That Tony Clark’s Bookbinding with adhesives will be made available is the best news in over a decade. Tony, like myself, grew-up in this industry when bookbinders used only pastes and protein adhesives to hold the books. When the first water-based, white polyvinyl acetate adhesives arrived in the 1950s, we had to learn new ‘tricks’. In the mid 1960s, we started perfect binding books and catalogs with a new, hot adhesive called hotmelt.

As bookbinders, we always used to test the viscosity of protein glues between our fingers. Some old-timers tried that particular trick with hotmelt, only once! Those first perfect bound books bound with hotmelt did not last. Some of these early adhesive formulations disintegrated within a year or two. The big break-through came in 1969 with the EVA hotmelt adhesives. But as it is with new technologies, we, the edition bookbinders, were not allowed to use hotmelts for binding hardcover bound books, they all had to be sewn through the fold! 

When I joined RIT (1974) and became a full-time educator in print finishing and bookbinding, good teaching material was virtually non-existent. Luckily, in 1971, my Swiss colleague Alfred Furler published a book on The Technology of Adhesive Binding. It did help me but what about the rest of the world who did not understand German? The best education we received on all aspects of adhesive binding were shared by technical representatives. They conducted in-plant technical seminars.

Tony Clark, working as an adhesive binding chemist for National Starch was a technical guru. He has seen failures. Therefore in the 1980s, he decided to publish a book on the subject. This is to help hard-working operators, to solve their adhesive / perfect binding problems. He covered it all – paper grain-direction, poor signature handling, spine preparations, one and two shot applications, book-testing and best of all, 26 pages of fault-finding illustrations and description. Wherever I had to share my knowledge in foreign countries, no matter if they spoke Spanish or Chinese, I was able to pin-point faults, thanks to Clark’s book and its great illustrations.

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