Why Your Vinyl (and many other) Binders Fall Apart

You just bought a new 3-ring binder and you are ready to be organized – so why is it falling apart when you use it?

Traditionally, 3-ring binders are made sort of like books.

basic book construction -

This is where the book comparison ends. In a poorly made 3-ring binder front board, back board and spine board are held together by either a small piece of vinyl, paper or cloth.  Other options we are going to discuss involve using one piece of board and wither routing a spine into the board or flexing the spine directly into the whole board.

Vinyl Binders. The Weakest Hinge.

vinyl binder spine - why your binder breaks

The reason vinyl binders break is simple. Even in the heavy duty vinyl binders (shown here) the hinge, the part of the binder that gets the most stress, is a very small thin piece of vinyl.

With perfect weather conditions, this is a recipe for disaster; when it is cold, left it in the sun or left in fluorescent light  vinyl gets brittle. Since most of you are not using your binders in a cave, that means the hinge of the cover is going to fail.

If you get the regular vinyl binders it is good to know that to save money, that vinyl has been getting thinner and thinner for a long time, and so weaker and weaker.

Any binder made this way is going to have problems. Whether the hinge is made of paper, vinyl or some sort of spine tape these will fall apart at the seams.

Routed 3-ring binders. A bit better.

Why your binder falls apart_ routed bindersA better construction is a single board construction.  One version of this take your board and routs out about half of the board to that the hinge flexes more easily.

While stronger than a vinyl hinge, you are still counting on 1/16th of an inch of recycled paper to hold your cover on.  This hinge is still going to fail, but is not so dependent on the weather.

Flexed Single Board Construction. The Strongest 3-ring Binder.

The strongest 3-ring binder construction - naked BinderThe best and strongest 3-ring binder is made from one piece of board and the hinge is flexed directly into the board – nothing is shaved off or cut, so there are no weaker parts of the binder.

Naked Binder only constructs our 3-ring binders this way to insure sustainability – a binder that breaks before its useful life is over is a waste of resources, money and the time it takes to get another.

We have lab tested our bare board binder (The Naked Binder) to 250,000 flexes without failure.  That is 20 uses a day for 34 years.  Not bad.

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