Believe it or not, there is a reason that we have so many options for Coil Binding, so let’s dig in:
Round or Oval – unlike Wire Binding, Plastic Coil Binding uses only two hole shapes – round or oval. The vast majority of Coil Binding Machines use round holes, but oval holes are available for some models, such as the Akiles CoilMac Line as well as the Rhin-O-Tuff Interchangeable Die Punch machines.
Oval holes are ideal for binding larger books. Not only do they allow the pages to turn a bit easier, but they also make the coil inserting process a breeze.
4:1 & 5:1 – When Plastic Coil Binding hit the scene back in the early 1990s, almost every machine used a 5:1 (5 holes per inch) pattern. People quickly realized that the small hole and tight spacing made it difficult to bind and turn pages on a thicker book, so along came 4:1 – giving you a larger hole with wider spacing, making it easier to bind and use larger books.
For smaller books, 5:1 does look more professional; however, you max out at 20mm (180 sheets). Using a 4:1 pattern allows you to go all the way up to 50mm (460 sheets). Keep in mind that anything over a 30mm coil really should switch to an Oval pattern…but it is not required.
Other Patterns – To make matters even more confusing, you can also find 6mm patterns (which will work with 4:1 coil), 2.5:1, 3.12:1 and 3:1 patters. All of these (with the exception of 6mm) are used for very large books with custom plastic coil – think mega cookbooks or the Blue’s Clues Handy Dandy Notebook (forgive me, I have a 3-year old).
So there you have it – Coil Binding demystified. What’s it all mean? What should you choose? We recommend you just buy a machine with a 4:1 pattern for all your coil binding needs and you’ll be good to go!
What Plastic Coil Binding pattern do you use in your shop? We’d love to know. Please let us know in the comments below.