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Modernist Cuisine page binding failure


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I wasn't exactly sure where this should go, but this seems right.

I bought Modernist Cuisine at Home (MCaH) in 2012 when it first came out, and I just recently bought Modernist Cuisine (MC). While reading MC I noticed the binding separating from the pages. The pages are bundled into groups of 12 (6 pages front and back) which are secured by string. The bundles are then pressed into a fabric binding coated in what looks like glue.

While reading through volume 2 I noticed the bundles separating from the glue. As I got towards the middle of the book the bundles detached faster, taking adjacent bundles with them. By the time I read through the entire volume (about 10 sessions) all of the bundles had separated. The book is still held together by the string, but because of the separation there are gaps between the bundles and the pages on the side opposite the spine do not line up when the book is closed.

I looked at my copy of MCaH, which had the same binding failure last year, and it looks identical, except it took 2 years, not one reading.

For reference, the MC books are laid flat on a table and read page by page, opening and closing once between each session. I never press down on the center of the book to flatten the pages, and the books are treated with extreme care.

I'm now on page 116 of volume 3 reading it the same way and the page groups have started to separate from the cloth binding, just like volume 2. I looked at volume 1, and while the separation isn't as severe, there are multiple separated page groups.

Anyone else have this issue? I honestly expected these books to last a long long time, especially considering the cost, but having the binding fail after a single read through is alarming.

To be fair to the MC team, I contacted them and they are sending a replacement volume 2 (mine also had a printing error on two pages), but with volume 3 doing the same thing I am starting to worry the problem is not a one-off.

If anyone who owns the books could chime in, I would appreciate it greatly.



Edited by lordratner (log)
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My MCaH has started to fall apart. The binding is of very poor quality. Yes, they're large, heavy books but you bind them accordingly. I've had heavy atlases and dictionaries that children have damn near attacked over the years in my classrooms and they're still holding up strong. MCaH, conversely, is treated with care. The original MC set seems to be holding up okay, though.

Chris Taylor

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I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between

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Many modern books, even expensive ones, are poorly bound.  This is a sad fact of modern life.  You can take the quires out of the binding entirely, line them up square, get some mesh fabric and cut it to the size of the spine, get some ph-neutral white glue, attach the mesh fabric to the quires with glue and then reattach the covers.  It will be better.  But the best would have been sewing the original binding in the first place rather than relying on gluing for such a heavy book. 

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Yes, I had the same issue, but only with book number 1. With the 4 other books I didn't have any issues because a bookbinder gave me some advise. I'll try to describe it as well as possible. Bear in mind that English is not my mother tongue.


The info I got from the bookbinder is something I do now for every book I just bought.

here are the steps:

1. place book on its spine, where the pages are binded.

2. open the front cover and and go with your finger over the bind to smooth the cover/page down.

3. do the the same with the back cover

4. now take a few pages at the front and again run over the bind with your finger to smooth down the bind while keeping the other pages at an angle of 45°.

5. take a few pages at the back and to the same

6. repeat step 4 & 5 until you went through the whole book.

This is what I did with the 4 other books and didn't encounter the same issue as with the first book.



Here a picture which describes the process: here

Edited by Romain (log)
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The early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

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