Arts and Crafts page 2

Lacing-in Boards.

Remove the book from the press and finish fraying or thinning the cords. Use a knife for thinning or reducing the cords equally, but leaving them strong and long enough to hold the covers on to the book. Mark both boards, and then cut accurately a V-shaped groove or depression back to a line drawn about 1″ from the edge of the board (Fig. 10). Into these depressions the cords will fit.

With hammer and awl two sets of holes are punched-the first set at the point of the V-shaped cut, and the second just above and inward from the first (Fig. 10); punched from the board at a These holes just large enough serting the now smeared twisted to a Lace on one the five cords of holes (Fig. cords through Pig. 10 these last to be the under side of slight angle, must be only to allow for in-cords, which are with paste and point. board, inserting into the first set 11, a).

Draw them firmly, and return them through the second set at 5. The board should close down to the book stiffly if the lacing is snug enough. Lace in the other board, then tap the cords slightly with a hammer to prevent their slipping, and cut off the ends with a knife very close to the book. A knocking-down iron (Fig. 12, A) is placed in the cutting-press and the lacings or cords hammered vigorously, matting them into the boards and leaving a smooth surface inside and out (Fig. 12),

The book must now be pressed. Put a tin inside and outside of each board: the ones between the board and the book must be pushed quite up to the joint, and the outside tins placed up to, or a little over, the same. While in the press paste is applied to the back of the book and allowed to soak in for a few minutes. This softens the surplus glue so that it may now be scraped off with a palette-knife or a piece of wood. Leave the book in the press over night at least, after which it is ready for the head-bands.

Head-bands. -Cut two narrow strips of vellum, not quite as wide as the projection of boards, and about an inch longer than the book is thick. These are to be buttonholed with silk upon head and tail of the book at the back. Stand the book in the finishing-press (Fig. 13), v indicating the position of the vellum.

Thread a needle with medium-heavy silk thread or floss and sew in the direction of the arrow, through the first two white end-papers, the needle coming out at the back of the book below the kettle-stitch. Come up over the vellum and repeat this first stitch, in the same place making a loop of silk over the vellum. The silk is pulled through the needle half and half, one half being now at the back of the book and the other half in front, on top.

Bring the thread from the back forward, and that from the front backward, crossing the other and passing under the vellum and forward again. This makes a buttonhole twist covering the vellum. Repeat, keeping the threads taut and the stitches close together, and the beading even and regular. At frequent intervals-about every half inch-the book is again sewn into below the kettle-stitch. Finish the head-band, when the last section is reached, by sewing down between the last end-papers, tying threads securely at the back of the book. Then cut off the surplus vellum and thread. The silk is kept from a possible slipping off the ends of the vellum by a slight touch of paste. One must have studied the head-bands of a hand-bound book to know the effect desired, as it is most difficult to explain in words, or even with the aid of drawings. The head-bands are held in place and reinforced by gluing to the back of the book a piece of good paper cut just to fill in the space between head or foot and the nearest cord, and just the width of the book. Preparing for Covering.-After sandpapering away any possible roughness which may have been left from the glue or from other causes, and cutting off a tiny triangle from the four back corners of the board (Fig, 14), the book is ready for the leather.

The leather used for covering will probably be Morocco or Levant, possibly Niger. In any case the first quality should be used, and as some experience is required before one can become a good judge of leather, he will do well to patronize only a thoroughly reliable dealer. The skins may be purchased already pared little or much. It is dangerous to get one too thinly pared, for though it lessens the labor of the binder, it certainly weakens the leather. Better select a thicker skin and do the necessary paring where it is required, particularly around the edges and also through the center portion which is to cover the cords or back of the book and for this reason must be thin and flexible.


-A lithographers’ stone is convenient to pare on, though a marble-topped table, if you have one, will do nicely. Various paring-knives are shown by the dealers, and binders use different styles. I recommend a small saddlers’ knife, such as is shown in Fig. 15, and this must be kept very sharp.

Cut from the hide a piece of leather large enough to cover the entire book in hand, allowing an inch on all sides for turning in ; and pare the whole edge for an inch at least, inward. It should be very thin at the extreme edge. Coarse sandpaper may be used to good advantage after a very little paring has been done, especially in the middle part of the leather, working from top to bottom.


