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Title: Bookbinding, and the Care of Books - A handbook for Amateurs, Bookbinders & Librarians
Author: Cockerell, Douglas
Language: English
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                      THE ARTISTIC CRAFTS SERIES
                        OF TECHNICAL HANDBOOKS
                        EDITED BY W. R. LETHABY


            [Illustration: WHITE PIGSKIN.--_Basle_, 1512.]

                           BOOKBINDING, AND
                           THE CARE OF BOOKS

                        A HANDBOOK FOR AMATEURS
                       BOOKBINDERS & LIBRARIANS
                         BY DOUGLAS COCKERELL


                        DRAWINGS BY NOEL ROOKE
                        AND OTHER ILLUSTRATIONS


                               NEW YORK
                        D. APPLETON AND COMPANY

                           COPYRIGHT, 1901,
                      BY D. APPLETON AND COMPANY

                         _All rights reserved_

                           EDITOR'S PREFACE

In issuing this volume of a series of Handbooks on the Artistic
Crafts, it will be well to state what are our general aims.

In the first place, we wish to provide trustworthy text-books of
workshop practice, from the points of view of experts who have
critically examined the methods current in the shops, and putting
aside vain survivals, are prepared to say what is good workmanship,
and to set up a standard of quality in the crafts which are more
especially associated with design. Secondly, in doing this, we hope to
treat design itself as an essential part of good workmanship. During
the last century most of the arts, save painting and sculpture of an
academic kind, were little considered, and there was a tendency to
look on "design" as a mere matter of _appearance_. Such
"ornamentation" as there was was usually obtained by following in a
mechanical way a drawing provided by an artist who often knew little
of the technical processes involved in production. With the critical
attention given to the crafts by Ruskin and Morris, it came to be seen
that it was impossible to detach design from craft in this way, and
that, in the widest sense, true design is an inseparable element of
good quality, involving as it does the selection of good and suitable
material, contrivance for special purpose, expert workmanship, proper
finish and so on, far more than mere ornament, and indeed, that
ornamentation itself was rather an exuberance of fine workmanship than
a matter of merely abstract lines. Workmanship when separated by too
wide a gulf from fresh thought--that is, from design--inevitably
decays, and, on the other hand, ornamentation, divorced from
workmanship, is necessarily unreal, and quickly falls into
affectation. Proper ornamentation may be defined as a language
addressed to the eye; it is pleasant thought expressed in the speech
of the tool.

In the third place, we would have this series put artistic
craftsmanship before people as furnishing reasonable occupation for
those who would gain a livelihood. Although within the bounds of
academic art, the competition, of its kind, is so acute that only a
very few per cent. can fairly hope to succeed as painters and
sculptors; yet, as artistic craftsmen, there is every probability that
nearly every one who would pass through a sufficient period of
apprenticeship to workmanship and design would reach a measure of

In the blending of handwork and thought in such arts as we propose to
deal with, happy careers may be found as far removed from the dreary
routine of hack labour, as from the terrible uncertainty of academic
art. It is desirable in every way that men of good education should be
brought back into the productive crafts: there are more than enough of
us "in the city," and it is probable that more consideration will be
given in this century than in the last to Design and Workmanship.

                                                   W. R. LETHABY.

                             AUTHOR'S NOTE

It is hoped that this book will help bookbinders and librarians to
select sound methods of binding books.

It is intended to supplement and not to supplant workshop training for
bookbinders. No one can become a skilled workman by reading
text-books, but to a man who has acquired skill and practical
experience, a text-book, giving perhaps different methods from those
to which he has been accustomed, may be helpful.

My thanks are due to many friends, including the workmen in my
workshop, for useful suggestions and other help, and to the Society of
Arts for permission to quote from the report of their Special
Committee on leather for bookbinding.

I should also like to express my indebtedness to my master, Mr. T. J.
Cobden-Sanderson, for it was in his workshop that I learned my craft,
and anything that may be of value in this book is due to his

                                                            D. C.

  _November_ 1901.


                                PART I



Editor's Preface                                                     7

Author's Note                                                       11

                               CHAPTER I

Introduction                                                        17

                              CHAPTER II

Entering--Books in Sheets--Folding--Collating--Pulling
to Pieces--Refolding--Knocking out Joints                           33

                              CHAPTER III

Guarding--Throwing Out--Paring Paper--Soaking off India
Proofs--Mounting very Thin Paper--Splitting
Paper--Inlaying--Flattening Vellum                                  53

                              CHAPTER IV

Sizing--Washing--Mending                                            67

                               CHAPTER V

End Papers--Leather Joints--Pressing                                80

                              CHAPTER VI

Trimming Edges before Sewing--Edge Gilding                          92

                              CHAPTER VII

Marking up--Sewing--Materials for Sewing                            98

                             CHAPTER VIII

Fraying out Slips--Glueing up--Rounding and Backing                114

                              CHAPTER IX

Cutting and Attaching Boards--Cleaning off Back--Pressing          124

                               CHAPTER X

Cutting in Boards--Gilding and Colouring Edges                     139

                              CHAPTER XI

Headbanding                                                        147

                              CHAPTER XII

Preparing for Covering--Paring Leather--Covering--Mitring
Corners--Filling-in Boards                                         152

                             CHAPTER XIII

Library Binding--Binding very Thin Books--Scrap-Books--Binding
in Vellum--Books covered with Embroidery                           173

                              CHAPTER XIV

Decoration--Tools--Finishing--Tooling on Vellum--Inlaying
on Leather                                                         188

                              CHAPTER XV

Lettering--Blind Tooling--Heraldic Ornament                        215

                              CHAPTER XVI

Designing for Gold-Tooled Decoration                               230

                             CHAPTER XVII

Pasting down End Papers--Opening Books                             254

                             CHAPTER XVIII

Clasps and Ties--Metal on Bindings                                 259

                              CHAPTER XIX

Leather                                                            263

                              CHAPTER XX

Paper--Pastes--Glue                                                280

                                PART II

                      _CARE OF BOOKS WHEN BOUND_

                              CHAPTER XXI

Injurious Influences to which Books are Subjected                  291

                             CHAPTER XXII

To Preserve Old Bindings--Re-backing                               302

SPECIFICATIONS                                                     307

GLOSSARY                                                           313

REPRODUCTIONS OF BINDINGS (Eight Collotypes)                       319

INDEX                                                              337

                                PART I


                               CHAPTER I


The reasons for binding the leaves of a book are to keep them together
in their proper order, and to protect them. That bindings can be made,
that will adequately protect books, can be seen from the large number
of fifteenth and sixteenth century bindings now existing on books
still in excellent condition. That bindings are made, that fail to
protect books, may be seen by visiting any large library, when it will
be found that many bindings have their boards loose and the leather
crumbling to dust. Nearly all librarians complain, that they have to
be continually rebinding books, and this not after four hundred, but
after only five or ten years.

It is no exaggeration to say that ninety per cent. of the books bound
in leather during the last thirty years will need rebinding during the
next thirty. The immense expense involved must be a very serious drag
on the usefulness of libraries; and as rebinding is always to some
extent damaging to the leaves of a book, it is not only on account of
the expense that the necessity for it is to be regretted.

The reasons that have led to the production in modern times of
bindings that fail to last for a reasonable time, are twofold. The
materials are badly selected or prepared, and the method of binding is
faulty. Another factor in the decay of bindings, both old and new, is
the bad conditions under which they are often kept.

The object of this text-book is to describe the best methods of
bookbinding, and of keeping books when bound, taking into account the
present-day conditions. No attempt has been made to describe all
possible methods, but only such as appear to have answered best on old
books. The methods described are for binding that can be done by hand
with the aid of simple appliances. Large editions of books are now
bound, or rather cased, at an almost incredible speed by the aid of
machinery, but all work that needs personal care and thought on each
book, is still done, and probably always will be done, by hand.
Elaborate machinery can only be economically employed when very large
numbers of books have to be turned out exactly alike.

The ordinary cloth "binding" of the trade, is better described as
casing. The methods being different, it is convenient to distinguish
between casing and binding. In binding, the slips are firmly attached
to the boards before covering; in casing, the boards are covered
separately, and afterwards glued on to the book. Very great efforts
have been made in the decoration of cloth covers, and it is a pity
that the methods of construction have not been equally considered. If
cloth cases are to be looked upon as a temporary binding, then it
seems a pity to waste so much trouble on their decoration; and if they
are to be looked upon as permanent binding, it is a pity the
construction is not better.

For books of only temporary interest, the usual cloth cases answer
well enough; but for books expected to have permanent value, some
change is desirable.

Valuable books should either be issued in bindings that are obviously
temporary, or else in bindings that are strong enough to be considered
permanent. The usual cloth case fails as a temporary binding, because
the methods employed result in serious damage to the sections of the
book, often unfitting them for rebinding, and it fails as a permanent
binding on account of the absence of sound construction.

In a temporary publisher's binding, nothing should be done to the
sections of a book that would injure them. Plates should be guarded,
the sewing should be on tapes, without splitting the head and tail, or
"sawing in" the backs, of the sections; the backs should be glued up
square without backing. The case may be attached, as is now usual. For
a permanent publisher's binding, something like that recommended for
libraries (page 173) is suggested, with either leather or cloth on the

At the end of the book four specifications are given (page 307). The
first is suggested for binding books of special interest or value,
where no restriction as to price is made. A binding under this
specification may be decorated to any extent that the nature of the
book justifies. The second is for good binding, for books of reference
and other heavy books that may have a great deal of wear. All the
features of the first that make for the strength of the binding are
retained, while those less essential, that only add to the appearance,
are omitted. Although the binding under this specification would be
much cheaper than that carried out under the first, it would still be
too expensive for the majority of books in most libraries; and as it
would seem to be impossible to further modify this form of binding,
without materially reducing its strength, for cheaper work, a somewhat
different system is recommended. The third specification is
recommended for the binding of the general run of small books in most
libraries. The fourth is a modification of this for pamphlets and
other books of little value, that need to be kept together tidily for
occasional reference.

Thanks, in a great measure, to the work of Mr. Cobden-Sanderson,
there is in England the germ of a sound tradition for the best
binding. The Report of the Committee appointed by the Society of Arts
to investigate the cause of the decay of modern leather bindings,
should tend to establish a sound tradition for cheaper work. The third
specification at the end of this book is practically the same as that
given in their Report, and was arrived at by selection, after many
libraries had been examined, and many forms of binding compared.

Up to the end of the eighteenth century the traditional methods of
binding books had altered very little during three hundred years.
Books were generally sewn round five cords, the ends of all of these
laced into the boards, and the leather attached directly to the back.
At the end of the eighteenth century it became customary to pare down
leather until it was as thin as paper, and soon afterwards the use of
hollow backs and false bands became general, and these two things
together mark the beginning of the modern degradation of binding, so
far as its utility as a protection is concerned.

The Society of Arts Committee report that the bookbinders must share
with the leather manufacturers and librarians the blame for the
premature decay of modern bindings, because--

"1. Books are sewn on too few, and too thin cords, and the slips are
pared down unduly (for the sake of neatness), and are not in all cases
firmly laced into the boards. This renders the attachment of the
boards to the book almost entirely dependent on the strength of the

"2. The use of hollow backs throws all the strain of opening and
shutting on the joints, and renders the back liable to come right off
if the book is much used.

"3. The leather of the back is apt to become torn through the use of
insufficiently strong headbands, which are unable to stand the strain
of the book being taken from the shelf.

"4. It is a common practice to use far too thin leather; especially to
use large thick skins very much pared down for small books.

"5. The leather is often made very wet and stretched a great deal in
covering, with the result that on drying it is further strained,
almost to breaking point, by contraction, leaving a very small margin
of strength to meet the accidents of use."

The history of the general introduction of hollow backs is probably
somewhat as follows: Leather was doubtless first chosen for covering
the backs of books because of its toughness and flexibility; because,
while protecting the back, it would bend when the book was opened and
allow the back to "throw up" (see fig. 1, A). When gold tooling became
common, and the backs of books were elaborately decorated, it was
found that the creasing of the leather injured the brightness or the
gold and caused it to crack. To avoid this the binders lined up the
back until it was as stiff as a block of wood. The back would then not
"throw up" as the book was opened, the leather would not be creased,
and the gold would remain uninjured (see fig. 1, B). This was all very
well for the gold, but a book so treated does not open fully, and
indeed, if the paper is stiff, can hardly be got to open at all. To
overcome both difficulties the hollow back was introduced, and as
projecting bands would have been in the way, the sewing cord was sunk
in saw cuts made across the back of the book.

    [Illustration: FIG. 1.]

The use of hollow backs was a very ingenious way out of the
difficulty, as with them the backs could be made to "throw up," and at
the same time the leather was not disturbed (see fig. 1, C). The
method of "sawing in" bands was known for a long time before the
general use of hollow backs. It has been used to avoid the raised
bands on books covered with embroidered material.

If a book is sewn on tapes, and the back lined with leather, there is
no serious objection to a carefully-made hollow back without bands.
The vellum binders use hollow backs made in this way for great account
books that stand an immense amount of wear. They make the "hollow"
very stiff, so that it acts as a spring to throw the back up.

But although, if carefully done, satisfactory bindings may be made
with hollow backs, their use has resulted in the production of
worthless bindings with little strength, and yet with the appearance
of better work.

The public having been accustomed to raised bands on the backs of
books, and the real bands being sunk in the back, the binders put
false ones over the "hollow." To save money or trouble, the bands
being out of sight, the book would be sewn on only three or sometimes
only two cords, the usual five false ones still showing at the back.
Often only two out of the three bands would be laced into the board,
and sometimes the slips would not be laced in at all. Again, false
headbands worked by the yard by machinery would be stuck on at the
head and tail, and a "hollow" made with brown paper. Then leather so
thin as to have but little strength, but used because it is easy to
work and needs no paring, would be stuck on. The back would often be
full gilt and lettered, and the sides sprinkled or marbled, thus
further damaging the leather.

In every large library hundreds of books bound somewhat on these lines
may be seen. When they are received from the binder they have the
appearance of being well bound, they look smart on the shelf, but in a
few years, whether they are used or not, the leather will have
perished and the boards become detached, and they will have to be

As long as librarians expect the appearance of a guinea binding for
two or three shillings, such shams will be produced. The librarian
generally gets his money's worth, for it would be impossible for the
binder to do better work at the price usually paid without materially
altering the appearance of the binding. The polished calf and
imitation crushed morocco must go, and in its place a rougher,
thicker leather must be employed. The full-gilt backs must go, the
coloured lettering panel must go, the hollow backs must go, but in the
place of these we may have the books sewn on tapes with the ends
securely fastened into split boards, and the thick leather attached
directly to the backs of the sections. (See specification III. page

Such a binding would look well and not be more expensive than the
usual library binding. It should allow the book to open flat, and if
the materials are well selected, be very durable, and specially strong
in the joints, the weak place in most bindings. The lettering on the
back may be damaged in time if the book is much used, but if so it can
easily be renewed at a fraction of the cost of rebinding, and without
injury to the book.

While the majority of books in most libraries must be bound at a small
cost, at most not exceeding a few shillings a volume, there is a large
demand for good plain bindings, and a limited, but growing, demand for
more or less decorated bindings for special books.

Any decoration but the simplest should be restricted to books bound as
well as the binder can do them. The presence of decoration should be
evidence that the binder, after doing his best with the "forwarding,"
has had time in which to try to make his work a beautiful, as well as
a serviceable, production.

Many books, although well bound, are better left plain, or with only a
little decoration. But occasionally there are books that the binder
can decorate as lavishly as he is able. As an instance of bindings
that cannot be over-decorated, those books which are used in important
ceremonies, such as Altar Books, may be mentioned. Such books may be
decorated with gold and colour until they seem to be covered in a
golden material. They will be but spots of gorgeousness in a great
church or cathedral, and they cannot be said to be over-decorated as
long as the decoration is good.

So, occasionally some one may have a book to which he is for some
reason greatly attached, and wishing to enshrine it, give the binder a
free hand to do his best with it. The binder may wish to make a
delicate pattern with nicely-balanced spots of ornament, leaving the
leather for the most part bare, or he may wish to cover the outside
with some close gold-tooled pattern, giving a richness of texture
hardly to be got by other means. If he decides on the latter, many
people will say that the cover is over-decorated. But as a book cover
can never be seen absolutely alone, it should not be judged as an
isolated thing covered with ornament without relief, but as a spot of
brightness and interest among its surroundings. If a room and
everything in it is covered with elaborate pattern, then anything with
a plain surface would be welcome as a relief; but in a room which is
reasonably free from ornament, a spot of rich decoration should be

It is not contended that the only, or necessarily the best, method of
decorating book covers is by elaborate all-over gold-tooled pattern;
but it is contended that this is a legitimate method of decoration for
exceptional books, and that by its use it is possible to get a
beautiful effect well worth the trouble and expense involved.

Good leather has a beautiful surface, and may sometimes be got of a
fine colour. The binder may often wish to show this surface and
colour, and to restrict his decoration to small portions of the
cover, and this quite rightly, he aiming at, and getting, a totally
different effect than that got by all-over patterns. Both methods are
right if well done, and both methods can equally be vulgarised if
badly done.

A much debated question is, how far the decoration of a binding should
be influenced by the contents of the book? A certain appropriateness
there should be, but as a general thing, if the binder aims at making
the cover beautiful, that is the best he can do. The hints given for
designing are not intended to stop the development of the student's
own ideas, but only to encourage their development on right lines.

There should be a certain similarity of treatment between the general
get-up of a book and its binding. It is a great pity that printers and
binders have drifted so far apart; they are, or should be, working for
one end, the production of a book, and some unity of aim should be
evident in the work of the two.

The binding of manuscripts and early printed books should be strong
and simple. It should be as strong and durable as the original old
bindings, and, like them, last with reasonable care for four hundred
years or more. To this end the old bindings, with their stout sewing
cord, wooden boards, and clasps, may be taken as models.

The question is constantly asked, especially by women, if a living can
be made by setting up as bookbinders. Cheap binding can most
economically be done in large workshops, but probably the best
bindings can be done more satisfactorily by binders working alone, or
in very small workshops.

If any one intends to set up as a bookbinder, doing all the work
without help, it is necessary to charge very high prices to get any
adequate return after the working expenses have been paid. In order to
get high prices, the standard of work must be very high; and in order
to attain a high enough standard of work, a very thorough training is
necessary. It is desirable that any one hoping to make money at the
craft should have at least a year's training in a workshop where good
work is done, and after that, some time will be spent before quite
satisfactory work can be turned out rapidly enough to pay, supposing
that orders can be obtained or the books bound can be sold.

There are some successful binders who have had less than a year's
training, but they are exceptional. Those who have not been accustomed
to manual work have usually, in addition to the necessary skill, to
acquire the habit of continuous work. Bookbinding seems to offer an
opening for well-educated youths who are willing to serve an
apprenticeship in a good shop, and who have some small amount of
capital at their command.

In addition to the production of decorated bindings, there is much to
be done by specialising in certain kinds of work requiring special
knowledge. Repairing and binding early printed books and manuscripts,
or the restoration of Parish Registers and Accounts, may be suggested.

                              CHAPTER II

       Entering--Books in Sheets--Folding--Collating--Pulling to
                Pieces--Refolding--Knocking out Joints


On receiving a book for binding, its title should be entered in a book
kept for that purpose, with the date of entry, and customer's name
and address, and any instructions he may have given, written out in
full underneath, leaving room below to enter the time taken on the
various operations and cost of the materials used. It is well to
number the entry, and to give a corresponding number to the book. It
should be at once collated, and any special features noted, such as
pages that need washing or mending. If the book should prove to be
imperfect, or to have any serious defect, the owner should be
communicated with, before it is pulled to pieces. This is very
important, as imperfect books that have been "pulled" are not
returnable to the bookseller. Should defects only be discovered after
the book has been taken to pieces, the bookbinder is liable to be
blamed for the loss of any missing leaves.

                            BOOKS IN SHEETS

The sheets of a newly printed book are arranged in piles in the
printer's warehouse, each pile being made up of repetitions of the
same sheet or "signature." Plates or maps are in piles by themselves
To make a complete book one sheet is gathered from each pile,
beginning at the last sheet and working backwards to signature A. When
a book is ordered from a publisher in sheets, it is such a "gathered"
copy that the binder receives. Some books are printed "double," that
is, the type is set up twice, two copies are printed at once at
different ends of a sheet of paper, and the sheets have to be divided
down the middle before the copies can be separated. Sometimes the
title and introduction, or perhaps only the last sheet, will be
printed in this way. Publishers usually decline to supply in sheets
fewer than two copies of such double-printed books.

If a book is received unfolded, it is generally advisable at once to
fold up the sheets and put them in their proper order, with
half-title, title, introduction, &c., and, if there are plates, to
compare them with the printed list.

Should there be in a recently published book defects of any kind, such
as soiled sheets, the publisher will usually replace them on
application, although they sometimes take a long time to do so. Such
sheets are called "imperfections," and the printers usually keep a
number of "overs" in order to make good such imperfections as may


Books received in sheets must be folded. Folding requires care, or the
margins of different leaves will be unequal, and the lines of printing
not at right angles to the back.

Books of various sizes are known as "folio," "quarto," "octavo,"
"duodecimo," &c. These names signify the number of folds, and
consequently the number of leaves the paper has been folded into.
Thus, a folio is made up of sheets of paper folded once down the
centre, forming two leaves and four pages. The sheets of a quarto have
a second fold, making four leaves and eight pages, and in an octavo
the sheet has a third fold, forming eight leaves and sixteen pages
(see fig. 2), and so on. Each sheet of paper when folded constitutes a
section, except in the case of folios, where it is usual to make up
the sections by inserting two or more sheets, one within the other.

Paper is made in several named sizes, such as "imperial," "royal,"
"demy," "crown," "foolscap," &c. (see p. 283), so that the terms
"imperial folio" or "crown octavo" imply that a sheet of a definite
size has been folded a definite number of times.

    [Illustration: FIG. 2.]

Besides the traditional sizes, paper is now made of almost any length
and width, resulting in books of odd shape, and the names folio,
quarto, &c., are rather losing their true meaning, and are often used
loosely to signify pages of certain sizes, irrespective of the number
that go to a sheet.

On receipt, for instance, of an octavo book for folding, the pile of
sheets is laid flat on the table, and collated by the letter or
signature of each sheet. The first sheet of the book proper will
probably be signature B, as signature A usually consists of the
half-title, title, introduction, &c., and often has to be folded up
rather differently.

The "outer" sides, known by the signature letters B, C, D, &c., should
be downwards, and the inner sides facing upwards with the second
signatures, if there are any, B2, C2, D2, &c., at the right-hand
bottom corner.

The pages of an octave book, commencing at page 1, are shown at fig.
3. A folder is taken in the right hand, and held at the bottom of the
sheet at about the centre, and the sheet taken by the left hand at the
top right-hand corner and bent over until pages 3 and 6 come exactly
over pages 2 and 7; and when it is seen that the headlines and figures
exactly match, the paper, while being held in that position, is
creased down the centre with the folder, and the fold cut up a little
more than half-way. Pages 4, 13, 5, 12 will now be uppermost; pages 12
and 5 are now folded over to exactly match pages 13 and 4, and the
fold creased and cut up a little more than half-way, as before. Pages
8 and 9 will now be uppermost, and will merely require folding
together to make the pages of the section follow in their proper
order. If the folding has been done carefully, and the "register" of
the printing is good, the headlines should be exactly even throughout.

    [Illustration: FIG. 3.]

The object of cutting past the centre at each fold is to avoid the
unsightly creasing that results from folding two or more thicknesses
of paper when joined at the top edge.

A "duodecimo" sheet has the pages arranged as at fig. 4.

The "inset" pages, 10, 15, 14, 11, must be cut off, and the rest of
the section folded as for an octavo sheet. The inset is folded
separately and inserted into the centre of the octavo portion.

Other sizes are folded in much the same way, and the principle of
folding one sheet having been mastered, no difficulty will be found in
folding any other.

Plates often require trimming, and this must be done with judgment.
The plates should be trimmed to correspond as far as possible with the
printing on the opposite page, but if this cannot be done, it is
desirable that something approaching the proportion of margin shown at
fig. 2 (folio) should be aimed at. That is to say, the back margin
should be the smallest, the head margin the next, the fore-edge a
little wider, and the tail widest of all. When a plate consists of a
small portrait or diagram in the centre of the page, it looks better
if it is put a little higher and a little nearer the back than the
actual centre.

    [Illustration: FIG. 4.]

Plates that have no numbers on them must be put in order by the list
of printed plates, or "instructions to the binder." The half-title,
title, dedication, &c., will often be found to be printed on odd
sheets that have to be made up into section A. This preliminary matter
is usually placed in the following order: Half-title, title,
dedication, preface, contents, list of illustrations or other lists.
If there is an index, it should be put at the end of the book.

All plates should be "guarded," and any "quarter sections," that is,
sections consisting of two leaves, should have their backs
strengthened by a "guard," or they may very easily be torn in the
sewing. Odd, single leaves may be guarded round sections in the same
way as plates.

When a book has been folded, it should be pressed (see p. 87).

There will sometimes be pages marked by the printer with a star. These
have some error in them, and are intended to be cut out. The printer
should supply corrected pages to replace them.


In addition to the pagination each sheet or section of a printed book
is lettered or numbered. Each letter or number is called the "sheet's
signature." Printers usually leave out J W and V in lettering sheets.
If there are more sections than there are letters in the alphabet, the
printer doubles the letters, signing the sections A A, B B, and so on,
after the single letters are exhausted. Some printers use an Arabic
numeral before the section number to denote the second alphabet, as
2A, 2B, &c., and others change the character of the letters, perhaps
using capitals for the first alphabet and italics for the second. If
the sheets are numbered, the numbers will of course follow
consecutively. In books of more than one volume, the number of the
volume is sometimes added in Roman numerals before the signature, as

The main pagination of the book usually commences with Chapter I., and
all before that is independently paged in Roman numerals. It is
unusual to have actual numbers on the title or half-title, but if the
pages are counted back from where the first numeral occurs, they
should come right.

There will sometimes be one or more blank leaves completing sections
at the beginning or end. Such blank leaves must be retained, as
without them the volume would be "imperfect."

To collate a modern book the paging must be examined to see that the
leaves are in order, and that nothing is defective or missing.

The method of doing this is to insert the first finger of the right
hand at the bottom of about the fiftieth page, crook the finger, and
turn up the corners of the pages with it. When this is done the thumb
is placed on page 1, and the hand twisted, so as to fan out the top of
the pages. They can then be readily turned over by the thumb and first
finger of the left hand (see fig. 5). This is repeated throughout the
book, taking about fifty pages at a time. It will of course only be
necessary to check the odd numbers, as if they are right, the even
ones on the other side of the leaf must be so. If the pages are
numbered at the foot, the leaves must be fanned out from the head.

    [Illustration: FIG. 5.]

Plates or maps that are not paged can only be checked from the printed
list. When checked it will save time if the number of the page which
each faces is marked on the back in small pencil figures.

In the case of early printed books or manuscripts, which are often not
paged, special knowledge is needed for their collation. It may roughly
be said, that if the sections are all complete, that is, if there are
the same number of leaves at each side of the sewing in all the
sections, the book may be taken to be perfect, unless of course whole
sections are missing. All unpaged books should be paged through in
pencil before they are taken apart; this is best done with a very fine
pencil, at the bottom left-hand corner; it will only be necessary to
number the front of each leaf.

                           PULLING TO PIECES

After the volume has been collated it must be "pulled," that is to
say, the sections must be separated, and all plates or maps detached.

If in a bound book there are slips laced in the front cover, they must
be cut and the back torn off. It will sometimes happen that in tearing
off the leather nearly all the glue will come too, leaving the backs
of the pages detached except for the sewing. More usually the back
will be left covered with a mass of glue and linen, or paper, which it
is very difficult to remove without injury to the backs of the
sections. By drawing a sharp knife along the bands, the sewing may be
cut and the bands removed, leaving the sections only connected by the
glue. Then the sections of the book can usually be separated with a
fine folder, after the thread from the centre of each has been
removed; the point of division being ascertained by finding the first
signature of each section. In cases where the glue and leather form
too hard a back to yield to this method, it is advisable to soak the
glue with paste, and when soft to scrape it off with a folder. As this
method is apt to injure the backs of the sections, it should not be
resorted to unless necessary; and when it is, care must be taken not
to let the damp penetrate into the book, or it will cause very ugly
stains. The book must be pulled while damp, or else the glue will dry
up harder than before. The separated sections must be piled up
carefully to prevent pages being soiled by the damp glue.

All plates or single leaves "pasted on" must be removed. These can
usually be detached by carefully tearing apart, but if too securely
pasted they must be soaked off in water, unless of course the plates
have been painted with water-colour. If the plates must be soaked off,
the leaf and attached plate should be put into a pan of slightly warm
water and left to soak until they float apart, then with a soft brush
any remaining glue or paste can be easily removed while in the water.
Care must be taken not to soak modern books printed on what is called
"Art Paper," as this paper will hardly stand ordinary handling, and is
absolutely ruined if wetted. The growing use of this paper in
important books is one of the greatest troubles the bookbinder has to
face. The highly loaded and glazed surface of some of the heavy plate
papers easily flakes off, so that any guard pasted on these plates is
apt to come away, taking with it the surface of the paper. Moreover,
should the plates chance to be fingered or in any way soiled, nothing
can remove the marks; and should a corner get turned down, the paper
breaks and the corner will fall off. It is the opinion of experts that
this heavily loaded Art Paper will not last a reasonable time, and,
apart from other considerations, this should be ample reason for not
using it in books that are expected to have a permanent value.
Printers like this paper, because it enables them to obtain brilliant
impressions from blocks produced by cheap processes.

In "cased" books, sewn by machinery, the head and tail of the sheets
will often be found to be split up as far as the "kettle" stitches. If
such a book is to be expensively bound, it will require mending
throughout in these places, or the glue may soak into the torn ends,
and make the book open stiffly.

