Monday, 18 August 2014

What is ...Loop Stitching?

What is ...Number 8
Regular followers of this blog will know that in the middle of the month, I publish a "What is ....? post. The article covers various aspects of paper, printing and finishing in greater depth. However, many of these subjects are complex, so these posts are only intended to be a brief introduction to the topic.

What is ...Loop Stitching?
Loop stitching is a variation of wire stitching or 'saddle stitching' (or a staple, as some would call it). In the way that it holds paper together, it performs exactly the same function as a normal staple finish but it is formed from a continuous length of wire (as is most commercial stitching) rather than a pre-formed staple and the wire forms a loop on the spine of the job.
The below picture shows a wire stitching machine, fed by a continuous roll of wire. 
The wire loop protrudes about 6mm from the spine and it's function is to allow documents to be held together and then files in a ring binder in one piece, rather than many loose, punched sheets. The picture below, shows the way the loops are held in a ring binder mechanism:
The ARB (Architects Registration Board) project (see below) was produced in 1999, designed by Cartlidge Levene - part of the functionality of these guidelines dictated that they could be kept in a ring binder and easily updated in the future.
Click on picture to enlarge
 ...and this picture show a ring binder with the contents, which are all loop stitched. An important point, not to be overlooked is the spacing between the loops, as this must be specified to the printer or finisher at the time of production. This is also often referred to as the 'pitch'.
Many binders have four rings and paper must be 'four hole punched' however it's worth remembering that you don't need to have four loops as two loops works perfectly in a four ring mechanism, as demonstrated below - that's certainly worth remembering!
 ...alternatively, you can just use the loops as an interesting finishing feature for purely aesthetic effect, even if it isn't being put into a ring binder, as this job for photographer, Andrew Douglas by Vince Frost.
From a cost point of view, it is more expensive than normal saddle stitching because the 'stitching heads' on the stitching line have to be changed and it just requires a bit more time to set up ...also, not all finishers have stitching lines that can loop stitch.
Posted by Justin Hobson 18.08.2014

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