A description of how I rebind manga.


Before we begin:
It is common knowledge among scanners that you need to debind manga to get the best possible scans.
And for most people debinding equals sacrificing the book.

A few don't care because they only buy to scan anyway.
Some don't want to sacrifice their books and scan without debinding.
Some buy the same book twice, one for scanning and one for keeping.

Some others might just keep the loose pages in some drawers.

There is another solution to that sacrifice problem: Rebinding. (Yes it IS possible)



What you need is basically: the manga you took apart, the iron you used to do it, and some stuff to press
the pages together - I used some wooden boards but if you have a book press or similar that would work too I guess


Straightening the pile of pages as good as possible seemed like a good idea
since it will have an impact on how the book will look once it is whole again.


The straightened pile of pages will always look like this: waay too fat at the side of the spine.
A cover of a volume of this title offers only a tiny bit more than 1cm.
Just taking this pile and trying to put it into the cover will fail.
Well, at least I failed when I tried once. The pages just don't fit in.

But it is possible to make them fit.
The basic idea is to press them together and apply some heat to it to glue the pages together again
using only the glue that is left on the pages (generally not really much,
most of it should be on the inside of the cover)




This is a top-down view on the weighted-down pages.
What this picture doesn't tell: it wasn't very comfortable to kneel on that piece of wood
even without the iron heating up my knees, so I had to get into a different position to weight the pages down.
At first I thought it would be enough if I just kept the hot iron close to that part
of the pages where there should still be some glue left but that didn't work at all.
I ended up using a sheet of paper that I placed between the pages and the iron to keep the iron clean from glue.
I then ironed over that paper quite a few times, and when I thought it was enough
I pulled away iron and paper, and kept my weight on the wood while I let the pages cool down a bit.



These pages are now glued together. More than 1cm high still but less than before.


Positioning the pile of pages exactly over one side of the cover should make the last part easier


Because it's pretty much impossible to fit a pile of more than 1cm into a 1cm high cover
there WILL be a bit of paper sticking out when you close the cover over the pile of pages.
(Of course not as much as in that faked picture but you get the idea.) This is bad but it can be fixed:


Next step is: Applying very much heat to the glue, it has to get almost liquid.
'wool' setting on the iron will most likely not be enough.
Move the book around a bit to make sure all parts get the same amount of heat,
and when you notice a bit of glue starting to flow out of the upper or lower end of the spine
you know it's time for the final steps:



On some flat board position the book 90 to level and pull down the cover,
to push the pages further towards the spine where all the soft glue is.

If the glue gets cold again: Back to the iron and repeat.

Once the cover covers all parts of the pages (no part of the pages sticking out from below the cover anymore)
you are done. Just give the glue some time to cool down before you apply any force to the pages,
you wouldn't want to rip out any pages now that you have finally put them back where they belong.





The end. I was pretty surprised actually how well it worked out.
If you really look closely and compare this book to other volumes that weren't even touched yet
then it is visible that it's not 100% like new. Other than that I doubt
anyone would be able to guess that this book was once taken apart.

I tested reading it. There was no difference at all to an untouched book.
No pages that were glued together at any other point than the spine, flawless appearence.
The spine felt a bit softer, more flexible, but it's more of an advantage to be able
to spread apart two pages wider and with less effort than before.
I tested pulling and bending, and it withstood it all.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with the resulting book,
so in my opinion this was a very successful first attempt :)

/Fimbulvetr