Glossary of Binding Terms

Category : Glossary of Terms

Glossary of Terms

Backing Covers

Generally a cardboard of 270 gsm is used. They come in a range of colours which are used to enhance the appearance of your presentation and support your document.


A style of binding which uses spiral coils which weave through a series of small, closely spaced holes. The coils are manufactured from thick gauged PVC which is very durable and allows the pages to turn a full 360 degree rotation.

Comb Binding

A style of binding commonly used for internal documents. The combs are made of plastic and are capable of binding documents which are over 400 individual sheets of regular weight copy paper. Plastic combs can be opened and closed to add or subtract sheets as needed.

Continuous Punch Guide

Some binding machines such as the electric MAC range have this handy feature. Essentially the continuous punch guide is used to keep perforations in perfect alignment when binding long documents such as A3 down the long edge or foolscap binding. As the punching width is not wide enough, it is necessary to punch twice for longer documents. The first lot of punched holes are hooked over the guide in order to keep the next lot of holes to be punched in line with the first set.


This term refers to spirl coil binding. Each end of the spiral coil is bent in an L shape to secure both ends ensuring the coils do not unwind. A special crimping tool simultaneously cuts and crimps the spiral coil is a very handy tool. 








Chisel Dies

The components which punch the holes pay a vital role. Chisel dies are cheaper to manufacture and tend to produce less than perfect perforations. As you can see from the picture they are an angular “blade” which forces its way through the paper stacks rather than cuts.

Concave Dies

The manufacturing of concaved dies is more expensive than manufacturing chisel dies. The significance is that these dies are made from high tensile steel which will not blunt like soft metal chisel dies. MAC produce unique diamond moulded, concaved punches which efficiently cut through the paper. The moulded shape of the dies bares the load of the punch evenly and distributes the force over 4 sharp points producing clean edges.


Dies often referred to as punching dies are the component in a binding machine which cut the holes in through the paper. Quality of punching dies is vital if you require a clean perforation. Machines with hardened steel or high tensile steel dies will not blunt as will soft metal die machines. Chisel dies are often soft metal which forced through the paper wads rather than cuts. This type of die will feathered perforations. Diamond moulded or concaved punching dies cut through and produce crisp perforations. Hardened steel dies will not blunt and make the binding process much easier.

Electric Punch

Electric punch binding machines punches holes through the wads of paper generally with the ease of stepping on a foot pedal. Good quality electric punch binders significantly speeds up the binding process and eliminate operator fatigue. Be cautious; poorly manufactured machines (cheapies) have very inefficient motors which labour through the punching process. In turn this strain transfers pressure onto other internal components (often also substandard quality) which leads to complete machine breakdown. It is far better to purchase a good quality manual punch machine than waste money (and often time too) on poor quality electric punch machines.


The format of a document refers to the size. To give a few examples, people refer to wide format documents such as posters or smaller formats might be an A4 or A5 format.

Manual Punch

This refers to the manual action of pulling down a handle to punch holes prior to binding. Manual

Some binding machines have the advantage of an open punching throat (the area of the machine in which the pages are punched). An open punching throat allows the pages to slide in from the side allowing the wad of pages to butt up against the side margin and the back of the punching throat. This ensures that the document will be perfectly aligned for an accurate punch. If the binder also has a continuous punching guide such as the WireMac E, it has the capability to bind long documents such as A3 (down the long edge) can be bound.

Side Margin

The mechanism aligns the paper relative to the paper size. It is important that the binding machine has the functionality of a sliding to bind a variety of formats. The accuracy of the side margin is paramount to ensure even alignment and perfectly centred holes.

Wire Closing Channel

This is the area of a wire binding machine in which the open C shaped binding wire is squeezed together to form a circle securing the pages within. It is very important that the wire binder has a precise closing adjustor to ensure the wires are closed accurately. Over closed wires will inhibit the pages from turning freely and under closed wires will allow pages to fall out. Many machines have been cheaply manufactured and do not provide an accurate closer. Consideration must also be given to the fact that there are manufacturing variations in wire gauge which will influence the degree of precise wire closure. For this and other important reasons, it is very important to purchase premium quality binding wire.