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Re: Destructive scan: page removal

Posted: 09 Jan 2012, 00:06
by MusaMagoo
Thi sis a great web site. I've spent some time with it today and it is by far the best source of practical info that I have found.

I am setting up a system to scan a large hunk of my personal library that will involving taking my books apart (more will emerge in other posts). If I can find a local office supply that will do it for me at a reasonabl eprice I will certainly go that route but my city is fairly small and I may not find this.

I have considered o btaiing a heavy-duty gullotine but as far as I can tell anything in a reasonable price range will have the blade fastened at the back and swinging forward, which tends to move the paper. There is a detailed post here on using a guillotine but I'm not sure I undersand the resojlution other than to cut only a portion o fthe pages at a time. Also, does the description of breaking the psine into reaonable blocks apply to perfectbound and do ou have any trick for keeping the knife parallel to the lengh o fthe spine if/when you run a knife longwise along the spine?

Theother method I'm considering is to remove pages one-at-a-time with an Xacto knife (in the right hand) using a Swanson Speed Square as a knife guide (held in the left hand). This seems to preclude using a bookbinders vice (there is nowhere to fit the knife guide and the bookbinders vice simultaneously) I wish I ha da third hand to remove each page as it is cut; I am pretty sure this method would be reliable but it may get tedious and also would require me to dispose of a lot of Xacto blades.

I am skeptical of the hacksaw method but if anyone has success with this method, eaxactly what type saw and balde did you use and how did you secure the book?

Thanks for any suggestions - Musa

Re: Destructive scan: page removal

Posted: 09 Jan 2012, 19:12
by stearn
I'll see if I can take some photos soon to the the explanation a bit.

For books, irrespective of the binding, it is the same approach. It if does have hard boards on, I slit down the paper joint each side to remove them. There resulting block of pages I then split down to sensible chunks. This is to stop the curvature affecting the page size too much, and to make it easier to go in the guillotine. Most softback perfect bound books will be square along the spine, so it is just the thickness that can be the issue. I find a convenient place or if bound in folios where two join, and break the spine so I can run a craft knife along the glue join between the pages. This ensures the cut stays straight and you are separating the bits rather than slicing at glue.

I try to keep it to around 1/2 to 3/4 inch thickness as the books are quite dense and the guillotine I use is manually operated, do requires an arm to be pulled down to move the blade through the book. This should be one swift action to get the cleanest cut, and although I am no lightweight, more than about 3/4inch of dense paper is a struggle to cut through.

Setting the blocks means that you keep everything square in the guillotine and also the resulting page sizes are the same - important if they are an odd size and you are scanning on an ADF and cropping automatically via an action in photoshop later.

Once square in the guide blocks, you can crank down the grip. As I said before, I use card blanking under the book I am cutting if there is still some curvature to the spine as this will straighten it a bit more. I also use some on top as the grip, when tightened can indent the pages a bit. Once all tight, release the safety catch and pull firmly down on the handle to go through the book in one go and off comes the glued spine.

I page through afterwards as you do get the occasional couple of pages where glue has seeped further into the book, and sometimes even if the pages are all separated, bits of glue linger. As it is a heat melt glue is can often be a bit, tacky when it comes into contact with the scanner glass, and this will either smear at best, or catch and feed the page through at angle, tearing and jamming at worst. Best to remove any before scanning.

Guillotines, like scanners, don't like staples. The magazines I work on are stapled, and although I use the guillotine to trim the outer edges so the pages are all the same size and free from nicks or tears, the spine is cut off using a craft knife - and yep, I got through a lot of blades (and sticking plasters!).

Using a blade for any more than around 60 pages will lead to multiple cuts and the blade wandering to give a nice straight edge for the top page and something hacked at on the bottom.

There is always the temptation to cut the maximum that the guillotine can fit, especially if you feel you can do the cut in one go. Don't. The extra friction on the blade from the additional thickness of paper will slightly move the book, however tightly you think you have gripped it, and you will end up with the bottom part cut down with a gentle curve.

I bought my guillotine about 2 years ago, and I suspect I have cut up a few thousand magazines - I set the blocks and trim batches at a time for scanning later - and 100 or so books. This probably means several thousand cuts and the blade is still fine. The only thing I have had a slight problem with is the grip mechanism wearing with the pressures applied and sliding out slightly during cutting. This meant that some cuts ended up 1/8 inch deeper into the book at the bottom of the cut than the top. Like everything a regular maintenance schedule is wise.

