have a wire hanger built into them. There should be either a set of hooks on the front of the machine or a small section of the machine that will lift up to allow you to slide your wire binding element into place. Simply place your wire binding spine into the wire holder and then place the holes of your document onto the fingers of the c-shaped binding spine. If your book is small, you may be able to insert the entire book onto the wire in one motion. However, if the book is larger you might need to split the document into smaller sections in order to make the inserting process more manageable.
  5. The final step in binding your documents with twin loop wire is to carefully move the wire off the wire hanger and to the wire closer. Being sure that the wire closer is set to the appropriate wire diameter place the twin loop wire into the wire closer with open part of the C facing up. Then pull the wire closer handle allowing the closer to squeeze the wire into a round shape, finishing the binding.

After you have finished one book you can simply repeat the process for each proceeding book. One thing to keep in mind when binding books with wire is that if you initially bind the back cover on the front of your book you can flip it around to the back when you are finished the binding to hide the binding spine giving your documents a more professional look.

Here is the audio transcript for this video:

Welcome to MyBinding's "How To" videos. Today's topic: how to wire bind. All machines and systems are a little bit different. But we'll do a demonstration here on this Akiles WireMac 421.

Bind a book with 2:1 pitch twin loop wire. The 2:1 just refers to two holes punched for every inch. Every wire binding machine will have a punch where you punch holes into your project. With the WireMac, it's here at the top. You slide your papers into the throat of the punch and then you adjust the side margin control knob. Side margin control is simply a way of locking down a setting so that all papers are punched in the same place throughout your entire project. Some machines have adjustable dies, which allow you to remove a certain pin or a punch so that you can use different size papers and have total control over what gets punched and where, making sure there's no half-punches. Some machines have manual punches where you pull down a lever. Some are electronic punches where you push a button. If you like your first punch, continue punching through the rest of your project with the same settings. And depending upon the thickness of your project, you may want to change the depth of margin with the depth margin control knob, if your machine has one. A bigger margin allows for more strength. When you've punched through everything, assemble your project. It's time to bind.

In wire binding, there's a little trick that makes your finished product look even better. Take the back page and flip it around to face the front page. That way in the end, the seam where the bind comes together will be hidden between the cover and the back pages. Most wire binding systems will have some sort of built-in measuring tools to help you choose the right size wire for your thickness of project. Almost all systems will have a built-in fence that you can drape your wire spine over in order to hold it as you thread your project onto it. As you can see, this can be a little tricky. It does take some getting used to, but you'll get the hang of it. When ready, remove your project and its spine from the fence, it's time to close. And when it comes to the closer, be sure to set it according to the size wire spine you'll be using. Under-closed or over-closed wires do not work or look very nice. You place your book and its spine with the "C" shape of the spine facing down into the closer. And you clamp it closed.

And there it is, you're all set. And that's the fundamentals of how to wire bind. For more articles, how to's, demos, and reviews of all things binding, check out MyBinding.com.

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