The Blank Bible Chronicles, Part 4
At long last, we arrive at the final step in creating a “blank” Bible — spiral binding! When last we were together, all we had left to do was to have our holes punched for binding and then actually bind the Bible. Once again, as a reminder I am using The Tony Reinke Method for building blank Bibles throughout the process. I implore you to read his instructions through several times and then come back here!
Punching the Holes
Once you have stuffed your Bible, and gotten the pages flush on the binding edge, now you are ready to have the holes punched. If you want to invest in a hole puncher, you can find some punchers that have the required 4:1 ratio (that’s 4 holes per inch) online for about $50. Otherwise walk back up to the desk at Kinko’s or whichever office supply store you are using for this project.
Tell the clerk that you want holes punched specifically for spiral binding. If you don’t, the clerk may assume you want it punched for a 3-ring binder or for comb binding. I nearly made this mistake with the successful Bible, and caught the clerk just in time to prevent her from punching my (to this point) perfect Bible for 3-ring binding! Make emphatically clear to the clerk to keep the pages on the binding edge flush or you will have to replace a lot of pages. If you have blanks wider than the Bible pages, you will need to explain to the clerk the special page-tapping method I told you in the last post. To recap that, take a small handful of pages — about 15 to 20 — and tap them vigorously by allowing them to drop between your fingers under their own weight. Add a little downforce if necessary. This will cause the Bible pages to drop down flush in the stack. Now let the clerk do his/her job.
My mistake at this point with the first, ruined Bible was to have the holes punched before stuffing. I dumbly figured that would make things easier. What I neglected to remember was that the holes actually make it tougher to get things flush. Stuffing first automatically gets everything flush for spiral binding. With the “ruined” Bible, we’re saving the blanks and will use them to create other projects or for extra blanks if I need to cut any by hand.
My second mistake was thinking the cut Bible could be reverse-bound. That is, instead of punching holes on the binding edge — which I cut too closely to the words — I had holes punched on the other side of the page, necessitating reverse-binding. This would cause the Bible to be read, by the page, left to right. I quickly realized this was too cumbersome and would have resulted in me having hissy fits over the clumsiness of the binding. So there you have it, one ruined Bible!
Once you’ve gotten it back, pay for their services, if they charge. Kinko’s was nice enough to do all that work for free, since I had come back after they and I together ruined the first Bible. The first time around, the cutting only cost about $6, so I’m guessing the hole punching shouldn’t cost much more. That’s relatively cheap! Now you are ready to go home and spiral bind your Bible, unless you want to spiral bind the Bible right there so you can walk back up to the desk and have any ruined pages copied onto your extra blanks. Me, I chose to go home, I’d been in there all afternoon at that point.
Spiral Binding Your Blank Bible
Now comes the really fun part. Set up shop on your work table once again (it was my dining table). Put your Bible stack in front of you. Separate the stack into volumes of at least 1″ to 1-1/8″, using natural page breaks in the text. If you don’t remember what I mean by that, a natural break is where a book of the Bible ends on the left-hand side of the book and the next book begins on the right-hand side. Make sure that you begin a volume with a blank in front of the first Bible page. I had to hand-cut some of my “ruined” blanks (they weren’t really ruined, since I never used them) so I could insert the blanks in the appropriate places. That’s why I say put 2 blanks in-between a natural break in Bible books.
Also, make sure you put your covers on the volume. I used a clear vinyl cover for the front and a cardboard backing for the end. Kinko’s provides the backing or you can buy your own in any office supply store.
Okay, now you can get your coils out. I bought a box of 100 coils sized 1-1/4″ (one and a quarter inches) in bulk for about $40, not counting shipping. Tony says any coil smaller than 1″ is not worth it. If you use coils smaller than 1-1/4″ you will need to make sure your volumes are a smidgen smaller than your coil size.
Select a coil, and check it against your first volume to make sure the volume is not too thick. You can measure the volume with a tape or eyeball it against the coil as I did.
Now here is where, later in the process, I discovered a way to make this easier. Flip your volume over, face down, holes pointing away from you. Now take a handful of pages off the top of your stack (which in actuality is the bottom of your volume) and push the end of the coil through the first hole. Set the pages and coil down, with your backing on the bottom. Fiddle with the coil until the threading end is sticking up. Then you can just grab handfuls of pages and lay them down over the end of the coil, threading the entire first hole of the volume.
Now that you’ve done that, pick up the volume, being careful not to take the threaded coil out. Grasp the volume firmly on top, a little bit down from the coil, to keep it tight, and gently thread the coil through the holes. In the pictures below I did not learn to grasp the volume on top until later. Push the end of the coil through the holes at a slight angle to the side (to the right, in the pictures) so as to get cleanly through without accidentally punching through pages.
Once you reach the end of the volume, leave at least one full coil past the edge of the paper. This will protect against movement and the end holes coming off the coil. I left at least a coil and a half for room.
Cut off the remaining coil, taking care to leave at least a full coil to a coil and a half past the edge of the paper for movement. This is what you’re left with:
Now you can get started on the other volumes. My Old Testament came out to four volumes total due to the way I separated them, and my New Testament came out in one neat volume.
Here’s what it should look like finished:
Now you can breathe a sigh of joy and relief, and enjoy your brand-new, handy dandy blank Bible!