Some books are put together with staples of tinned iron wire, which
rapidly rust and disfigure the book by circular brown marks. Such
marks will usually have to be cut out and the places carefully mended.
This process is lengthy, and consequently so costly, that it is
generally cheaper, when possible, to obtain an unbound copy of the
book from the publishers, than to waste time repairing the damage done
by the cloth binder.

Generally speaking, the sections of a book cased in cloth by modern
methods are so injured as to make it unfit for more permanent binding
unless an unreasonable amount of time is spent on it. It is a great
pity that publishers do not, in the case of books expected to have a
permanent literary value, issue a certain number of copies printed on
good paper, and unbound, for the use of those who require permanent
bindings; and in such copies it would be a great help if sufficient
margin were left at the back of the plates for the binder to turn it
up to form a guard. If the plates were very numerous, guards made of
the substance of the plates themselves would make the book too thick;
but in the case of books with not more than a dozen plates, printed on
comparatively thin paper, it would be a great advantage.

Some books in which there are a large number of plates are cut into
single leaves, which are held together at the back by a coating of an
indiarubber solution. For a short time such a volume is pleasant
enough to handle, and opens freely, but before long the indiarubber
perishes, and the leaves and plates fall apart. When a book of this
kind comes to have a permanent binding, all the leaves and plates have
to be pared at the back and made up into sections with guards--a
troublesome and expensive business. The custom with binders is to
overcast the backs of the leaves in sections, and to sew through the
overcasting thread, but this, though an easy and quick process, makes
a hopelessly stiff back, and no book so treated can open freely.


    [Illustration: FIG. 6.--Dividers]

When the sheets of books that have to be rebound have been carelessly
folded, a certain amount of readjustment is often advisable,
especially in cases where the book has not been previously cut. The
title-page and the half-title, when found to be out of square, should
nearly always be put straight. The folding of the whole book may be
corrected by taking each pair of leaves and holding them up to the
light and adjusting the fold so that the print on one leaf comes
exactly over the print on the other, and creasing the fold to make
them stay in that position. With a pair of dividers (fig. 6) set to
the height of the shortest top margin, points the same distance above
the headline of the other leaves can be made. Then against a
carpenter's square, adjusted to the back of the fold, the head of one
pair of leaves at a time can be cut square (see fig. 7). If the book
has been previously cut this process is apt to throw the leaves so far
out of their original position as to make them unduly uneven.

    [Illustration: FIG. 7.]

Accurate folding is impossible if the "register" of the printing is
bad, that is to say, if the print on the back of a leaf does not lie
exactly over that on the front.

Crooked plates should usually be made straight by judicious trimming
of the margins. It is better to leave a plate short at tail or
fore-edge than to leave it out of square.

                          KNOCKING OUT JOINTS

The old "joints" must be knocked out of the sections of books that
have been previously backed. To do this, one or two sections at a time
are held firmly in the left hand, and well hammered on the
knocking-down iron fixed into the lying press. It is important that
the hammer face should fall exactly squarely upon the paper, or it may
cut pieces out. The knocking-down iron should be covered with a piece
of paper, and the hammer face must be perfectly clean, or the sheets
may be soiled.

                              CHAPTER III

        Guarding--Throwing Out--Paring Paper--Soaking off India
              Proofs--Mounting very Thin Paper--Splitting
                  Paper--Inlaying--Flattening Vellum


Guards are slips of thin paper or linen used for strengthening the
fold of leaves that are damaged, or for attaching plates or single

Guards should be of good thin paper. That known as Whatman's Banknote
paper answers very well. An easy way to cut guards is shown in fig.
8. Two or three pieces of paper of the height of the required guards
are folded and pinned to the board by the right-hand corners. A series
of points are marked at the head and tail with dividers set to the
width desired for the guards, and with a knife guided by a
straight-edge, cuts joining the points are made right through the
paper, but not extending quite to either end. On a transverse cut
being made near the bottom, the guards are left attached by one end
only (see fig. 9), and can be torn off as wanted. This method prevents
the paper from slipping while it is being cut.

    [Illustration: FIG. 8.]

    [Illustration: FIG. 9.]

A mount cutter's knife (fig. 10) will be found to be a convenient form
of knife to use for cutting guards.

In using the knife and straight-edge a good deal of pressure should be
put on the straight-edge, and comparatively little on the knife.

    [Illustration: FIG. 10.--Mount Cutter's Knife]

To mend the torn back of a pair of leaves, a guard should be selected
a little longer than the height of the pages and well pasted with
white paste (see page 288). If the pair of leaves are not quite
separated, the pasted guard held by its extremities may be simply laid
along the weak place and rubbed down through blotting-paper. If the
leaves are quite apart, it is better to lay the pasted guard on a
piece of glass and put the edges of first one and then the other leaf
on to it and rub down.

On an outside pair of leaves the guard should be inside, so that the
glue may catch any ragged edges; while on the inside pair the guard
should be outside, or it will be found to be troublesome in sewing. In
handling the pasted guards care is needed not to stretch them, or they
may cause the sheet to crinkle as they dry.

    [Illustration: FIG. 11.]

Plates must be guarded round the sections next them. When there are a
great many plates the back margin of each, to which a guard will be
attached, must be pared (see fig. 11, A), or the additional thickness
caused by the guards will make the back swell unduly. In guarding
plates a number can be pasted at once if they are laid one on another,
with about an eighth of an inch of the back of each exposed, the top
of the pile being protected by a folded piece of waste paper (see fig.
12). To paste, the brush is brought from the top to the bottom of the
pile only, and not the other way, or paste will get between the plates
and soil them. Guards should usually be attached to the backs of
plates, and should be wide enough to turn up round the adjoining
section, so that they may be sewn through. Should a plate come in the
middle of a section, the guard is best turned back and slightly pasted
to the inside of the sheet and then sewn through in the ordinary way.

    [Illustration: FIG. 12.]

If plates are very thick, they must be hinged, as shown at fig. 11, B.
This is done by cutting a strip of about a quarter of an inch off the
back of the plate, and guarding with a wide guard of linen, leaving a
small space between the plate and the piece cut off to form a hinge.
It will save some swelling if the plate is pared and a piece of
thinner paper substituted for the piece cut off (see fig. 11, C). If
the plates are of cardboard, they should be guarded on both sides with
linen, and may even need a second joint.

A book that consists entirely of plates or single leaves must be made
up into sections with guards, and sewn as usual. In books in which
there are a great many plates, it is often found that two plates
either come together in the centre of a section, or come at opposite
sides of the same pair of leaves. Such plates should be guarded
together and treated as folded sheets (see fig. 13).

    [Illustration: FIG. 13.]

In order to be sure that the pages of a book to be guarded throughout
will come in their proper order, it is well to make a plan of the
sections as follows, and to check each pair of leaves by it, as they
are guarded:--

Thus, if the book is to be made up into sections of eight leaves, the
pairs of leaves to be guarded together can be seen at once if the
number of the pages are written out--

    1, 3, 5, 7,--9, 11, 13, 15.

First the inside pair, 7 and 9, are guarded together with the guard
outside, then the next pair, 5 and 11, then 3 and 13, and then the
outside pair, 1 and 15, which should have the guard outside. A plan
for the whole book would be more conveniently written thus--

    1-15   17-31   33-47
    3-13   19-29   35-45
    5-11   21-27   37-43
    7-9    23-25   39-41, and so on.

To arrange a book of single leaves for guarding, it is convenient to
take as many leaves as you intend to go to a section, and opening them
in the centre, take a pair at a time as they come.

The number of leaves it is advisable to put into a section will depend
on the thickness of the paper and the size and thickness of the book.
If the paper is thick, and the backs of the leaves have been pared,
four leaves to a section will be found to answer. But if the paper is
thin, and does not allow of much paring, it is better to have a larger
section, in order to have as little thread in the back as possible.

The sheets of any guarded book should be pressed before sewing, in
order to reduce the swelling of the back caused by the guards.

                             THROWING OUT

    [Illustration: FIG. 14.]

Maps or diagrams that are frequently referred to in the text of a
book, should be "thrown out" on a guard as wide as the sheet of the
book. Such maps, &c., should be placed at the end, so that they may
lie open for reference while the book is being read (see fig. 14).
Large folded maps or diagrams should be mounted on linen. To do this
take a piece of jaconet and pin it out flat on the board, then evenly
paste the back of the map with thin paste in which there are no lumps,
and lay it on the linen, rub down through blotting-paper, and leave to
dry. Unless the pasting is done evenly the marks of the paste-brush
will show through the linen. If a folded map is printed on very thick
paper each fold must be cut up, and the separate pieces mounted on the
linen, with a slight space between them to form a flexible joint.

    [Illustration: FIG. 15.]

A folded map must have in the back of the book sufficient guards to
equal it in thickness at its thickest part when folded, or the book
will not shut properly (see fig. 15).

                             PARING PAPER

For paring the edge of paper for mending or guarding, take a very
sharp knife, and holding the blade at right angles to the
covering-board, draw the edge once or twice along it from left to
right. This should turn up enough of the edge to form a "burr," which
causes the knife to cut while being held almost flat on the paper. The
plate or paper should be laid face downwards on the glass with the
edge to be pared away from the workman, the knife held in the right
hand, with the burr downwards. The angle at which to hold the knife
will depend on its shape and on the thickness and character of the
paper to be pared, and can only be learned by practice. If the knife
is in order, and is held at the proper angle, the shaving removed from
a straight edge of paper should come off in a long spiral. If the
knife is not in proper order, the paper may be badly jagged or

                       SOAKING OFF INDIA PROOFS

Place a piece of well-sized paper in a pan of warm water, then lay the
mounted India proof, face downwards, upon it and leave it to soak
until the proof floats off. Then carefully take out the old mount, and
the India proof can be readily removed from the water on the under
paper, and dried between sheets of blotting-paper.

                       MOUNTING VERY THIN PAPER

Very thin paper, such as that of some "India" proofs, may be safely
mounted as follows:--The mount, ready for use, is laid on a pad of
blotting-paper. The thin paper to be mounted is laid face downwards on
a piece of glass and very carefully pasted with thin, white paste. Any
paste on the glass beyond the edges of the paper is carefully wiped
off with a clean cloth. The glass may then be turned over, and the
pasted plate laid on the mount, its exact position being seen through
the glass.

                            SPLITTING PAPER

It is sometimes desirable to split pieces of paper when the matter on
one side only is needed, or when the matter printed on each side is to
be used in different places. The paper to be split should be well
pasted on both sides with a thickish paste, and fine linen or jaconet
placed on each side. It is then nipped in the press to make the linen
stick all over, and left to dry.

If the two pieces of jaconet are carefully pulled apart when dry, half
the paper should be attached to each, unless at any point the paste
has failed to stick, when the paper will tear. The jaconet and paper
attached must be put into warm water until the split paper floats off.

                       INLAYING LEAVES OR PLATES

    [Illustration: FIG. 16.]

When a small plate or leaf has to be inserted into a larger book, it
is best to "inlay it"; that is to say, the plate or leaf is let into a
sheet of paper the size of the page of the book. To do this, a piece
of paper as thick as the plate to be inlaid, or a little thicker, is
selected, and on this is laid the plate, which should have been
previously squared, and the positions of the corners marked with a
folder. A point is made about an eighth of an inch inside each corner
mark, and the paper within these points is cut out (see fig. 16). This
leaves a frame of paper, the inner edges of which will slightly
overlap the edges of the plate. The under edge of the plate, and the
upper edge of the mount, should then be pared and pasted, and the
plate laid in its place (with the corners corresponding to the folder
marks). If the edges have been properly pared, the thickness where
they overlap should not exceed the thickness of the frame paper. If an
irregular fragment is to be inlaid, it is done in the same way, except
that the entire outline is traced on the new paper with a folder, and
the paper cut away, allowing one eighth of an inch inside the indented

                           FLATTENING VELLUM

The leaves of a vellum book that have become cockled from damp or
other causes may be flattened by damping them, pulling them out
straight, and allowing them to dry under pressure. To do this take the
book to pieces, clean out any dirt there may be in the folds of the
leaves, and spread out each pair of leaves as flatly as possible.

Damp some white blotting-paper by interleaving it with common white
paper that has been wetted with a sponge. One sheet of wet paper to
two of blotting-paper will be enough. The pile of blotting-paper and
wet paper is put in the press and left for an hour or two under
pressure, then taken out and the common paper removed.

The blotting-paper should now be slightly and evenly damp. To flatten
the vellum the open pairs of leaves are interleaved with the slightly
damp blotting-paper, and are left for an hour under the weight of a
pressing-board. After this time the vellum will have become quite
soft, and can with care be flattened out and lightly pressed between
the blotting-paper, and left for a night. The next day the vellum
leaves should be looked at to see that they lie quite flat, and the
blotting-paper changed for some that is dry. The vellum must remain
under pressure until it is quite dry, or it will cockle up worse than
ever when exposed to the air. The blotting-paper should be changed
every day or two. The length of time that vellum leaves take to dry
will vary with the state of the atmosphere, and the thickness of the
vellum, from one to six weeks.

Almost any manuscript or printed book on vellum can be successfully
flattened in this way; miniatures should have pieces of waxed paper
laid over them to prevent the chance of any of the fibres of the
blotting-paper sticking. The pressure must not be great; only enough
is needed to keep the vellum flat as it dries.

This process of flattening, although so simple, requires the utmost
care. If the blotting-paper is used too damp, a manuscript may be
ruined; and if not damp enough, the pressing will have no effect.

                              CHAPTER IV



The paper in old books is sometimes soft and woolly. This is generally
because the size has perished, and such paper can often be made
perfectly sound by resizing.

    [Illustration: FIG. 17.]

For size, an ounce of isinglass or good gelatine is dissolved in a
quart of water. This should make a clear solution when gently warmed,
and should be used at about a temperature of 120° F. Care must be
taken not to heat too quickly, or the solution may burn and turn
brown. If the size is not quite clear, it should be strained through
fine muslin or linen before being used. When it is ready it should be
poured into an open pan (fig. 17), so arranged that it can be kept
warm by a gas flame or spirit lamp underneath. When this is ready the
sheets to be sized can be put in one after another and taken out at
once. The hot size will be found to take out a great many stains, and
especially those deep brown stains that come from water. If there are
only a few sheets, they can be placed between blotting-paper as they
are removed from the size; but if there is a whole book, it is best to
lay them in a pile one on the other, and when all have been sized to
squeeze them in the "lying press" between pressing-boards, a pan being
put underneath to catch the liquid squeezed out. When the sheets have
been squeezed they can be readily handled, and should be spread out to
dry on a table upon clean paper. When they are getting dry and firm
they can be hung on strings stretched across the room, slightly
overlapping one another. The strings must first be covered with slips
of clean paper, and the sized sheets should have more paper over them
to keep them clean.

Before sizing it will be necessary to go through a book and take out
any pencil or dust marks that can be removed with indiarubber or bread
crumbs, or the size will fix them, and it will be found exceedingly
difficult to remove them afterwards.

When the sheets are dry they should be carefully mended in any places
that may be torn, and folded up into sections and pressed. A long,
comparatively light pressure will be found to flatten them better and
with less injury to the surface of the paper than a short, very heavy
pressure, such as that of the rolling-machine.

In some cases it will be found that sheets of old books are so far
damaged as to be hardly strong enough to handle. Such sheets must be
sized in rather a stronger size in the following way:--Take a sheet of
heavily-sized paper, such as notepaper, and carefully lay your damaged
sheet on that. Then put another sheet of strong paper on the top, and
put all three sheets into the size. It will be found that the top
sheet can then be easily lifted off, and the size be made to flow over
the face of the damaged sheet. Then, if the top sheet be put on again,
the three sheets, if handled as one, can be turned over and the
operation repeated, and size induced to cover the back of the damaged
leaf. The three sheets must then be taken out and laid between
blotting-paper to take up the surplus moisture. The top sheet must
then be carefully peeled off, and the damaged page laid face downwards
on clean blotting-paper. Then the back sheet can be peeled off as
well, leaving the damaged sheet to dry.

The following is quoted from "Chambers' Encyclopædia" on Gelatine:--

"Gelatine should never be judged by the eye alone.

"Its purity may be very easily tested thus: Soak it in cold water,
then pour upon it a small quantity of boiling water. If pure, it will
form a thickish, clear straw-coloured solution, free from smell; but
if made of impure materials, it will give off a very offensive odour,
and have a yellow, gluey consistency."


When there are stains or ink marks on books that cannot be removed by
the use of hot size or hot water, stronger measures may sometimes have
to be taken. Many stains will be found to yield readily to hot water
with a little alum in it, and others can be got out by a judicious
application of curd soap with a very soft brush and plenty of warm
water. But some, and especially ink stains, require further treatment.
There are many ways of washing paper, and most of those in common use
are extremely dangerous, and have in many cases resulted in the
absolute destruction of fine books. If it is thought to be absolutely
necessary that the sheets of a book should be washed, the safest
method is as follows:--Take an ounce of permanganate of potash
dissolved in a quart of water, and warmed slightly. In this put the
sheets to be washed, and leave them until they turn a dark brown. This
will usually take about an hour, but may take longer for some papers.
Then turn the sheets out and wash them in running water until all
trace of purple stain disappears from the water as it comes away. Then
transfer them to a bath of sulphurous (not sulphuric) acid and water
in the proportion of one ounce of acid to one pint of water. The
sheets in this solution will rapidly turn white, and if left for some
time nearly all stains will be removed. In case any stains refuse to
come out, the sheets should be put in clear water for a short time,
and then placed in the permanganate of potash solution again, and left
there for a longer time than before; then after washing in clear
water, again transferred to the sulphurous acid. When sheets are
removed from the sulphurous acid they should be well washed for an
hour or two in running water, and then may be blotted or squeezed off
and hung up on lines to dry. Any sheets treated in this way will
require sizing afterwards. And if, as is often the case, only a few
sheets at the beginning or end of the book have to be washed, it will
be necessary to tone down the washed sheets to match the rest of the
book by putting some stain in the size. For staining there are many
things used. A weak solution of permanganate of potash gives a
yellowish stain that will be found to match many papers. Other stains
are used, such as coffee, chicory, tea, liquorice, &c. Whatever is
used should be put in the size. To ascertain that the right depth of
colour has been obtained, a piece of unsized paper, such as white
blotting-paper, is dipped in the stained size and blotted off and
dried before the fire. It is impossible to judge of the depth of
colour in a stain unless the test piece is thoroughly dried. If the
stain is not right, add more water or more stain as is needed.
Experience will tell what stain to use to match the paper of any given

To remove grease or oil stains, ether may be used. Pour it freely in a
circle round the spot, narrowing the circle gradually until the stain
is covered. Then apply a warm iron through a piece of blotting-paper.

Ether should only be used in a draught in a well-ventilated room on
account of its well-known inflammable and anæsthetical properties.

A very dilute (about one per cent.) solution of pure hydrochloric acid
in cold water will be found to take out some stains if the paper is
left in it for some hours. When the paper is removed from the
solution, it must be thoroughly washed in running water. It is
important that the hydrochloric acid used should be pure, as the
commercial quality (spirits of salts) often contains sulphuric acid.

The following recipes are quoted from _De l'organisation et de
l'administration des Bibliothèques, par Jules Cusin_:--

To remove stains from paper:--"_Mud Stains._--To take away these kinds
of stains, spread some soap jelly very evenly over the stained places,
and leave it there for thirty or forty minutes, according to the depth
of the stain. Then dip the sheet in clean water, and then having
spread it on a perfectly clean table, remove the soap lightly with a
hog's hair brush or a fine sponge; all the mud will disappear at the
same time. Put the sheet into the clear water again, to get rid of the
last trace of soap. Let it drain a little, press it lightly between
two sheets of blotting-paper, and finish by letting it dry slowly in
a dry place in the shade.

"_Stains of Tallow, Stearine, or Fat._--To take away these stains
cover them with blotting-paper and pass over them a warm flat-iron.
When the paper has soaked up the grease, change it and repeat the
operation until the stains have been sufficiently removed. After that,
touch both sides of the sheets where they have been stained with a
brush dipped in essence of turpentine heated to boiling-point. Then to
restore the whiteness of the paper, touch the places which were
stained with a piece of fine linen soaked in purified spirits of wine
warmed in the water-bath. This method may also be employed to get rid
of sealing-wax stains.

"_Oil Stains._--Make a mixture of 500 gr. of soap, 300 gr. of clay, 60
gr. of quicklime, and sufficient water to make it of the right
consistency, spread a thin layer of this on the stain, and leave it
there about a quarter of an hour. Then dip the sheet in a bath of hot
water; take it out, and let it dry slowly.

"You can also use the following method, generally employed for

"_Finger-marks._--These stains are sometimes very obstinate. Still
they can generally be mastered by the following method:--Spread over
them a layer of white soap jelly (_savon blanc en gelée_), and leave
it there for some hours. Then remove this with a fine sponge dipped in
hot water, and more often than not all the dirt disappears at the same
time. If this treatment is not sufficient, you might replace the soap
jelly by soft soap (_savon noir_), but you must be careful not to
leave it long on the printing, which might decompose and run, and that
would do more harm than good."

Sheets of very old books are best left with the stains of age upon
them, excepting, perhaps, such as can be removed with hot water or
size. Nearly all stains _can_ be removed, but in the process old paper
is apt to lose more in character than it gains in appearance.


For mending torn sheets of an old book, some paper that matches as
nearly as possible must be found. For this purpose it is the custom
for bookbinders to collect quantities of old paper. If a piece of the
same tone cannot be found, paper of similar texture and substance may
be stained to match.

Supposing a corner to be missing, and a piece of paper to have been
found that matches it, the torn page is laid over the new paper in
such a way that the wire marks on both papers correspond. Then the
point of a folder should be drawn along the edge of the torn sheet,
leaving an indented line on the new paper. The new paper should then
be cut off about an eighth of an inch beyond the indented line, and
the edge carefully pared up to the line. The edge of the old paper
must be similarly pared, so that the two edges when laid together will
not exceed the thickness of the rest of the page. It is well to leave
a little greater overlap at the edges of the page. Both cut edges must
then be well pasted with white paste and rubbed down between
blotting-paper. To ensure a perfectly clean joint the pasted edge
should not be touched with the hand, and pasting-paper, brushes, and
paste must be perfectly clean.

In the case of a tear across the page, if there are any overlapping
edges, they may merely be pasted together and the end of the tear at
the edge of the paper strengthened by a small piece of pared paper. If
the tear crosses print, and there are no overlapping edges, either
tiny pieces of pared paper may be cut and laid across the tear between
the lines of print, or else a piece of the thinnest Japanese paper,
which is nearly transparent, may be pasted right along the tear over
the print; in either case the mend should be strengthened at the edge
of the page by an additional thickness of paper. In cases where the
backs of the sections have been much damaged, it will be necessary to
put a guard the entire length, or in the case of small holes, to fill
them in with pieces of torn paper. The edges of any mend may, with
great care, be scraped with a sharp knife having a slight burr on the
under side, and then rubbed lightly with a piece of worn fine
sand-paper, or a fragment of cuttle-fish bone. Care must be taken not
to pare away too much, and especially not to weaken the mend at the
edges of the sheet. As a general rule, the new mending paper should go
on the back of a sheet.

Sometimes it is thought necessary to fill up worm-holes in the paper.
This may be done by boiling down some paper in size until it is of a
pulpy consistency, and a little of this filled into the worm-holes
will re-make the paper in those places. It is a very tedious
operation, and seldom worth doing.

Mending vellum is done in much the same way as mending paper,
excepting that a little greater overlap must be left. It is well to
put a stitch of silk at each end of a vellum patch, as you cannot
depend on paste alone holding vellum securely. The overlapping edges
must be well roughed up with a knife to make sure that the paste will
stick. A cut in a vellum page is best mended with fine silk with a
lacing stitch (see fig. 18).

    [Illustration: FIG. 18.]

Mending is most easily done on a sheet of plate-glass, of which the
edges and corners have been rubbed down.

                               CHAPTER V

                 End Papers--Leather Joints--Pressing

                              END PAPERS

If an old book that has had much wear is examined, it will generally
be found that the leaves at the beginning and the end have suffered
more than the rest of the book. On this ground, and also to enable
people who must write notes in books to do so with the least injury to
the book, it is advisable to put a good number of blank papers at each
end. As these papers are part of the binding, and have an important
protective function to perform, they should be of good quality. At all
times difficulty has been found in preventing the first and last
section of the book, whether end papers or not, from dragging away
when the cover is opened, and various devices have been tried to
overcome this defect. In the fifteenth century strips of vellum
(usually cut from manuscripts) were pasted on to the back of the book
and on the inside of the boards, or in some cases were merely folded
round the first and last section and pasted on to the covers. The
modern, and far less efficient, practice is to "overcast" the first
and last sections. This is objectionable, because it prevents the
leaves from opening right to the back, and it fails in the object
aimed at, by merely transferring the strain to the back of the
overcast section.

In order to make provision for any strain there may be in opening the
cover, it is better to adopt some such arrangement as shown in fig.
19. In this end paper the zigzag opens slightly in response to any

The way to make this end paper is to take a folded sheet of paper a
little larger than the book. Then with dividers mark two points an
eighth of an inch from the back for the fold, and paste your
paste-down paper, B B, up to these points (see fig. 19, II). When the
paste is dry, fold back the sheet (A1) over the paste-down paper, and
A2 the reverse way, leaving the form seen in fig. 19, III. A folded
sheet of paper similar to A is inserted at C (fig. 19, V, H), and the
sewing passes through this. When the book is pasted down the leaf A1
is torn off, and B1 pasted down on the board. If marbled paper is
desired, the marble should be "made," that is, pasted on to B1.

    [Illustration: FIG. 19.]

There are considerable disadvantages in using marbled papers, as if
they are of thick enough paper to help the strength of the binding,
the "made" sheet is very stiff, and in a small book is troublesome. On
no account should any marble paper be used, unless it is tough and
durable. The quality of the paper of which most marbled papers are
made is so poor, that it is unsuitable for use as end papers. For most
books a self-coloured paper of good quality answers well for the
paste-down sheets.

It is a mistake to leave end papers to be pasted on after the book has
been forwarded, as in that case they have little constructive value.
Every leaf of such an end paper as is described above will open right
to the back, and the zigzag allows play for the drag of the board.

Paper with a conventional pattern painted or printed on it may be used
for end papers. If such a design is simple, such as a sprig repeated
all over, or an arrangement of stars or dots, it may look very well;
but over elaborate end papers, and especially those that aim at
pictorial effect, are seldom successful.

Ends may be made of thin vellum. If so, unless the board is very
heavy, it is best to have leather joints.

A single leaf of vellum (in the place of B1 and 2, II, fig. 19) should
have an edge turned up into the zigzag with the leather joint, and
sewn through. Vellum ends must always be sewn, as it is not safe to
rely upon paste to hold them. They look well, and may be enriched by
tooling. The disadvantage of vellum is, that it has a tendency to curl
up if subjected to heat, and when it contracts it unduly draws the
boards of the book. For large manuscripts, or printed books on vellum,
which are bound in wooden or other thick boards and are clasped,
thicker vellum may be used for the ends; that with a slightly brown
surface looks best. The part that will come into the joint should be
scraped thin with a knife, and a zigzag made of Japanese paper.

Silk or other fine woven material may be used for ends. It is best
used with a leather joint, and may be stuck on to the first paper of
the end papers (B1, No. 2, fig. 19), and cut with the book. The
glaire of the edge gilding will help to stop the edges fraying out. In
attaching silk to paper, thin glue is the best thing to use; the
paper, not the silk, being glued. Some little practice is needed to
get sufficient glue on the paper to make the silk stick all over, and
yet not to soil it. When the silk has been glued to the paper, it
should be left under a light weight to dry. If put in the press, the
glue may be squeezed through and the silk soiled.

If the silk is very thin, or delicate in colour, or if it seems likely
that it will fray out at the edges, it is better to turn the edges in
over a piece of paper cut a little smaller than the page of the book
and stick them down. This forms a pad, which may be attached to the
first leaf of the end papers; a similar pad may be made for filling in
the board.

Before using, the silk should be damped and ironed flat on the wrong

Silk ends give a book a rich finish, but seldom look altogether
satisfactory. If the silk is merely stuck on to the first end paper,
the edges will generally fray out if the book is much used. If the
edges are turned in, an unpleasantly thick end is made.

                            LEATHER JOINTS

Leather joints are pieces of thin leather that are used to cover the
joints on the inside (for paring, see page 154). They add very little
strength to the book, but give a pleasant finish to the inside of the

If there are to be leather joints, the end papers are made up without
A 1, and the edge of the leather pasted and inserted at D, with a
piece of common paper as a protection (see fig. 19, IV). When the
paste is dry, the leather is folded over at E.

A piece of blotting-paper may be pasted on to the inside of the waste
leaf, leaving enough of it loose to go between the leather joint and
the first sheet of the end paper. This will avoid any chance of the
leather joint staining or marking the ends while the book is being
bound. The blotting-paper, of course, is taken out with the waste
sheet before the joint is pasted down.

Joints may also be made of linen or cloth inserted in the same way. A
cloth joint has greater strength than a leather one, as the latter has
to be very thin in order that the board may shut properly.

With leather or cloth joints, the sewing should go through both E and


    [Illustration: FIG. 20.]

    [Illustration: FIG. 21.--Standing Press]

While the end papers are being made, the sections of the book should
be pressed. To do this a pressing-board is taken which is a little
larger than the book, and a tin, covered with common paper, placed on
that, then a few sections of the book, then another tin covered with
paper, and then more sections, and so on, taking care that the
sections are exactly over one another (see fig. 20). A second
pressing-board having been placed on the last tin, the pile of
sections, tins, and pressing-boards can be put into the standing-press
and left under pressure till next day. Newly printed plates should be
protected by thin tissue paper while being pressed. Any folded plates
or maps, &c., or inserted letters, must either not be pressed, or have
tins placed on each side of them to prevent them from indenting the
adjoining leaves.

    [Illustration: FIG. 22.--French Standing Press]

Hand-printed books, such as the publications of the Kelmscott Press,
should have very little pressure, or the "impression" of the print and
the surface of the paper may be injured. Books newly printed on vellum
or heavily coloured illustrations should not be pressed at all, or the
print may "set off."

The protecting tissues on the plates of a book that has been printed
for more than a year can generally be left out, unless the titles of
the plates are printed on them, as they are a nuisance to readers and
often get crumpled up and mark the book.

In order to make books solid, that is, to make the leaves lie evenly
and closely to one another, it was formerly the custom to beat books
on a "stone" with a heavy hammer. This process has been superseded by
the rolling-press; but with the admirable presses that are now to be
had, simple pressing will be found to be sufficient for the "extra"

At fig. 21 is shown an iron standing-press. This is screwed down first
with a short bar, and finally with a long bar. This form of press is
effective and simple, but needs a good deal of room for the long bar,
and must have very firm supports, or it may be pulled over.

At fig. 22 is shown a French standing-press, in which the pressure is
applied by a weighted wheel, which will, in the first place, by being
spun round, turn the screw until it is tight, and give additional
pressure by a hammering action. This press I have found to answer for
all ordinary purposes, and to give as great pressure as can be got by
the iron standing-press, without any undue strain on supports or

There are many other forms of press by which great pressure can be
applied, some working by various arrangements of cog-wheels, screws,
and levers, others by hydraulic pressure.

                              CHAPTER VI

              Trimming Edges before Sewing--Edge Gilding

                        TRIMMING BEFORE SEWING

When the sheets come from the press the treatment of the edges must be
decided upon, that is, whether they are to be entirely uncut, trimmed
before sewing, or cut in boards.

Early printed books and manuscripts should on no account have their
edges cut at all, and any modern books of value are better only
slightly trimmed and gilt before sewing. But for books of reference
that need good bindings, on account of the wear they have to
withstand, cutting in boards is best, as the smooth edge so obtained
makes the leaves easier to turn over. Gilt tops and rough edges give a
book a look of unequal finish.

If the edges are to remain uncut, or be cut "in boards" with the
plough, the book will be ready for "marking up" as soon as it comes
from the press; but if it is to be gilt before sewing, it must be
first trimmed.

    [Illustration: Fig. 23.]

The sheets for trimming with end papers and all plates inserted must
first be cut square at the head against a carpenter's square (see fig.
7). Then a piece of mill-board may be cut to the size, it is desired
to leave the leaves, and the sections trimmed to it. To do this three
nails should be put into the covering board through a piece of
straw-board, and the back of the section slid along nails 1 and 2
until it touches No. 3 (see fig. 23). The board is slid in the same
way, and anything projecting beyond it cut off. When the under
straw-board has become inconveniently scored in the first position, by
shifting the lower nail (1) a fresh surface will receive the cuts.
Fig. 24 is a representation of a simple machine that I use in my
workshop for trimming. The slides A A are adjustable to any width
required, and are fixed by the screws B B. The brass-bound straight
edge C fits on to slots in A A, and as this, by the adjustment of the
slides, can be fixed at any distance from B B, all sizes of books can
be trimmed. As by this machine several sections can be cut at once,
the time taken is not very much greater than if the book were cut in
the plough.

    [Illustration: FIG. 24.]

Considerable judgment is required in trimming. The edges of the larger
pages only, on a previously uncut book, should be cut, leaving the
smaller pages untouched. Such uncut pages are called "proof," and the
existence of proof in a bound book is evidence that it has not been
unduly cut.

Before gilding the edges of the trimmed sections, any uncut folds
that may remain should be opened with a folder, as if opened after
gilding, they will show a ragged white edge.

    [Illustration: FIG. 25.]

                             EDGE GILDING

To gild the edges of trimmed sections, the book must be "knocked up"
to the fore-edge, getting as many of the short leaves as possible to
the front. It is then put into the "lying press," with gilding boards
on each side (see fig. No. 25), and screwed up tightly. Very little
scraping will be necessary, and usually if well rubbed with fine
sand-paper, to remove any chance finger-marks or loose fragments of
paper, the edge will be smooth enough to gild. If the paper is very
absorbent, the edges must be washed over with vellum size and left to

The next process is an application of red chalk. For this a piece of
gilder's red chalk is rubbed down on a stone with water, making a
thickish paste, and the edges are well brushed with a hard brush
dipped in this mixture, care being taken not to have it wet enough to
run between the leaves. Some gilders prefer to use blacklead or a
mixture of chalk and blacklead. A further brushing with a dry brush
will to some extent polish the leaves. It will then be ready for an
application of glaire. Before glairing, the gold must be cut on the
cushion to the width required (see p. 200), and may be either taken up
on very slightly greased paper, a gilder's tip, or with a piece of net
stretched on a little frame (see fig. 26). The gold leaf will adhere
sufficiently to the net, and can be readily released by a light breath
when it is exactly over the proper place on the edge.

When the gold is ready, the glaire should be floated on to the edge
with a soft brush, and the gold spread evenly over it and left until
dry; that is, in a workshop of ordinary temperature, for about an
hour. The edge is then lightly rubbed with a piece of leather that has
been previously rubbed on beeswax, and is ready for burnishing. It is
best to commence burnishing through a piece of thin slightly waxed
paper to set the gold, and afterwards the burnisher can be used
directly on the edge. A piece of bloodstone ground so as to have no
sharp edges (see fig. 27) makes a good burnisher.

    [Illustration: FIG. 26]

    [Illustration: FIG. 27.]

There are several different preparations used for gilding edges. One
part of beaten up white of egg with four parts of water left to stand
for a day and strained will be found to answer well.

After the fore-edge is gilt the same operation is repeated at the head
and tail. As it is desirable to have the gilding at the head as solid
as possible, rather more scraping is advisable here, or the head may
be left to be cut with a plough and gilt in boards.

                              CHAPTER VII

               Marking up--Sewing--Materials for Sewing

                              MARKING UP

This is drawing lines across the back of the sections to show the
sewer the position of the sewing cords.

Marking up for flexible sewing needs care and judgment, as on it
depends the position of the bands on the back of the bound book.
Nearly all books look best with five bands, but very large, thinnish
folios may have six, and a very small, thick book may look better with
four. Generally speaking, five is the best number. In marking up
trimmed sheets for flexible sewing, the length of the back should be
divided from the head into six portions, five equal, and one at the
tail slightly longer. From the points so arrived at, strong pencil
lines should be made across the back with a carpenter's square as
guide, the book having been previously knocked up between
pressing-boards, and placed in the lying press. It is important that
the head should be knocked up exactly square, as otherwise the bands
will be found to slope when the book is bound. In the case of a book
which is to be cut and gilt in boards, before marking up it will be
necessary to decide how much is to be cut off, and allowance made, or
the head and tail division of the back will, when cut, be too small.
It must also be remembered that to the height of the pages the amount
of the "squares" will be added.

About a quarter of an inch from either end of the back of a trimmed
book, and a little more in the case of one that is to be cut in
boards, a mark should be made for the "kettle" or "catch" stitch. This
may be slightly sawn in, but before using the saw, the end papers are
removed. If these were sawn, the holes would show in the joint when
the ends are pasted down.

If the book is to be sewn on double cords, or on slips of vellum or
tape, two lines will be necessary for each band.

It has become the custom to saw in the backs of books, and to sink the
bands into the saw cuts, using "hollow backs," and putting false bands
to appear when bound. This is a degenerate form, to which is due much
of the want of durability of modern bindings. If the bands are not to
show on the back, it is better to sew on tapes or strips of vellum
than to use sawn-in string bands.


The sewing-frame need by bookbinders is practically the same now as is
shown in prints of the early sixteenth century, and probably dates
from still earlier times. It consists of a bed with two uprights and a
crossbar, which can be heightened or lowered by the turning of wooden
nuts working on a screw thread cut in the uprights (see fig. 29).

To set up for sewing, as many loops of cord, called "lay cords," as
there are to be bands, are threaded on to the cross piece, and to
these, by a simple knot, shown at fig. 28, cords are fastened to form
the bands. The "lay cords" can be used again and again until worn

    [Illustration: FIG. 28.]

To fasten the cord below, a key is taken (see fig. 28) and held below
the press by the right hand; the cord is then pulled up round it by
the left, and held in position on the key by the first finger of the
right hand. The key is then turned over, winding up a little of the
string, and the prongs slipped over the main cord. It is then put
through the slit in the bed of the sewing-press, with the prongs away
from the front. The cord is then cut off, and the same operation
repeated for each band. When all the bands have been set up, the book
is laid against them, and they are moved to correspond with the marks
previously made on the back of the book, care being taken that they
are quite perpendicular. If they are of the same length and evenly set
up, on screwing up the crossbar they should all tighten equally.

It will be found to be convenient to set up the cords as far to the
right hand of the press as possible, as then there will be room for
the sewer's left arm on the inner side of the left hand upright.

A roll of paper that will exactly fill the slot in the sewing-frame is
pushed in in front of the upright cords to steady them and ensure
that they are all in the same plane.

When the sewing-frame is ready, with the cords set up and adjusted,
the book must be collated to make sure that neither sheets nor plates
have been lost or misplaced during the previous operations. Plates
need special care to see that the guards go properly round the sheets
next them.

    [Illustration: FIG. 29.]

The top back corner, on front and back waste end paper, should be
marked. When this has been done, and all is found to be in order, the
book is laid on a pressing-board behind the sewing-frame, the
fore-edge towards the sewer, and the front end paper uppermost. As it
is difficult to insert the needle into a section placed on the bed of
the sewing-frame, it will be found convenient to sew upon a largish
pressing-board, which will lie on the bed of the frame, and may have
small catches to prevent it from shifting. When the board is in place,
the first section (end paper) is taken in the left hand and turned
over, so that the marks on the back come in the proper places against
the strings. The left hand is inserted into the place where the sewing
is to be, and with the right hand a needle and thread is passed
through the kettle stitch mark (see fig. 29). It is grasped by the
fingers of the left hand, is passed out through the back at the first
mark on the left-hand side of the first upright cord, and pulled
tight, leaving a loose end of thread at the kettle stitch. Then with
the right hand it is inserted again in the same place, but from the
other side of the cord, and so on round all five bands, and out again
at the kettle stitch mark at the tail, using right and left hands
alternately. The centre of the next section is then found, and it is
sewn in the same way from tail to head, the thread being tied to the
loose end hanging from the first kettle stitch. Another section is
laid on and sewn, but when the kettle stitch is reached, the under
thread is caught up in the way shown in fig. 30. These operations are
repeated throughout the whole book. If the back seems likely to swell
too much, the sections can be lightly tapped down with a loaded stick
made for the purpose, care being taken not to drive the sections
inwards, as it is difficult to get such sections out again. When all
the sheets and the last end paper have been sewn on, a double catch
stitch is made, and the end cut off. This method is known as flexible
sewing "all along."

    [Illustration: FIG. 30.]

    [Illustration: FIG. 31.]

When one needle full of thread is exhausted, another is tied on,
making practically a continuous length of thread going all along each
section and round every band. The weaver's knot is the best for
joining the lengths of thread. A simple way of tying it is shown at
fig. 31. A simple slip knot is made in the end of the new thread and
put over the end of the old, and, on being pulled tight, the old
thread should slip through, as shewn at B. The convenience of this
knot is, that by its use a firm attachment can be made quite close up
to the back of the book. This is a great advantage, as if the knot is
made at some distance from the back, it will have to be dragged
through the section two or three times, instead of only once. The
knot, after having been made, must be pulled inside the section, and
remain there. Considerable judgment is required in sewing. If a book
is sewn too loosely, it is almost impossible to bind it firmly; and if
too tightly, especially if the kettle stitches have been drawn too
tight, the thread may break in "backing," and the book have to be

One way to avoid having too much swelling in the back of a book
consisting of a great many very thin sections is to sew "two sheets
on." In this form of sewing two sections at a time are laid on the
sewing-frame. The thread is inserted at the "kettle stitch" of the
lower section, and brought out as usual at the first cord, but instead
of being reinserted into the lower section, it is passed into the
upper one, and so on, alternately passing into the upper and lower
sections. This will give, if there are five bands, three stitches in
each section instead of six, as there would be if the sewing were
"all along," lessening the thread, consequently the swelling by half.
It is usual to sew the first and last few sections "all along."

The common method of sewing is to make saw cuts in the back, in which
thin cords can be sunk, and the thread merely passes behind them and
not round them, as in flexible sewing. This method, although very
quick and cheap, is not to be recommended, on account of the injury
done to the backs of the sections by the saw, and because the glue
running into the saw cuts is apt to make the back stiff, and to
prevent the book from opening right to the back. Indeed, were a
sawn-in book to open right to the back, as it is expected a
flexibly-sewn book will do, showing the sewing along the centre of
each section, the saw marks with the band inserted would show, and be
a serious disfigurement.

Mediæval books were usually sewn on double cords or strips of leather,
and the headband was often sewn at the same time, as shown at fig. 32,
A. This is an excellent method for very large books with heavy
sections, and is specially suitable for large vellum manuscripts, in
many of which the sections are very thick. An advantage of this
method is, that the twist round the double cord virtually makes a knot
at every band, and should a thread at any place break, there is no
danger of the rest of the thread coming loose. This is the only mode
of sewing by which a thread runs absolutely from end to end of the
sections. The headband sewn at the same time, and so tied down in
every section, is firmer and stronger than if worked on in the way now
usual. In the fifteenth century it was the custom to lace the ends of
the headbands into the boards in the same way as the other bands. This
method, while giving additional strength at the head and tail, and
avoiding the somewhat unfinished look of the cut-off ends of the
modern headband, is, on the whole, of doubtful advantage, as it is
necessary to cut the "turn in" at the point where strength in the
leather is much wanted.

At fig. 32 is shown in section the three methods of sewing mentioned.
A is the old sewing round double bands; with the headbands worked at
the same time with the same thread; B is the modern flexible sewing,
and C the common sawn-in method.

    [Illustration: FIG. 32.]

Books that are very thin or are to be bound in vellum, are best sewn
on tapes or vellum slips. The easiest way to set up the sewing-frame
for such sewing is to sling a piece of wood through two of the lay
cords, and to pin one end of the vellum or tape band round this, pull
the other end tight, and secure it with a drawing-pin underneath the
frame. The sewing, in the case of such flat bands, would not go round,
but only across them. To avoid undue looseness, every three or four
threads may be caught up at the back of the band, as shown in fig. 33.

    [Illustration: FIG. 33.]

                         MATERIALS FOR SEWING

The cord used should be of the best hemp, specially made with only two
strands of very long fibres to facilitate fraying out. For very large
books where a double cord is to be used, the best water line will be
found to answer, care being taken to select that which can be frayed
out. If tape is used it should be unbleached, such as the sailmakers
use. Thread should also be unbleached, as the unnecessary bleaching of
most bookbinder's sewing-thread seems to cause it to rot in a
comparatively short time. Silk of the best quality is better than any
thread. The ligature silk, undyed, as used by surgeons, is perhaps the
strongest material, and can be had in various thicknesses. It is
impossible to pay too great attention to the selection of sewing
materials, as the permanency of the binding depends on their
durability. The rebinding of valuable books is at best a necessary
evil, and anything that makes frequent rebinding necessary, is not
only objectionable on account of the cost involved, but because it
seriously shortens the life of the book.

Experience is required to judge what thickness of thread to use for
any given book. If the sections are very thin, a thin thread must be
used, or the "swelling" of the back caused by the additional thickness
of the thread in that part will be excessive, and make the book
unmanageable in "backing." On the other hand, if the sections are
large, and a too thin thread is used, there will not be enough
swelling to make a firm "joint." Broadly speaking, when there are a
great many very thin sections, the thinnest thread may be used; and
coarser thread may be used when the sections are thicker, or fewer in
number. In the case of large manuscripts on vellum it is best to use
very thick silk, or even catgut. Vellum is so tough and durable, that
any binding of a vellum book should be made as if it were expected to
last for hundreds of years.

In selecting the thickness of cord for a book, some judgment is
required. On an old book the bands are best made rather prominent by
the use of thick cord, but the exact thickness to be used is a matter
for taste and experience to decide.

A very thick band on a small book is clumsy, while a very thin band on
the back of a heavy book suggests weakness, and is therefore

In bindings of early printed books and manuscripts an appearance of
great strength is better than extreme neatness.

When the sewing is completed, the cords are cut off close to the lay
cords, and then the keys will be loose enough to be easily removed.
The knots remaining on the lay bands are removed, and the keys slung
through one of them.

                             CHAPTER VIII

          Fraying out Slips--Glueing up--Rounding and Backing


After sewing, the book should be looked through to see that all sheets
and plates have been caught by the thread, and special attention
should be given to end papers to see that the sewing lies evenly.

The ends of the cords should next be cut off to within about two
inches of the book on each side, and the free portions frayed out. If
proper sewing cord is used, this will be found to be very easily done,
if a binder's bodkin is first inserted between the two strands,
separating them, and then again in the centre of each separated strand
to still further straighten the fibres (see fig. 34).

The fraying out of the thick cord recommended for heavy books is a
more difficult operation, but with a little trouble the fibres of any
good cord can be frayed out. Vellum or tape bands will only require
cutting off, leaving about two inches free on each side. The free
parts of the bands are called slips.

    [Illustration: FIG. 34.]

The book is now ready for glueing up. A piece of waste mill-board or
an old cloth cover is put on each side over the slips, and the book
knocked up squarely at the back and head. Then it is lowered into the
lying press and screwed up, leaving the back with the protecting
boards projecting about three-quarters of an inch. If the back has too
much swelling in it or is spongy, it is better to leave the slips on
one side free and to pull them as tight as possible while the book is
held in the press, or a knocking-down iron may be placed on one side
of the projecting back and the other side tapped with the backing
hammer to make the sections lie close to one another, and then the
slips pulled straight (fig. 35). The back must now be glued. The glue
for this operation must be hot, and not too thick. It is very
important that it should be worked well between the sections with the
brush, and it is well after it has been applied to rub the back with a
finger or folder to make quite sure that the glue goes between every
section for its entire length. If the book is too tightly screwed up
in the press, the glue is apt to remain too much on the surface; and
if not tightly enough, it may penetrate too deeply between the
sections. If the glue is thick, or stringy, it may be diluted with hot
water and the glue-brush rapidly spun round in the glue-pot to break
it up and to make it work freely.

    [Illustration: FIG. 35.]

Very great care is needed to see that the head of a previously trimmed
book is knocked up exactly square before the back is glued, for if it
is not, it will be very difficult to get it even afterwards.

                         ROUNDING AND BACKING

The amount of rounding on the back of a book should be determined by
the necessities of the case; that is to say, a back that has, through
guarding, or excess of sewing, a tendency to be round, is best not
forced to be flat, and a back that would naturally be flat, is best
not forced to be unduly round. A very round back is objectionable
where it can be avoided, because it takes up so much of the back
margins of the sheets, and is apt to make the book stiff in opening.
On the other hand, a back that is quite flat has to be lined up
stiffly, or it may become concave with use.

    [Illustration: FIG. 36.]

The method of rounding is to place the book with the back projecting a
little over the edge of the press or table, then to draw the back over
towards the workman, and, while in this position, to tap it carefully
with a hammer (see fig. 36). This is repeated on the other side of the
book, and, if properly done, will give the back an even, convex form
that should be in section, a portion of a circle. Rounding and backing
are best done after the glue has ceased to be tacky, but before it has
set hard.

    [Illustration: FIG. 37.]

Backing is perhaps the most difficult and important operation in
forwarding. The sewing threads in the back cause that part to be
thicker than the rest of the book. Thus in a book with twenty sections
there will be in the back, in addition to the thickness of the paper,
twenty thicknesses of thread.

If the boards were laced on to the book without rounding or backing,
and the book were pressed, the additional thickness of the back,
having to go somewhere, would cause it to go either convex or concave,
or else perhaps to crease up (see fig. 37). The object of rounding is
to control the distribution of this swelling, and to make the back
take an even and permanently convex form.

    [Illustration: FIG. 38.]

If the boards were merely laced on after rounding, there would be a
gap between the square ends of the board and the edge of the back (see
fig. 38), though the convexity and even curve of the back would be to
some extent assured. What is done in backing is to make a groove, into
which the edges of the board will fit neatly, and to hammer the backs
of the sections over one another from the centre outwards on both
sides to form the "groove," to ensure that the back shall return to
the same form after the book has been opened.

    [Illustration: FIG. 39.]

To back the book, backing boards are placed on each side (leaving the
slips outside) a short distance below the edge of the back (fig. 39).
The amount to leave here must be decided by the thickness of the
boards to be used. When the backing boards are in position, the book
and boards must be carefully lowered into the lying press and screwed
up very tight, great care being taken to see that the boards do not
slip, and that the book is put in evenly. Even the most experienced
forwarder will sometimes have to take a book out of the press two or
three times before he gets it in quite evenly and without allowing the
boards to slip. Unless the back has a perfectly even curve when put in
the press for backing, no amount of subsequent hammering will put it
permanently right.

    [Illustration: FIG. 40.]

    [Illustration: FIG. 41.]

The backs of the sections should be evenly fanned out one over the
other from the centre outwards on both sides. This is done by side
strokes of the hammer, in fact by a sort of "riveting" blow, and not
by a directly crushing blow (see fig. 41, in which the arrows show the
direction of the hammer strokes). If the sections are not evenly
fanned out from the centre, but are either zigzagged by being crushed
by direct blows of the hammer, as shown in fig. 42, A, or are unevenly
fanned over more to one side than the other, as shown in fig. 42, B,
the back, although it may be even enough when first done, will
probably become uneven with use. A book in which the sections have
been crushed down, as at fig. 42, A, will be disfigured inside by
creases in the paper.

    [Illustration: FIG. 42.]

    [Illustration: FIG. 43.]

    [Illustration: FIG. 44.]

It is a mistake to suppose that a very heavy hammer is necessary for
backing any but the largest books. For flexible books a hammer with a
comparatively small face should be used, as by its use the book can be
backed without flattening the bands. It is well to have a hammer head
of the shape shown in fig. 43. By using the thin end, the force of a
comparatively light blow, because concentrated on a small surface, is

At fig. 44 is shown an ordinary backing hammer.

                              CHAPTER IX

       Cutting and Attaching Boards--Cleaning off Back--Pressing


The first quality of the best black board made from old rope is the
best to use for "extra" binding. It will be found to be very hard, and
not easily broken or bent at the corners. In selecting the thickness
suitable for any given book, the size and thickness of the volume
should be taken into account. The tendency of most modern binders is
to use a rather over thick board, perhaps with a view to bulk out the
volume. For manuscripts, or other books on vellum, it is best to use
wooden boards, which should be clasped. From their stability they form
a kind of permanent press, in which the vellum leaves are kept flat.
In a damp climate like that of England, vellum, absorbing moisture
from the atmosphere, soon cockles up unless it is held tightly in some
way; and when it is once cockled, the book cannot be made to shut
properly, except with very special treatment. Then also dust and damp
have ready access to the interstices of the crinkled pages, resulting
in the disfigurement so well known and so deplored by all lovers of
fine books.

For large books a "made" board, that is, two boards pasted together,
is better than a single board of the same thickness. In making boards
a thin and a thick board should be pasted together, the thin board to
go nearest the book. It will not be necessary to put a double lining
on the inside of such boards, as a thin board will always draw a thick

    [Illustration: FIG. 45.]

If mill-boards are used they are first cut roughly to size with the
mill-board shears, screwed up in the "lying" press. The straight arm
of the shears is the one to fix in the press, for if the bent arm be
undermost, the knuckles are apt to be severely bruised against the
end. A better way of fixing the shears is shown at fig. 45. Any
blacksmith will bend the arm of the shears and make the necessary
clips. This method saves trouble and considerable wear and tear to
the "lying" press. Where a great many boards are needed, they may be
quickly cut in a board machine, but for "extra" work they should be
further trimmed in the plough, in the same way as those cut by the
shears. After the boards have been roughly cut to size, they should
have one edge cut straight with the plough. To do this one or two
pairs of boards are knocked up to the back and inserted in the cutting
side of the press, with those edges projecting which are to be cut
off, and behind them, as a "cut against," a board protected by a waste
piece of mill-board.

The plough, held by the screw and handle, and guided by the runners on
the press, is moved backwards and forwards. A slight turn of the screw
at each movement brings the knife forward. In cutting mill-boards
which are very hard, the screw should be turned very little each time.
If press and plough are in proper order, that part of the board which
projects above the cheek of the press should be cut off, leaving the
edges perfectly square and straight. If the edge of the press has been
damaged, or is out of "truth," a cutting board may be used between
the cheek of the press and the board to be cut, making a true edge for
the knife to run on.

    [Illustration: FIG. 46.--Lying or Cutting Press]

The position of the plough on the press is shown at fig. 46. The side
of the press with runners should be reserved for cutting, the other
side used for all other work.

    [Illustration: FIG. 47.]

The plough knife for mill-boards should not be ground at too acute an
angle, or the edge will most likely break away at the first cut. The
shape shown at fig. 47 is suitable. The knife should be very
frequently ground, as it soon gets blunt, which adds greatly to the
labour of cutting.

After an edge has been cut, each side should be well rubbed with a
folder to smooth down any burr left by the plough knife. Then a piece
of common paper with one edge cut straight is pasted on to one side of
the board, with the straight edge exactly up to the cut edge of the
board. Then a piece of paper large enough to cover both sides of the
board is pasted round it, and well rubbed down at the cut edge. After
having been lined, the boards are nipped in the press to ensure that
the lining paper shall stick. They are stood up to dry, with the
doubly lined side outwards. The double paper is intended to warp the
board slightly to that side, to compensate for the pull of the leather
when the book is covered. If the board is a double one, a single
lining paper will be sufficient, the thinner board helping to draw the
thicker. The paste for lining boards must be fairly thin, and very
well beaten up so as to be free from lumps. It is of the utmost
importance that the lining papers should stick properly, for unless
they stick, no subsequent covering of leather or paper can be made to
lie flat.

When the lined boards are quite dry, they should be paired with the
doubly lined sides together, and the top back corner marked to
correspond with the marks on the top back corners of the book. Then
near the top edge, with the aid of a carpenter's square, two points
are marked in a line at right angles to the cut edge. The pair of
boards is then knocked up to the back and lowered into the press as
before, so that the plough knife will exactly cut through the points.
The same operation is repeated on the two remaining uncut edges. In
marking out those for the fore-edge, the measurement is taken with a
pair of compasses (fig. 48) from the joint of the book to the
fore-edge of the first section. If the book has been trimmed, or is to
remain uncut, a little more must be allowed for the "squares," and if
it is to be cut in the plough, it must be now decided how much is to
be cut off, remembering that it is much better to have the boards a
little too large, and so have to reduce them after the book is cut,
than to have them too small, and either be obliged to get out a new
pair of boards, or unduly cut down the book.

    [Illustration: FIG. 48.]

    [Illustration: FIG. 49.]

The height of the boards for a book that has been trimmed, or is to
remain uncut, will be the height of the page with a small allowance at
each end for the squares. When a pair of boards has been cut all
round, it can be tested for squareness by reversing one board, when
any inequality that there may be will appear doubled. If the boards
are out of truth they should generally be put on one side, to be used
for a smaller book, and new boards got out. To correct a badly cut
pair of boards, it is necessary to reduce them in size, and the book
consequently suffers in proportion. If the boards have been found to
be truly cut, they are laid on the book, and the position of the slips
marked on them by lines at right angles to the back. A line is then
made parallel to the back, about half an inch in (see fig. 49). At the
points where the lines cross, a series of holes is punched from the
front with a binder's bodkin on a lead plate, then the board is turned
over, and a second series is punched from the back about half an inch
from the first. If the groove of the back is shallower than the
thickness of the board, the top back edge of the board should be
bevelled off with a file. This will not be necessary if the groove is
the exact depth. When the holes have been punched, it is well to cut a
series of V-shaped depressions from the first series of holes to the
back to receive the slips, or they may be too prominent when the book
is bound. It will now be necessary to considerably reduce the slips
that were frayed out after sewing, and to remove all glue or any other
matter attached to them. The extent to which they may be reduced is a
matter of nice judgment. In the desire to ensure absolute neatness in
the covering, modern binders often reduce the slips to almost nothing.
On the other hand, some go to the other extreme, and leave the cord
entire, making great ridges on the sides of the book where it is laced
in. It should be possible with the aid of the depressions, cut as
described, to use slips with sufficient margin of strength, and yet to
have no undue projection on the cover. A slight projection is not
unsightly, as it gives an assurance of sound construction and
strength, and, moreover, makes an excellent starting-point for any
pattern that may be used. When the slips have been scraped and
reduced, the portion left should consist of long straight silky
fibres. These must be well pasted, and the ends very slightly twisted.
The pointed ends are then threaded through the first series of holes
in the front of the board, and back again through the second (fig.
50). In lacing-in the slips must not be pulled so tight as to prevent
the board from shutting freely, nor left so loose as to make a
perceptible interval in the joint of the book. The pasted slips having
been laced in, their ends are cut off with a sharp knife, flush with
the surface of the board. The laced-in slips are then well hammered on
a knocking-down iron (see fig. 51), first from the front and then from
the back, care being taken that the hammer face should fall squarely,
or the slips may be cut. This should rivet them into the board,
leaving little or no projection. If in lacing in the fibres should
get twisted, no amount of hammering will make them flat, so that it is
important in pointing the ends for lacing in, that only the points are
twisted just sufficiently to facilitate the threading through the
holes, and not enough to twist the whole slip.

    [Illustration: FIG. 50.]

    [Illustration: FIG. 51.]

To lace slips into wooden boards, holes are made with a brace and fine
twist bit, and the ends of the frayed out slips may be secured with a
wooden plug (see fig. 52).

Old books were sometimes sewn on bands of leather, but as those sewn
on cord seem to have lasted on the whole much better, and as,
moreover, modern cord is a far more trustworthy material than modern
leather, it is better to use cord for any books bound now.

    [Illustration: FIG. 52.]


    [Illustration: FIG. 53.]

When the boards have been laced on and the slips hammered down, the
book should be pressed. Before pressing, a tin is put on each side of
both boards, one being pushed right up into the joint on the inside,
and the other up to the joint, or a little over it, on the outside.
While in the press, the back should be covered with paste and left to
soak for a few minutes. When the glue is soft the surplus on the
surface can be scraped off with a piece of wood shaped as shown in
fig. 53. For important books it is best to do this in the lying press,
but some binders prefer first to build up the books in the standing
press, and then to paste the backs and clean them off there. This has
the advantage of being a quicker method, and will, in many cases,
answer quite well. But for books that require nice adjustment it will
be found better to clean off each volume separately in the lying
press, and afterwards to build up the books and boards in the
standing press, putting the larger books at the bottom. It must be
seen that the entire pile is exactly in the centre under the screw, or
the pressure will be uneven. To ascertain if the books are built up
truly, the pile must be examined from both the front and side of the
press. Each volume must also be looked at carefully to see that it
lies evenly, and that the back is not twisted or out of shape. This is
important, as any form given to the book when it is pressed at this
stage will be permanent.

Any coloured or newly printed plates will need tissues, as in the
former pressing; and any folded plates or diagrams or inserted letters
will need a thin tin on each side of them to prevent them from marking
the book.

Again, the pressure on hand-printed books must not be excessive.

The books should be left in the press at least a night. When taken out
they will be ready for headbanding, unless the edges are to be cut in

                               CHAPTER X

            Cutting in Boards--Gilding and Colouring Edges

                           CUTTING IN BOARDS

The knife for cutting edges may be ground more acutely than for
cutting boards, and should be very sharp, or the paper may be torn.
The plough knife should never be ground on the under side, as if the
under side is not quite flat, it will tend to run up instead of
cutting straight across. Before beginning to cut edges, the position
of the knife should be tested carefully by screwing the plough up,
with the press a little open, and noting whereabouts on the left-hand
cheek the point of the knife comes. In a press that is true the knife
should just clear the edge of the press. If there is too much packing
the knife will cut below the edge of the press, and if too little, it
will cut above.

"Packing" is paper inserted between the knife and the metal plate on
the plough, to correct the position of the knife. When by experiment
the exact thickness of paper necessary for any given knife is found,
the packing should be carefully kept when the knife is taken out for
grinding, and put back with it into the plough.

The first edge to be cut is the top, and the first thing to do is to
place the boards in the position they will hold when the book is
bound. The front board is then dropped the depth of the square
required, care being taken that the back edge of the board remains
evenly in the joint. A piece of cardboard, or two or three thicknesses
of paper, are then slipped in between the end paper and the back board
to prevent the latter from being cut by the knife. The book is then
carefully lowered into the press, with the back towards the workman,
until the top edge of the front board is exactly even with the
right-hand cheek, and the press screwed up evenly. The back board
should show the depth of the square above the left-hand cheek. It is
very important that the edge of the back board should be exactly
parallel with the press, and if at first it is not so, the book must
be twisted until it is right.

The edges can now be cut with the plough as in cutting mill-boards.
The tail of the book is cut in the same way, still keeping the back
of the book towards the workman, but cutting from the back board.

    [Illustration: FIG. 54.]

    [Illustration: FIG. 55.]

Cutting the fore-edge is more difficult. The waste sheets at each end
of the book should be cut off flush with the edge of the board, and
marks made on them below the edge showing the amount of the square,
and consequently how much is to be cut off. The curve of the back, and
consequent curve of the fore-edge, must first be got rid of, by
inserting a pair of pieces of flat steel called "trindles" (fig. 54)
across the back, from the inside of the boards. When these are
inserted the back must be knocked quite flat, and, in the case of a
heavy book, a piece of tape may be tied round the leaves (see fig. 55)
to keep them in position. A pair of cutting boards is placed one on
each side of the leaves, the back one exactly up to the point that the
edge of the board came to, and the front one as much below that point
as it is desired the square of the fore-edge should be. The trindles
are removed while the book is held firmly between the cutting boards
by the finger and thumb; book and boards are then lowered very
carefully into the press. The top edge of the front cutting board
should be flush with the right-hand cheek of the press, and that of
the back a square above the left-hand cheek (see fig. 56). A further
test is to look along the surface of the right-hand cheek, when, if
the book has been inserted truly, the amount of the back cutting board
in sight should exactly correspond with the amount of the paper to be
cut showing above the front board. It will also be necessary before
cutting to look at the back, and to see that it has remained flat. If
it has gone back to its old curve, or the book has been put into the
press crookedly, it must be taken right out again and the trindles
inserted afresh, as it is usually a waste of time to try to adjust the
book when it is in the press. The leaves are cut in the same way as
those of the head and tail.

    [Illustration: FIG. 56.]


Gilding the edges of a book cut in boards is much the same process as
that described for the trimmed book, excepting that when gilt in
boards the edges can be scraped and slightly sand-papered. It is the
custom to admire a perfectly solid gilt edge, looking more like a
solid sheet of metal, than the leaves of a book. As the essential
characteristic of a book is, that it is composed of leaves, this fact
is better accepted and emphasised by leaving the edges a little rough,
so that even when gilt they are evidently the edges of leaves of
paper, and not the sides of a block, or of something solid.

To gild the edges of a cut book the boards should be turned back, and
cutting boards put on each side of the book flush with the edge to be
gilt. For the fore-edge the book must be thrown up with trindles
first, unless it is desired to gild in the round, a process which
gives the objectionable solid metallic edge.

After the edges have been gilt they may be decorated by tooling,
called "gauffering."

This may be done, either by tooling with hot tools directly on the
gold while the leaves are screwed up tightly in the press, or by
laying another coloured gold on the top of the first and tooling over
that, leaving the pattern in the new gold on the original colour. But,
to my mind, edges are best left undecorated, except for plain gold or

If the edges are to be coloured, they should be slightly scraped, and
the colour put on with a sponge, commencing with the fore-edge, which
should be slightly fanned out, and held firmly, by placing a
pressing-board above it, and pressing with the hand on this. The
colour must be put on very thinly, commencing from the centre of the
fore-edge and working to either end, and as many coats put on as are
necessary to get the depth of colour required. The head and tail are
treated in the same way, excepting that they cannot be fanned out, and
the colour should be applied from the back to the fore-edge. If in the
fore-edge an attempt is made to colour from one end to the other, and
if in the head or tail from the fore-edge to the back, the result will
almost certainly be that the sponge will leave a thick deposit of
colour round the corner from which it starts.

For colouring edges almost any stain will answer, or ordinary
water-colours may be used if moistened with size.

When the colour is dry the edge should be lightly rubbed over with a
little beeswax, and burnished with a tooth burnisher (see fig. 57).

    [Illustration: FIG. 57.]

In addition to plain colour and gilding, the edges of a book may be
decorated in a variety of ways. The fore-edge may be fanned out and
painted in any device in water-colour and afterwards gilded; the
painting will only show when the book is open. The fore-edge for this
must be cut very solid, and if the paper is at all absorbent, must be
sized with vellum size before being painted. The paints used must be
simple water-colour, and the edge must not be touched with the hand
before gilding, as if there is any grease or finger-mark on it, the
gold will not stick evenly. Painting on the fore-edge should only be
attempted when the paper of the book is thin and of good quality. More
common methods of decorating edges are by marbling and sprinkling, but
they are both inferior to plain colouring. Some pleasant effects are
sometimes obtained by marbling edges and then gilding over the

                              CHAPTER XI



Modern headbands are small pieces of vellum, gut, or cord sewn on to
the head and tail of a book with silk or thread. They resist the
strain on the book when it is taken from the shelf. The vellum slip or
cord must be of such a depth, that when covered with silk it will be
slightly lower than the square of the boards. The cut edge of the
vellum always slants, and the slip must be placed in position so that
it tilts back rather than forward on the book.

To start, ease the boards slightly on the slips and pull them down
with the top edges flush with the top edge of the leaves. If this is
not done the silk catches on the projecting edges as the band is
worked. Stand the book in a finishing press, fore-edge to the worker,
and tilted forward so as to give a good view of the headband as it is
worked. The light must come from the left, and well on to the work. A
needle threaded with silk is put in at the head of the book, and
through the centre of the first section after the end papers, and
drawn out at the back below the kettle stitch with about two-thirds of
the silk. The needle is again inserted in the same place, and drawn
through until a loop of silk is left. The vellum slip is placed in the
loop, with the end projecting slightly to the left. It must be held
steady by a needle placed vertically behind it, with its point between
the leaves of the first section. The needle end of silk is then behind
the headband, and the shorter end in front. The needle end is brought
over from the back with the right hand, passed into the left hand, and
held taut. The short end is picked up with the right hand, brought
over the needle end under the vellum, and pulled tight from the back.
This is repeated; the back thread is again drawn up and over the band
to the front, the needle end crosses it, and is drawn behind under the
vellum slip, and so on. The crossing of the threads form a "bead,"
which must be watched, and kept as tight as possible, and well down on
the leaves of the book. Whenever the vellum or string begins to shift
in position, it must be tied down. This is done when the needle end of
silk is at the back. A finger of the left hand is placed on the thread
of silk at the back, and holds it firmly just below the slip. The
needle end is then brought up and over the slip, but instead of
crossing it with the front thread, the needle is passed between the
leaves and out at the back of the book, below the kettle stitch, and
the thread gradually drawn tight, and from under the left-hand finger.
The loop so made will hold the band firmly, and the silk can then be
brought up and over the slip and crossed in the usual way. The band
should be worked as far as the end papers, and should be finished with
a double "tie down," after which the front thread is drawn under the
slip to the back. Both the ends of silk are then cut off to about half
an inch, frayed out, and pasted down as flatly as possible on the back
of the book.

The band should be tied down frequently. It is not too much to tie
down every third time the needle end of the silk comes to the back.
To make good headbands the pull on the silk must be even throughout.

When the ends of the silk are pasted down, the ends of the vellum slip
are cut off as near the silk as possible. The correct length of the
headband is best judged by pressing the boards together with thumb and
finger at the opposite ends of the band, so as to compress the
sections into their final compass. If the band then buckles in the
least, it is too long and must be shortened.

The mediæval headbands were sewn with the other bands (see fig. 32),
and were very strong, as they were tied down at every section. Modern
worked headbands, although not so strong, are, if frequently tied
down, strong enough to resist any reasonable strain. There are many
other ways of headbanding, but if the one described is mastered, the
various other patterns will suggest themselves if variety is needed.
For very large books a double headband may be worked on two pieces of
gut or string--a thick piece with a thin piece in front. The string
should first be soaked in thin glue and left to dry. Such a band is
worked with a figure of eight stitch. Headbands may also be worked
with two or three shades of silk. As vellum is apt to get hard and to
break when it is used for headbanding, it is well to paste two pieces
together with linen in between, and to cut into strips as required.

Machine-made headbands can be bought by the yard. Such bands are
merely glued on, but as they have but little strength, should not be

Where leather joints are used, the headbands may be worked on pieces
of soft leather sized and screwed up. If the ends are left long and
tied in front while the book is being covered, they may be
conveniently let into grooves in the boards before the leather joint
is pasted down. This method, I think, has little constructive value,
but it certainly avoids the rather unfinished look of the cut-off

                              CHAPTER XII

       Preparing for Covering--Paring Leather--Covering--Mitring
                      Corners--Filling-in Boards

                        PREPARING FOR COVERING

After the headband is worked, a piece of brown or other stout paper
should be well glued on at the head and tail, care being taken that it
is firmly attached to the back and the headband. When dry, the part
projecting above the headband is neatly cut off, and the part on the
back well sand-papered, to remove any irregularity caused by the
tie-downs attaching the headband. For most books this will be quite
sufficient lining up, but very heavy books are best further lined up
between the bands with linen, or thin leather. This can be put on by
pasting the linen or leather and giving the back a very thin coat of

The only thing now left to do before covering will be to set the
squares and to cut off a small piece of the back corner of each board
at the head and tail, to make it possible for the boards to open and
shut without dragging the head-cap out of place. The form of the
little piece to be cut off varies with each individual binder, but I
have found for an octavo book that a cut slightly sloping from the
inside cutting off the corner about an eighth of an inch each way,
gives the best result (see fig. 58). When the corner has been cut off,
the boards should be thrown back, and the slips between the book and
the board well pasted. When these have soaked a little, the squares of
the boards are set; that is, the boards are fixed so that exactly the
same square shows on each board above head and tail. A little larger
square is sometimes an advantage at the tail to keep the head-cap well
off the shelf, the essential thing being that both head and both tail
squares should be the same. In the case of an old book that has not
been recut, the edges will often be found to be uneven. In such cases
the boards must be made square, and so set that the book stands up

    [Illustration: FIG. 58.]

When the slips have been pasted and the squares set, tins can be put
inside and outside the boards, and the book given a slight nip in the
press to flatten the slips. Only a comparatively light pressure should
be given, or the lining up of the headbands or back will become
cockled and detached.

                            PARING LEATHER

While the slips are being set in the press the cover can be got out.
Judgment is necessary in cutting out covers. One workman will be able,
by careful cutting, to get six covers out of a skin where another will
only get four. The firm part of the skin is the back and sides, and
this only should be used for the best books. The fleshy parts on the
flanks and belly will not wear sufficiently well to be suitable for
good bookbinding.

The skin should be cut out leaving about an inch all round for turning
in when the book is covered, and when cut out it must be pared. If the
leather is of European manufacture most of the paring will have been
done before it is sold, and the leather manufacturer will have shaved
it to any thickness required. This is a convenience that is partly
responsible for the unduly thin leather that is commonly used. The
better plan is to get the leather rather thick, and for the binder to
pare it down where necessary. For small books it is essential, in
order that the covers may open freely, and the boards not look clumsy,
that the leather should be very thin at the joint and round the edges
of the boards. For such books it is very important that a small,
naturally thin skin should be used that will not have to be unduly
pared down, and that the large and thicker skins should be kept for
large books.

Binders like using large skins because there is much less waste, but
if these skins are used for small books, so much of the leather
substance has to be pared away, that only the comparatively brittle
grained surface remains. By the modern process of dyeing this surface
is often to some extent injured, and its strength sometimes totally

When the cover has been cut to size the book is laid on it with the
boards open, and a pencil line drawn round them, a mark being made to
show where the back comes. The skin is then pared, making it thin
where the edge of the boards will come. Great care must be taken that
the thinning does not commence too abruptly, or a ridge will be
apparent when the leather is on the book.

The paring must be done quite smoothly and evenly. Every unevenness
shows when the cover is polished and pressed. Care is needed in
estimating the amount that will have to be pared off that part of the
leather that covers the back and joints. The object of the binder
should be to leave these portions as thick as he can consistently with
the free opening of the boards. The leather at the head-caps must be
pared quite thin, as the double thickness on the top of the headband
is apt to make this part project above the edges of the board. This is
a great trouble, especially at the tail, where, if the head-cap
projects beyond the boards, the whole weight of the book rests on it,
and it is certain to be rubbed off when the book is put on the shelf.

    [Illustration: FIG. 59.]

The method of paring with a French knife (fig. 60, A)--the only form
of knife in use by binders that gives sufficient control over the
leather--is shown at fig. 59. To use this knife properly, practice is
required. The main thing to learn is that the knife must be used quite
flat, and made to cut by having a very slight burr on the under
side. This burr is got by rubbing the knife on the lithographic stone
on which the paring is done. The handle of the knife should never be
raised to such a height above the surface of the stone that it is
possible to get the under fingers of the right hand over the edge of
the stone. Another form of knife suitable for paring the edges of
leather is shown at fig. 60, B.

    [Illustration: FIG. 60.]

To test if the leather has been sufficiently pared, fold it over where
the edge of the board will come, and run the finger along the folded
leather. If the paring has been done properly it will feel quite even
the whole length of the fold; but if there are any irregularities,
they will be very apparent, and the paring must be gone over again
till they have disappeared. When even, the book must be again laid on
the leather with the boards open, and a pencil line drawn round as
before. If there are leather joints they will have been pared before
the book was sewn, and care must be taken in paring the turn-in of the
cover that it is of the same thickness as the leather joint, or it
will be impossible to make a neat mitre at the back corners.


Before covering, the book must be looked at to see that the bands are
quite square and at equal distances apart. Any slight errors in this
respect can be corrected by holding the book in the lying press
between backing boards and gently tapping the bands from one side or
the other with a piece of wood struck with a hammer. This is best done
when the back is cleaned off, but by damping the bands slightly it may
be done just before covering. The squares must be looked to, and the
edges of the board well rubbed with a folder, or tapped with a hammer,
to remove any burr that may have been caused by the plough knife, or
any chance blow. The back is then moistened with paste, or, in the
case of a very large book, with thin glue, and left to soak. The cover
can then be well pasted with thickish paste, that has been previously
well beaten up. When the cover is pasted, it can be folded with the
pasted sides together and left to soak for a few minutes while the
back is again looked to, and any roughness smoothed down with the
folder. Before covering, the bands should be nipped up with band
nippers (see fig. 61) to make sure that they are sharp. The coverer
should have ready before covering a clean paring stone, one or two
folders, a pair of nickeled-band nippers, a clean sponge, a little
water in a saucer, a piece of thread, and a strip of smooth wood
(boxwood for preference), called a band stick, used for smoothing the
leather between the bands, a pair of scissors, and a small sharp
knife, a pair of waterproof sheets the size of the book, and, if the
book is a large one, a pair of tying up boards, with tying up string,
and two strips of wood covered in blotting-paper or leather. It is
best to have the band nippers for covering nickeled to prevent the
iron from staining the leather. The waterproof sheets recommended are
thin sheets of celluloid, such as are used by photographers.

    [Illustration: FIG. 61.]

When these things are ready, the pasted cover should be examined and
repasted if it has dried in any place. The amount of paste to be used
for covering can only be learned by experience. A thick leather will
take more than a thin one, but, provided the cover sticks tight at
every point, the less paste used the better. If there is too much, it
will rub up and make very ugly, uneven places under the leather; and
if there is too little, the cover will not stick.

    [Illustration: FIG. 62.]

Take the pasted cover and look to see which is the better side of the
leather. Lay the front of the book down on this exactly up to the
marks that show the beginning of the turn-in. Then draw the leather
over the back and on to the other side, pulling it slightly, but not
dragging it. Then stand the book on its fore-edge on a piece of waste
paper, with the leather turned out on either side, as shown at fig.
62, and nip up the bands with nickeled band nippers (see fig. 63).
After this is done there will probably be a good deal of loose leather
on the back. This can be got rid of by dragging the leather on to the
side; but by far the better plan, when the back is large enough to
allow it, is to work up the surplus leather on to the back between the
panels. This requires a good deal of practice, and is very seldom
done; but it can be done with most satisfactory results. The book
should now have the leather on the back stretched lengthways to make
it cover the bands, but not stretched the other way, and the leather
on the boards should lie perfectly flat and not be stretched at all.
The leather on the fore-edge of the board is then rubbed with the hand
on the outside, and then on to the edge, and then on the inside. The
edge and the inside are smoothed down with a folder, and any excessive
paste on the inside squeezed out and removed. When the fore-edge of
both boards has been turned in, the head and tail must also be turned
in. A little paste is put on to that part of the leather that will
turn in below the headband, and this portion is neatly tucked in
between the boards and the back. The turned-in edge must lie quite
evenly, or it will result in a ridge on the back. The leather is
turned in on the two boards in the same way as described for the
fore-edge, and the edge rubbed square with a folder. At fig. 64 is
shown a convenient form of folder for covering. At the corners the
leather must be pulled over as far as possible with two folders
meeting at the extreme point, the object being to avoid a cut in the
leather at the corner of the board. The folds so formed must be cut
off with the scissors (see fig. 65, A), then one edge tucked neatly
under the other, (B). Care must be taken throughout not to soil the
edges of the leaves.

    [Illustration: FIG. 63.]

    [Illustration: FIG. 64.]

At the headband the fold of leather, pared thin for the purpose, must
be squeezed together with a folder and pulled out a little to leave an
even projection that can be turned over to form a head-cap. When both
ends have been turned in, in this way, the boards must each be opened
and pressed against a straight-edge held in the joint (fig. 66) to
ensure that there is enough leather in the turn-in of the joint to
allow the cover to open freely; and the leather of the turn-in at the
head and tail must be carefully smoothed down with a folder.

    [Illustration: FIG. 65.]

    [Illustration: FIG. 66.]

    [Illustration: FIG. 67.]

The book may now be shut up if a waterproof sheet is put at each end
to prevent the damp of the cover from cockling the paper. It must then
be stood on its fore-edge and the bands again nipped up with a pair of
nickeled band nippers, and the panels between the bands well pressed
down with the band stick to cause the leather to stick at every point.
A piece of thread is tied round the back from head to tail, squeezing
the leather in the gap caused by the corners of the board having been
cut off. The book is then turned up on end, resting the tail on a
folder or anything that will keep the projecting leather for the
head-cap from being prematurely flattened. The head-caps (fig. 67)
must now be set. To do this the first finger of the left hand is
placed behind it, and a sharp folder is pressed into the corners of
the head-cap between the headband and the thread. The leather is then
tapped over the headband, and the whole turned over on the stone and
rubbed at the back with a folder. This operation requires great
nicety. The shape of head-cap is shown at fig. 67. The nice adjustment
of head-caps and corners, although of no constructional value, are the
points by which the forwarding of a book is generally valued.

    [Illustration: FIG. 68.]

If the book is a large one, it will be best to tie it up. The method
of tying up is shown in fig. 68. The tying up cords will make marks at
the side of the bands, that are not unpleasant on a large book. If
they are objected to, it is best to tie the book up for about
half-an-hour, and then to untie it, and smooth out the marks with the
band stick. Even with small books, if the leather seems inclined to
give trouble, it is well to tie them up for a short time, then to
untie them, to smooth out any marks or inequalities, and to tie them
up again.


A book that has been covered should be left under a light weight until
the next day, with waterproof sheets between the damp cover and the
end paper to prevent the sheets of the book from cockling through the
damp. When the cover is thoroughly set the boards should be carefully
opened, pressing them slightly to the joint to ensure a square and
even joint. If, as is sometimes the case, the turn-in of the leather
over the joint seems to be inclined to bind, the cover should be
merely opened half-way, and the leather of the turns-in of the joint
damped with a sponge, and left to soak for a short time, and then the
cover can usually be opened without any dragging. A section of a good
joint is shown at fig. 69, A, and a bad one at B.

    [Illustration: FIG. 69.]

    [Illustration: FIG. 70.]

The next operation will be to fill in the board and mitre the corners.
To fill in the boards, a piece of paper as thick as the turn-in of the
leather (engineer's cartridge paper answers very well) should be cut a
little smaller than the board, with one edge cut straight; then with
the straight edge adjusted to the back of the board, and a weight
placed on the centre, the paper is marked round with dividers set to
the intended width of the turn-in of the leather. Then with a sharp
knife, paper and leather may be cut through together. The paper should
then be marked to show its position on the board, and the ragged edges
of the leather trimmed off. This will leave an even margin of leather
on three sides of the inside of the board, and a piece of paper that
will exactly fit the remaining space. The corners must next be
mitred. To do this, both thicknesses of leather are cut through from
the corner of the board to the corner of the inside margin. The knife
should be held slightly slanting to make a cut, as shown at fig. 70.
The corners should then be thoroughly damped, and the overlapping
leather from both sides removed, leaving what should be a neat and
straight join. If the leather at the extreme corner should prove to
be, as is often the case, too thick to turn in neatly, the corners
should be opened out and the leather pared against the thumb nail, and
then well pasted and turned back again. The extreme corner may be
slightly tapped on the stone with a hammer, and the sides rubbed with
a folder, to ensure squareness and sharpness. When all four corners
have been mitred, the filling in papers can be pasted in. As they will
probably stretch a little with the paste, it will be well to cut off a
slight shaving, and they should then fit exactly. When the boards have
been filled in and well rubbed down, the book should be left for some
hours with the boards standing open to enable the filling-in papers to
draw the boards slightly inwards to overcome the pull of the leather.

In cases where there are leather joints the operation is as follows:
The waste end paper is removed, and the edge of the board and joint
carefully cleaned from glue and all irregularities, and if, as is most
likely, it is curved from the pull of the leather, the board must be
tapped or ironed down until it is perfectly straight. If there is
difficulty in making the board lie straight along the joint before
pasting down, it will be well first to fill in with a well pasted and
stretched thin paper, which, if the boards are left open, will draw
them inwards. If the leather joint is pasted down while the board is
curved, the result will be a most unsightly projection on the outside.
When the joint has been cleaned out, and the board made to lie flat,
the leather should be pasted down and mitred. The whole depth of the
turn-in of the covering leather in the joint must not be removed, or
it will be unduly weakened. The mitring line should not come from the
extreme corner, but rather farther down, and there it is well to
leave a certain amount of overlap in the joint, for which purpose the
edge of the turn-in leather and the edge of the leather joint should
be pared thin. After pasting down the leather joints the boards should
be left open till they are dry (see fig. 71). The turn-in and leather
joint are then trimmed out, leaving an even margin of leather all
round the inside of the board, and the panel in the centre filled in
with a piece of thick paper.

    [Illustration: FIG. 71.]

When corners and filling in are dry, the boards may be shut up, and
the book is ready for finishing.

It is a common practice to wash up the covers of books that have
become stained with a solution of oxalic acid in water. This is a
dangerous thing to do, and is likely to seriously injure the leather.
Leather, when damp, must not be brought in contact with iron or steel
tools, or it may be badly stained.

                             CHAPTER XIII

   Library Binding--Binding very Thin Books--Scrap-Books--Binding on
                 Vellum--Books covered with Embroidery

                            LIBRARY BINDING

                      _Specifications III and IV_

To produce cheaper bindings, as must be done in the case of large
libraries, some alteration of design is necessary. Appearance must to
some extent be sacrificed to strength and durability, and not, as is
too often the case, strength and durability sacrificed to appearance.
The essentials of any good binding are, that the sections should be
sound in themselves, and that there should be no plates or odd sheets
"pasted on," or anything that would prevent any leaf from opening
right to the back; the sewing must be thoroughly sound; the sewing
materials of good quality; the slips firmly attached to the boards;
and the leather fairly thick and of a durable kind, although for the
sake of cheapness it may be necessary to use skins with flaws on the
surface. Such flawed skins cost half, or less than half, the price of
perfect skins, and surface flaws do not injure the strength of the
leather. By sewing on tape, great flexibility of the back is obtained,
and much time, and consequent expense, in covering is saved. By using
a French joint much thicker leather than usual can be used, with
corresponding gain in strength.

To bind an octavo or smaller book according to the specification given
(III, page 307); first make all sections sound, and guard all plates
or maps. Make end papers with zigzags. After the sections have been
thoroughly pressed, the book will be ready for marking up and sewing.
In marking up for sewing on tapes, two marks will be necessary for
each tape. When there are several books of the same size to be sewn,
they may be placed one above the other in the sewing press, and sewn
on to the same tapes. It will be found that the volumes when sewn can
easily be slid along the tapes, which must be long enough to provide
sufficient for the slips of each. The split boards may be "made" of a
thin black mill-board with a thicker straw-board. To "make" a pair of
split boards the pieces of straw-and mill-board large enough to make
the two are got out, and the straw-board well glued, except in the
centre, which should previously be covered with a strip of thin
mill-board or tin about four inches wide. The strip is then removed,
and the thin black board laid on the glued straw-board and nipped in
the press. When dry, the made board is cut down the centre, which will
leave two boards glued together all over except for two inches on one
side of each. The boards then are squared to the book in a mill-board
machine. The back of the book is glued up, and in the ordinary way
rounded and backed. The edges may be cut with a guillotine. The ends
of the tapes are glued on the waste end paper, which should be cut off
about an inch and a half from the back. The split boards are then
opened and glued, and the waste end papers with slips attached are
placed in them (see fig. 72), and the book nipped in the press. To
form a "French joint" the boards should be kept about an eighth of an
inch from the back of the book. The book is then ready for covering.
The leather must not be pared too thin, as the French joint will give
plenty of play and allow the use of much thicker leather than usual.
If time and money can be spared, headbands can be worked, but they are
not absolutely necessary, and a piece of string may be inserted into
the turning of the leather at head and tail in the place of them. When
the book is covered, a piece of string should be tied round the
joints, and the whole given a nip in the press. The corners of the
boards should be protected by small tips of vellum or parchment. The
sides may be covered with good paper, which will wear quite as well as
cloth, look better, and cost less.

    [Illustration: FIG. 72.]

The lettering of library books is very important (see Chapter XV).

                        BINDING VERY THIN BOOKS

Books consisting of only one section may be bound as follows:--A sheet
of paper to match the book, and two coloured sheets for end papers,
are folded round the section, and a "waste" paper put over all. A
strip of linen is pasted to the back of the waste, and the whole sewn
together by stitching through the fold. The waste may be cut off and
inserted with the linen in a split board, as for library bindings. The
back edges of the board should be filed thin, and should not be placed
quite up to the back, to allow for a little play in the joints.

The leather is put on in the ordinary way, except that the linen at
the head and tail must be slit a little to allow for the turn in. If
waterproof sheets are first inserted, the ends may be pasted, the
boards shut, and the book nipped in the press. By substituting a piece
of thin leather for the outside coloured paper, a leather joint can be


Scrap-books, into which autograph letters, sketches, or other papers
can be pasted, may be made as follows:--Enough paper of good quality
is folded up to the size desired, and pieces of the same paper, of the
same height, and about two inches wide, are folded down the centre and
inserted between the backs of the larger sheets, as shown at fig. 73.
It is best not to insert these smaller pieces in the centre of the
section, as they would be troublesome in sewing. If, after sewing, the
book is filled up with waste paper laid between the leaves, it will
make it manageable while being forwarded.

It is best to use a rather darkly-toned or coloured paper, as, if a
quite white paper is used, any letters or papers that have become
soiled, will look unduly dirty.

    [Illustration: FIG. 73.]

