Cinch book binding tool -- first impressions

Cinch binding tool
In my last post I compared 2 ways of binding books -- hand-stitching and using a comb binding tool. There's one more method I wanted to try -- coil binding.

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.
Cinch binding tool -- pegs
In this photo, only the hole in the first position will be punched when the arm is pulled down.

I experimented on some book covers I had on hand.
Holes punched by Cinch
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.

Holes punched by Cinch

On the second try, the holes lined up perfectly. 
Holes punched by Cinch
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.
Eyelet won't fit Cinch wire
Grommets in book 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:

Book made with Cinch binding tool

Book made with Cinch binding tool
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.
Book made with Cinch binding tool
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?

Useful links


  1. Hi,
    Thanks for your clear comments. I need some help with buying this machine. What size of wire?
    As I live in Bali, I have to buy everything on the net.
    Thanking you,
    Jogry Blok

  2. I bought some wire at the same time I got the machine, from Amazon. I bought the wires made by the same company, We R Memory Keepers. Next time I may buy another brand if they're cheaper. The main thing is to look for wire with a 2:1 pitch (that refers to the spacing of the holes).

    Hope this helps.

  3. I may be able to shed a little light on the wires and eyelets. The wire coil can work as you were attempting-just snip the coil with wire cutters in the big gaps.I'd say after every two holes (the ring method you mentioned or as they show in the ad, you can punch in pairs of two holes (punch pegs 1 and 2 then skip peg 4 then punch 5 and 6 and so on. Once that is done, snip your unused wire rings out on every 2 punches.) You DON'T have to use the ENTIRE coil. As for the eyelets. It might help to know that We-R-Memory Keepers makes eyelets with a 1/8" center and 3/16" center. Also as per the company's advertisement on HSN, the CEO says you can use any of their eyelets with the Cinch. Sometimes though you may have to pinch the wire hooks a little to get the eyelet to thread on the wire. Hope That helps! :)

  4. I have been using my cinch to rebind books for my son. I also made a journal for myself. I have not tried using eyelets. If you over stuff the book/journal with pages it will be harder to move the covers and pages will rip. Over cinch can cause the problem too, but I find its easy enough to open the wire loops just enough to prevent that issue. I do have a middle school age book I rebound and the ring diameter is about a quarter inch too small. I will be making a journal sketch book for a birthday present soon and will be blogging the experience with the book board/ very heavy chipboard.

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