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Cutting and bevelling


WHEN the press is unblocked, and the boarded books are taken out, the next operation is that of cutting the edges, to which, accordingly, we will now proceed. Here let us impress upon the reader the necessity of having his plough-knife in good order. It must be very sharp, and have a smooth edge. He must learn to grind it up at the ordinary grindstone, so as to keep the point the same shape it had when new, and it must be ground thin for edge cutting.

For cutting millboards it may be rather what engineers call " stunt," but for edge cutting it must be ground thin. Then it should be carefully whetted on the oil-stone after grinding, in order that all the roughness of edge left by the grindstone be removed. It is best to keep two ploughs in use, one for the millboard cutting, and one for the edges of the books. The knife should be perfectly straight and true in the plough. By screwing the cheeks of the plough together, and noticing where the point of the knife falls, you can form some judgment, but when you begin the cutting you will soon discover how it is running. The knife is regulated (that is to say, its point is elevated or depressed) by adding to, or removing from/the pieces of waste paper put between it and the cheek of the plough on each side of the knife-bolt. In cutting, begin with the head, holding the back of the book towards you. Pull up the millboard on the left-hand side level with the head (top) of the book, and place it against the " cut-against." Then draw down the millboard at the front (right hand), until it is as much below the head as you want to cut off. Then place the "runner" precisely level with the top of the millboard, lower the whole carefully into the press, and screw up as tightly as you can.

The sectional position is shown at Fig. 79, where A is the book, B the " cut-against," and 0 the "runner." Now place the plough in the rods, and slowly and carefully work it to and fro, holding it firmly down, and turning the screw as the plough recedes from you. The head being cut, turn the book and cut the tail in a similar manner. Next lay the book on the cheek of the press, and draw the bodkin along the front edge of each board, making a line and an occasional indentation. A cutting-board should be placed under the end paper while this is done. Now beat the back of the book quite flat against the cheek of the press, and push the trindles under the back. The trindles (of which a pair are required) are pieces of thin iron of the shape of A (Fig. 80).

One of these is pushed between the back and the boards at the head of the book, and one at the tail, so that the first and last bands go in their insides respectively, as shown (from above) in Pig. 81. This is done to push up the back, and make it quite flat.

Some bookbinders prefer a piece of plain iron, as at B (Fig. 80), thicker at one edge than the other, as shown infection C in same figure. These are pushed in under the head and tail kettle-stitch. "Whichever kind of trindle is used, a piece of string is next wound several times around the leaves of the book, and secured by the end being pushed under, as in Fig. 82.

This is to keep the leaves in their places. The back is then struck once or twice more on the press, with the title-page to the right hand, the cut-against placed on the left-hand side, level along the mark made with the bodkin, and the runner similarly placed on the right-hand side, but below the line by as much as it is desired to remove. The book is now firmly grasped by the fore edge, and these boards (without shifting them) elevated ahove the open press, the millboards (which hang pendent) guided into it with the right hand, the trindles carefully snatched out, and the book and boards lowered. The runner should now l>e level with the top of the right-hand cheek of the press, and the cut-against elevated above the left cheek by just as much as the runner is below the bodkin mark; in other words, by the quantity which is to lie cut off. Gh-eat care must be taken about this and the whole operation. All being right, the press must be screwed up tightly, and the fore edge cut precisely in the same way  as the head and tail have been (Fig. 83).

The cutting of the fore edge is shown in section at Fig. 83, where A is the book half cut through, B the cut-against, and C the runner; D, D being the cheeks of the laying-press. When the book is removed from the press, the string is taken off, and the leaves are struck smartly against the cheek of the press, when they will separate, the back spring again to its convex form, and the fore edge assume a similar concavity. The boards are now put hack to the proper place, when the squares (that is to say, the portion of the millboard projecting beyond the edges of the book) should be of equal size and level all round. If they are not, the edge which is not cut sufficiently should have a little more removed. The foregoing method of cutting is termed "cutting in boards."

Bevelled boards are very popular just now both for morocco and cloth books. The operation can be executed by laying the board on the cheek of the laying-press, and filing of the proper quantity with a rough file or a carpenter's rasp. The amateur can easily make a guide apparatus, sufficient for his purpose, by screwing a couple of pieces of hard wood, such as beech, together, leaving an opening between them for the board to pass through (Fig. 84).

The edges can be brought to the right bevel, which is that of 45deg., or half a right angle, which may be obtained by drawing a line diagonally from one corner of a square to the opposite comer, as shown at Fig. 85.


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