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Materials





MATERIALS.

THE materials brought into requisition in the binding of books are not very numerous, and the following may be taken as being all that will be required by the amateur, or even the professional bookbinder; unless the latter be in a very large way of business, when crocodile skin and other novel coverings are sometimes called for:

Morocco and Calf.

These leathers can be had in different colours, from about 7s. per skin upwards.  Calf is a smooth leather, morocco one with a raised grain. One is the skin of the animal whose name it bears, the other that of the Oriental goat. Either is excellent leather for good books, although morocco is just now, perhaps, the favourite. At Messrs. Eadie's, Great Queen-street, Long Acre, either may be bought in half and quarter skins, or even enough for the back and corners of a single volume of course, at slightly enhanced prices over the whole skin relatively.

Persian.

We have said that morocco (Turkish understood) is the skin of the goat. Persian is also the skin of a small Eastern goat, but the leather is much harder and inferior to the Turkish. It is good leather, however, and very suitable to second-class work, and is only 3s. 6d. per skin. It may be had in various " grains " or surface patterns, but not in many hues  only, perhaps, plum-coloured and dark green. The "hard grain" Persian is the best.

Russia.

This is a strong, brown, smooth leather, only used in " stationery binding" i.e., for ledgers, pocket books, &c. It is occasionally used in bookbinding, and is a good leather, but very thick, and needs careful paring. It can be bought in skins or small pieces, but is expensive. It is celebrated for its pleasant odour, due to the empyreumatic oil of the Russian birch bark employed in tanning it. Hogskin.-This should never be used, as it engenders mildew and mould in other bindings placed near it.

Roan.

This is a stout sheepskin, tanned with, a smooth shiny surface and a straight grain. It is a common leather, but much used for half-bound books of no great value; about 4s. per skin. Skiver.-This is the "grain" or outside portion of a sheepskin, split from the "flesh" or inside of the skin (of which the so-called " chamois" leather is made). Skiver is very thin, and will tear almost as readily as good paper. In appearance it is much like roan, but is only suited to very common work.

Vellum.

This is made from calfskin by a peculiar process. It is a tough but intractable material, much used in the Middle Ages, but rarely now, and then generally for ancient theological books. It resembles stout parchment. The skins are small, and cost from 5s. to 7s. 6d. or 10s., according to size. ... , Velvet and Silk. These materials are occasionally used by bookbinders, but we should not recommend them to the amateur. Prices vary, and cannot well be quoted.

Bookbinder's Cloth.

This is a textile fabric of about 30in. width usually, and sold in pieces of about 36yds., or can be bought for about Is. per yard; certain special colours, such as vermilion, scarlet, magenta, and mauve being dearei', and some common colours, as purple, &c., cheaper. Cloth can be had in a large range of colours, and of " grain," which is a small surface pattern, produced by passing the fabric through engraved rollers. Some grains, such as morocco, are old; others, such as pin-head, new. Cloth is much used to cover the sides of half-bound books. Marble Paper.-This is used for end-papers and book sides. In such cases the edges are marbled to match. Coloured papers, of various tints, such as the brown Cobb so called from a bookbinder of that name are used for end-papers. Marbled paper, 2s. 6d. or 3s. per quire; Cobb and coloured paper, 7d. and 9d. per quire. Millboard is a hard board made from old rope. It is of different thicknesses, from "tip," which is not much thicker than brown paper, to boards 1/4in. thick - more used by portmanteau makers. It costs about 44s. per cwt., good quality, but commoner kinds are cheaper. Strawboard is a common imitation of, and substitute for, millboard. It is very brittle, and only suited for common work. About 20s. per cwt. Headbands, ready-made, per yard, according to size and quality.

Stout Brown Paper for lining up the back of book. Glue, of good quality, 9d. or lOd. per Ib.; cheaper by the cwt. Paste, thick and thin. Gold Leaf, in books of twenty-five leaves, about 5s. per 100 leaves. Gold leaf varies in colour, some being " deep," or of a reddish hue, while " lemon" gold has a silvery lustre. Deep gold is preferred by most binders. Parchment Shavings or Chippings, for size, may be bought by the pound, of account-book makers, &c. Glaire is the beaten-up whites of eggs. Bole Armenian, for making sprinkle for edges. Other materials for sprinkling and marbling colours are used, but if the binder intend to attempt the marbling of his edges himself, he will also require a marble slab and muller, a marbling trough, and sundry "combs;" also "flea-seed," or gum traga-canth, and colours, as lake, indigo, orange, yellow, white, Chinese blue, black, green, and vermilion. These he can buy dry of any colourman, but his best plan will be to procure them in small jars (pounds), ready ground and prepared, of Mr. Corfield, dealer in bookbinders' materials, St. Bride's-street, London, E.G. Though we shall, in its proper place, give a detailed account of the operation of marbling, we would dissuade the small binder from attempting the process. It is both dirty and difficult, and a man needs to be in constant practice to insure success. If he cannot be satisfied with gilt edges for valuable books, and sprinkled edges for common ones, he had better keep the books by him until he can send them to one of the London marblers, who, for Id. or lid. per volume, will marble them as they should be, and return them promptly. Either the Mr. Corfield just mentioned, or Messrs. Eadie, of Great Queen-street, Long Acre, can be depended upon for this pur-pose. Either of these two old-established firms will also supply the binder with all or any of the materials which we have enumerated, with the exception that Mr. Corfield does not keep leathers. Messrs. Eadie do, and will even cut sufficient for a single volume (to match), either in morocco or call'. Most of the dealers in bookbinders' machines and tools also keep materials.


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