Etsy book-makers seem to prefer wire coil binding for their handmade books. It looks more modern than the plastic comb binding, I think. And it's faster than stitching by hand. So after a bit of research, I ordered a Cinch.
The key to using the Cinch is understanding how the teal pegs in the front of the tool work. Each peg corresponds to one hole punch. When the peg is pushed in, the hole in that position is punched. When the peg is pulled out, that hole is not punched.
I experimented on some book covers I had on hand.
My third experiment was more complex -- I pushed in the 1st, 3rd, 6th, 8th, and 11th pegs. This created 3 pairs of holes, which I thought looked more attractive than the every-other pattern. Then I tried punching holes in the lined paper I'd cut to size. On my first try, I didn't push the paper in far enough so the holes were too close to the edge.
On the second try, the holes lined up perfectly.
Before I bound the pages to the cover, I decided to add eyelets to the holes. But I discovered that eyelets were too small for the wire I'd bought (.75"). So I had to resort to grommets, which seemed too large for the small cover.
So far, the Cinch had met my expectations. The holes were easy to align and punch both in the heavy cardboard cover and in a stack of pages. But then I tried to bind everything together using the coil wire. I couldn't make the long snake of wire accommodate my fancy punching. The coil works only if you punch every hole, not every other or every third.
I suppose if I'd thought about it, I would have realized this limitation. I misread a comment in the Cinch instruction booklet, which suggested punching every other hole and using rings as bindings (I missed that last part). Oh well.
Eventually, I gave up and used a different cover, with all the holes punched. I was able to re-use the paper I had originally punched. It was pretty easy to figure out how to only punch the holes I'd missed. Here's the final result:
I ended up with an extra holes at the top and bottom of the cover because I had originally cut the paper to match a slightly smaller cover.
The pages lie flat when the book is open, but it's hard to close the book without fussing with the wire. That may be because I added too many pages or cinched the wire too tight (but if I left it any looser, the back cover would fall off).
So far, my biggest disappointment with the Cinch is that the coils only work when you punch every hole. Why bother making the machine customizable when you can't use the wire as binding?
Another minor gripe -- the black and white photos in the instruction booklet are too small. I couldn't make out the details I needed to see to understand exactly what's being shown. Simple drawings might be better.
But there are tons of videos showing how to use the Cinch, so I don't have to rely on the instructions.
Do you use a Cinch? Any tips for a new user?