MARBLING EDGES OR PAPER.
IN this chapter we shall describe how the various marbling patterns for book edges or paper are produced, commencing with the easiest and most common kind of marbled papers.
French Shell, Marble.
Your trough being places on a firm table or bench of convenient height, with some feet of spare room on either side, you place the pots containing the colours on your right hand and the paper or books to be marbled on your left ; let there be a small brush in each of your pots of vein colours, and a larger one in your last or body colour.
Provide yourself with a small iron rob or bar, about 12in. or 14in. long, and about 1/2in. in thickness ; this you place so as to be able to take up when required in your left hand. Fill your trough to about 1/2in. or 3/4in. from the top with a solution of gum tragacanth and flea seed, as directed, and proceed to mix your colors.
To produce the pattern called large brown French, or shell pattern (see Fig. 90) with three vsins, viz., red, yellow, and black), mix together ox gall and water, in the proportion of one-eighth of the former to seven-eighths of the latter; into this put your vein colours, a little at a time, and gently stir the mixture with the brash (but be very careful you do not make it froth by too rapid stirring) until it arrives at the proper consistence, which must be ascertained by sprinkling a little colour on the solution in the trough: if the colour sinks and does not spread out, add a little neat gall; but should it spread too far, mix a little more colour with water only, and put it to that which opens too much. The brown will require more gall, less water, and a very few drops of the best olive oil, which will cause it to form itself in rings, or shells, as it falls on the surface of the solution in the trough. This colour will require to be thicker than the vein colours, and, when thrown or sprinkled on, should drive or force the other colours into the form of veins.
By increasing the quantity of gall in the last colour, you may bring the veins to almost any degree of fineness, but there is a point beyond which it is not advisable to go. This you must ascertain by your own judgment. If the brown does not shell enough, but forms in holes, add a few more drops of oil and well mix it; but should you pour in the oil in too great a quantity, it will spoil the effect of the shell altogether, and this you will not be able to counteract except by adding some more colour mixed without any oil. Having, then, all in readiness, first skim the surface of the solution lightly all over, and immediately (for, when you begin, you must move quickly till you have all your colour on) sprinkle on your colours, beginning with the red, next yellow, thirdly black, then your principal or body colours. Go well and equally all over, taking care that you throw as much colour on one part of the surface as another. You then carefully bend the boards of your book level with the. edges, and, holding the leaves together, dip the edges in the size. Withdraw it immediately, and shake or blow off as quickly as possible the size adhering to the edge with the colour, to prevent its running into the book. The tail is next dipped in a similar manner. Before marbling the fore edge, the boards must be laid back and the edge flattened on the press, holding the leaves firmly together at each end, taking the colours with the same precautions, and replacing the boards immediately after dipping. It is necessary, previous to throwing on the colour for each dipping, to clear the size of all the colour left on the surface from the previous one by taking it well off with waste paper.
Small French, or Small Shell, Marble.
This pattern (Fig. 91) is produced with precisely the same colour as the preceding. It is called in distinction ” small brown.” But you now require the iron rod alluded to; hold it firmly in your left hand, and, instead of throwing on the colours as before, knock the handle of your brush, near the stock, against the bar; this causes the colour to fall in small spots. Vein Shell Marble.-This pattern has three veins and two French colours, or colours that have been mixed as French- that is, with oil in them-the last of which (in this instance purple) is mixed with a little more both of oil and gall than the other, in order to make it flow out over and drive up the other colours.
Blue Stormont Marble.
This pattern (Fig. 92), though apparently very simple and easy of execution, is, nevertheless, very difficult to keep in order, in consequence of the speedy evaporation and the chemical changes which are continually taking place among the ingredients with which it is made; it requires great quickness and acute observation on the part of the workman. The same preparation of gum and flea seed is used for this as for the French marble. Mix your red for vein, as usual, with gall and water; the other colour must consist of good indigo alone, without which you cannot produce the proper effect. The indigo being ground, as before directed in the instructions for grinding colours, you proceed to mix it with gall, water, and spirits of turpentine, of which last ingredient it will require a considerable proportion: you will find that when sprinkled upon the timigh it will immediately fly out and then close up again, and will appear to be in constant motion on the surface of the solution.
The effect produced by the spirits of turpentine is to mate it break full of little holes, and the acme of this pattern is to get it to look like a fine network. Sometimes it will happen that at first mixing you can do nothing with it, but, after standing a day or two, it will work well; while at other times it will work well immediately. If your holes come too large from excess of turpentine (for they will sometimes come too large from not having enough), add a little more gall and some fresh indigo, putting in a few drops of alum water; but be very careful of this, for if you put in too much you will make the colour thick and clotted, in which case you must have recourse to a little of the solution of potash: but it is best, if possible, to do without either of them. This pattern, though old, is still considerably used by stationers.
This (Fig. 93) is a pretty, though simple, pattern, but requires great cleanliness of working to turn it out well. Tour colours being ground as before directed, you proceed to mix them with gall and water only, as though they were for veins. Tour last colour is white; this requires a greater proportion of gall than the other colours, and a larger brush, as in French. After skimming your size, you proceed by beating or knocking on your colours, as in small French, taking especial care to have the rings of your brushes free from any accumulation of colour, or you will have large spots or blotches, which will spoil the appearance of the work. One difference between this and the small French is that you use no oil in any of these colours.
Another method is to use a mixture of weak gall and water, instead of the white colour, which must be firmly knocked or beaten on; this must be proportioned by your own judgment. This method is preferable to the former for book edges, and we like it quite as well for paper.
West End Marble.
This very neat pattern (Fig. 94) is in every respect similar to the Spanish in the working, only it is not shaded. It consists of two prominent colours besides the veins. One of these is dark and dotted all over with small white spots; the other, which is the top or last colour, is light, and is made by taking a portion of the darker colour and mixing a quantity of white with it, sufficient to bring it to the desired tint; so that, whether it be green, blue, or brown, the same rule may be observed.
You proceed to mix the veins in the ordinary way, viz., with the usual proportions of gall and water. You then mix your brown with a larger proportion of gall, and sprinkle it on so as to drive the other colours into veins; you then take the white, or gall and water, as in Italian, and beat it finely and equally all over, but not so much as for the Italian pattern. Lastly, French Curl Marble.This pattern (Fig. 95), after the description of the French marble which has been given, will not require much explanation, the only difference in woi-king being thisyou must not have any preparation of the flea seed with the gum.
You must also procure a frame (Fig. 96) with as many pegs as you require curls on your sheet of paper; these pegs must be about 8in. long, and about the thickness of a stout goose quill, rather tapering towards a point. Throw on your colours in the same manner as for large French, take your frame of pegs, and, holding it with both hands, put the pegs down to the bottom of the trough; give it a slight rotary motion, then lift it out quickly, so that no drops fall from the pegs into the trough, and lay on the paper as usual, taking care to lay it down true and even, or the whole pattern will be askew.
This is distinguished from all others by having a series of light and dark shades traversing the whole extent of the sheet of paper in a diagonal direction (see Fig. 97); and, as it is not our design to puzzle or mislead the inquirer, but to simplify as much as possible, we will here state that all the plain Spanish patterns may be worked and managed without the aid of any other agents than ox gall and water; of course, presuming that the colours are ground and prepared as before directed. We will commence with one of the most simple and easy patterns. This is called olive Spanish, with red and blue veins.
Mix the veins with gall and water, as in the previous kinds of marbling, until you bring them to the requisite consistence; and, as it is not possible to state any given measure for proportioning the gall and water exactly, you must be guided by yonr own judgment, observing the effect produced in your colours as you try them on the solution; for our experience has often proved that the gall taken from one animal has been more powerful than that taken from another. But this rule is almost without an exception: That each successive colour requires more gall than the one that preceded it, and that the principal or body colour requires to be thicker in itself, and stronger in gall, than any of the others. Having, therefore, mixed and prepared your colours, and placed the preparation of gum and flea seed in the trough, you proceed to sprinkle on lightly first the red, then the blue, and, lastly, with a good brush, full of colour, the olive, beginning at the left-hand corner of the trough farthest from you, and working down and up closely all over, taking care not to go twice over the same place, or you will produce rings by the falling of one spot upon another which is considered objectionable (we do not mean to say that it can be avoided altogether, but to a certain extent it can). You now take up the paper by the two opposite corners, and, holding it as nearly upright as possibJe, yet with a degree of ease and looseness only to be attained by practice, you let the corner in your right hand gently touch the colour in the trough, while at the same time you shake or move it to and fro with a regular motion, letting the other part of the sheet gradually descend with the left hand till it all lies flat upon the surface of the solution. On taking it out, you will find it shaded in stripes; but practice will be required before you will be able to produce it with certainty and regularity.
Treat book edges in the same way.
The process for producing this pattern (Fig. 98) is precisely the same in every respect as the preceding one, up to the point of raking it with the peg-frame. You then take your comb, which is a much larger one, draw it through your colour, from left to right, then immediately reverse it, and draw it back again, from right to left, and you will have the desired effect.
To make the pattern shown at Fig. 99 throw on the first three colours (red, black, and yellow), rake it once up and down with your peg-frame, and then proceed to throw on your green ; follow with the pink spots, and, lastly, beat or knock on the small white spots. Some antique patterns are made with a blue or some other coloured spot, in lieu of the pink; but the process is the same as the one we have just described.
This pattern (Fig. 100) is done with colours prepared the same as for ordinary Nonpareil. When you have put on the four colours, viz., red, black, yellow, and blue, you rake it the same as for Nonpareil, after which you throw on the spot and lay on your paper, shading the same as for Spanish. Sometimes it is made without shading, and thus passes for another pattern.
