The Art of Bookbinding/Glossary

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The Art of Bookbinding by Joseph William Zaehnsdorf
Glossary.

GLOSSARY

OF THE

TECHNICAL TERMS AND IMPLEMENTS USED IN BOOKBINDING.


All-along.—When a volume is sewed, and the thread passes from kettle-stitch to kettle-stitch, or from end to end in each sheet, it is said to be sewed "all-along."

Arming press.—A species of blocking press used by hand; so called from the use of it to impress armorial bearings on the sides of books.

Asterisk.—A star used by printers at the bottom of the pages meant to supply the places of those cancelled (see also Cancel).


Backing boards.—Used when backing and for forming the groove. They are made of very hard wood, and sometimes faced with iron; are thicker on the edge intended to form the groove than upon the edge that goes towards the foredge, so that the whole power of the lying press may be directed towards the back.

Backing hammer.—The hammer used for backing and rounding; it has a broad flat face similar to a shoemaker's hammer.

Backing machine.—A machine for backing cheap work.

Bands.—The cord whereon the sheets of a volume are sewn. When a book is sewn "flexible" the bands appear upon the back. When the back is sewn so as to imbed the cord in the back, the appearance of raised bands is produced by gluing narrow strips of leather across the back before the volume is covered.

Band driver.—A blunt chisel used in forwarding, to correct any irregularities in the bands of flexible backs.

Band nippers.—Flat pincers used for nipping up the band in covering.

Beading.—The small twist formed when twisting the silk or cotton in head-banding.

Beating hammer.—The heavy short-handled hammer used in beating (generally about 10 lbs.).

Beating stone.—The bed on which books are beaten.

Bevelled boards.—Very heavy boards with bevelled edges; used for antique work.

Bleed.—When a book has been cut down into the print it is said to have been bled.

Blind-tooled.— When a book has been impressed with tools without being gilt, it is said to be "blind-tooled" or "antique."

Blocking press.—Another and more general term for the arming press; one of the chief implements used in cloth work. Used for finishing the side of a cover by a mechanical process.

Blocks or blocking tools.— An engraved stamp used for finishing by means of the blocking press.

Boards.—Are of various kinds, each denoting the work it is intended for, such as pressing boards, backing, cutting, burnishing, gilding, etc.

Bodkin.—A strong and short point of steel fixed in a wooden handle, for making the holes through the mill-boards. The slips upon the back of the book are laced through the holes for attaching the millboard to the book.

Bole.—A red earthy mineral, resembling clay in character, used in the preparation for gilding edges.

Bolt.—The fold in the head and foredge of the sheets. The iron bar with a screw and nut which secures the knife to the plough.

Bosses.—Brass or other metal ornamentations fastened upon the boards of books; for ornament or preservation.

Broken over.—When plates are turned over or folded a short distance from the back edge, before they are placed in the volume, so as to facilitate their being turned easily or laid flat, they are said to be broken over. When a leaf has been turned down the paper is broken.

Burnish.—The gloss produced by the application of the burnisher to the edges.

Burnishers.—Pieces of agate or bloodstone affixed to convenient handles.


Cancels.—Leaves containing errors which are to be cut out and replaced by corrected pages (see Asterisk).

Cap.—The envelope of paper used to protect the edges while the volume is being covered and finished.

Case-work.—When the cover is made independent of the book, the book being afterwards fastened into it. Refers principally to cloth and bible work.

Catch-word.—A word used and seen in early printed books at the bottom of the page, which word is the first on the following page. To denote the first and last word in an encyclopaedia or other book of reference.

Centre Tools.—Independent tools cut for the ornamentation of the centre of panels and sides.

Clasp.—The hook or catch used for fastening the boards together when the book is closed; used formerly on almost every book.

Clearing-out.—Removing the waste-paper, and paring away any superfluous leather upon the inside, preparatory to pasting down the end-papers.

Cloth.—Prepared calico, sometimes embossed with different patterns, used for cloth bindings.

Collating.— Examining the sheets by the signatures after the volume has been folded, to ascertain if they be in correct sequence.

Combs.—Instruments with wire teeth used in marbling.

Corners.—The triangular tools used in finishing backs and sides. The leather or material covering the corners of half-bound books. The metal ornaments used usually in keeping with clasps.

Cropped.—When a book has been cut down too much it is said to be cropped.

Cut down.—When a plough-knife dips downward out of the level it is said to "cut down"; on the contrary, if the point is out of the level upwards it is said to "cut up."

Cut up.—Same as the last explanation.


