Padding, in printing-house or bookbinding terms, is a method of binding.

It sometimes has a poor reputation, but need not: hence my wish to share some notes on techniques. Please write with any additional helpful comments.

In the past, and very occasionally nowadays, padding goes wrong. The extent of the resuting disaster depends on the importance of the finished product ~ a notepad or shopping list might be forgiven for falling apart ~ a published book provides a clear case for complaint.

Those involved in padding items for other people need to be clear as to the recipient's expectations. Use of our suggested wordings might not be clear. They are a start towards clarity for maker and receiver (which is very important when payment or reputation is involved).

I siggest three types of padding. For simplicity we call them no-fan ~ one-fan ~ two-fan, or simple ~ moderate ~ secure.

Making simple, no-fan padding, involves ~ lining up all the sheets to be glued ~ applying the glue to one end of the pile ~ waiting ~ (splitting ~) finished.

One-fan involves ~ lining up all the sheets to be glued ~ spreading one end of the sheets out by rolling them over by around 90 degrees ~ glue ~ straighten out ~ lightly press ~ leave ~ finished.

Two-fan requires ~ lining up all the sheets to be glued ~ spreading one end of the sheets out by rolling them over well beyond 90 degrees (170 if possible) ~ glue ~ straighten out ~ turn over the entire pile ~ roll the other way ~ glue again ~ hard squeeze ~ lightly press ~ leave ~ wait ~ finish.

Whichever method used can employ several additions to the techniques used which will make them more secure.

First, some general comments ~


~ slip ~ most padding methods rely heavily on this

~ paste ~ fine, but rarely to hand on most workbenches

~ PVA ~ excellent ~ strength increases with thickness of application

~ EVA ~ excellent ~ more flexible than PVA, and very runny

~ woodworkers' PVA ~ dries very hard and brittle which is good tear off notebooks (provided it is not applied too thickly

~ glue stick ~ good, but must be fresh and not dried-up


~ uncoated papers and thin cards (most paper such as ordinary office papers)

~ coated papers (most glossy papers are coated with china clay, which can delaminate from the paper-fibres)

~ laminated or hydrophobic materials will require special glues, none of which are mentioned above, since most of them have no slip


~ every competent craftsperson, in order to qualify for the title competent, has to be patient. The safest answer to "How long?" is "Overnight" (as always!)

~ for paste ~ certainly overnight

~ for the others ~it depends on how thickly you apply the glue, and how quickly it is absorbed by the paper and fully sets. Your experience will help...I hope it is not gained at too many impatient slip-ups.

~ remember touch-dry for paint may mean you can touch it, but try lifting a touch dry door from the bench and you run the risk of smudging it. If you have to move glued items (from the workbench to a side storage table) then do it immediately on completion of glueing. Any shift of position can be rectified before the glue starts to set. Once the glue has begun hardening it may not re-bond satisfactorily since it will be too dry.






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