Q & A: Wavy Page Edges

Tom Tickenoff sent me a question I think quite a few people would be interested in discussing. Here goes:Q. What is it in the binding process that sometimes causes that pesky wave effect on the outer page edges? It seems to be kind of common even on some upper end bibles. What do you think?

A. The pages are printed on larger sheets and cut to size by a machine that basically operates on the guillotine principle. I've seen it done -- not on Bibles, but on regular print jobs -- and the wave seems to be a result of the stack of pages not being perfectly even in the machine (or the blade not cutting evenly). I don't know how it's done on Bibles, but when I observed it at the printer, it was a hand-operated machine, so the results depended on the individual. My first-ever Cambridge, a wide margin bound in Berkshire leather, had quite a wave, while others are perfectly smooth. My guess is that, the smaller the run, the more risk of this kind of imperfection exists. I've never seen it, for example, on mass produced Bibles.

Am I right, or have I missed it? Let me know in the comments.