Autograph letters may be mounted in the following ways:--If the letter
is written upon both sides of a single leaf, it may be either
"inlaid," or guarded, as shown at fig. 74, A. A letter on a folded
sheet of notepaper should have the folds strengthened with a guard of
strong thin paper, and be attached by a guard made, as shown at fig.
74, B; or if on very heavy paper, by a double guard, as shown at fig.
74, C. Torn edges of letters may be strengthened with thin Japanese

    [Illustration: FIG. 74.]

Thin paper, written or printed only on one side, may be mounted on a
page of the book. It is better to attach these by their extreme edges
only, as if pasted down all over they may cause the leaves to curl up.

Letters or any writing or drawing in lead pencil should be fixed with
size before being inserted.

Silver prints of photographs are best mounted with some very
quick-drying paste, such as that sold for the purpose by the
photographic dealers. If the leaf on which they are mounted is
slightly damped before the photograph is pasted down, it will be less
likely to cockle. If this is done, waterproof sheets should be put on
each side of the leaf while it dries. If photographs are attached by
the edges only, they will not be so liable to draw the paper on which
they are mounted; but sometimes they will not lie flat themselves.

In cases where very thick letters or papers have to be pasted in, a
few more leaves of the book should be cut out, to make a corresponding
thickness at the back.

                            VELLUM BINDINGS

Vellum covers may be limp without boards, and merely held in place by
the slips being laced through them, or they may be pasted down on
boards in much the same way as leather.

If the edges of a book for limp vellum binding are to be trimmed or
gilt, that should be done before sewing. For the ends a folded piece
of thin vellum may replace the paste-down paper. The sewing should be
on strips of vellum. The back is left square after glueing, and
headbands are worked as for leather binding, or may be worked on
strips of leather, with ends left long enough to lace into the vellum
(see p. 151). The back and headbands are lined with leather, and the
book is ready for the cover.

A piece of vellum should be cut out large enough to cover the book,
and to leave a margin of an inch and a half all round. This is marked
with a folder on the under side, as shown at fig. 75, A. Spaces 1 and
2 are the size of the sides of the book with surrounding squares;
space 3 is the width of the back, and space 4 the width for the
overlaps on the fore-edge. The corners are cut, as shown at 5, and the
edges are folded over, as at B. The overlap 4 is then turned over, and
the back folded, as at C. The slips are now laced through slits made
in the vellum.

    [Illustration: FIG. 75.]

A piece of loose, toned paper may be put inside the cover to prevent
any marks on the book from showing through; and pieces of silk ribbon
of good quality are laced in as shown, going through both cover and
vellum ends, if there are any, and are left with ends long enough to
tie (see fig. 76).

    [Illustration: FIG. 76.]

If paper ends are used, the silk tape need only be laced through the
cover, and the end paper pasted over it on the inside.

Another simple way of keeping a vellum book shut is shown at fig. 77.
A bead is attached to a piece of gut laced into the vellum, and a loop
of catgut is laced in the other side, and looped over the bead as

If the book is to have stiff boards, and the vellum is to be pasted
to them, it is best to sew the sections on tapes or vellum slips, to
back the book as for leather, and to insert the ends of the slips in a
split board, leaving a French joint, as described for library
bindings. Vellum is very stiff, and, if it is pasted directly to the
back, the book would be hard to open. It is best in this case to use
what is known as a hollow back.

    [Illustration: FIG. 77.]

To make a hollow back, a piece of stout paper is taken which measures
once the length of the back and three times the width. This is folded
in three. The centre portion is glued to the back and well rubbed
down, and the overlapping edges turned back and glued one to the other
(fig. 78). This will leave a flat, hollow casing, formed by the single
paper glued to the back of the book and the double paper to which the
vellum may be attached. Or it is better to line up the back with
leather, and to place a piece of thick paper the size of the back on
to the pasted vellum where the back will be when the book is covered.

When the book is ready for covering, the vellum should be cut out and
lined with paper. In lining vellum the paste must be free from lumps,
and great care must be taken not to leave brush marks. To avoid this,
when the lining paper has been pasted it can be laid, paste downwards,
on a piece of waste paper and quickly pulled up again; this should
remove surplus paste and get rid of any marks left by the brush. When
the vellum has been lined with paper, it should be given a light nip
in the press between blotting-paper, and while still damp it is
pasted, the book covered, and the corners mitred. A piece of thin
string is tied round the head-caps and pressed into the French joint.

    [Illustration: FIG. 78.]

Waterproof sheets are placed inside the covers, and the book then
nipped in the press and left to dry under a light weight. If the
vellum is very stiff and difficult to turn in, it may be moistened
with a little warm water to soften it.

Books with raised bands have sometimes been covered with vellum, but
the back becomes so stiff and hard, that this method, though it looks
well enough, cannot be recommended. Vellum is a durable material, and
can be had of good quality, but it is so easily influenced by changes
of temperature, that it is rather an unsuitable material for most


To cover a book with embroidered material bind it with split boards, a
French joint, and a hollow back, as described for vellum (see fig.
78). Glue the back of the book with thin glue well worked up, and
turning in the head and tail of the embroidery, put the book down on
it so that the back will come exactly in the right place. Press down
the embroidery with the hand to make sure that it sticks. When it is
firmly attached to the back, first one board and then the other should
be glued, and the embroidery laid down on it. Lastly, the edges are
glued and stuck down on the inside of the board, and the corners
mitred. Velvet or any other thick material can be put down in the same
way. For very thin material that the glue would penetrate and soil,
the cover should be left loose, and only attached where it turns in. A
loose lining of good paper may be put between the book and the cover.

The inside corners where the cover has been cut should be neatly sewn
up. The edges of the boards and head-caps may be protected all round
with some edging worked in metal thread. It is well in embroidering
book covers to arrange for some portion of the pattern to be of raised
metal stitches, forming bosses that will protect the surface from

Should any glue chance to get on the surface, the cover should be held
in the steam of a kettle and the glue wiped off, and the cover again

                              CHAPTER XIV

               Decoration--Tools--Finishing--Tooling on
                      Vellum--Inlaying on Leather

                     DECORATION OF BINDING--TOOLS

The most usual, and perhaps the most characteristic, way of decorating
book covers is by "tooling." Tooling is the impression of heated
(finishing) tools. Finishing tools are stamps of metal that have a
device cut on the face, and are held in wooden handles (fig. 79).

    [Illustration: FIG. 79.]

Tooling may either be blind tooling, that is, a simple impression of
the hot tools, or gold tooling, in which the impression of the tool is
left in gold on the leather.

Tools for blind tooling are best "die-sunk," that is, cut like a seal.
The "sunk" part of the face of the tool, which may be more or less
modelled, forms the pattern, and the higher part depresses the
leather to form a ground. In tools for gold tooling, the surface of
the tool gives the pattern.

Tools may be either complex or simple in design, that is to say, each
tool may form a complete design with enclosing border, as the lower
ones on page 323, or it may be only one element of a design, as at
fig. 100. Lines may be run with a fillet (see fig. 88), or made with
gouges or pallets.

Gouges are curved line tools. They are made in sets of arcs of
concentric circles (see fig. 80, A). The portion of the curves cut off
by the dotted line C will make a second set with flatter curves.
Gouges are used for tooling curved lines.

    [Illustration: FIG. 80.]

A "pallet" may be described as a segment of a roll or fillet set in a
handle, and used chiefly for putting lines or other ornaments across
the backs of books (see fig. 81). A set of one-line pallets is shown
at fig. 80, B.

Fillets are cut with two or more lines on the edge. Although the use
of double-line fillets saves time, I have found that a few single-line
fillets with edges of different gauges are sufficient for running all
straight lines, and that the advantage of being able to alter the
distances between any parallel lines is ample compensation for the
extra trouble involved by their use. In addition to the rigid stamps,
an endless pattern for either blind or gold tooling may be engraved on
the circumference of a roll, and impressed on the leather by wheeling.

    [Illustration: FIG. 81.]

The use of a roll in finishing dates from the end of the fifteenth
century, and some satisfactory bindings were decorated with its aid.
The ease with which it can be used has led in modern times to its
abuse, and I hardly know of a single instance of a modern binding on
which rolls have been used for the decoration with satisfactory
results. The gain in time and trouble is at the expense of freedom and
life in the design; and for extra binding it is better to build up a
pattern out of small tools of simple design, which can be arranged in
endless variety, than to use rolls.

Tools for hand-tooling must not be too large, or it will be impossible
to obtain clear impressions. One inch square for blind tools, or
three-quarters of an inch for gold tools, is about the maximum size
for use with any certainty and comfort. Tools much larger than this
have to be worked with the aid of a press, and are called blocks.


The first thing the finisher does to a book is to go over the back
with a polisher and smooth out any irregularities.

Two forms of polisher are shown at fig. 82. The lower one is suitable
for polishing backs and inside margins, and the upper for sides.
Polishers must be used warm, but not too hot, or the leather may be
scorched, and they must be kept moving on the leather. Before using
they should be rubbed bright on a piece of the finest emery paper, and
polished on a piece of leather. New polishers often have sharp edges
that would mark the leather. These must be rubbed down with files and

Leathers with a prominent grained surface, such as morocco, seal or
pig skin, may either have the grain rough or crushed flat. If there is
to be much finishing, the grain had better be crushed, but for large
books that are to have only a small amount of finishing, the grain is
best left unflattened.

    [Illustration: FIG. 82.]

If the grain of the leather is to be "crushed," it may be done at this
stage. To do this, one board at a time is damped with a sponge and put
in the standing-press, with a pressing plate on the grained side, and
a pad of blotting-paper, or some such yielding substance, on the other
(see fig. 83). The press is then screwed up tight, and the board left
for a short time. For some leathers this operation is best done after
the binding has been finished and varnished, in which case, of course,
the boards cannot be damped before pressing. No flexibly sewn book
should be subject to great pressure after it has been covered, or the
leather on the back may crinkle up and become detached.

The next thing will be to decide what lettering and what decoration,
if any, is to be put on the volume. The lettering should be made out
first (see page 215). If the book is to be at all elaborately
decorated, paper patterns must be made out, as described in Chapter

    [Illustration: FIG. 83.]

For tooling the back, the book is held in the finishing press between
a pair of backing boards lined with leather (see fig. 84), and the
paper pattern put across the back, with the ends either slightly
pasted to the backing boards, or caught between them and the book.

For the sides, the pattern is very slightly pasted on to the leather
at the four corners. The book is then put in the finishing press,
with the board to be tooled open and flat on the cheek of the press,
unless the book is a large one, when it is easier to tool the sides
out of the press.

    [Illustration: FIG. 84.]

The selected tools, which should be ready on the stove (see fig. 85),
are one at a time cooled on a wet pad, and then pressed in their
former impressions upon the paper. The degree of heat required varies
a good deal with the leather used, and will only be learned by
experience. It is better to have the tool too cool than too hot, as it
is easy to deepen impressions after the paper is removed; but if they
are already too deep, or are burnt, it will be impossible to finish
clearly. Generally speaking, tools should hiss very slightly when put
on the cooling pad. In cooling, care must be taken to put the shank
of the tools on to the wet pad, as, if the end only is cooled, the
heat is apt to run down again, and the tool will still be too hot.

    [Illustration: FIG. 85.--Finishing Stove]

Before removing the paper, one corner at a time should be lifted up,
and the leather examined to see that no part of the pattern has been

In some patterns where the design is close, or in which the background
is dotted in, it will not be necessary to blind in every leaf and dot
through the paper. If the lines with perhaps the terminal leaves are
blinded in, the rest can be better worked directly through the gold.
This method implies the "glairing in" of the whole surface. It is not
suitable for open patterns, where the glaire might show on the surface
of the leather.

If the book is only to have lines, or some simple straight line
pattern, it is often easier to mark it up without the paper, with a
straight-edge and folder. In panelling a back, the side lines of all
the panels should be marked in at the same time with a folder, working
against the straight-edge, held firmly at the side of the back. If the
panels are worked separately, it is difficult to get the side lines
squarely above each other. The lines at the top and bottom of the
panel may be marked in with a folder, guided by a piece of stiff
vellum held squarely across the back. If there are lines to be run
round the board, they can be marked in with a pair of dividers guided
by the edge of the board, except those at the back. These must be
measured from the fore-edge of the board and run in with straight-edge
and folder.

When straight lines occur in patterns that are blinded through the
paper, it will be enough if the ends only are marked through with a
small piece of straight line, and the lines completed with
straight-edge and folder, after the paper has been removed.

Unless the finisher has had considerable experience, it is best to
deepen all folder lines by going over them in blind with a fillet or
piece of straight line.

When the pattern has been worked in blind, either through a paper
pattern or directly on to the leather with the tools, and any inlays
stuck on (see page 213), the cover should be well washed with clean
water. Some finishers prefer to use common vinegar or diluted acetic
acid for washing up books. If vinegar is used it must be of the best
quality, and must not contain any sulphuric acid. Cheap, crude vinegar
is certain to be injurious to the leather. Porous leather, such as
calf or sheep skin, will need to be washed over with paste-water, and
then sized.

Paste-water is paste and water well beaten up to form a milky liquid,
and is applied to the leather as evenly as possible with a sponge.
When the paste-water is dry, the leather should be washed with size.
Size can be made by boiling down vellum cuttings, or by dissolving
gelatine or isinglass in warm water.

For the less porous leathers, such as morocco, seal, or pig skin, no
paste-water or size is necessary, unless the skin happens to be a
specially open one, or the cover has been cut from the flank or belly.
Then it is best to put a little paste in the vinegar or water used for
washing up. When the leather is nearly, but not quite, dry the
impressions of the tools must be painted with glaire. Finishers'
glaire may be made from the white of eggs well beaten up, diluted with
about half as much vinegar, and allowed to settle. Some finishers
prefer to use old, evil-smelling glaire, but provided it is a day old,
and has been well beaten up, fresh glaire will work quite well.

The impressions of any heavy or solid tools should be given a second
coat of glaire when the first has ceased to be "tacky," and if the
leather is at all porous, all impressions had better have a second

As glaire is apt to show and disfigure the leather when dry, it is
best to use it as sparingly as possible, and, excepting where the
pattern is very close, to confine it to the impressions of the tools.
It is not at all an uncommon thing to see the effect of an otherwise
admirably tooled binding spoilt by a dark margin round the tools,
caused by the careless use of glaire. Glaire should not be used unless
it is quite liquid and clean. Directly it begins to get thick it
should be strained or thrown away.

The finisher should not glaire in more than he can tool the same day.
When the glaire has ceased to be "tacky," the gold is laid on.

    [Illustration: FIG. 86.]

At first it will be found difficult to manage gold leaf. The essential
conditions are, that there should be no draught, and that the cushion
and knife should be quite free from grease. The gold cushion and
knife are shown at fig. 86. A little powdered bath-brick rubbed into
the cushion will make it easier to cut the gold cleanly. The blade of
the gold knife should never be touched with the hand, and before using
it, both sides should be rubbed on the cushion. A book of gold is laid
open on the cushion, and a leaf of gold is lifted up on the gold
knife, which is slipped under it, and turned over on to the cushion. A
light breath exactly in the centre of the sheet should make it lie
flat, when it may be cut into pieces of any size with a slightly
sawing motion of the knife. The book with the pattern ready prepared,
and the glaire sufficiently dry (not sticky), is rubbed lightly with a
small piece of cotton-wool greased with a little cocoanut oil. The
back of the hand is greased in the same way, and a pad of clean
cotton-wool is held in the right hand, and having been made as flat as
possible by being pressed on the table, is drawn over the back of the
hand. This should make it just greasy enough to pick up the gold, but
not too greasy to part with it readily when pressed on the book. As
little grease as possible should be used on the book, as an excess is
apt to stain the leather and to make the gold dull. After experiment
it has been found that cocoanut oil stains the leather less than any
other grease in common use by bookbinders, and is more readily washed
out by benzine.

    [Illustration: FIG. 87.]

If the gold cracks, or is not solid when pressed on the book, a second
thickness should be used. This will stay down if the under piece is
lightly breathed upon.

For narrow strips of gold for lines, a little pad covered with soft
leather may be made, as in fig. 87.

It will be found of advantage to first use the bottom leaf of gold in
the book and then to begin at the top and work through, or else the
bottom leaf will almost certainly be found to be damaged by the time
it is reached. The gold used should be as nearly pure as it can be
got. The gold-beaters say that they are unable to beat pure gold as
thin as is usual for gold leaf; but the quite pure gold is a better
colour than when alloyed, and the additional thickness, although
costly, results in a more solid impression of the tools.

The cost of a book of twenty-four leaves three and a half inches
square of English gold leaf of good ordinary quality is from 1s. 3d.
to 1s. 6d., whereas the cost of a book of double thick pure gold leaf
is 3s. to 3s. 6d. For tooled work it is worth paying the increased
price for the sake of the advantages in colour and solidity; but for
lines and edges, which use up an immense amount of gold, the thinner
and cheaper gold may quite well be used.

Besides pure gold leaf, gold alloyed with various metals to change its
colour can be had. None of the alloys keep their colour as well as
pure gold, and some of them, such as those alloyed with copper for red
gold, and with silver for pale gold, tarnish very quickly. These last
are not to be recommended.

For silver tooling aluminium leaf may be used, as silver leaf
tarnishes very quickly.

When the gold is pressed into the impressions of the tools with the
pad of cotton-wool, they should be plainly visible through it.

The pattern must now be worked through the gold with the hot tools.
The tools are taken from the stove, and if too hot cooled on a pad as
for blinding-in. The heat required to leave the gold tooling solid and
bright and the impressions clear will vary for different leathers, and
even for different skins of the same leather. For trial a tool may be
laid on the pad until it ceases to hiss, and one or two impressions
worked with it. If the gold fails to stick, the heat may be slightly

If the leather is slightly damp from the preparation the tools will
usually work better, and less heat is required than if it has been
prepared for some time and has got dry.

Before using, the faces of all tools must be rubbed bright on the
flesh side of a piece of leather. It is impossible to tool brightly
with dirty tools. A tool should be held in the right hand, with the
thumb on the top of the handle, and steadied with the thumb or first
finger of the left hand. The shoulder should be brought well over the
tool, and the upper part of the body used as a press. If the weight of
the body is used in finishing, the tools can be worked with far
greater firmness and certainty, and with less fatigue, than if the
whole work is done with the muscles of the arms.

Large and solid tools will require all the weight that can be put on
them, and even then the gold will often fail to stick with one
impression. Tools with small surfaces, such as gouges and dots, must
not be worked too heavily, or the surface of the leather may be cut.

To strike a large or solid tool, it should first be put down flat, and
then slightly rocked from side to side and from top to bottom, but
must not be twisted on the gold.

A tool may be struck from whichever side the best "sight" can be got,
and press and book turned round to the most convenient position.

It is difficult to impress some tools, such as circular flower tools,
twice in exactly the same place. Such tools should have a mark on one
side as a guide. This should always be kept in the same position when
blinding-in and tooling, and so make it possible to impress a second
time without "doubling." An impression is said to be "doubled" when
the tool has been twisted in striking, or one impression does not fall
exactly over the other.

The hot tool should not be held hovering over the impression long, or
the preparation will be dried up before the tool is struck. Tooling
will generally be brighter if the tools are struck fairly sharply, and
at once removed from the leather, than if they are kept down a long

To "strike" dots, the book should be turned with the head to the
worker, and the tool held with the handle inclining slightly towards
him. This will make them appear bright when the book is held the right
way up.

Gouges must be "sighted" from the inside of the curve, and struck
evenly, or the points may cut into the leather. Short straight lines
may be put in with pieces of line, and longer ones with a fillet.

A one line fillet is shown at fig. 88; the space filed out of the
circumference is to enable lines to be joined neatly at the corners.
That the lines may be clearly visible through the gold, the book
should be placed so that the light comes from the left hand of the
worker and across the line. It is well to have a basin of water in
which to cool fillets, as there is so much metal in them, that the
damp sponge or cotton used for cooling tools would very rapidly be
dried up. When the fillet has been cooled, the edge should be rubbed
on the cleaning pad, and the point exactly adjusted to the corner of
the line to be run (see fig. 88). The fillet is then run along the
line with even pressure.

    [Illustration: FIG. 88.]

For slightly curved lines, a very small fillet may be used.

When all the prepared part of a pattern has been tooled, it is well
rubbed to remove the loose gold with a slightly greasy rag, or with a
piece of bottle indiarubber which has been softened in paraffin. After
a time the rubber or rag may be sold to the gold-beater, who recovers
the gold. To prepare indiarubber for cleaning off gold, a piece of
bottle rubber is cut into small pieces and soaked in paraffin for some
hours. This should cause the pieces to reunite into a soft lump. This
can be used until it is yellow with gold throughout.

When all free gold is rubbed off, the finisher can see where the
tooling is imperfect. Impressions which are not "solid" must be
reglaired, have fresh gold laid on, and be retooled. But if, as will
sometimes happen with the best finishers, the gold has failed to stick
properly anywhere, it is best to wash the whole with water or vinegar,
and prepare afresh.

As an excess of grease is apt to dull the gold and soil the leather,
it is better to use it very sparingly when laying on fresh gold for
mending. For patching, benzine may be used instead of grease. When the
gold is picked up on the cotton-wool pad, rapidly go over the leather
with wool soaked in benzine, and at once lay down the gold. Benzine
will not hold the gold long enough for much tooling, but it will
answer for about half-an-hour, and give plenty of time for patching.

Imperfect tooling arises from a variety of causes. If an impression is
clear, but the gold not solid, it is probably because the tool was not
hot enough, or was not put down firmly. If only one side of an
impression fails to stick, it is usually because the tool was unevenly
impressed. If an impression is blurred, and the gold has a frosted
look, it is because the leather has been burned, either because the
tool was too hot, or kept down too long, or the preparation was too

To mend double or burnt impressions the leather should be wetted and
left to soak a short time, and the gold can be picked out with a
wooden point. When nearly dry the impressions should be put in again
with a cool tool, reglaired and retooled.

It is very difficult to mend neatly if the leather is badly burnt.
Sometimes it may be advisable to paste a piece of new leather over a
burnt impression before retooling.

If a tool is put down in the wrong place by mistake, it is difficult
to get the impression out entirely. The best thing to do is to damp
the leather thoroughly, leave it to soak for a little while, and pick
up the impression with the point of a pin. It is best not to use an
iron point for this, as iron is apt to blacken the leather.

Leather is difficult to tool if it has not a firm surface, or if it is
too thin to give a little when the tool is struck.

When the tooling is finished, and the loose gold removed with the
rubber, the leather should be washed with benzine, to remove any
grease and any fragments of gold that may be adhering by the grease

The inside margins of the boards are next polished and varnished, and
the end papers pasted down. Or if there is a leather joint, the panel
left on the board may be filled in (see Chapter XVII).

When the end papers are dry, the sides and back may be polished and

It is important that the varnish should be of good quality, and not
too thick, or it will in time turn brown and cause the gold to look
dirty. Some of the light French spirit varnishes prepared for
bookbinders answer well. Varnish must be used sparingly, and is best
applied with a pad of cotton-wool. A little varnish is poured on to
the pad, which is rubbed on a piece of paper until it is seen that the
varnish comes out thinly and evenly. It is then rubbed on the book
with a spiral motion. The quicker the surface is gone over, provided
every part is covered, the better. Varnish will not work well if it is
very cold, and in cold weather both the book and varnish bottle should
be slightly warmed before use. Should an excess of varnish be put on
in error, or should it be necessary to retool part of the book after
it has been varnished, the varnish can be removed with spirits of
wine. Varnish acts as a preservative to the leather, but has the
disadvantage, if used in excess, of making it rather brittle on the
surface. It must, therefore, be used very sparingly at the joints. It
is to be hoped that a perfectly elastic varnish, that will not tarnish
the gold, will soon be discovered.

As soon as the varnish is dry the boards may be pressed, one at a
time, to give the leather a smooth surface (see fig. 83), leaving each
board in the press for some hours.

    [Illustration: FIG. 89.]

After each board has been pressed separately the book should be shut,
and pressed again with pressing plates on each side of it, and with
tins covered with paper placed inside each board. Light pressure
should be given to books with tight backs, or the leather may become

If, on removing from the press, the boards will not keep shut, the
book should be pressed again with a folded sheet of blotting-paper in
each end. The blotting-paper should have the folded edge turned up,
and be placed so that this turned-up edge will be in the joint behind
the back edge of the board when the book is shut.

A small nipping-press suitable for giving comparatively light
pressure, is shown at fig. 89.

                           TOOLING ON VELLUM

Most covering vellum has a sticky surface, that marks if it is
handled. This should be washed off with clean water before tooling.
The pattern is blinded in through the paper as for leather, excepting
that the paper must not be pasted directly to the vellum, but may be
held with a band going right round the board or book. It is best to
glaire twice, and to lay on a small portion of gold at a time with
benzine. As vellum burns very readily, the tools must not be too hot,
and some skill is needed to prevent them from slipping on the hard

Vellum must not be polished or varnished.

                          INLAYING ON LEATHER

Inlaying or onlaying is adding a different leather from that of the
cover, as decoration. Thus on a red book, a panel or a border, or
other portion, may be covered with thin green leather, or only flowers
or leaves may be inlaid, while a jewel-like effect may be obtained by
dots, leaves, and flowers, tooled over inlays of various colours.
Leather for inlaying should be pared very thin. To do this the leather
is cut into strips, wetted, and pared on a stone with a knife shaped
somewhat as at fig. 60, B. When the thin leather is dry the inlays of
the leaves and flowers, &c., may be stamped out with steel punches cut
to the shape of the tools; or if only a few inlays are needed, the
tools may be impressed on the thin leather, and the inlays cut out
with a sharp knife. The edges of the larger inlays should be pared
round carefully. For inlaying a panel or other large surface, the
leather is pared very thin and evenly with a French knife, and a piece
of paper pasted on to the grained side and left to dry. When dry, the
shape of the panel, or other space to be inlaid, is marked on it
through the paper pattern, and leather and paper cut through to the
shape required. The edges must then be carefully pared, and the piece
attached with paste, and nipped in the press to make it stick. When
the paste is dry, the paper may be damped and washed off. The object
of the paper is to prevent the thin leather from stretching when it is

For white inlays it is better to use Japanese paper than leather, as
white leather, when pared very thin, will show the colours of the
under leather through, and look dirty. If paper is used, it should be
sized with vellum size before tooling.

When many dots or leaves are to be inlaid, the pieces of leather, cut
out with the punch, may be laid face downwards on a paring stone, and
a piece of paper, thickly covered with paste, laid on it. This, on
being taken up, will carry with it the "inlays," and they can be
picked up one at a time on the point of a fine folder, and stuck on
the book.

"Inlays" of tools are attached after the pattern has been "blinded"
in, and must be again worked over with the tool, in blind, when the
paste is nearly dry.

On vellum an effect, similar to that of inlays on leather, can be
obtained by the use of stains.

                              CHAPTER XV

              Lettering--Blind Tooling--Heraldic Ornament

                         LETTERING ON THE BACK

Lettering may be done either with separate letters, each on its own
handle, or with type set in a type-holder and worked across the back
as a pallet. Although by the use of type great regularity is ensured,
and some time saved, the use of handle letters gives so much more
freedom of arrangement, that their use is advocated for extra binding.
Where a great many copies of the same work have to be lettered, the
use of type has obvious advantages.

A great deal depends on the design of the letters used. Nearly all
bookbinders' letters are made too narrow, and with too great
difference between the thick and thin strokes. At fig. 90 is shown an
alphabet, for which I am indebted to the kindness of Mr. Emery Walker.
The long tail of the Q is meant to go under the U. It might be well to
have a second R cut, with a shorter tail, to avoid the great space
left when an A happens to follow it. I have found that four sizes of
letters are sufficient for all books.

    [Illustration: FIG. 90.]

    [Illustration: FIG. 91.]

    [Illustration: FIG. 92.]

To make out a lettering paper for the back of a book, cut a strip of
good thin paper as wide as the height of the panel to be lettered.
Fold it near the centre, and mark the fold with a pencil. This should
give a line exactly at right angles to the top and bottom of the
strip. Then make another fold the distance from the first of the width
of the back; then bring the two folds together, and make a third fold
in the exact centre. The paper should then be as shown at fig. 91.
Supposing the lettering to be THE WORKS OF ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON,
select the size of letter you desire to use, and take an E and mark on
a piece of spare paper a line of E's, and laying your folded paper
against it, see how many letters will go in comfortably. Supposing you
find that four lines of five letters of the selected size can be put
in, you must see if your title can be conveniently cut up into four
lines of five letters, or less. It might be done as shown at fig. 93.
But if you prefer not to split the name STEVENSON, a smaller letter
must be employed, and then the lettering may be as at fig. 94.

To find out the position of the lines of lettering on a panel, the
letter E is again taken and impressed five times at the side of the
panel, as shown at fig. 92, leaving a little greater distance between
the lowest letter and the bottom of the panel, than between the
letters. The paper is then folded on the centre fold, and, with
dividers set to the average distance between the head of one letter
and the head of the next, five points are made through the folded
paper. The paper is opened, turned over, and the points joined with a
fine folder worked against the straight-edge. It should leave on the
front five raised lines, up to which the head of the letters must be

    [Illustration: FIG. 93.]

    [Illustration: FIG. 94.]

The letters in the top line are counted, and the centre letter marked.
Spaces between words are counted as a letter; thus in "THE WORKS," "W"
will be the centre letter, and should be put on the paper first, and
the others added on each side of it. Some thought is needed in judging
where to put the centre, as the difference in the width of such
letters as "M" and "W" and "I" and "J" have to be taken into account.

As a general rule, lettering looks best if it comfortably fills the
panel, but of course it cannot always be made to do this. The greatest
difficulty will be found in making titles of books that consist of a
single word, look well. Thus if you have "CORIOLANUS" to place on a
back which is not more than 5/8-inch wide, if it is put across as one
word, as at fig. 95 (1), it will be illegible from the smallness of
the type, and will tell merely as a gold line at a little distance. If
a reasonably large type is used, the word must be broken up somewhat,
as at (2), which is perhaps better, but still not at all satisfactory.
The word may be put straight along the back, as at fig. (3), but this
hardly looks well on a book with raised bands, and should be avoided
unless necessary.

