Page:The Art of Bookbinding, Zaehnsdorf, 1890.djvu/109

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79
GILT EDGES.

2nd. Gold Knife.—This should be a long knife of thin steel, the blade about one to one and a half inch wide.

3rd. Burnishers.—These are made of agate stone, and can be purchased of any size. A flat one, and two or three round ones, will be found sufficient. They should have a very high polish.

4th. Glaire Water or Size.—The white of an egg and a tea-cup full of water are well beaten together, until the albumen is perfectly dissolved. It must then be allowed to stand for some hours to settle, after which it should be strained through a piece of linen which has been washed; old linen is therefore preferred to new.

5th. Scrapers.—Pieces of steel with the edge or burr made to turn up by rubbing the edge flat over a bodkin or other steel instrument, so that when applied to the edge a thin shaving of paper is taken off. The beauty of gilding depends greatly on proper and even scraping.

6th. The Gold Leaf.—This is bought in books, the price according to quality; most of the cheap gold comes from Germany. I recommend the use of the best gold that can be had; it being in the end the cheapest, as cheap gold turns black by the action of the atmosphere in course of time.

The method of preparing the gold[1] is by making an alloy: gold with silver or copper. It is drawn out into a wire of about six inches in length, and by being passed again between steel rollers is made into a ribbon. This ribbon is then cut into squares and placed between vellum leaves, about four or five inches square, and beaten with a hammer somewhat like our beating hammer, until the gold has expanded to the size of the vellum. The gold is again cut up into squares of about one inch, and again inter-

  1. Although this has practically nothing to do with the art of book-binding, it is always advisable for a workman to know something about the tools and materials he uses.