Re: Destructive scan: page removal

Posted: 10 Jan 2012, 08:45
by stearn
Here are some images:

The guillotine. Cutting depth of about 1 3/4inch. A3.

Books graveyard. Some are early work where I got the spines cut off at a print shop, but the majority are where I sliced myself.

The normal grist for the mill - magazine trimming. I trim around 8-10 magazines at a time each cut, but block up and trim a couple of hundred magazines each session so they are all roughly the same size. Keeping the edges square is critical for straight scans via the ADF, and the stapled spines are manually removed by craft knife. Tears are repaired by scotch tape to avoid catching and jamming. The side picture shows the importance of maintenance as a loose grip can result in angled cuts.

Re: Destructive scan: page removal

Posted: 10 Jan 2012, 10:43
by daniel_reetz
Wow, stearn, this is the best explanation/picture set of destructive scanning that I've ever seen. Thank you! We're going to start a destructive scanning section soon, and your post will be the sticky. Rob also had a good writeup somewhere..

Re: Destructive scan: page removal

Posted: 10 Jan 2012, 11:23
by stearn
I'm flattered. I will sort out more photos next time I do a slice session, and will get some photos of the scanning side if anyone is interested. I am happy to try to answer questions as well.

I came to the forum as I have a set of bound volumes of many of the magazines I am digitising, and although I know I can cut and scan those I would rather keep them intact. With each volume around 10"x12" and a few inches thick I will probably have to scale up some of the designs, but I have the added problem of being in the UK where it will cost a fortune to have a kit shipped over, sourcing some materials may be a bit trickier, and I haven't found anywhere that seems to cut using the digital templates. Early days yet - I aim to have something working by the end of the year. In the meantime, the phone camera works a treat in daylight for the odd page.

Re: Destructive scan: page removal

Posted: 10 Jan 2012, 11:57
by pav
I think I have seen this link somewhere in this forum (sorry - can't find it at the moment):

I think the important point is that the guy first put the book-holding boards into the vice without a book. They went as deep as possible and rested in a stable position. He then held the circular against the top of the vice (as he is demonstrating with a book in) and, sliding it, cut the boards all the way. In this way the boards are exactly of that size that if they rest in the stable position the saw now cuts exactly above the boards - cuting off the book part above the boards.

I am not sure that I made it any more clear <:-; It's a good video though.

Now, there are some oversensitive people out there who would give you a look if you returned their book with just a tiny slice missing.

Re: Destructive scan: page removal

Posted: 10 Jan 2012, 13:21
by daniel_reetz
People here are definitely interested in destructive scanning. Although many of us couldn't chop up our books, well, many of us can and producing a good tutorial showing the process is a big help for many. So it's definitely welcome and wanted.

Pav, the saw method is pretty interesting, have you ever done it?

Re: Destructive scan: page removal

Posted: 10 Jan 2012, 18:26
by rob
This thread is also useful, showing how a circular saw works to cut the spine off. In the thread, I also talk about the book guillotine I use, which looks similar to (if not is the same as) the one depicted above!

Re: Destructive scan: page removal

Posted: 10 Jan 2012, 20:45
by stearn
I have added my comments to the thread link Rob gave above, but I wanted to say here that destructive scanning is not the accurate way of describing the method if you go down the guillotine route - semi-destructive is closer. I have cut and scanned a few books that I have wanted to keep, so with that in mind I cut as little from the spine as possible to free up the pages, scan the book, and then get it rebound.

Most paperbacks are perfect bound, so apart from the cover you don't actually notice much difference, and some print shops carry standard A size hard boards for perfect binding so you can get something looking quite smart. Even if you are dealing with a large book and there is no way it will hold together by perfect binding, all is not lost as you can divide it up into smaller volumes. If the book was hard bound to start with and you cut the boards away carefully, I have found plasterers joint tape and a nice thick piece of cartridge paper to create a suitably sturdy join to glue the old boards to the newly perfect bound book. You may even have luck glueing the new cover to the old boards

Dare I say it, in some cases this method of digitisation can be looked upon as a preservation technique as well, as it is the perfect excuse to go for rebinding



Re: Destructive scan: page removal

Posted: 14 Jan 2012, 10:33
by garycdewitt
I bought a soldering iron (to make the remote trigger) and it came with a x-acto blade and holder.... Thinking about hot melt gave me the idea to try it to remove the glue. It does remove most of the glue. But, still had to cut the pages about 1/8 inch to where the glue had seeped in.