    [Illustration: FIG. 95.]

The use of type of different sizes in lettering a book should be
avoided when possible, and on no account whatever should letters of
different design be introduced. Occasionally, when the reason for it
is obvious, it may be allowable to make a word shorter by putting in a
small letter, supposing that only thus could reasonably large type be
used. It is especially allowable in cases where, in a set of volumes,
there is one much thinner than the others. It is generally better to
make some compromise with the lettering of the thin volume, than to
spoil the lettering of the whole set by using too small a letter
throughout (see fig. 115).

On very thin books it is sometimes hardly possible to get any
lettering at all on the back. In such cases the lettering is best put
on the side.

In the case of some special books that are to have elaborately
decorated bindings, and are on that account sufficiently distinct from
their neighbours, a certain amount of freedom is permissible with the
lettering, and a little mystery is not perhaps out of place. But in
most cases books have to be recognised by their titles, and it is of
the utmost importance that the lettering should be as clear as
possible, and should fully identify the volume.

For lettering half-bindings and other books on which much time cannot
be spared, it would take too long to make out a paper, as described
for extra bindings, nor is there on such work much occasion for it.
For such books the lettering should be written out carefully, the
whole panel prepared and glaired in, and the gold laid on. Then with a
piece of fine silk or thread lines may be marked across the gold as a
guide to the finisher, and the letters worked from the centre
outward, as described for making out the paper pattern. Of course this
method does not allow of such nice calculation and adjustment as when
a paper pattern is made out; but if a general principle of clear
lettering is recognised and accepted, very good results may be

                             BLIND TOOLING

    [Illustration: FIG. 96.]

At the end of the book characteristic examples of blind-tooled books
are given (pages 321-25). It will be seen that most of the tools form
complete designs in themselves. Although the use of detached die-sunk
tools was general, there were also simple tools used, which, when
combined, made up more or less organic designs, and allowed more
freedom to the finisher (see figs. 96 and 97).

    [Illustration: FIG. 97.]

Some use may also be made of interlaced strap-work designs, either
worked with gouges, or a small fillet. A book bound in oaken boards,
with a leather back with knotted decoration, is shown at page 330. I
have found that such binding and decoration is more satisfactory in
scheme for old books, than most forms of modern binding.

If a design is simple, the cover is marked up with dividers, and the
tools impressed direct upon the leather; or, if it is elaborate, a
paper pattern is made out, and the tools blinded through the paper, as
described for gold tooling. The leather is then damped with water, and
the impressions retooled.

    [Illustration: FIG. 98.]

The panel lines on most of the bindings before 1500 show evidence of
having been put in with a tool which has been pushed along the
leather, and not with a wheel. I have found that a tool guided by a
straight-edge, and "jiggered" backwards and forwards, makes by far the
best lines for blind-tool work. It should be borne in mind that the
line is formed by the raised portion of leather, and so the tool
should be cut somewhat as at fig. 98. This should leave three ridges
on the leather. Blind tooling may be gone over and over until it is
deep enough, and may be combined with various other methods of
working. For instance, in tooling such a spray as is shown at fig. 99,
the leaf would be formed by five impressions of the second tool, shown
at A, the extremity of the impressions could be joined with gouges,
the stalk and veining could either be run in with a fillet or worked
with gouges. The grapes would best be worked with a tool cut for the
purpose. One edge of all gouge or fillet impressions can be smoothed
down with some such tool as shown in section at B. This has to be
worked round the gouge lines with a steady hand, and may be fairly hot
if it is kept moving. At C is shown a section of a gouge impression
before and after the use of this tool. The ground can be dotted in, or
otherwise gone over with some small tool to throw up the pattern.

Blind tooling can sometimes be used in combination with gold tooling.

    [Illustration: FIG. 99.]

In the fifteenth century the Venetian binders used little roundels of
some gesso-like substance, that were brightly coloured or gilt, in
combination with blind tooling (see p. 325). This is a method that
might be revived.

What is known as "leather work" is a further development of blind
tooling. This method of decoration has been revived lately, but not
generally with success. "Leather work" may be divided into two
branches; in one the surface of the leather is cut to outline the
pattern, and in the other the leather is embossed from the back, while
wet, and the pattern outlined by an indented line. Sometimes the two
methods are combined. As embossing from the back necessitates the work
being done before the leather is on the book, it is not very suitable
for decorating books. Leather first decorated and then stuck on the
book, never looks as if it was an integral part of the binding. The
cut leather work, which may be done after the book is bound, and
leaves the surface comparatively flat, is a better method to employ
for books, provided the cuts are not too deep, and are restricted to
the boards, so as not to weaken the leather at the back and joints.
Much of the leather used for "leather work" is of very poor quality,
and will not last; for modelling it must be thick on the side of the
book, and for the book to open it must be pared thin at the joint,
thus making it necessary to use a thick skin very much pared down, and
consequently weakened (see p. 155). Another very common fault in
modelled "leather work" is, that the two sides and the back are often
worked separately and stuck together on the book, necessitating a
join, and consequently a weak place in the hinge, where strength is
most wanted. Again, in most modern "leather work," those who do the
decoration do not, as a rule, do the binding, and often do not
understand enough of the craft to do suitable work.

All those engaged in leather work are advised to learn to bind their
own books, and to only use such methods of decoration, as can be
carried out on the bound book.

                        HERALDRY ON BOOK COVERS

It is an old and good custom to put the arms of the owner of a library
on the covers of the books he has bound. The traditional, and
certainly one of the best ways to do this, is to have an arms block
designed and cut. To design an arms block, knowledge of heraldry is
needed, and also some clear idea of the effect to be aimed at. A very
common mistake in designing blocks is to try and get the effect of
hand tooling. Blocks should be and look something entirely different.
In hand tooling much of the effect is got from the impressions of
small tools reflecting the light at slightly different angles, giving
the work life and interest. Blocked gold being all in one plane, has
no such lights in it, and depends entirely on its design for its

Provided the heraldry identifies the owner, it should be as simply
drawn as it can be; the custom of indicating the tinctures by lines
and dots on the charges, generally makes a design confused, obscuring
the coat it is intended to make clear. In designing heraldic blocks it
is well to get a good deal of solid flat surface of gold to make the
blocked design stand out from any gold-tooled work on the cover.

Another way of putting armorial bearings on covers, is to paint them
in oil paint. In the early sixteenth century the Venetians copied the
Eastern custom of sinking panels in their book covers, and painted
coats of arms on these sunk portions very successfully. The groundwork
of the shield itself was usually raised a little, either by something
under the leather, or by some gesso-like substance on its surface.

Arms blocks should be placed a little above the centre of the cover.
Generally, if the centre of the block is in a line with the centre
band of a book with five bands, it will look right.

Blocks are struck with the aid of an arming or blocking press. The
block is attached to the movable plate of the press called the
"platen." To do this some stout brown paper is first glued to the
platen, and the block glued to this, and the platen fixed in its place
at the bottom of the heating-box. In blocking arms on a number of
books of different sizes, some nice adjustment of the movable bed is
needed to get the blocks to fall in exactly the right place.

For blocking, one coat of glaire will be enough for most leathers. The
gold is laid on as for hand tooling. The block should be brought down
and up again fairly sharply. The heat needed is about the same as for
hand tooling.

                              CHAPTER XVI

                 Designing for Gold-Tooled Decoration

                            DESIGNING TOOLS

For gold tooling, such tools as gouges, dots, pieces of straight line,
and fillets are to be had ready-made at most dealers. Other tools are
best designed and cut to order. At first only a few simple forms will
be needed, such as one or two flowers of different sizes, and one or
two sets of leaves (see fig. 100).

    [Illustration: FIG. 100 (reduced)]

In designing tools, it must be borne in mind that they may appear on
the book many times repeated, and so must be simple in outline and
much conventionalised. A more or less naturalistic drawing of a
flower, showing the natural irregularities, may look charming, but if
a tool is cut from it, any marked irregularity becomes extremely
annoying when repeated several times on a cover. So with leaves,
unless they are perfectly symmetrical, there should be three of each
shape cut, two curving in different directions, and the third quite
straight (see fig. 101). To have only one leaf, and to have that
curved, produces very restless patterns. The essence of gold-tool
design, is that patterns are made up of repeats of impressions of
tools, and that being so, the tools must be so designed that they will
repeat pleasantly, and in practice it will be found that any but
simple forms will become aggressive in repetition.

    [Illustration: FIG. 101.]

Designs for tools should be made out with Indian ink on white paper,
and they may be larger than the size of the required tool. The
tool-cutter will reduce any drawing to any desired size, and will,
from one drawing, cut any number of tools of different sizes. Thus, if
a set of five leaves of the same shape is wanted, it will only be
necessary to draw one, and to indicate the sizes the others are to be
in some such way as shown at fig. 102.

It is not suggested that special tools should be cut for each pattern,
but the need of new tools will naturally arise from time to time, and
so the stock be gradually increased. It is better to begin with a very
few, and add a tool or two as occasion arises, than to try to design a
complete set when starting.

    [Illustration: FIG. 102.]

Tools may be solid or in outline. If in outline they may be used as
"inlay" tools, and in ordering them the tool-cutter should be asked to
provide steel punches for cutting the inlays.


It is well for the student to begin with patterns arranged on some
very simple plan, making slight changes in each succeeding pattern.
In this way an individual style may be established. The usual plan of
studying the perfected styles of the old binders, and trying to begin
where they left off, in practice only leads to the production of exact
imitations, or poor lifeless parodies, of the old designs. Whereas a
pattern developed by the student by slow degrees, through a series of
designs, each slightly different from the one before it, will, if
eccentricities are avoided, probably have life and individual

Perhaps the easiest way to decorate a binding is to cover it with some
small repeating pattern. A simple form of diaper as a beginning is
shown at fig. 104. To make such a pattern cut a piece of good, thin
paper to the size of the board of a book, and with a pencil rule a
line about an eighth of an inch inside the margin all round. Then with
the point of a fine folder that will indent, but not cut the paper,
mark up as shown in fig. 103. The position of the lines A A and B B
are found by simply folding the paper, first side to side, and then
head to tail. The other lines can be put in without any measurement
by simply joining all points where lines cross. By continual
re-crossing, the spaces into which the paper is divided can be reduced
to any desired size. If the construction lines are accurately put in,
the spaces will all be of the same size and shape. It is then evident
that a repeating design to fill any one of the spaces can be made to
cover the whole surface.

    [Illustration: FIG. 103.]

In fig. 104, it is the diagonal lines only that are utilised for the
pattern. To avoid confusion, the cross lines that helped to determine
the position of the diagonals are not shown.

    [Illustration: FIG. 104 (reduced)]

The advantage of using the point of a folder to mark up the
constructional lines of a pattern instead of a pencil, is that the
lines so made are much finer, do not rub out, and do not cause
confusion by interfering with the pattern. Any lines that will appear
on the book, such as the marginal lines, may be put in with a pencil
to distinguish them.

Having marked up the paper, select a flower tool and impress it at the
points where the diagonal lines cross, holding it in the smoke of a
candle between every two or three impressions. When the flower has
been impressed all over, select a small piece of straight line, and
put a stalk in below each flower; then a leaf put in on each side of
the straight line will complete the pattern.

    [Illustration: FIG. 105 (reduced)]

A development of the same principle is shown at fig. 105, in which
some gouges are introduced. Any number of other combinations will
occur to any one using the tools. Frequently questions will arise as
to whether a tool is to be put this way or that way, and whether a
line is to curve up or down. Whenever there is such an alternative
open, there is the germ of another pattern. All-over diaper patterns
may be varied in any number of ways. One way is to vary the design in
alternate spaces. If this is done one of the designs should be such
that it will divide down the centre both ways and so finish off the
pattern comfortably at the edges. The pattern may be based on the
upright and the cross-lines of the marking up, or the marking up may
be on a different principle altogether. The designer, after a little
practice, will be bewildered by the infinite number of combinations
that occur to him.

    [Illustration: FIG. 106 (reduced)]

The diaper is selected for a beginning, because it is the easiest form
of pattern to make, as there is no question of getting round corners,
and very little of studying proportion. It is selected also because it
teaches the student the decorative value of simple forms repeated on
some orderly system. When he has grasped this, he has grasped the
underlying principle of nearly all successful tooled ornament. Diapers
are good practice, because in a close, all-over pattern the tools must
be put down in definite places, or an appalling muddle will result. In
tooling; a repeat of the same few tools, is the best possible
practice, giving as it does the same work over and over again under
precisely the same conditions, and concentrating, on one book cover,
the practice that might be spread over several backs and sides more
sparingly decorated, when variety of conditions would confuse the

    [Illustration: FIG. 107.]

When the principles of the diaper have been mastered, and the student
has become familiar with the limitations of his tools, other schemes
of decoration may be attempted, such as borders, centres, or panels.

A form of border connected with cross-lines is shown at fig. 106. This
is made up of a repeat of the spray built up of three tools and four
gouges shown at fig. 107, with slight modification at the corners.
Other schemes for borders are those in which flowers grow inwards from
the edge of the boards, or outwards from a panel at the centre, or on
both sides of a line about half an inch from the edge. A pattern may
also be made to grow all round the centre panel. Borders will be found
more difficult to manage than simple diapers, and at first, are best
built up on the same principle--the repeat of some simple element.

    [Illustration: FIG. 108 (reduced)]

The decoration may be concentrated on parts of the cover, such as the
centre or corners. A design for a centre is shown at fig. 108, and
below is shown the way to construct it. A piece of paper is folded, as
shown by the dotted lines, and an eighth of the pattern drawn with a
soft pencil and folded over on the line A, and transferred by being
rubbed at the back with a folder. This is lined in with a pencil, and
folded over on the line B and rubbed off. This is lined in and folded
over on A and C, rubbed off as before, and the whole lined in. The
overs and unders of the lines are then marked, and gouges selected to
fit. Of course it will take several trials before the lines will
interlace pleasantly, and the tools fit in. Another centre, in which a
spray is repeated three times, is shown at fig. 109, and any number of
others will occur to the student after a little practice. A change of
tools, or the slight alteration of a line, will give an entirely new
aspect to a pattern. At page 334 is shown an all-over pattern growing
from the bottom centre of the board. In this design the leather was
dark green, with a lighter green panel in the centre. The berries were
inlaid in bright red. Although at first glance it seems an intricate
design, it is made up like the others of repetitions of simple forms.

    [Illustration: FIG. 109 (reduced)]

When the student has become proficient in the arrangement of tools in
combination with lines, a design consisting entirely, or almost
entirely, of lines may be tried. This is more difficult, because the
limitations are not so obvious; but here again the principle of
repetition, and even distribution, should be followed. At fig. 110 is
shown a design almost entirely composed of lines, built up on the same
principle as the centre at fig. 108.

    [Illustration: FIG. 110 (reduced)]

The ends of the bands form a very pleasant starting-place for
patterns. At pp. 330, 332-6 are shown ways of utilising this method.
To look right, a pattern must be consistent throughout. The tools and
their arrangement must have about the same amount of convention. Gold
tooling, dealing, as it does, with flat forms in silhouette only,
necessitates very considerable formality in the design of the tools
and of their arrangement on the cover. Modern finishers have become so
skilful, that they are able to produce in gold tooling almost any
design that can be drawn in lines with a pencil, and some truly
marvellous results are obtained by the use of inlays, and specially
cut gouges. As a rule, such patterns simply serve to show the skill of
the finisher, and to make one wonder who could have been foolish
enough to select so limited and laborious a method as gold tooling for
carrying them out.

Generally speaking, successful gold-tooled patterns show evidence of
having been designed with the tools; of being, in fact, mere
arrangements of the tools, and not of having been first designed with
a pencil, and then worked with tools cut to fit the drawing. This does
not of course apply to patterns composed entirely of lines, or to
patterns composed of lines of dots.

If artists wish to design for gold tooling without first mastering the
details, probably the safest way will be for them to design in lines
of gold dots. Some successful patterns carried out in this way were
shown at the Arts and Crafts Exhibition some years ago.

Designs for gold-tooled binding should always be constructed on some
geometrical plan, and whatever pattern there is, symmetrically
distributed over the cover.

If lettering can be introduced, it will be found to be most useful
when arranging a pattern. It gives dignity and purpose to a design,
and is also highly decorative. Lettering may be arranged in panels, as
at page 332, or in a border round the edge of the board, and in many
other ways. It may either consist of the title of the book, or some
line or verse from it or connected with it, or may refer to its
history, or to the owner. Anything that gives a personal interest to a
book, such as the arms of the owner, the initials or name of the giver
or receiver of a present, with perhaps the date of the gift, is of

The use of the small fillet makes it possible to employ long,
slightly-curved lines. Gold-tooled lines have in themselves such
great beauty, that designers are often tempted to make them meander
about the cover in a weak and aimless way. As the limitations enforced
by the use of gouges tend to keep the curves strong and small, and as
the use of the small fillet tends to the production of long, weak
curves, students are advised at first to restrict the curved lines in
their patterns to such as can be readily worked with gouges.

    [Illustration: FIG. 111.]

It must be remembered that a gouge or fillet line is very thin, and
will look weak if it goes far without support. For this reason
interlaced lines are advocated.

Gouge lines are easier to work, and look better, if a small space is
left where the gouges end. This is especially the case where lines
bearing leaves or flowers branch from the main stem (see fig. 111).

Gouges and fillets need not always be of the same thickness of line,
and two or three sets of different gauges may be kept. A finisher can
always alter the thickness of a gouge with emery paper.

One method of arranging gold-tooled lines is to treat them in design
as if they were wires in tension, and knot and twist them together.
Provided the idea is consistently adhered to throughout, such a
pattern is often very successful.

    [Illustration: FIG. 112.]

A simple arrangement of straight lines will be sufficient
ornamentation for most books. Three schemes for such ornamentation are
shown. In fig. 112 the "tie-downs" may be in "blind" and the lines in
gold. The arrangement shown at fig. 113 leaves a panel at the top
which may be utilised for lettering.

    [Illustration: FIG. 113.]

    [Illustration: FIG. 114.]

    [Illustration: FIG. 115.]

    [Illustration: FIG. 115.]

                          DESIGNING FOR BACKS

The decoration of the back of a book is difficult owing to the very
small space usually available in the panels. The first consideration
must be the lettering, and when that has been arranged, as described
in Chapter XV, a second paper is got out for the pattern. The back
panel should generally be treated in the same style and, if possible,
with the same tools as the sides, if they are decorated. It will often
be found far easier to design a full-gilt side than a satisfactory

A design may be made to fit one panel of the book and repeated on all
those not required for lettering (see pages 332-34), or it may be made
to grow up from panel to panel (see fig. 115). In the case of sets of
books in which the volumes vary very much in thickness, some pattern
must be made that can be contracted and expanded without altering the
general look of the back (see fig. 115).


The inside margins of the board permit of a little delicate
decoration. At fig. 116 are shown two ways of treating this part of
the binding. The inside of the board is sometimes covered all over
with leather, and tooled as elaborately, or more elaborately, than the
outside. If there are vellum ends, they may be enriched with a little

    [Illustration: FIG. 116.]

The edges of the boards may have a gold line run on them, and the
head-cap may be decorated with a few dots.

                             CHAPTER XVII

                Pasting down End Papers--Opening Books

                        PASTING DOWN END PAPERS

When the finishing is done, the end papers should be pasted down on to
the board; or if there is a leather joint, the panel left should be
filled in to match the end paper.

To paste down end papers, the book is placed on the block with the
board open (see fig. 117, A), the waste sheets are torn off, the
joints cleared of any glue or paste, and the boards flattened, as
described at page 171 for pasting down leather joints. One of the
paste-down papers is then stretched over the board and rubbed down in
the joint, and the amount to be cut off to make it fit into the space
left by the turn-in of the leather is marked on it with dividers,
measuring from the edge of the board. A cutting tin is then placed on
the book, the paste-down paper turned over it, and the edges trimmed
off to the divider points with a knife and straight-edge, leaving
small pieces to cover the ends of the joint (fig. 117, A, c).

The cutting and pasting down of these small pieces in the joint are
rather difficult; they should come exactly to the edges of the board.

    [Illustration: FIG. 117.]

When both paste-down papers are trimmed to size, one of them is well
pasted with thin paste in which there are no lumps, with a piece of
waste paper under it to protect the book. The joints should also be
pasted, and the paste rubbed in with the finger and any surplus

The pasted paper is then brought over on to the board, the edges
adjusted exactly to their places, and rubbed down. The joint must next
be rubbed down through paper. It is difficult to get the paper to
stick evenly in the joint, and great nicety is needed here. All
rubbing down must be done through paper, or the "paste-down" will be
soiled or made shiny.

Some papers stretch very much when pasted, and will need to be cut a
little smaller than needed, and put down promptly after pasting. Thin
vellum may be put down with paste in which there is a very little
glue, but thicker vellum is better put down with thin glue. In pasting
vellum, very great care is needed to prevent the brush-marks from
showing through. If the vellum is thin, the board must be lined with
white or toned paper with a smooth surface. This paper must be quite
clean, as any marks will show through the vellum, and make it look

When one side is pasted down the book can be turned over without
shutting the board, and the other board opened and pasted down in the
same way (see fig. 117, B). In turning over a book, a piece of white
paper should be put under the newly-pasted side, as, being damp, it
will soil very readily. When both ends have been pasted down the
joints should be examined and rubbed down again, and the book stood up
on end with the boards open until the end papers are dry. The boards
may be held open with a piece of cardboard cut as shown at fig. 71.

If there are cloth joints they are put down with glue, and the board
paper is placed nearly to the edge of the joint, leaving very little
cloth visible.

In the process of finishing, the boards of a book will nearly always
be warped a little outward, but the pasted end papers should draw the
boards a little as they dry, causing them to curve slightly towards
the book. With vellum ends there is a danger that the boards will be
warped too much.

                       OPENING NEWLY BOUND BOOKS

Before sending out a newly bound book the binder should go through it,
opening it here and there to ease the back. The volume is laid on a
table, and the leaves opened a short distance from the front, and then
at an equal distance from the back, and then in one or two places
nearer the centre of the book, the leaves being pressed down with the
hand at each opening. If the book is a valuable one, every leaf should
then be turned over separately and each opening pressed down,
beginning from the centre and working first one way and then the
other. In this way the back will be bent evenly at all points. When a
book has been opened, it should be lightly pressed for a short time
without anything in the joints.

If a book is sent out unopened, the first person into whose hand it
falls will probably open it somewhere in the centre, bending the
covers back and "breaking" the back; and if any leaves chance to have
been stuck together in edge-gilding, they are likely to be torn if
carelessly opened. A book with a "broken" back will always have a
tendency to open in the same place, and will not keep its shape. It
would be worth while for librarians to have newly bound books
carefully opened. An assistant could "open" a large number of books
in a day, and the benefit to the bindings would amply compensate for
the small trouble and cost involved.

                             CHAPTER XVIII

                  Clasps and Ties--Metal on Bindings

                            CLASPS AND TIES

Some books need to be clasped to keep the leaves flat. All books
written or printed on vellum should have clasps. Vellum unless kept
flat is apt to cockle, and this in a book will force the leaves apart
and admit dust. If a book is tightly wedged in a shelf the leaves will
be kept flat, but as the chance removal of any other book from the row
will remove the pressure, it is much better to provide clasps for
vellum books.

Very thick books, and those with a great many folded plates, are
better for having clasps to prevent the leaves from sagging. As nearly
all books are now kept in bookshelves, and as any projection on the
side of a book is likely to injure the neighbouring volume, a form of
clasp should be used that has no raised parts on the boards.

    [Illustration: FIG. 118.]

At fig. 118 is shown a simple clasp suitable for small books with
mill-board sides, with details of the metal parts, made of thick
silver wire below. Double boards must be "made," and the flattened
ends of the silver catch inserted between the two thicknesses, and
glued in place. About one-eighth of an inch of the end should project.
In covering, the leather must be pierced and carefully worked round
the catch. To make the plait, three strips of thin leather are slipped
through the ring, and the ends of each strip pasted together. The
three doubled strips are then plaited and the end of the plait put
through a hole in the lower board of the book about half an inch from
the edge, and glued down inside. A groove may be cut in the mill-board
from the hole to the edge before covering, to make a depression in
which the plait will lie, and a depression may be scooped out of the
inner surface of the board to receive the ends.

At fig. 119 is a somewhat similar clasp with three plaits suitable for
large books. The metal end and the method of inserting it into wooden
boards are shown below. The turned-down end should go right through
the board, and be riveted on the inside. When the three plaits are
worked, a little band of silver may be riveted on just below the ring.

    [Illustration: FIG. 119.]

A very simple fastening that is sometimes useful is shown at fig. 77.
A very small bead is threaded on to a piece of catgut, and the two
ends of the gut brought together and put through a larger bead. The
ends of the gut with the beads on them are laced into the top board
of the book, with the bead projecting over the edge, and a loop of gut
is laced into the bottom board. If the loop can be made exactly the
right length, this is a serviceable method.

Silk or leather ties may be used to keep books shut, but they are apt
to be in the way when the book is read, and as hardly anybody troubles
to tie them, they are generally of very little use.

                           METAL ON BINDINGS

Metal corners and bosses are a great protection to bindings, but if
the books are to go into shelves, the metal must be quite smooth and
flat. A metal shoe on the lower edge of the boards is an excellent
thing for preserving the binding of heavy books.

Bosses and other raised metal work should be restricted to books that
will be used on lecterns or reading desks. The frontispiece is from a
drawing of an early sixteenth-century book, bound in white pigskin,
and ornamented with brass corners, centres, and clasps; and at page
323 is shown a fifteenth-century binding with plain protecting bosses.
On this book there were originally five bosses on each board, but the
centre ones have been lost.

Bindings may be entirely covered with metal, but the connection
between the binding and the book is in that case seldom quite
satisfactory. The most satisfactory metal-covered bindings that I have
seen are those in which the metal is restricted to the boards. The
book is bound in wooden boards, with thick leather at the back, and
plaques of metal nailed to the wood. The metal may be set with jewels
or decorated with enamel, and embossed or chased in various ways.

Jewels are sometimes set in invisible settings below the leather of
bindings, giving them the appearance of being set in the leather. This
gives them an insecure look, and it is better to frankly show the
metal settings and make a decorative feature of them.

                              CHAPTER XIX



Of all the materials used by the bookbinders, leather is the most
important and the most difficult to select wisely. It is extremely
difficult to judge a leather by its appearance.

"We find now, that instead of leather made from sheep, calf, goat, and
pigskins, each having, when finished, its own characteristic surface,
that sheepskins are got up to look like calf, morocco, or pigskin;
that calf is grained to resemble morocco, or so polished and flattened
as to have but little character left; while goatskins are grained in
any number of ways, and pigskin is often grained like levant morocco.
So clever are some of these imitations, that it takes a skilled expert
to identify a leather when it is on a book."

There have been complaints for a long time of the want of durability
of modern bookbinding leather, but there has not been until lately any
systematic investigation into the causes of its premature decay.

By permission, I shall quote largely from the report of the committee
appointed by the Society of Arts to inquire into the subject. There
are on this special committee leather manufacturers, bookbinders,
librarians, and owners of libraries. The report issued is the result
of an immense amount of work done. Many libraries were visited, and
hundreds of experiments and tests were carried out by the
sub-committees. There is much useful information in the report that
all bookbinders and librarians should read. The work of the committee
is not yet finished, but its findings may be accepted as conclusive as
far as they go.

The committee first set themselves to ascertain if the complaints of
the premature decay of modern bookbinding leather are justified by
facts, and on this point report that:--

"As regards the common belief that modern binding leather does decay
prematurely, the sub-committee satisfied themselves that books bound
during the last eighty or hundred years showed far greater evidence of
deterioration than those of an earlier date. Many recent bindings
showed evidence of decay after so short a period as ten, or even five
years. The sub-committee came to the conclusion that there is ample
justification for the general complaint that modern leather is not so
durable as that formerly used. To fix the date of the commencement of
this deterioration was a difficult matter; but they came to the
conclusion that while leather of all periods showed some signs of
decay, the deterioration becomes more general on books bound after
1830, while some leathers seem to be generally good until about 1860,
after which date nearly all leathers seem to get worse. The
deterioration of calf bindings at the latter end of the 19th century
may be attributed as much to the excessive thinness as to the poor
quality of the material."

The committee endeavoured to ascertain the relative durability of the
leathers used for bookbinding, and after visiting many libraries, and
comparing bindings, they report as follows:--

"As to the suitability of various leathers, the sub-committee came to
the conclusion that of the old leathers (15th and 16th century), white
pigskin, probably alum 'tanned,' is the most durable, but its
excessive hardness and want of flexibility renders this leather
unsuitable for most modern work. Old brown calf has lasted fairly
well, but loses its flexibility, and becomes stiff and brittle when
exposed to light and air. Some of the white tawed skins of the 15th
and 16th century, other than white pigskin, and probably deerskin,
have lasted very well. Some 15th and 16th century sheepskin bindings
have remained soft and flexible, but the surface is soft, and usually
much damaged by friction. Vellum seems to have lasted fairly well, but
is easily influenced by atmospheric changes, and is much affected by
light. Early specimens of red morocco from the 16th to the end of the
18th century were found in good condition, and of all the leathers
noticed, this seems to be the least affected by the various conditions
to which it had been subjected. In the opinion of the committee, most
of this leather has been tanned with sumach or some closely allied
tanning material. Morocco bindings earlier than 1860 were generally
found to be in fairly good condition, but morocco after that date
seems to be much less reliable, and in many cases has become utterly
rotten. During the latter part of the 18th century it became customary
to pare down calf until it was as thin as paper. Since about 1830
hardly any really sound calf seems to have been used, as, whether
thick or thin, it appears generally to have perished. Sheepskin
bindings of the early part of the century are many of them still in
good condition. Since about 1860 sheepskin as sheepskin is hardly to
be found. Sheepskins are grained in imitation of other leathers, and
these imitation-grained leathers are generally found to be in a worse
condition than any of the other bindings, except, perhaps, some of the
very thin calfskin. Undyed modern pigskin seems to last well, but some
coloured pigskin bindings had entirely perished. Modern leathers dyed
with the aid of sulphuric acid are all to be condemned. In nearly
every case Russia leather was found to have become rotten, at least in
bindings of the last fifty years."

