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Extra finishing


IN our last chapter, we dealt with backs that were simply filleted in gold and blind tooling. Let us now advance a step in decoration, and advert to what is generally called "half gilt." Here the back is provided with the raised bands, and these are tooled in gold, generally by working a broad pallet or roll, with a pattern on it, across them.

A tool may or may not be worked in the centre of each space between the bands. If it is used, it IB worked in gold. The patterns for pallets and roll edges are almost infinite in number. Pallets cost from about 4s. 6d. to 10s. 6d. each, according to size and elaborateness of pattern; rolls, from 10s. to 40s., according to pattern and diameter of roll. We have given some, and adduce a few more at Figs. 123 and 124.

The patterns given at Fig. 124 are more novel in character, and generally imitative of floral or plant forms. These are very light and elegant, and may be had in great variety. They were, we believe, originally introduced by the Messrs. Sharwood. tool- cutters (now out of business).

The amateur should look through a tool-cutter's specimen book, and select those that meet his taste. In forming a judgment, it is well to remember that the impression in gold will look heavier than that in printing ink, in the specimen book. Amongst bookbinder's tool cutters we irmy mention the following: Knight and Cottrell, 9 and 10, St. Bride's-avenue, Fleet-street; Hughes and Kimber, West Harding-street, E.G.; Thomas Francis, 10, Old Bailey, E.G.; and Frederic Knights, 10, Bolt-court, Fleet-street. Others may be found in the London Post Office Directory.

With regard to the separate " tools," such as would be worked in the centre of the inter-band spaces, Fig. 125 shows several varieties. Fig. 126 shows a half-gilt back. Although very effective, this class of work may be done quite quickly, because there is little or no working of separate tools.


There is a kind of pallet made especially for working across bands, which may be had of any length, and in varied patterns. Several of these are shown at Fig. 127. A " full-gilt" back has, as its title imports, the whole of the back covered with gilt tooling.

There are several ways of doing this. The book maty have raised bands, and these may be finished by the pallet or the roll in the manner just spoken of. The portion of the back between the bands may then be finished with centre and corner tools, or the back may be without bands, and finished as at Fig. 128.

Here the pallet shown at Fig. 129 is made to do the whole of the work by being used in the different positions, so as to cover the back with squares, as at Fig. 128. If carefully selected pallets are used, this style looks very nice.

A gouge (of which the binder should possess an assortment, of different sizes) is worked on each side of the lettering-piece. Fig. 130 shows another style of back.

This is done with six tools, worked as shown, and a single-line pallet and gouge worked around the lettering. Fig. 131 shows another back done with four tools; and Fig. 132 another, in the execution of which only three tools and some line pallets and gouges are required.

Fig. 128 is known technically as "mitred" back. There is a style now very popular for post octavos and other small books. The lettering-piece is placed near the head of the book, and a pallet worked over the whole of the back below it. A similar effect can be produced by working a repetition of any small tool, but of course this takes longer.

We may here quote, as a pendant to that of Dr. Dibdin in our last chapter, the very sensible advice given in the " Bibliopegia" of James HannEtt, who viewed the matter from the standpoint of a practical bookbinder: "It is a subject of the utmost importance, in the selection of the tools for gilding, that the party have a good knowledge of the style of binding peculiar to the day, and a quick perception of the beanty of this kind of ornament, the general bearing of the designs towards each other, and their geometrical fitness for application when combined, so as to produce a series of patterns from the same tools. Without this, as may be seen in many offices where judgment has not presided in the selection, a large and expensive collection of tools may be provided, which cannot be blended together without offence to the eye of taste from the defect presented in the complete designs, which even one misfit tool will cause." So important a point in finishing is the combination of tools, tliat the novice should spare no pains to make a good working selection, as no man can finish satisfactorily without a judicious selection of good tools, such as will combine to form an extensive series of scroll ornaments, flowers, &c.

As all combinations are composed of a variety of ornamental tools and plaiu lines, it becomes of necessity not only a matter of taste but of expense with the binder in the selection of the former; but of the latter, it will be economical to possess himself of such as he will find constantly required, or being newly introduced into almost every design he may wish to execute.

The cost of a set of gouges, half-circles and plain lines, will be trifling, and their frequent application renders them necessary. He will also find that a similar set of circles and three-quarter circles, though not so constantly required, are not less requisite where work of a superior character ia executed." Fig 133 shows a set of plain line pallets of a certain size,

and Fig. 134 a similar set of thick-and-thin line. Fig. 135 represents a set of gouges, and Fig. 136 a set of half-circles.

Circles are exemplified at Fig. 137, and three-quarter circles at Fig. 138. Each shape can be had as a single line (broad or narrow), a double line, a dotted line, a thick-and-thin line, or a thick-and-double-thin line. In finishing morocco books,

the back is not usually glaired all over, as is calf. Let us take a morocco back, and suppose that the finishing is to consist of a pallet on each side of the bands, and a tool in the middle between each. First ascertain the centre of the back.

 This can be done by measuring at the head and tail with a pair of compasses or spring dividers. By holding a runner to these two marks, the centre of the space between the bands can be uiaiked off with the points of a folder. Now heat the pallet and the tool slightly on the gas stove, and work them in their places with a slight impression only.

Next wash the back with some vinegar, and pass over it, with the grain of the leather, a small, hard, clean, short-haired brush. When dry, glaire the impressions made by the pallet and tool, applying the glaire with a small camel's hair pencil. When the glaire is dry, apply a second coat in the same manner. When the second application is dry, rub the places over with the oiled cotton wool previously mentioned. Next take a leaf of gold from the gold-book, put it on the gold-cushion, and cut it with the gold-knife into pieces a shade larger than the glaired spaces. Lift them by a piece of cotton wool which has been drawn over the operator's head to render it slightly greasy. Place each piece of gold leaf in its place and press it down in the pattern. If there are any holes or breaks, breathe slightly on the gold leaf and put another piece on the top of it. When all the places are covered, begin to work the tools. These require to be heated to such a temperature that if you let fall a drop of water upon them it does not hiss or roll off, but dries up at once. Work all the tools exactly in the blind impressions.

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