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Binder Terminology

Specialty Loose Leaf offers the widest variety of high quality loose leaf ring binders on the market today! Specialty will design and produce the loose leaf product that meets your need - perfectly.

The following is a compendium of industry terms and related descriptions presented here for your convenience.



Appliqué: Decorating technique on heat sealed vinyl binders. Requires special dies to reproduce logos, etc. in raised form from various colored vinyl.

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Backbone: Sometimes referred to as "spine", it is the part of the binder holding the covers together.

Binding: The area of the binder which holds the cover and inserted material together.

Binding side: The location and dimension of the portion of the binder carrying the loose-leaf mechanism and the location of punching of paper or inserts that will be held by the mechanism. A letter-size (11" X 8.5") binder or insert generally has a binding side on the 11" dimension and is referred to as "11 Inch Binding Side". Conversely, the opposite side of the binder or insert is referred to as the "non-binding" side.

Board: Stock material of varying thickness (gauge) and flexibility sandwiched between cover material and linings of binders. Thickness is measured in .000 inches and can vary from .020" (flexible) to .250" (heavy & stiff). There are several qualities of board - genuine binders board, pasted chipboard, red-flex.

Board Size: The exact size of the board used for covers and backbone of binders.

Boosters: Protrusions or levers on ring mechanism used to open, open and close, or open and close and lock the rings.

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Capacity: (a) of mechanism or (b) of binder, refers to thickness of total inserts that may be adequately held. A binder could have greater capacity than the binder mechanism to allow for expandable pockets, cassette holders, etc. For example, a 1" capacity ring mechanism could be put into a 1.5" capacity binder.

Case Made: Generally referred to as Turned Edge where a binder case is made by gluing oversized covering material to boards and turning edges over to the inside of boards and applying lining material for a finished look. See an example of a Case Made Binder.

Catalog Binders: Heavy duty binders of large capacities. Mechanisms are usually post type metals. See an example of a Catalog Binder.

Center-to-Center: (C-C) The exact measurement between the centers of rings and posts.

Closed Overall: The outside dimensions of a binder in a closed position. See also Open Overall.

Color: The definition of the color of material, ink, foil, etc. By reference to color names or numbers listed in swatches, color chips, or Pantone Matching System numbers.

Concealed Rivets: Construction method where rivets fastening mechanism into binder are concealed under the covering of the backbone, which can be flat or rounded.

Copy: Letters and words to be imprinted on binders with logos and designs. Generally refers to all that is to be imprinted.

Corners: Corners on non-binding side of binders. May be round or square.

Cut Flush: Binders made of one piece of one ply material such as poly, lexitone, fiber, flexhide, etc.

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Debossing: Technique of using dies to sink decoration into material and also to flatten grain of material with a debossing die. See also Embossing.

Dies: Tools or devices for imparting a desired shape, form or finish to material.

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Easel: A ring binder constructed with fold back covers or tent shaped covers to produce a free standing binder for presentations and reference. See an example of an Easel Binder.

Embossing: A decorating technique using stamping dies to produce raised letters and logos generally on one ply binders. See also Debossing.

Expanding Binder: A binder constructed with a telescoping backbone and adjustable posts allowing capacity ranges from a stated minimum to a maximum range. See an example of an expandable Post Binder.

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Grain: (a) a simulated texture imprinted into a covering material. (b) the general alignment of fibers obtained in the manufacture of board and paper.

Gusset: An accordion type fold in binder pockets, 1-ply bindings - to allow for expansion.

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Heat Seal Process: Technique of applying vinyl sheets over boards and electronically sealing edges and hinges to form a binder cover.

Hinges: The part of the binder where front and back cover join the backbone. Hinges may consist of the covering material and lining. May be reinforced with nylon or fabric. Piano type metal hinges are available for heavy use binders. See an example of Metal Hinge Binders.

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Index Allowance: Binders are made to accommodate sheet size. Extra width of binder covers can be provided to cover index tabs.


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Label Holder: A clear-faced pocket sealed onto vinyl binders. May be recessed into turned edge binders (See Case Made).

Lining: Material placed over boards on inside of binders.

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Open Overall: The outside dimensions of a binder in a flat, open position. See also Closed Overall.

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Pockets: Material is sealed inside vinyl binders to form pockets to hold unpunched material. Can also be made in turned edge binders (See Case Made). Pockets are usually horizontal in stiff binders and vertical in flexible binders.

Poly: Polyethylene material for one ply binders - extremely durable and cost effective. Available in many gauges.

Proof: The photographic reproduction of the copy to be imprinted on binders and index.

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Reinforcement: Material added to strengthen binder hinges, edges of binder inserts, and index.

Rivets: Cylindrical fastener used to secure mechanisms to the binder. May be concealed under the covering on better quality binders.

Round Corners: Compared to square corners, round corners are more difficult to manufacture but they are much more durable. Unlike with square corners, dropping this binder on it's edge will not cause damage to the corner. Round corners are also less likely to cause damages or stress to other surfaces.

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Sheet Lifters: Plastic or fiber strips placed on rings to help sheets move smoothly over rings and minimize damage to sheets.

Sheet Lifter Booster: Booster patented by Specialty Loose Leaf to ensure sheet lifter is moved to the front of the mechanism. This protects inserted paper and facilitates an easy closure to full binders.

Sheet Size: The dimensions of inserts or sheets to be put into a binder. The binding side (B.S.) is the first dimension referred to. A letter sized sheet is 11" (B.S.) X 8.5".

Silk Screening: Decorating technique using screens of silk or nylon on which copy and designs are photographically produced. Various colored inks are forced through the screen mesh onto binder co

ver material.

Stamping: Decorating technique using metal dies with various colored foils. Heat and pressure from the die adheres designs and copy onto the cover material from the selected foil cover.

Steel Back Plates: A durable and convenient feature. Formerly common, they are now rare in todays heavy duty binders.

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Turned Edge: See Case Made above.

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Vinyl: Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic sheeting used to cover vinyl binders. Available in various gauges, colors, and grains which must be exactly specified for correct binder production.

Virgin Vinyl: Plastic made with all new material - no recycled vinyl used.

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