In this pattern (Fig. 101) the colours are drawn into a kind of undulating form, in which the points of the rows meet each otter. The colours are prepared in the same manner as for the Nonpareil patterns. The red, yellow, blue, and green are thrown on, over which is beaten or knocked the small white, but not too abundantly. You now require a kind of double rake or frame, with teeth of stout wire, about 3in. or 4in. apart, and let the teeth of the hinder ones be so adjusted as to be exactly in the centre of the spaces left open by the first ones; the second, or hindermost, row of teeth must be lin. or l|in. behind the former. The two should be firmly fixed together, forming but one instrument; draw this through your colour as you vrould a comb, from left to right, but with an undulating or seesaw motion, just sufficient to make the top of the hindermost wave catch or touch the bottom of the foremost one, by which means it will produce an uniform appearance all over the sheet, something in the form of diamonds or squares. There are some other patterns of a similar kind, but made without the small white spots, and the same design is sometimes worked upon a French marble; but these require no additional explanation.
This is one of the oldest, and, at the same time, one of the most difficult patterns (Pigs. 102 and 103), and is performed by a process very different from any of the preceding.
If you examine a sheet attentively, you will perceive that the colours are not scattered here and there in an indiscriminate manner, but follow each other in a kind of regular succession in a diagonal direction across the sheet, the red being the preponderating colour. In order to do this well, your colours must be particularly well ground and of the first quality, and they ought to be mixed a few days before using. You will require a number of little tins or pots, l 1/2in. wide and about the same or 2in. in depth.
You will also require two frames the size of the paper you intend using, with wooden pegs in them, slightly tapering, about 1/4in. in thickness, and fixed about 3in. apart, at regular distances over the whole extent of the space required. Your colours will be all the better for this class of work by the addition of a little spirits of wine ; with this exception, the colours will not require any ifferent treatment from the Nonpareil. Mix each of your colours in a large jug having a spout, so that you may be able to pour them out of that into the small tins before mentioned. The colours required will be red, yellow, green, blue, and white. The two frames of pegs must be made exactly alike, so that if the pegs in one frame make an impression in a sheet of paper, the pegs in the other fit exactly in the sanies pots. Having mixed the colours in your large pots, and tried them by dropping a little of each on the solution in the trough, you proceed to fill as many of your little pots of colour as you may need. Place them in the following order, about 8in. apart, so that the pegs in the above-mentioned frames may drop into the centre of each pot, and, when lifted out (which will require to be done with great caution), will convey one large drop of colour on each peg, with which you gently and evenly touch the surface of the size, taking care that you do not put them too deep, but, at the same time, being quite sure that they all do touch. The tins or pots of colour must be arranged as in the following diagram, about 3in. apart:
G Y G Y G Y G
Y B Y B Y B Y
G Y G Y G Y G
Y B Y B Y B Y
G Y G Y G Y G
I have put only the initial letters of the colours to be in this lot of pots, G standing for green, Y for yellow, and B for blue. You must now fill the same number of tins or pots with white, which must be composed of pipeclay ground and prepared as the other colours, and arrange them in precisely the same manner, using the second or duplicate frame of pegs to them. Having arranged all these, you now commence operations by first skimming your size (which must consist of gum tragacanth alone), then well cover the whole surface with red, which you must throw on plentifully with a brush ; you then lift carefully your first frame, consisting of the three colours, giving it a slight rotary motion, so as to stir the colours, which soon settle, but still not so violently as to upset them. Let one drop from each touch the surface of the size upon the red, already thrown on, then quickly take the one with the white and drop that just in the centre of the spots you have already placed on the trough. You next take a rounded piece of tapering wood (a brush handle is as good a thing as any), and pass it up and down through the colours as they are now disposed on your trough, from front to back, at regular distances, till you have gone all over the whole extent of the trough. Then pass your comb through it, from left to right, and lay on your paper. As soon as you have hung it up, pour over it, from a jug with a spout, about a pint of clear water, to wash off all the superfluous loose colour and gum, and make it look clean and bright, which it will not do without this washing, as the body of colour is so much greater than in other patterns. When dry, it will require sizing before it can be glazed.
When curls are required, you must have a third frame, with as many pegs as you require curls in the sheet of paper. The marbled or sprinkled book has next to hare its edges ” burnished.” This is effected by screwing up each end of the book alternately in the laying-press between backing-boards, and rubbing the burnisher forcibly up and down it. Then the fore edge is done. For this the back need not be knocked up flat, but the fore edge is left curved. Some binders leave the burnishing until after the books are finished, but we regard the present as the best time. The book can afterwards be “capped,” or have its edges enveloped in paper if considered desirable or prudent to protect them. We have now gone through the processes for producing the different denominations of marbles for edges or paper very exhaustively, and in such detail that no one can mistake the stage of any process.