On the question of the causes of the decay noticed and the best
methods of preparing leather in the future, I may quote the

"The work of a sub-committee, which was composed of chemists specially
conversant with the treatment of leather, was directed specially to
the elucidation of the following points: an investigation of the
nature of the decay of leather used for bookbinding; an examination of
the causes which produced this decay; a research into the best
methods of preparing leather for bookbinding; and a consideration of
the points required to be dealt with in the preservation of books.

"Taking these points in order, the first one dealt with is the
question of the nature of the decay of leather. To arrive at their
conclusions on this subject, the sub-committee made a number of tests
and analyses of samples of decayed leather bookbindings, as well as of
leathers used for binding. The committee found that the most prevalent
decay was what they term a red decay, and this they think may be
differentiated into old and new, the old red decay being noticeable up
to about 1830, and the new decay since that date. In the old decay,
the leather becomes hard and brittle, the surface not being easily
abraded by friction. The older form is specially noticeable in
calf-bound books, tanned presumably with oak bark. The new form
affects nearly all leathers, and in extreme cases seems absolutely to
destroy the fibres. Another form of deterioration, more noticeable in
the newer books, renders the grain of the leather liable to peel off
when exposed to the slightest friction. This is the most common form
of decay noted in the more recent leathers. In nearly all samples of
Russia leather a very violent form of red decay was noticed. In many
cases the leather was found to be absolutely rotten in all parts
exposed to light and air, so that on the very slightest rubbing with a
blunt instrument the leather fell into fine dust....

"The second point is the cause of the decay. An extensive series of
experiments was carried out with a view of determining the causes of
the decay of bindings. The sub-committee find that this is caused by
both mechanical and by chemical influences. Of the latter, some are
due to mistakes of the leather manufacturer and the bookbinder, others
to the want of ventilation, and to improper heating and lighting of
libraries. In some cases inferior leathers are finished (by methods in
themselves injurious) so as to imitate the better class leathers, and
of course where these are used durability cannot be expected. But in
the main the injury for which the manufacturer and bookbinder are
responsible must be attributed rather to ignorance of the effect of
the means employed to give the leather the outward qualities required
for binding, than to the intentional production of an inferior
article.... Leathers produced by different tanning materials, although
they may be equally sound and durable mechanically, vary very much in
their resistance to other influences, such as light, heat, and gas

"For bookbinding purposes, the sub-committee generally condemn the use
of tanning materials belonging to the catechol group, although the
leathers produced by the use of these materials are for many purposes
excellent, and indeed superior. The class of tanning materials which
produce the most suitable leather for this particular purpose belong
to the pyrogallol group, of which a well known and important example
is sumach. East Indian or 'Persian' tanned sheep and goat skins, which
are suitable for many purposes, and are now used largely for cheap
bookbinding purposes, are considered extremely bad. Books bound in
these materials have been found to show signs of decay in less than
twelve months, and the sub-committee are inclined to believe that no
book bound in these leathers, exposed on a shelf to sunlight or gas
fumes, can ever be expected to last more than five or six years.
Embossing leather under heavy pressure to imitate a grain has a very
injurious effect, while the shaving of thick skins greatly reduces the
strength of the leather by cutting away the tough fibres of the inner
part of the skin. The use of mineral acids in brightening the colour
of leather, and in the process of dyeing, has a serious effect in
lessening its resistance to decay. A good deal yet remains to be
learned about the relative permanency of the different dyes."

On analysis free sulphuric acid was found to be present in nearly all
bookbinding leather, and it is the opinion of the committee that even
a small quantity of this acid materially lessens the durability of the

"It has been shown by careful experiment, that even a minute quantity
of sulphuric acid used in the dye bath to liberate the colour is at
once absorbed by the leather, and that no amount of subsequent washing
will remove it. In a very large proportion of cases the decay of
modern sumach-tanned leather has been due to the sulphuric acid used
in the dye bath, and retained in the skin. We have examined very many
samples of leather manufactured and sold specially for bookbinding
purposes, from different factories, bought from different dealers, or
kindly supplied by bookbinders and by librarians, and have found them
to contain, in a large number of cases, free sulphuric acid, from 0.5
up to 1.6 per cent."

The publication of the report should tend to fix a standard for
bookbinding leather. Hitherto there has been no recognised standard.
Bookbinders have selected leather almost entirely by its appearance.
It has now been shown that appearance is no test of durability, and
the mechanical test of tearing the leather is insufficient. Sound
leather should tear with difficulty, and the torn edges should be
fringed with long, silky fibres, and any leather which tears very
easily, and shows short, curled-up fibres at the torn edges, should be
discarded. But though good bookbinding leather will tear with
difficulty, and show long fibres where torn, that is in itself not a
sufficient test; because it has been shown that the leather that is
mechanically the strongest, is not necessarily the most durable and
the best able to resist the adverse influences to which books are
subject in libraries.

The report shows that bookbinders and librarians are not, as a general
rule, qualified to select leather for bookbinding. In the old days,
when the manufacture of leather was comparatively simple, a bookbinder
might reasonably be expected to know enough of the processes employed
to be able to select his leather. But now so complicated is the
manufacture, and so many are the factors to be considered, that an
expert should be employed.

"The committee have satisfied themselves that it is possible to test
any leather in such a way as to guarantee its suitability for
bookbinding. They have not come to any decision as to the desirability
of establishing any formal or official standard, though they consider
that this is a point which well deserves future consideration."

It is to be hoped that some system of examining and hall-marking
leather by some recognised body, may be instituted. If librarians will
specify that the leather to be employed must be certified to be
manufactured according to the recommendations of the Society of Arts
Committee, there is no reason why leathers should not be obtained as
durable as any ever produced. This would necessitate the examining and
testing of batches of leather by experts. At present this can be done
more or less privately at various places, such as the Yorkshire
College, Leeds, or the Herolds' Institute, Bermondsey. In the near
future it is to be hoped that some recognised public body, such as one
of the great City Companies interested in leather, may be induced to
establish a standard, and to test such leathers as are submitted to
them, hall-marking those that come up to the standard. This would
enable bookbinders and librarians, in ordering leather, to be sure
that it had not been injured in its manufacture. The testing, if done
by batches, should not add greatly to the cost of the leather.

On the question of the qualities of an ideal bookbinding leather the
committee report:--

"It is the opinion of the committee, that the ideal bookbinding
leather must have, and retain, great flexibility.... (It) must have a
firm grain surface, not easily damaged by friction, and should not be
artificially grained.... The committee is of opinion that a pure
sumach tannage will answer all these conditions, and that leather can,
and will, be now produced that will prove to be as durable as any made
in the past."

The committee has so far only dealt with vegetable-tanned leather. I
have used, with some success, chrome-tanned calfskin. Chrome leather
is difficult to pare, and to work, as it does not become soft when
wet, like vegetable-tanned leather. It will stand any reasonable
degree of heat, and so might perhaps be useful for top-shelf bindings
and for shelf edging. It is extremely strong mechanically, but without
further tests I cannot positively recommend it except for trial.

While the strength and probable durability of leather can only be
judged by a trained leather chemist, there remains for the binders
selection, the kind of leather to use, and its colour.

Most of the leather prepared for bookbinding is too highly finished.
The finishing processes add a good deal to the cost of the leather,
and are apt to be injurious to it, and as much of the high finish is
lost in covering, it would be better for the bookbinder to get rougher
leather and finish it himself when it is on the book.

The leathers in common use for bookbinding are:--

    Goatskin, known as morocco.
    Calf, known as calf and russia.
    Sheepskin, known as roan, basil, skiver, &c.
    Pigskin, known as pigskin.
    Sealskin, known as seal.

_Morocco_ is probably the best leather for extra binding if properly
prepared, but experiment has shown that the expensive Levant moroccos
are nearly always ruined in their manufacture. A great many samples of
the most expensive Levant morocco were tested, with the result that
they were all found to contain free sulphuric acid.

_Calf._--Modern vegetable-tanned calf has become a highly
unsatisfactory material, and until some radical changes are made in
the methods of manufacturing it, it should not be used for

_Sheepskin._--A properly tanned sheepskin makes a very durable, though
rather soft and woolly, leather. Much of the bookbinding leather now
made from sheepskin is quite worthless. Bookbinders should refuse to
have anything to do with any leather that has been artificially
grained, as the process is apt to be highly injurious to the skin.

_Pigskin._--Pigskin is a thoroughly good leather naturally, and very
strong, especially the alumed skins; but many of the dyed pigskins are
found to be improperly tanned and dyed, and worthless for bookbinding.

_Sealskin_ is highly recommended by one eminent librarian, but I have
not yet had any experience of its use for bookbinding.

The leather that I have found most useful is the Niger goatskin,
brought from Africa by the Royal Niger Company; it is a very beautiful
colour and texture, and has stood all the tests tried, without serious
deterioration. The difficulty with this leather is that, being a
native production, it is somewhat carelessly prepared, and is much
spoiled by flaws and stains on the surface, and many skins are quite
worthless. It is to be hoped that before long some of the
manufacturers interested will produce skins as good in quality and
colour as the best Niger morocco, and with fewer flaws.

Much leather is ruined in order to obtain an absolutely even colour. A
slight unevenness of colours is very pleasing, and should rather be
encouraged than objected to. That the want of interest in absolutely
flat colours has been felt, is shown by the frequency with which the
binders get rid of flat, even colours by sprinkling and marbling.

On this point I may quote from the committee: "The sprinkling of
leather, either for the production of 'sprinkled' calf or 'tree' calf,
with ferrous sulphate (green vitriol) must be most strongly condemned,
as the iron combines with and destroys the tan in the leather, and
free sulphuric acid is liberated, which is still more destructive.
Iron acetate or lactate is somewhat less objectionable, but probably
the same effects may be obtained with aniline colours without risk to
the leather."

                              CHAPTER XX



Paper may be made by hand or machinery, and either "laid" or "wove."
"Laid" papers are distinguished by wire marks, which are absent in
"wove" paper.

A sheet of hand-made paper has all round it a rough uneven edge called
the "deckle," that is a necessary result of its method of manufacture.
The early printers looked upon this ragged edge as a defect, and
almost invariably trimmed most of it off before putting books into
permanent bindings. Book-lovers quite rightly like to find traces of
the "deckle" edge, as evidence that a volume has not been unduly
reduced by the binder. But it has now become the fashion to admire the
"deckle" for its own sake, and to leave books on hand-made paper
absolutely untrimmed, with ragged edges that collect the dirt, are
unsightly, and troublesome to turn over. So far has this craze gone,
that machine-made paper is often put through an extra process to give
it a sham deckle edge.

Roughly speaking, paper varies in quality according to the proportion
of fibrous material, such as rag, used in the manufacture. To make
paper satisfactorily by hand, a large proportion of such fibrous
material is necessary, so that the fact that the paper is hand-made is
to some extent a guarantee of its quality. There are various qualities
of hand-made paper, made from different materials, chiefly linen and
cotton rags. The best paper is made from pure linen rag, and poorer
hand-made paper from cotton rag, while other qualities contain a
mixture of the two or other substances.

It is possible to make a thoroughly good paper by machinery if good
materials are used. Some excellent papers are made by machinery; but
the enormous demand for paper, together with the fact that now almost
any fibrous material can be made into paper, has resulted in the
production, in recent years, of, perhaps, the worst papers that have
ever been seen.

This would not matter if the use of the poor papers were restricted to
newspapers and other ephemeral literature, but when, as is often the
case, paper of very poor quality is used for books of permanent
literary interest, the matter is serious enough.

Among the worst papers made are the heavily loaded "Art" papers that
are prepared for the printing of half-toned process blocks. It is to
be hoped that before long the paper makers will produce a paper that,
while suitable for printing half-toned blocks, will be more
serviceable, and will have a less unpleasant surface.

Several makers produce coloured handmade papers suitable for end
papers. Machine-made papers can be had in endless variety from any
number of makers.

The paper known as "Japanese Vellum" is a very tough material, and
will be found useful for repairing vellum books; the thinnest variety
of it is very suitable for mending the backs of broken sections, or
for strengthening weak places in paper.

The following delightful account of paper making by hand is quoted
from "Evelyn's Diary, 1641-1706."

"I went to see my Lord of St. Alban's house at Byflete, an old large
building. Thence to the paper mills, where I found them making a
coarse white paper. They cull the raggs, which are linnen, for white
paper, woollen for brown, then they stamp them in troughs to a papp
with pestles or hammers like the powder-mills, then put it into a
vessell of water, in which they dip a frame closely wyred with a wyre
as small as a haire, and as close as a weaver's reede; on this they
take up the papp, the superfluous water draining thro' the wyre; this
they dextrously turning, shake out like a pancake on a smooth board
between two pieces of flannell, then press it between a greate presse,
the flannell sucking out the moisture; then taking it out they ply and
dry it on strings, as they dry linnen in the laundry; then dip it in
alum-water, lastly polish and make it up in quires. They put some gum
in the water in which they macerate the raggs. The mark we find on the
sheets is formed in the wyre."

The following are the more usual sizes of printing papers--


    Foolscap          17  × 13½
    Crown             20  × 15
    Post              19¼ × 15½
    Demy              22½ × 17½
    Medium             24 × 19
    Royal              25 × 20
    Double Pott        25 × 15
      "    Foolscap    27 × 17
    Super Royal        27 × 21
    Double Crown       30 × 20
    Imperial           30 × 22
    Double Post       31½ × 19½

The corresponding sizes of hand-made papers may differ slightly from
the above.

Although the above are the principal sizes named, almost any size can
be made to order.

The following is an extract from the report of the Committee of the
Society of Arts on the deterioration of paper, published in 1898: "The
committee find that the paper-making fibres may be ranged into four

    A. Cotton, flax, and hemp.
    B. Wood, celluloses (_a_) sulphite process,
       and (_b_) soda and sulphate process.
    C. Esparto and straw celluloses.
    D. Mechanical wood pulp.

In regard, therefore, to papers for books and documents of permanent
value, the selection must be taken in this order, and always with due
regard to the fulfilment of the conditions of normal treatment above
dealt with as common to all papers."

"The committee have been desirous of bringing their investigations to
a practical conclusion in specific terms, viz. by the suggestion of
standards of quality. It is evident that in the majority of cases,
there is little fault to find with the practical adjustments which
rule the trade. They are, therefore, satisfied to limit their specific
findings to the following, viz., _Normal standard of quality for book
papers required for publications of permanent value._ For such papers
they would specify as follows:--

"_Fibres._ Not less than 70 per cent. of fibres of Class A.

"_Sizing._ Not more than 2 per cent. rosin, and finished with the
normal acidity of pure alum.

"_Loading._ Not more than 10 per cent. total mineral matter (ash).

"With regard to written documents, it must be evident that the proper
materials are those of Class A, and that the paper should be pure,
and sized with gelatine, and not with rosin. All imitations of
high-class writing papers, which are, in fact, merely disguised
printing papers, should be carefully avoided."


To make paste for covering books, &c., take 2 oz. of flour, and ¼
oz. of powdered alum, and well mix with enough water to form a thin
paste, taking care to break up any lumps. Add a pint of cold water,
and heat gently in an enamelled saucepan. As it becomes warm, it
should be stirred from time to time, and when it begins to boil it
should be continually stirred for about five minutes. It should then
form a thick paste that can be thinned with warm water. Of course any
quantity can be made if the proportions are the same.

Paste for use is best kept in a wooden trough, called a "paste tub."
The paste tub will need to be cleaned out from time to time, and all
fragments of dry paste removed. This can easily be done if it is left,
overnight, filled with water. Before using, the paste should be well
beaten up with a flat stick.

For pasting paper, it should have about the consistency and smoothness
of cream; for leather, it can be thicker. For very thick leather a
little thin glue may be added. Paste made with alum will keep about a
fortnight, but can be kept longer by the addition of corrosive
sublimate in the proportion of one part of corrosive sublimate to a
thousand parts of paste. Corrosive sublimate, being a deadly poison,
will prevent the attack of bookworms or other insects, but for the
same reason must only be used by responsible people, and paste in
which it is used must be kept out of the way of domestic animals.

Several makes of excellent prepared paste can be bought in London.
These pastes are as cheap as can be made, and keep good a long time.

Paste that has become sour should never be used, as there is danger
that the products of its acid fermentation may injure the leather.

Paste tubs as sold often have an iron bar across them to wipe the
brush on. This should be removed, and replaced by a piece of twisted
cord. Paste brushes should be bound with string or zinc; copper or
iron will stain the paste.

                        WHITE PASTE FOR MENDING

A good paste for mending is made from a teaspoonful of ordinary flour,
two teaspoonsful of cornflour, half a teaspoonful of alum, and three
ounces of water. These should be carefully mixed, breaking up all
lumps, and then should be heated in a clean saucepan, and stirred all
the time with a wooden or bone spoon. The paste should boil for about
five minutes, but not too fast, or it will burn and turn brown.
Rice-flour or starch may be substituted for cornflour, and for very
white paper the wheaten flour may be omitted. Ordinary paste is not
nearly white enough for mending, and is apt to leave unsightly stains.

Cornflour paste may be used directly after it is made, and will keep
good under ordinary circumstances for about a week. Directly it gets
hard or goes watery, a new batch must be made.


It is important for bookbinders that the glue used should be of good
quality, and the best hide glue will be found to answer well. To
prepare it for use, the glue should be broken up into small pieces and
left to soak overnight in water. In the morning it should be soft and
greatly swollen, but not melted, and can then be put in the glue-pot
and gently simmered until it is fluid. It is then ready for use. Glue
loses in quality by being frequently heated, so that it is well not to
make a great quantity at a time. The glue-pot should be thoroughly
cleaned out before new glue is put into it, and the old glue sticking
round the sides taken out.

Glue should be used hot and not too thick. If it is stringy and
difficult to work, it can be broken up by rapidly twisting the brush
in the glue-pot. For paper the glue should be very thin and well
worked up with the brush before using.

The following is quoted from "Chambers' Encyclopædia" article on

"While England does not excel in the manufacture, it is a recognised
fact that Scottish glue ... ranks in the front of the glues of all
countries. A light-coloured glue is not necessarily good, nor a
dark-coloured glue necessarily bad. A bright, clear, claret colour is
the natural colour of hide glue, which is the best and most

"Light-coloured glues (as distinguished from gelatine) are made either
from bones or sheepskins. The glue yielded by these materials cannot
compare with the strength of that yielded by hides.

"A great quantity is now made in France and Germany from bones. It is
got as a by-product in the manufacture of animal charcoal. Although
beautiful to look at, it is found when used to be far inferior to
Scottish hide glue."

                                PART II

                       CARE OF BOOKS WHEN BOUND

                              CHAPTER XXI

           Injurious Influences to which Books are Subjected

_Gas Fumes._--The investigation of the Society of Arts Committee shows

"Of all the influences to which books are exposed in libraries, gas
fumes--no doubt because of the sulphuric and sulphurous acid which
they contain--are shown to be the most injurious."

The injurious effects of gas fumes on leather have been recognised for
a long time, and gas is being, very generally, given up in libraries
in consequence. If books must be kept where gas is used, they should
not be put high up in the room, and great attention should be paid to
ventilation. It is far better, where possible, to avoid the use of gas
at all in libraries.

_Light._--The committee also report that "light, and especially direct
sunlight and hot air, are shown to possess deleterious influences
which had scarcely been suspected previously, and the importance of
moderate temperature and thorough ventilation of libraries cannot be
too much insisted on."

The action of light on leather has a disintegrating effect, very
plainly seen when books have stood for long periods on shelves placed
at right angles to windows. At Oxford and Cambridge and at the British
Museum Library the same thing was noticed. The leather on that side,
of the backs of books, next to the light, was absolutely rotten,
crumbling to dust at the slightest friction, while at the side away
from the light it was comparatively sound. Vellum bindings were even
more affected than those of leather.

The committee advise that library windows exposed to the direct
sunlight should be glazed with tinted glass.

"Some attempts have been made to determine the effect of light
transmitted through glasses of different colours, and they point to
the fact that blue and violet glass pass light of nearly as
deleterious quality as white glass; while leathers under red, green,
and yellow glasses were almost completely protected. There can be no
doubt that the use of pale yellow or olive-green glass in library
windows exposed to direct sunlight is desirable. A large number of
experiments have been made on the tinted 'cathedral' glasses of
Messrs. Pilkington Bros., Limited, with the result that Nos. 812 and
712 afforded almost complete protection during two months' exposure to
sunlight, while Nos. 704 and 804 may be recommended where only very
pale shades are permissible. The glasses employed were subjected to
careful spectroscopic examination, and to colour-measurement by the
tintometer, but neither were found to give precise indications as to
the protective power of the glasses, which is no doubt due to the
absorption of the violet, and especially of the invisible ultra-violet
rays. An easy method of comparing glasses is to expose under them to
sunlight the ordinary sensitised albumenised photographic paper.
Those glasses under which this is least darkened are also most
protective to leather."

_Tobacco._--Smoking was found to be injurious, and it is certainly a
mistake to allow it in libraries.

"The effect of ammonia vapour, and tobacco fumes, of which ammonia is
one of the active ingredients, was also examined. The effect of
ammonia fumes was very marked, darkening every description of leather,
and it is known that in extreme cases it causes a rapid form of decay.
Tobacco smoke had a very similar darkening and deleterious effect
(least marked in the case of sumach tanned leathers), and there can be
no doubt that the deterioration of bindings in a library where smoking
was permitted and the rooms much used, must have been partly due to
this cause."

_Damp._--Books kept in damp places will develop mildew, and both
leather and paper will be ruined.

Where possible, naturally dry rooms should be used for libraries, and
if not naturally dry, every means possible should be taken to render
them so. It will sometimes be found that the only way to keep the
walls of an old house dry is to put in a proper dampcourse. There are
various other methods employed, such as lining the walls with thin
lead, or painting them inside and out with some waterproofing
preparation: but as long as a wall remains in itself damp, it is
doubtful if any of these things will permanently keep the damp from

Bookshelves should never be put against the wall, nor the books on the
floor. There should always be space for air to circulate on all sides
of the bookshelves. Damp is specially injurious if books are kept
behind closely-fitting doors. The doors of bookcases should be left
open from time to time on warm days.

Should mildew make its appearance, the books should be taken out,
dried and aired, and the bookshelves thoroughly cleaned. The cause of
the damp should be sought for, and measures taken to remedy it.
Library windows should not be left open at night, nor during damp
weather, but in warm fine weather the more ventilation there is, the

_Heat._--While damp is very injurious to books on account of the
development of mildew, unduly hot dry air is almost as bad, causing
leather to dry up and lose its flexibility. On this point the Chairman
of the Society of Arts Committee says:--

"Rooms in which books are kept should not be subject to extremes,
whether of heat or cold, of moisture or dryness. It may be said that
the better adapted a room is for human occupation, the better for the
books it contains. Damp is, of course, most mischievous, but
over-dryness induced by heated air, especially when the pipes are in
close proximity to the bookcases, is also very injurious."

_Dust._--Books should be taken from the shelves at least once a year,
dusted and aired, and the bindings rubbed with a preservative.

To dust a book, it should be removed from the shelf, and without being
opened, turned upside down and flicked with a feather duster. If a
book with the dust on the top is held loosely in the hand, and dusted
right way up, dust may fall between the leaves. Dusting should be done
in warm, dry weather; and afterwards, the books may be stood on the
table slightly open, to air, with their leaves loose. Before being
returned to the shelves, the bindings should be lightly rubbed with
some preservative preparation (see chap. XXII). Any bindings that are
broken, or any leaves that are loose should be noted, and the books
put on one side to be sent to the binder. It would be best when the
library is large enough to warrant it, to employ a working bookbinder
to do this work; such a man would be useful in many ways. He could
stick on labels, repair bindings, and do many other odd jobs to keep
the books in good repair.

A bookbinder could be kept fully employed, binding and repairing the
books of a comparatively small library under the direction of the


The insects known as bookworms are the larvæ of several sorts of
beetles, most commonly perhaps of _Antobium domesticum_ and _Niptus
hololencus_. They are not in any way peculiar to books and will infest
the wood of bookshelves, walls, or floors. A good deal can be done to
keep "worms" away by using such substances as camphor or naphthaline
in the bookcase. Bookworms do not attack modern books very much;
probably they dislike the alum put in the paste and the mill-boards
made of old tarred rope.

In old books, especially such as come from Italy, it is often found
that the ravages of the bookworms are almost entirely confined to the
glue on the backs of the books, and it generally seems that the glue
and paste attract them. Probably if corrosive sublimate were put in
the glue and paste used it would stop their attacks. Alum is said to
be a preventive, but I have known bookworms to eat their way through
leather pasted on with paste containing alum, when, in recovering, the
old wooden boards containing bookworms have been utilised in error.

When on shaking the boards of an old book dust flies out, or when
little heaps of dust are found on the shelf on which an old book has
been standing, it may be considered likely that there are bookworms
present. It is easy to kill any that may be hatched, by putting the
book in an air-tight box surrounded with cotton wool soaked in ether;
but that will not kill the eggs, and the treatment must be repeated
from time to time at intervals of a few weeks.

Any book that is found to contain bookworms should be isolated and at
once treated. Tins may be put inside the boards to prevent the "worms"
eating into the leaves.

Speaking of bookworms, Jules Cousin says:--

"One of the simplest means to be employed (to get rid of bookworms) is
to place behind the books, especially in the place where the insects
show their presence most, pieces of linen soaked with essence of
turpentine, camphor, or an infusion of tobacco, and to renew them when
the smell goes off. A little fine pepper might also be scattered on
the shelf, the penetrating smell of which would produce the same

Possibly Keating's Insect Powder would answer as well or better than

                             RATS AND MICE

Rats and mice will gnaw the backs of books to get at the glue, so,
means should be taken to get rid of these vermin if they should
appear. Mice especially will nibble vellum binding or the edges of
vellum books that have become greasy with much handling.


Cockroaches are very troublesome in libraries, eating the bindings.
Keating's Insect Powder will keep them away from books, but only so
long as it is renewed at short intervals.


The Chairman of the Society of Arts Special Committee says on this

"It is important that a just medium should be observed between the
close and loose disposition of books in the shelves. Tight packing
causes the pulling off of the tops of book-backs, injurious friction
between their sides, and undue pressure, which tends to force off
their backs. But books should not stand loosely on the shelves. They
require support and moderate lateral pressure, otherwise the leaves
are apt to open and admit dust, damp, and mildew. The weight of the
leaves also in good-sized volumes loosely placed will often be found
to be resting on the shelf, making the backs concave, and spoiling the
shape and cohesion of the books.

"In libraries where classification is attempted there must be a
certain number of partially filled shelves. The books in these should
be kept in place by some such device as that in use in the British
Museum, namely, a simple flat angle piece of galvanised iron, on the
lower flange of which the end books rest, keeping it down, the upright
flange keeping the books close and preventing them from spreading."

He also speaks of the danger to bindings of rough or badly-painted

"Great care should be exercised when bookcases are painted or
varnished that the surface should be left hard, smooth, and dry.
Bindings, especially those of delicate texture, may be irreparably
rubbed if brought in contact with rough or coarsely-painted surfaces,
while the paint itself, years after its original application, is
liable to come off upon the books, leaving indelible marks. In such
cases pasteboard guards against the ends of the shelves are the only

                             CHAPTER XXII

                 To Preserve Old Bindings--Re-backing

                       TO PRESERVE OLD BINDINGS

It is a well-known fact that the leather of bindings that are much
handled lasts very much better than that on books which remain
untouched on the shelves. There is little doubt that the reason for
this is that the slight amount of grease the leather receives from the
hands nourishes it and keeps it flexible. A coating of glair or
varnish is found to some extent to protect leather from adverse
outside influences, but, unfortunately, both glair and varnish tend
rather to harden leather than to keep it flexible, and they fail just
where failure is most serious, that is at the joints. In opening and
shutting, any coat of glair or varnish that has become hard will
crack, and expose the leather of the joint and back. Flexibility is an
essential quality in bookbinding leather, for as soon as the leather
at the joint of a binding becomes stiff it breaks away when the boards
are opened.

It would add immensely to the life of old leather bindings if
librarians would have them treated, say once a year, with some
preservative. The consequent expense would be saved many times over by
the reduction of the cost of rebinding. Such a preservative must not
stain, must not evaporate, must not become hard, and must not be
sticky. Vaseline has been recommended, and answers fairly well, but
will evaporate, although slowly. I have found that a solution of
paraffin wax in castor oil answers well. It is cheap and very simple
to prepare. To prepare it, some castor oil is put into an earthenware
jar, and about half its weight of paraffin wax shredded into it. On
warming, the wax will melt, and the preparation is ready for use.

A little of the preparation is well worked into a piece of flannel,
and the books rubbed with it, special attention being paid to the back
and joints. They may be further rubbed with the hand, and finally gone
over with a clean, soft cloth. Very little of the preparation need be
used on each book.

If bindings have projecting metal corners or clasps that are likely to
scratch the neighbouring books, pieces of mill-board, which may be
lined with leather or good paper, should be placed next them, or they
may have a cover made of a piece of mill-board bent round as shown at
fig. 120, and strengthened at the folds with linen. This may be
slipped into the shelf with the book with the open end outwards, and
will then hardly be seen.

    [Illustration: FIG. 120.]

Bindings which have previously had metal clasps, &c., often have
projecting fragments of the old nails. These should be sought for and
carefully removed or driven in, as they may seriously damage any
bindings with which they come in contact.

To protect valuable old bindings, cases may be made and lettered on
the back with the title of the book.

