ATTENTION GUESTS: Please register to view all sections 

Removing hot melt adhesive

This is the Forum for the art of Bookbinding, post your questions and answers about bookbinding here.

Moderators: denis, Shea_M

Removing hot melt adhesive

Postby permtilperm on Mon Nov 17, 2008 12:29 am

Anyone that have great ideas about how to remove hot melt adhesive from sewn spines ?

I have had a couple of books for repair - and found it neccessary to remove the existing hot melt from the spine. Preferably not making any damage to the sewing of the signatures.
I tried different methods.

A: Hair dryer to get it soft and peel or wipe it off. This came out to be a very sticky mess!!
B: Ironing with "silicone paper" in between to squeeze most of it out to the side. Not so bad result - but still a lot of work to remove the remaining.

Put the book in a plastic bag and cool it down to -30 degr C. Then "crack" the spine signature by signature. But the adhesive remain sticking too much to the sewing threads.

I would like to keep the sewn signatures - secondary solution is to cut it away and rebind as "perfect binding", but I really don't like that so much.

Good ideas ??
User avatar
Posts: 29
Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2007 9:39 am
Location: Norway

Re: Removing hot melt adhesive

Postby admin on Mon Nov 17, 2008 5:30 am

Yes and why not leave it there, sometimes you can reactivate the glue with a heating iron and revive it so it stick again to the paper, you can sometimes obtain good results and reshape the spine to fit. Trying to remove the glue entirely will result in loss paper at the fold and weaken the signature, so it's best to leave it alone and work with what you are dealt with rather than add new problems than the one your are faced with.
User avatar
Site Admin
Posts: 113
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2006 3:58 am

Re: Removing hot melt adhesive

Postby permtilperm on Mon Nov 17, 2008 11:08 am

I agree with you.
I didn't believe that there were easy ways to remove hot melt - but I had to ask.

However I felt that I had to remove it because it was a relatively thick and very soft layer. So soft that it didn't support the mass of the text block and the spine had started to be concave. The original spine paper backing was also very soft/weak.

I'm aware of the risk of damaging the signature folds and or sewing - so I removed most of the adhesive by squezeesing it away with a hot iron, and at the same time rounding the spine again - and put on a much stiffer spine backing with a mixture PVA/paste. Probably this could have been put on using the remaing hot melt - but I feel more comfortable doing it with PVA/paste.

Result seems ok.

Thanks for your reply and opinions.
User avatar
Posts: 29
Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2007 9:39 am
Location: Norway

Re: Removing hot melt adhesive

Postby edenworkshops on Tue Nov 18, 2008 1:15 am

The only method we used was aimed at getting rid of most of the hot melt, not all of it.

We just heated up an old redundant pallet and gradualy removed the hot melt by pushing the pallet along the back of the book.

Not the nicest material to deal with.

Posts: 99
Joined: Tue Aug 07, 2007 7:54 am
Location: France

Re: Removing hot melt adhesive

Postby bookgene on Sun Jul 24, 2011 8:04 pm

Book binding glue can be removed without too much fuss but caution is advised.

My method is the microwave.

You can practise with what heat levels suit you but I use high as I'm impatient to move onto the next job.
With the cover removed place the naked book in the m/w on a piece of kitchen paper and let it warm up, being extremely careful not to leave it too long, as in... go off and make a cuppa !!!

This time depends on the thickness of the book, the thinner the faster it heats up.
Take the book out and either peel off individual chapters or if the glue is soft enough scrape that off with a knife.
I prefer section by section then the glue peels off easily and not so messy.
Remember the book continues to heat for a few moments once its left the m/w which helps the process but if too hot will burn your fingers.
I cannot stress enough that this method undertaken by the stupid can result in the book catching fire. And/or the glue being super hot and scalding you badly.

The secret is to do a little a lot. In and out of the m/w until its all gone.

If your a lil concerned that the m/w method may set fire to your kitchen then try method 2.

Super heated water.

Find a shallow dish a little narrower in diameter to the book you want to de-glue.
Fill this dish with water and some salt.
Place this in the micro wave and heat the water until it boils rapidly.

Remove the dish using a oven glove or dry cloth to prevent burning from the dish and scalding from the water.
Place it on a flat surface and rest the naked book to be de-glued spine down of course on the dish edges over the water.

After a moment use a knife and tease the glue a little if its soft quickly wipe it with a paper towel then return.
Once the glue is no longer viscous return the dish to the m/w and repeat proceedure.
Yes its a lil messy which is why I use method one.

Method 3
Laser Method

Don't knock this idea until you've tried it.

If you are enjoying a warm sunny day then make the most of it by sitting outside in the sunshine with your naked book to be de-glued.
Use a magnifying glass to melt the glue off, being careful not to set ablaze this work of literature.
Place the book on a paper towl to catch the glue.
While away a few lazy minutes zapping that pesky glue.
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Jul 24, 2011 6:30 pm

Re: Removing hot melt adhesive

Postby permtilperm on Sun Jul 24, 2011 8:43 pm

To bookgene

Thanks for several ideas - I think you forgot the "Sauna method".
I tried that by accident and came out with a pile of sheets.
User avatar
Posts: 29
Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2007 9:39 am
Location: Norway

Return to Bookbinding

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests