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Once we started homeschooling, we began taking stacks of printed pages to local print shops or office supply stores to have them bound into spiral books. Through the years, I have found myself spending more and more on having books spiral bound. I have also found myself reading other homeschooler’s blog posts about owning their own binding machines with more and more envy. The cost of the machine, over $100 for a spiral binder, always put me off. So, I kept paying $5 each to have books spiral bound at the print shop.
My husband has listed to me hem and haw about whether to invest in our own binding machine for three years now. This year, his response was simple, “Buy the machine. How much did you spend last year on binding? It’s not like you will be binding any fewer books this year. You will probably at least break even. Just buy it.”
If you noticed my photo of my crowded bookshelf space of science manuals from The Good & The Beautiful Science units in this previous post, you can imagine what he sees when he looks at the entire shelf including the ELA books, nature journals, etc. Of course, he was right.
So I did it. This year I bought the machine.
I chose a pretty basic coil binding machine, like this one on Amazon. It has three different margin settings and an electric coil inserter. It is very easy to twist the coil in manually, but the electric inserter is fun to use. The machine itself is made of metal and quite hefty. I have yet to find the perfect place to store it, so right now it sits in its box in my closet between uses. The vendor sold the machine with a set of crimper pliers for trimming and crimping the ends of the coils. The crimping takes a little more practice. Luckily, there are many videos on YouTube from fellow homeschoolers showing how to both use coil binding machines and the crimping tool.
So far, I have been very pleased with the results. I find laminated card stock makes sturdy covers for the books, but they catch a little when inserting the coils. I have printed and bound several ELA books already, and they look exactly like the ones I had done at the print shop. With next years nature journals, science journals, etc. I can confidently say Hubby was right, as I can easily see myself getting enough use out of this machine in one year to make up for the investment.