Casebinding, commonly referred to as hardcover binding, involves the construction of an exterior ‘case’ made of cardboard wrapped with paper. Casebinding is a very complicated process compared to other typical types of binding.
The first step in casebinding is the construction of the hardcover ‘case’. First, sheets of cardboard are cut to their proper size to form the skeleton of the cover. From there, printed and finished cover parent sheets are fed into one end of a case manufacturing machine, while the pre-cut cardboard is fed into the other, and the two are combined through several gluing and folding operations into the final case:
Next, the collated signatures of the book block are sewn together using the smyth sewing technique. Smyth sewing uses thread to first sew through the folds of each signature and then sew the entire group of signatures (book block) together, resulting in a durable binding that can be opened relatively wide.
Next, the sewn book blocks are trimmed down to size. In perfect binding this happens after the cover is applied, but because the hardcover case is usually larger than the book block, in casebinding the trimming step happens before the book block is glued into the case.
Finally, the finished book blocks and cases are placed into a hardcover binding machine where they are glued together into a completed casebound book. First, the sewn book block has glue applied to its spine, and a piece of fabric called the super is placed on top of the glue. Farther down the line the hardcover case is wrapped around the book block, with endsheets to hold the entire book together.
*Note: Casebound books with less than 60 pages are usually constructed without using separate endsheets. For a look into the process of endsheets check out our advanced concepts section.