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A stack of Comb Bound Books

Comb Binding

Comb Binding uses a pre-formed spine

Comb Binding is a common style of bookbinding that makes use of a pre-formed plastic spine.

Black Spines for Comb Binding

The spines used for Comb Bound books contain a row of tines, and each tine is curved into a circular shape. To bind a book, the tines are spread open and inserted through slots punched in one edge of the book's cover and pages. When the tension in the tines is released, the tines spring back to their original circular shape which entraps the cover and pages but still allows them to turn freely.

By the way, the plastic spine would resemble a hair comb if the circular tines were opened and pressed flat, hence the name "Comb" Binding.

Sometimes referred to as "GBC Comb" or "Cerlox", the comb binding method enables books to open 180 degrees. Because this allows a book to lie completely flat when opened, it can be placed on a desk or table for reading. It does not need to be held open, leaving the hands free to perform other tasks.

Comb binding is a practical choice for a variety of binding applications. These include assembly and maintenance guides, repair manuals, flip books and presentation books, product and price lists, cookbooks, workbooks and study guides, bound sheet music, directories, training and instruction manuals, travel guides, and any other book that would benefit from the convenience of being able to lie flat for easier reference.

The plastic spines come in different diameters in order to bind books of varying thicknesses. The spines also come in a range of popular colors.

The Comb Binding Process

A colorful assortment of Comb Binding Spines

The comb tines form a tight circle

The tines that run the length of the spine contain tension. This tension is what maintains the tines' shape as a tightly closed circle.

A person binding pages with a Plastic Binding Comb

The tines are inserted through punched holes

To bind a book, the tines are pulled open and then inserted through slots that were pre-punched along one edge of the book's cover and pages.

A person holding a Comb Bound Book

The tension in the tines is released

After inserting the tines through the slots, the tension in the tines is released.

An open Book with a Blue Comb Binding Spine

The tines secure the pages and cover

The tines spring back to their original circular shape, entrapping the cover and pages but still allowing them to turn freely.

What are the Benefits of Comb Binding?

Lies Flat in the Open Position

Books can open 180 degrees - this allows an open book to lie flat for hands-free reference.

Can Bind a Book on Any Edge

The spine can be placed along any edge of the book - the left side is the most common placement but some books have the spine installed across the top so the pages flip upward.

Index Tab Friendly

Works well with index tabs.

Works for Any Size Production Run

Available for short, medium, or long production runs.

Selection of Colors and Sizes

Spines are available in a variety of sizes and colors to suit virtually any project.

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