-Whatever is to be used in the work of putting on the leather should be at hand before the covering is started, including paste, brush, paste-cloth, folders, nickeled band-nippers, band-stick, clean sponge, a little water in saucer, and celluloid or waterproof sheets the size of the book. The leather is now covered uniformly with paste, which must be smooth and perfectly free from lumps. The back of the book is placed in the center of this pasted leather, the inch margin left at head and foot. Bring the leather up on the sides, pull slightly, and rub perfectly smooth with the palms of the hands or bone folders. Stand the book upon its fore edge and nip up the bands with the band-nippers, working down the leather between the cords with the band-stick-a bit of smooth, hard wood with straight edges.

Much time and pressure are required in this operation, and we shall return to it later. Before the paste is too dry the leather on the head and tail must be turned in, and then the leather on the fore edges, and the corners mitered. Especial care must be taken to have a sharp, smooth edge. At the head and tail a little paste will be needed on that part of the leather which will turn in behind the head-bands. This fold of leather behind the head-bands is brought forward slightly and tapped down to form the head-cap, partly concealing the head-bands. Now open the covers one at a time and cut off the extra leather at each corner, tucking one edge neatly under the other. Insert the celluloid sheets between the covers and the book, to prevent dampness being absorbed by the latter. Close the volume and stand it on its fore edge, holding it firmly while the process of nipping up the bands and smoothing down the leather between them is completed.

A piece of cord is tied around the book at the back (Fig. 16), causing the leather to adhere tightly, and accentuating the joint caused by the slight cutting away of the corners at the back. The book is now left under slight pressure until perfectly dry.

Assistant Finishing.

-Trim the leather neatly to an even margin on the inside of the covers, tear out the waste end-paper, and line the board with the “paste-down” provided in the end-paper section.


-The decorating and lettering is usually done by means of tools ; and the process is technically known as “tooling.” These finishing-tools are stamps of metal held in a wooden handle. A unit of a design, letter, or other device is cut in this tool-metal (Fig. 17).

Tooling may be either blind or gold; the first consisting of the mere or blind impress of the tool upon the leather, while in the latter, as you may infer, the gold-leaf is added, The possibilities of tools -their use in most elaborate combinations and designs-is very great, but I shall undertake to describe only the simplest method of finishing a book in this way, and the steps involved.


-At least two sizes of letters, both caps and lower-case, must be owned by any finisher. Fillets, or wheels on handles, for making lines, several gouges or curved-line tools, as well as a few simple units, such as dots, leaves, or other standard forms, may be purchased at first, and later added to with tools of one’s own design, cut to order as they are needed.

For the book in hand only three tools (besides letters) are required: the fillet, a small leaf, and tiny gouge. It is a small volume and thin-so thin that the title cannot go comfortably upon the back; hence I must decide where to put it on the side and plan the decoration with reference to this panel of lettering.

No more simple scheme could be devised than that shown in Fig. 18 with the panel of lettering across the top, and an “all-over” pattern filling the remaining space. Diagonals are first drawn and the leaf, with the tiny gouge forming the stem, placed at each intersection. The title is in gold and the rest in blind-tooling.

A piece of thin bond-paper is cut just the size of the book, and upon this the panel for lettering is planned, border lines and diagonals drawn. The leaf- and stein-tools used are slightly blackened in a candle flame and impressed upon the paper at the diagonal intersections. This pattern is then lightly pasted to the leather at the four corners of the book, and the heated tools applied. Tools are heated on a finishing-stove or iron frame which will support them near a gas or other flame, A wet sponge in a dish is used as a cooling-pad, and upon which the hot tools are tested. They should hiss slightly and should “be too cool rather than too hot, as the impression may be deepened after removing the paper. The title to be finished in gold must be painted in ” glaire.” Finishers glaire is made by beating well the white of an is egg, which is then diluted with half the quantity of vinegar and allowed to settle. The cover is then washed with thin paste-water, then the glaire is applied to the blind impressions which are to be covered with gold with a small finely pointed brush. When glaire has ceased to be “tacky” the gold-leaf is laid on. Gold-leaf may be purchased in booklets containing a dozen or more small sheets. Only the best quality should be used. Gold-leaf is difficult to handle-almost impossible if there is any draft present or grease on the cushion or knife (Fig. 19). A strip of gold-leaf as wide as the letters are high and long enough to cover three or four is cut on the cushion of chamois-skin (Fig. 19) and transferred by means of a bit of slightly oily cotton to the letters.

The heated tools are again applied over the gold. Before using any tool it should be rubbed off on a strip of leather provided for this purpose, to insure cleanliness and to polish the end slightly. Often two or three or four thicknesses of gold are required before the pattern, or in this case the letters, are uniformly covered. When the tooling is finished and the surplus gold removed with a bit of cotton the book may be washed with benzine to remove any grease or soil. This completes the processes without going into more complications.

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