So I’m finally going to blog about my publishing process, which I’ve been meaning to do for a long time and just haven’t gotten around to it. Today’s topic is binding. I get pretty excited about it, which probably sounds kind of nerdy, but it’s so rewarding to actually hold a physical copy of a piece after working on it on a computer screen for months…and the fact that I’m able to assemble the sheet music myself makes it that much better!
The type of binding I do is called coil binding (or spiral binding), which I much prefer to the alternative, comb binding. The binding machine I use is the RubiCoil, made by Akiles. It’s only supposed to bind documents up to 11 inches, and machines that are made to bind legal- or tabloid-sized documents can get really expensive, but with the help of my dad, I figured out a way to modify the one I already had to be able to handle larger scores. Below is a picture of the RubiCoil box, showing what the machine looks like as is, followed by a picture of what mine looks like. (There are a few screws on the bottom to unscrew, then detach the handle and lift the plastic cover right off! Oh, and don’t forget to reattach the handle after that!)
As for supplies, I typically use 6mm black coils for parts, 8mm for letter- and legal-sized scores, and 10mm for tabloid-sized scores. (Even though they usually aren’t thick enough to require the larger diameter coil, I feel it makes the page turns easier with such big pages.) I use 7mm clear plastic covers on the front and black linen weave covers for the back.
(Tip: make sure you match the kind of coil with the way your machine punches holes! The RubiCoil is 4:1 pitch, meaning it punches 4 holes per one inch of paper.)
Below are a couple of step-by-step examples of how I bind sheet music. First is a letter-sized piano part:~ Punch the holes and twist the coil into the holes.
~ Use needle-nose pliers to bend one end of the coil so that it can’t come out. (I think they make special crimping tools for this, but I’ve never used one, and the needle-nose pliers have always served me well!)
~ Use a pair of wire cutters to trim the excess from the other end of the coil, leaving enough room to comfortably close off the other end.
Second is how to punch the holes for an oversized score: ~ ALWAYS set the guide to the mark that says 11”. Since you’ll have to punch the pages twice, the holes need to line up! As long as the size of paper you’re punching is a whole number (e.g. 14, 17, NOT 15.5, 16.75, etc.), you’re golden.
~ Punch the first side.
~ Turn the paper over and line up the holes. (Like I said, you should be fine if the guide is set to 11”, but it’s always good to check it anyway!)
~ Punch the other side.
~ And voila! The perfectly punched oversized score. I’ll bet you can’t even tell it was punched twice!
And there you have it! A special thanks to my super artsy friend Wanda for introducing me to the wonder that is the RubiCoil and teaching me how to use it. You can check out her website here.
[August 27, 2013]