Loose covers that necessitate the bending back of the boards for their
removal are not recommended.


Bindings that have broken joints may be re-backed. Any of the leather
of the back that remains should be carefully removed and preserved. It
is impossible to get some leathers off tight backs without destroying
them, but with care and by the use of a thin folder, many backs can be
saved. The leather on the boards is cut a little back from the joint
with a slanting cut, that will leave a thin edge, and is then lifted
up with a folder. New leather, of the same colour is pasted on the
back, and tucked in under the old leather on the board. The leather
from the old back should have its edges pared and any lumps of glue or
paper removed and be pasted on to the new leather and bound tightly
with tape to make sure that it sticks.

When the leather at the corners of the board needs repairing, the
corner is glued and tapped with a hammer to make it hard and square,
and when it is dry a little piece of new leather is slipped under the
old and the corner covered.

When the sewing cords or thread of a book have perished it should be
rebound, but if there are any remains of the original binding they
should be preserved and utilised. If the old boards have quite
perished, new boards of the same nature and thickness should be got
out and the old cover pasted over them. Such places as the old leather
will not cover, must first be covered with new of the same colour.
Generally speaking, it is desirable that the characteristics of an old
book should be preserved, and that the new work should be as little in
evidence as possible. It is far more pleasant to see an old book in a
patched contemporary binding, than smug and tidy in the most
immaculate modern cover.

Part of the interest of any old book is its individual history, which
can be gathered from the binding, book-plates, marginal notes, names
of former owners, &c., and anything that tends to obliterate these
signs is to be deplored.



These specifications will require modification in special cases, and
are only intended to be a general guide.

            |To be    |To be sewn   |Books on  |To be   |To be with|To be
     I.     |carefully|on. To be of |handmade  |trimmed |ligature  |kept
For Extra   |folded,  |good paper   |paper not |and gilt|silk,     |as
Binding     |or, if   |made with    |to be     |before  |flexible, |flat
suitable    |an old   |zigzag, with |pressed   |sewing. |round five|as it
for Valuable|book, all|board papers |unduly.   |To be   |bands of  |can be
Books. Whole|damaged  |of self-     |          |uncut.  |best      |without
Leather.    |leaves to|coloured     |          |        |sewing    |forcing
            |be       |paper of good|          |        |cord.     |it and
            |carefully|quality, or  |          |        |          |without
            |mended,  |vellum. Or to|          |        |          |danger
            |the backs|be made with |          |        |          |of its
            |where    |leather      |          |        |          |becom-
            |damaged  |joint.       |          |        |          |ing
            |to be    |             |          |        |          |concave
            |made     |             |          |        |          |in use.
            |sound.   |             |          |        |          |
            |Single   |             |          |        |          |
            |leaves   |             |          |        |          |
            |to be    |             |          |        |          |
            |guarded  |             |          |        |          |
            |round    |             |          |        |          |
            |the      |             |          |        |          |
            |sections |             |          |        |          |
            |next     |             |          |        |          |
            |them. All|             |          |        |          |
            |plates to|             |          |        |          |
            |be       |             |          |        |          |
            |guarded. |             |          |        |          |
            |Guards to|             |          |        |          |
            |be sewn  |             |          |        |          |
            |through. |             |          |        |          |
            |No past- |             |          |        |          |
            |ing on   |             |          |        |          |
            |or over- |             |          |        |          |
            |casting  |             |          |        |          |
            |to be    |             |          |        |          |
            |allowed. |             |          |        |          |
            |As No.   |To be of good|Same as   |To be   |To be with|Same as
     II.    |I.,      |paper made   |No. I.    |cut and |unbleached|for No.
For Good    |excepting|with zigzag, |          |gilt in |thread,   |I.
Binding for |that any |with board   |          |boards  |flexible, |
Books of    |mending  |papers of    |          |or      |round five|
Reference,  |may be   |self-coloured|          |coloured|bands of  |
Catalogues, |done     |paper of good|          |or to be|best      |
&c., and    |rather   |quality.     |          |uncut.  |sewing    |
other heavy |with a   |Large or     |          |        |cord.     |
Books that  |view to  |heavy books  |          |        |          |
may have a  |strength |to have a    |          |        |          |
great deal  |than     |cloth joint. |          |        |          |
of use.     |extreme  |To be sewn   |          |        |          |
Whole or    |neatness.|on.          |          |        |          |
Half        |         |             |          |        |          |
Leather.    |         |             |          |        |          |
            |Same as  |To be of good|Same as   |To be   |To be with|Same as
    III.    |No. II.  |paper, sewn  |No. I.    |uncut,  |unbleached|for
For Binding |         |on, made with|          |or to be|thread    |Nos. I.
for         |         |zigzag.      |          |cut in  |across not|and II.
Libraries,  |         |             |          |guillo- |less than |
IV. for     |         |             |          |tine and|four      |
Books in    |         |             |          |gilt or |unbleached|
current     |         |             |          |coloured|linen     |
use. Half   |         |             |          |or to   |tapes.    |
Leather.    |         |             |          |have top|          |
            |         |             |          |edge    |          |
            |         |             |          |only    |          |
            |         |             |          |gilt.   |          |
            |Any      |Same as No.  |          |May be  |With      |Back to
    IV.     |leaves   |III.         |          |cut     |unbleached|be left
For Library |damaged  |             |          |smooth  |thread    |square
Bindings of |at the   |             |          |in      |over three|after
Books of    |back or  |             |          |guillo- |unbleached|glueing
little      |plates   |             |          |tine.   |linen     |up.
Interest or |to be    |             |          |        |tapes.    |
Value,      |overcast |             |          |        |          |
Cloth or    |into     |             |          |        |          |
Half Linen. |sections.|             |          |        |          |

            SPECIFICATIONS FOR BOOKBINDING--(_continued_).

            |To be of|To be     |Goatskin  |To be     |To be as   |All work
     I.	    |the best|worked    |(morocco),|legible   |much or as |to be
For Extra   |black   |with silk |pigskin   |and to    |little as  |done in
Binding     |mill-   |on strips |or seal-  |identify  |the nature |the best
suitable    |board.  |of vellum |skin manu-|the       |of the book|manner.
for Valuable|Two     |or catgut |factured  |volume.   |warrants.  |
Books. Whole|boards  |or cord,  |according |          |           |
Leather.    |to be   |with      |to the    |          |           |
            |made    |frequent  |recommend-|          |           |
            |together|tie-downs.|ations of |          |           |
            |for     |The head- |the       |          |           |
            |large   |bands to  |Society   |          |           |
            |books,  |be "set"  |of Arts'  |          |           |
            |and all |by pieces |Committee |          |           |
            |five    |of good   |on Leather|          |           |
            |bands   |paper or  |for       |          |           |
            |laced in|leather   |Book-     |          |           |
            |through |glued at  |binding.  |          |           |
            |two     |head and  |Whole     |          |           |
            |holes.  |tail. The |binding;  |          |           |
            |        |back to be|leather   |          |           |
            |        |lined up  |to be     |          |           |
            |        |with      |attached  |          |           |
            |        |leather   |directly  |          |           |
            |        |all over  |to the    |          |           |
            |        |if the    |back.     |          |           |
            |        |book is   |          |          |           |
            |        |large.    |          |          |           |
            |Same as |Same as   |Same as   |Same as   |To be      |Work may
    II.     |No. I., |No. I.    |No. I.,   |No. I.    |omitted, or|be a
For Good    |or may  |          |excepting |          |only to    |little
Binding for |be of   |          |that      |          |consist of |rougher,
Books of    |good    |          |properly  |          |a few lines|but not
Reference,  |grey    |          |prepared  |          |or dots or |careless
Catalogues, |board.  |          |sheepskin |          |other      |or
&c., and    |        |          |may be    |          |quite      |dirty.
other heavy |        |          |added.    |          |simple     |
Books that  |        |          |Half-     |          |ornament.  |
may have    |        |          |binding,  |          |           |
a great deal|        |          |leather   |          |           |
of use.     |        |          |only at   |          |           |
Whole or    |        |          |back.     |          |           |
Half        |        |          |Corners   |          |           |
Leather.    |        |          |to be     |          |           |
            |        |          |strength- |          |           |
            |        |          |ened with |          |           |
            |        |          |tips of   |          |           |
            |        |          |vellum.   |          |           |
            |        |          |Sides     |          |           |
            |        |          |covered   |          |           |
            |        |          |with good |          |           |
            |        |          |paper     |          |           |
            |        |          |or linen. |          |           |
            |To be   |To be     |Same as   |Same as   |To be      |Same as
    III.    |split   |worked    |Nos. I.   |Nos. I.   |omitted.   |No. II.
For Binding |grey    |with      |and II.,  |and II.   |           |
for         |boards, |thread    |but skins |          |           |
Libraries,  |or      |or vellum |may be    |          |           |
for Books   |straw-  |or cord,  |used where|          |           |
in current  |board   |or to be  |there are |          |           |
use. Half   |with    |omitted   |surface   |          |           |
Leather.    |black   |and a     |flaws that|          |           |
            |board   |piece of  |do not    |          |           |
            |liner,  |cord      |affect the|          |           |
            |with    |inserted  |strength. |          |           |
            |ends    |into the  |Leather to|          |           |
            |of tapes|turn in   |be used   |          |           |
            |attached|of the    |thicker   |          |           |
            |to      |leather at|than is   |          |           |
            |portion |head and  |usual,    |          |           |
            |of waste|tail in   |there     |          |           |
            |sheet,  |their     |being     |          |           |
            |inserted|place.    |French    |          |           |
            |between |          |joints.   |          |           |
            |them.   |          |Leather at|          |           |
            |Boards  |          |back only;|          |           |
            |to be   |          |paper     |          |           |
            |left a  |          |sides;    |          |           |
            |short   |          |vellum    |          |           |
            |distance|          |tips.     |          |           |
            |from the|          |          |          |           |
            |joint   |          |          |          |           |
            |to form |          |          |          |           |
            |a French|          |          |          |           |
            |joint.  |          |          |          |           |
            |To be   |No        |Whole     |Same as   |To be      |Same as
    IV.     |split   |headbands.|buckram   |Nos. I.   |omitted.   |No. II.
For Library |boards, |          |or half   |II. and   |           |
Bindings of |two     |          |linen and |III.      |           |
Books of    |straw-  |          |paper     |          |           |
little      |boards  |          |sides.    |          |           |
Interest or |made    |          |          |          |           |
Value, Cloth|together|          |          |          |           |
or Half     |and ends|          |          |          |           |
Linen.      |of slips|          |          |          |           |
            |insert- |          |          |          |           |
            |ed.     |          |          |          |           |
            |French  |          |          |          |           |
            |joint to|          |          |          |           |
            |be left.|          |          |          |           |


_Arming press_, a small blocking press used for striking arms-blocks
on the sides of books.

_Backing boards_, wedge-shaped bevelled boards used in backing (see
Fig. 40).

_Backing machine_, used for backing cheap work in large quantities; it
often crushes and damages the backs of the sections.

_Bands_, (1) the cords on which a book is sewn. (2) The ridges on the
back caused by the bands showing through the leather.

_Band nippers_, pincers with flat jaws, used for straightening the
bands (see Fig. 61). For nipping up the leather after covering, they
should be nickelled to prevent the iron staining the leather.

_Beating stone_, the "stone" on which books were formerly beaten; now
generally superseded by the rolling machine and standing press.

_Blind tooling_, the impression of finishing tools without gold.

_Blocking press_, a press used for impressing blocks such as those
used in decorating cloth cases.

_Board papers_, the part of the end papers pasted on to the boards.

_Bodkin_, an awl used for making the holes in the boards for the

_Bolt_, folded edge of the sheets in an unopened book.

_Cancels_, leaves containing errors, which have to be discarded and
replaced by corrected sheets. Such leaves are marked by the printer
with a star.

_Catch-word_, a word printed at the foot of one page indicating the
first word of the page following, as a guide in collating.

_Cutting boards_, wedge-shaped boards somewhat like backing boards,
but with the top edge square; used in cutting the edge of a book and
in edge-gilding.

_Cutting in boards_, cutting the edges of a book after the boards are
laced on.

_Cutting press_, when the lying press is turned, so that the side with
the runners is uppermost, it is called a cutting press (see Fig. 46).

_Diaper_, a term applied to a small repeating all-over pattern. From
woven material decorated in this way.

_Doublure_, the inside face of the boards, especially applied to them
when lined with leather and decorated.

_End papers_, papers added at the beginning and end of a book by the

_Extra binding_, a trade term for the best work.

_Finishing_, comprises lettering, tooling, and polishing, &c.

_Finishing press_, a small press used for holding books when they are
being tooled (see Fig. 84).

_Finishing stove_, used for heating finishing tools.

_Folder_, a flat piece of ivory or bone, like a paper knife, used in
folding sheets and in various other operations.

_Foredge_ (fore edge), the front edge of the leaves. Pronounced

_Forwarding_, comprises all the operations between sewing and
finishing, excepting headbanding.

_Gathering_, collecting one sheet from each pile in a printer's
warehouse to make up a volume.

_Glaire_, white of eggs beaten up, and used in finishing and edge

_Half binding_, when the leather covers the back and only part of the
sides, a book is said to be half bound.

_Head band_, a fillet of silk or thread, worked at the head and tail
of the back.

_Head cap_, the fold of leather over the head band (see Fig. 67).

_Head and tail_, the top and bottom of a book.

_Imperfections_, sheets rejected by the binder and returned to the
printer to be replaced.

_India proofs_, strictly first proofs only of an illustration pulled
on "India paper," but used indiscriminately for all illustrations
printed on India paper.

_Inset_, the portion of a sheet cut off and inserted in folding
certain sizes, such as duodecimo, &c. (see Fig. 4).

_Inside margins_, the border made by the turn in of the leather on the
inside face of the boards (see Fig. 116).

_Joints_, (1) the groove formed in backing to receive the ends of the
mill-boards. (2) The part of the binding that bends when the boards
are opened. (3) Strips of leather or cloth used to strengthen the end

"_Kettle stitch_," catch stitch formed in sewing at the head and tail.

_Lacing in_, lacing the slips through holes in the boards to attach

_Lying press_, the term applied to the under side of the cutting press
used for backing, usually ungrammatically called "laying press."

_Marbling_, colouring the edges and end papers in various patterns,
obtained by floating colours on a gum solution.

_Millboard machine_, machine used for squaring boards; should only be
used for cheap work, as an edge cut by it will not be as square as if
cut by the plough.

_Mitring_, (1) lines meeting at a right angle without overrunning are
said to be mitred. (2) A join at 45° as in the leather on the inside
of the boards.

_Overcasting_, over-sewing the back edges of single leaves or weak

_Peel_, a thin board on a handle used for hanging up sheets for

_Plate_, an illustration printed from a plate. Term often incorrectly
applied to illustrations printed from woodcuts. Any full-page
illustration printed on different paper to the book is usually called
a "plate."

_Pressing plates_, plates of metal japanned or nickelled, used for
giving finish to the leather on a book.

_Press pin_, an iron bar used for turning the screws of presses.

_Proof_, edges left uncut as "proof" that the book has not been unduly
cut down.

_Register_, (i.) when the print on one side of a leaf falls exactly
over that on the other it is said to register. (ii.) Ribbon placed in
a book as a marker.

_Rolling machine_, a machine in which the sheets of a book are subject
to heavy pressure by being passed between rollers.

_Sawing in_, when grooves are made in the back with a saw to receive
the bands.

_Section_, the folded sheet.

_Semée_ or _Semis_, an heraldic term signifying sprinkled.

_Set off_, print is said to "set off" when part of the ink from a page
comes off on an opposite page. This will happen if a book is pressed
too soon after printing.

_Sheet_, the full size of the paper as printed, forming a section when

_Signature_, the letter or figure placed on the first page of each

_Slips_, the ends of the sewing cord or tape that are attached to the

_Squares_, the portion of the boards projecting beyond the edges of
the book.

_Start_, when, after cutting, one or more sections of the book come
forward, making the fore edge irregular, they are said to have

_Straight edge_, a flat ruler.

_Tacky_, sticky.

_T. E. G._, top-edge gilt.

_Trimmed._ The edges of a book are said to be trimmed when the edges
of the larger (or projecting) leaves only have been cut.

_Tub_, the stand which supports the lying press. Originally an actual
tub to catch the shavings.

_Uncut_, a book is said to be uncut when the edges of the paper have
not been cut with the plough or guillotine.

_Unopened_, the book is said to be unopened if the bolts of the sheets
have not been cut.

_Waterproof sheets_, sheets of celluloid, such as are used by

_Whole binding_, when the leather covers the back and sides of a

_Wire staples_ are used by certain machines in the place of thread for
securing the sections.

_Groove_, that part of the sections which is turned over in backing to
receive the board.

                       REPRODUCTIONS OF BINDINGS

                           I., II., AND III.




                       V., VI., VII., AND VIII.


    [Illustration: I.--German Fifteenth Century. Pigskin. Actual
    size, 8¾" × 6¼".]

    [Illustration: II.--German Fifteenth Century. Calf. Actual
    size 12½" × 8½".]

    [Illustration: III.--Italian Fifteenth Century. Sheepskin,
    with coloured roundels. Actual size, 11½" × 8¼".]

    [Illustration: IV.--Italian Sixteenth Century. Actual size,
    12½" × 8½". Goatskin.]

    [Illustration: V.--Half Niger morocco, with sides of English
    oak. Actual size, 17" × 11½".]

    [Illustration: VI.--Niger morocco, inlaid green leaves.
    Actual size, 8¼" × 5½".]

    [Illustration: VII.--Green levant, inlaid with lighter green
    panel and red dots. Actual size, 6¾" × 4½".]

    [Illustration: VIII.--Niger morocco, executed by a student of
    the Central School of Arts and Crafts. Actual size, 11¾" × 9¼".]


ARMING PRESS, 229, 313

Arms blocks, 228

Art paper, 48, 282

Autograph letters, 179


Backing hammer, 123

Back, lining up, 152

Band nippers, 160, 163

Bands, 313

Bandstick, 160

Beating, 90

Beating stone, 90, 313

Benzine, 207, 209

Binding, decoration of, 21, 30, 188, 233

Binding, collotype reproductions of, 321-336

Binding, embroidered, 186

Binding early printed books, 31, 46, 113

Binding, extra, 308

Binding, jewelled, 263

Binding, library, 27, 173, 308

Binding, manuscripts, 31, 108, 113, 125, 135, 223

Binding, metal-covered, 263

Binding, vellum, 180

Binding very thin books, 177

Blind tooling, 188, 222

Blocking press, 229, 313

Blocks, striking, 229

Boards, 124

Boards, attaching, 132

Boards, cutting, 125

Boards, filling in, 170

Boards, lining, 129

Boards, pressing, 193, 210

Boards, split, 28, 175, 311

Bodkin, 114

Bookbinding as a profession, 32

Books in sheets, 34

Bookworms, 297

Borders, designing, 240

Borders, inside, 253

CALF, 27, 277

Cancelled sheets, 43

Cased books, 19, 49

Castor oil, 303

Catch stitch, 99

Catch words, 314

Celluloid, sheets of, 161

Centres, designing, 241

Chrome leather, 276

Clasps and ties, 183, 259

Cleaning off back, 137

Cloth casing, 19, 49

Cloth joints, 86, 257

Cobden-Sanderson, T. J., xii., 22

Cockroaches, 300

Cocoanut oil, 200

Collating, 43

Colouring edges, 144

Combining tools to form patterns, 232

Compasses, 131

Cord sewing, 111

Corners, mitring, 165, 168

Cousin, Jules, 74, 299

Covering, 23, 159, 176, 310

Crushing the grain of leather, 192

Cutting in boards, 139

Cutting mill-boards, 124

Cutting press, 128

DAMP, effect of, on bindings, 294

Decoration of bindings, 21, 30, 188, 233

Designing tools, 230

Diaper patterns, 236

Dividers, 51

Dots, striking, 205

Doubluves, 253, 314

Dressing for old bindings, 302

Dust and dusting, 296

EARLY printed books, binding, 31, 46, 113

Edge colouring, 144

Edge gauffering, 144

Edge gilding, 95, 144

Edge sizing, 95, 146

Edges, painted, 146

Embroidered bindings, 186

End papers, 80, 254

End, painted, 83

End, vellum, 84

Ends, silk, 84

Entering, 33

Evelyn's Diary (quotation), 282

"Extra" binding, 308, 314

FALSE bands, 26

Fillet, 190, 206

Fillet, small, 206, 246

Filling in boards, 170

Finishing, 191

Finishing press, 194

Finishing tools, 188

Finishing stove, 195

Flattening vellum, 65

Folder, 164

Folding, 36

Fraying out slips, 114

French joint, 176

French paring knife, 156

French standing press, 91

GAS fumes, effect of, 291

Gathering, 35

Gauffering edges, 144

Gelatine, 70

Gilding edges, 95, 144

Gilt top, 92

Glaire, 97, 198

Glass, tinted, for libraries, 292

Glossary, 313

Glue, 289

Glueing up, 115

Goatskin, 277

Gold cushion, 200

Gold leaf, 199

Gold knife, 200

Gold, net for, 96

Gold, pad for, 201

Gold tooling, 188, 191

Gouges, 189, 205, 247

Groove (_see_ Joint)

Guarding, 42, 53

Guarding plates, 50, 56, 316

HAMMER, backing, 123

Hand-made paper, 280

Headbanding, 108, 147, 176

Headcaps, 156, 166

Heat, effect of, on bindings, 295

Heraldry on bindings, 227

Hinging plates, 57

Hollow backs, 25, 185


India proofs, soaking off, 62

India proofs, mounting, 63

Indiarubber for gold, 207

Inlaying leather, 213, 232, 243

Inlaying leaves or plates, 64

Inset, 40, 315

Inside margins, 253

JACONET, 60, 64

Japanese paper, 282

Japanese vellum, 282

Jewelled bindings, 263

Joint, 165, 169

Joint, cloth, 86, 257

Joint, French, 176

Joint, knocking out, 53

Joint, leather, 86, 171

KETTLE stitch, 49, 99, 105

Keys, sewing, 101

Knife, mountcutters', 54

Knife, French paring, 156

Knife, gold, 200

Knife, plough, 129, 139

Knocking down iron, 53, 134

Knocking out joints, 53

Knot, 100, 106

LACING in slips, 132

Lay cords, 100

Laying press (_see_ Lying press)

Leather, 27, 263

Leather, chrome, 276

Leather, crushing grain of, 192

Leather, inlaying, 213, 232, 243

Leather joints, 86, 171

Leather, paring, 154

Leather, polishing, 191

Leather, sprinkling and marbling, 27, 279

Leather, stretching, 23, 161

Leather, testing, 274

Leather work, 226

Leaves, inlaying, 64

Lettering, 28, 215, 246

Letters, autograph, 179

Library binding, 27, 173, 308

Light, effect of, on leather, 292

Lining up back, 152

Lithographic stone, 157, 160

Loose covers, 304

Lying press, 128

MANUSCRIPTS, binding of, 31, 108, 113, 125, 135, 223

Manuscripts, collating, 46

Maps, throwing out, 60

Marbled paper, 83

Margins, inside, 253

Marking up, 98

Materials for sewing, 111

Mending, 76

Mending tooling, 208

Mending vellum, 79

Metal on bindings, 262

Millboards, 124

Millboard machine, 127, 315

Millboard shears, 126

Mitring corners, 165, 168

Morocco, 277

Morocco, "Persian," 271

Mount-cutters' knife, 54

Mounting India-proofs, 63

Mounting very thin paper, 63

NET for gilding edges, 96

Niger morocco, 278

Nipping press, 211

Nippers, band, 160, 163

OIL, cocoanut, 200

Opening newly-bound books, 257

Overcasting, 51

"Overs," 35

Oxalic acid, use of, 173

PAD for gold, 201

Paging, 44

Painted edges, 146

Painted end papers, 83

Pallets, 189

Paper, 280

Paper, art, 48, 283

Paper, hand-made, 280

Paper, Japanese, 282

Paper, marbled, 83

Paper, sizes of, 36, 283

Paper, sizing, 67

Paper, splitting, 63

Paper, washing, 71

Paraffin wax, 303

Paring leather, 154

Paring paper, 61

Paring stone, 157, 160

Pastes, 286

Paste water, 198

Pasting down end papers, 254

Patterns, 232

"Peel," 316

Permanent binding, 19

"Persian" morocco, 271

Pigskin, 278

Plates, detaching, 48

Plates, guarding, 56

Plates, hinging, 57

Plates, inlaying, 64

Plates, trimming, 40

Plough, 128

Plough knife, 129, 139

Polishing, 191

Preserving old bindings, 302

Press, arming, 229, 313

Press, blocking, 229, 313

Press, cutting, 128

Press, finishing, 194

Press, lying, 128

Press, nipping, 211

Press pin, 316

Press, sewing (_see_ Sewing frame)

Press, standing, 88

Pressing boards, 193, 210

Pressing in boards, 138

Pressing plates, 192, 316

Pressing sections, 87

"Proof," 316

Publishers' binding, 20

Pulling to pieces, 46

QUARTER sections, 42

Quires, books in, 34

RATS and mice, 299

Re-backing, 305

Re-binding, 18, 306

Refolding, 51

Register of printing, 52, 316

Representations of bindings, 321-336

Roll, 190

Rounding, 117

SAWING in, 20, 25, 100, 108

Scrap books, 178

Sealskin, 278

Sections, pressing, 87

Sewing, 100

Sewing cord, 111

Sewing frame, 100

Sewing keys, 101

Sewing on tapes, 26, 111, 174

Sewing on vellum slips, 111, 181

Sewing silk, 112

Sewing, tape for, 112

Sewing thread, 112

Sheepskin, 277-308

Sheets, books in, 34

Sheets, waterproof, 161

Signatures, 34, 43

Silk ends, 84

Silk sewing, 112

Sizes of paper, 36, 283

Sizing, 67

Sizing edges, 95-146

Sizing leather, 198

Sizing paper, 67

Slips, 317

Slips, fraying out, 114

Slips, lacing in, 132

Soaking off India proofs, 62

Society of Arts, Report of Committee on Leather for Bookbinding, 22, 264

Society of Arts, Report of Committee on Paper, 284

Specifications, 308

Split boards, 28, 175, 311

Splitting paper, 63

Sprinkling leather, 27, 279

Squares, 131, 153, 317

Standing press, 88

Standing press, French, 89, 91

Staples, wire, 49

"Starred" sheets, 43

Stove, finishing, 195

Stone, lithographic, 157, 160

Striking dots, 205

Striking tools, 204

TAPE, sewing on, 26, 112, 174

Temporary binding, 20

Testing leather, 274

Thin books, binding, 177

Thin paper, mounting, 63

Thread, sewing, 112

Throwing out maps, 60

Ties and clasps, 183, 259

Tobacco smoke, effect of, on binding, 294

Tooling, blind, 188, 222

Tooling, gold, 24, 188, 191

Tooling on vellum, 212

Tools, designing, 188, 230

Tools, finishing, 188, 230

Training for bookbinding, 32

Trimming before sewing, 93

Trimming machine, 94

Trimming plates, 40

Tub, 317

Tying up, 167


Vellum binders, 26

Vellum bindings, 180

Vellum ends, 84

Vellum, flattening, 65

Vellum, Japanese, 282

Vellum, mending, 79

Vellum slips, sewing on, 111, 183

Vellum tooling on, 212

WALKER, Emery, 216

Washing, 71

Waterproof sheets, 161

Weaver's knot, 106

Wooden boards, 32, 135, 223, 330

Worm holes, 78, 297

                     THE ARTISTIC CRAFTS SERIES OF
                         TECHNICAL HANDBOOKS.

                       Edited by W. R. LETHABY.

The series will appeal to handicraftsmen in the industrial and
mechanic arts. It consists of authoritative statements by experts in
every field for the exercise of ingenuity, taste, imagination--the
whole sphere of the so-called "dependent arts."

    BOOKBINDING AND THE CARE OF BOOKS. A Handbook for Amateurs,
    Bookbinders, and Librarians. By DOUGLAS COCKERELL. With 120
    Illustrations and Diagrams by Noel Rooke, and 8 collotype
    reproductions of binding. 12mo. $1.25 net.

    SILVERWORK AND JEWELRY. A Text-Book for Students and Workers
    in Metal. By H. WILSON. With 160 Diagrams and 16 full-page
    Illustrations, 12mo. $1.40 net.

    Drawings by the Author and other Illustrations. $1.40 net.

    STAINED-GLASS WORK. A Text-Book for Students and Workers in
    Glass. By C. W. WHALL. With Diagrams by two of his
    Apprentices, and other Illustrations. $1.50 net; postage, 14
    cents additional.

                  D. APPLETON AND COMPANY, NEW YORK.

                          TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES

Obvious typographic errors have been corrected. For the detailed list
see below. The tables have been slightly modified to optimize

page 014--typo fixed: changed 'Making' to 'Marking'
page 138--spelling normalized: changed 'head-banding' to 'headbanding'
page 159--typo fixed: changed 'wook' to 'wood'
page 173--typo fixed: changed 'CHAPTER VIII' to 'CHAPTER XIII'
page 198--typo fixed: changed 'isinglas' to 'isinglass'
page 249--spelling normalized: changed 'tie downs' to 'tie-downs'
page 253--spelling normalized: changed 'headcap' to 'head-cap'
page 298--spelling normalized: changed 'millboard' to 'mill-board'
page 303--spelling normalized: changed 're-binding' to 'rebinding'
page 304--spelling normalized: changed 'millboard' to 'mill-board'
page 310--spelling normalized: changed 'Goat-skin' to 'Goatskin'
page 314--spelling normalized: changed 'head-banding' to 'headbanding'
page 315--spelling normalized: changed 'millboards' to 'mill-boards'
page 339--spelling normalized: changed 'millboards' to 'mill-boards'
page 341--spelling normalized: changed 'Re-folding' to 'Refolding'

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Bookbinding, and the Care of Books - A handbook for Amateurs, Bookbinders & Librarians" ***

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