Divinity calf.—A dark brown calf used generally for religious books, and worked in blind or antique.

Dentelle.—As the word expresses. A style resembling lace work, finished with very finely cut tools.

Doubled.—When in working a tool a second time it is inadvertently not placed exactly in the previous impression, it is said to be "doubled."


Edge-rolled.—When the edges of the boards are rolled, either in blind or in gold.

End-papers.—The papers placed at each end of the volume and pasted down upon the boards.


Fillet.—A cylindrical tool used in finishing, upon which a line or lines are engraved.

Finishing.—The department that receives the volumes after they are put in leather. The ornaments placed on the volume. The person who works at this branch is termed a finisher.

Finishing press.—A small press, used for holding books when being finished.

Finishing stove.—A heating box or fire used for warming the various tools used in finishing.

Flexible.—When a book is sewn on raised bands, and the thread is passed entirely round each band. It is the strongest sewing done at the present time. This term is often misused for limp work, because the boards are limp or flexible.

Folder.—A flat piece of bone or ivory used in folding sheets, and in many other manipulations; called also a folding stick. A female engaged in folding sheets.

Folding machine.—A machine invented to fold sheets, generally used in newspaper offices.

Foredge.—The front edge of a book.

Forwarding.—The branch that takes the books after they are sewed, and advances them until they are put into leather ready for the finisher. The one who works at this branch is called a forwarder.

Full-bound.—When the sides and back of a volume are covered with leather it is said to be full-bound.


Gathering.—Collecting the various sheets from piles when folded, so that the arrangement follows the sequence of the signature.

Gilt.—Applies to both the edges and to the ornaments in finishing.

Glaire.—The white of eggs beaten up.

Gold cushion.—A cushion for cutting the gold leaf on.

Gold knife.—The knife for cutting the gold; long and quite straight.

Gouge.—A tool used in finishing; it is a line forming the segment of a circle.

Graining boards.—Boards used for producing a grain on calf and russia books. Grain of various form is cut in wood, and by pressure the leather upon which the boards are laid receives the impression.

Graining plates.— Metal plates same as above.

Guards.—Strips of paper inserted in the backs of books intended for the insertion of plates, to prevent the book being uneven when filled; also the strips upon which plates are mounted.

Guides.—The groove in which the plough moves upon the face of the cutting press.

Guillotine.—A machine used for cutting paper.

Guinea-edge.— A roll with a pattern similar to the edge of an old guinea.


Half-bound.—When a volume is covered with leather upon the back and corners; and the sides with paper or cloth

Hand-letters.—Letters fixed in handles; used singly for lettering.

Head and tail.—The top and bottom of a book.

Head-band.— The silk or cotton ornament worked at the head and tail of a volume, as a finish and to make the back even with the boards.


Imperfections.—Sheets rejected on account of being in some respect imperfect, and for which others are required to make the work complete.

In boards.—When a volume is cut after the mill-boards are attached, it is said to be cut in boards.

Inset.—The inner pages of a sheet, cut off in folding certain sizes; to be inset in the centre of the sheet.


Joints.—The projection formed in backing to admit the mill-boards. The leather or cloth placed from the projection on to the mill-board is called a joint.


Kettle-stitch.—The chain-stitch which the sewer makes at the head and tail of a book. A corruption of either chain-stitch, or catch-up stitch.

Keys.—Little metal instruments used to secure the bands to the sewing press.

Knocking-down iron.—A piece of iron having a small leg in the centre by which it is secured in the lying press. When fastened there it is used to pound or beat with a hammer the slips into the boards after they are laced in, so that they do not show when the book is covered.


Laced in.—When the mill-boards are attached to the volume by means of the slips being passed through holes made in the boards, they are said to be laced in or drawn in.

Law calf. — Law books are usually bound in calf left wholly uncoloured, hence the term for white calf.

Lettering block. — A piece of wood, the upper surface being slightly rounded, upon which side labels are lettered.

Lettering box. — A wooden box in which hand-letters are kept (see Hand-letters).

Lining-papers. — The coloured or marbled paper at each end of the volume. Called also end-papers.


Marbler. — One who marbles the edges of books and paper.

Marbling. — The art of floating various colours on a size, from which it is transferred to paper or book edges. To stain or vein leather like marble.

Marking-up. — When the back of a book is being marked for flexible sewing.

Mill-board. — The boards that are attached to the book. Various kinds are in use now; the most common is made of straw, the best of old naval cordage.

Mitred. — When the lines in finishing meet each other at right angles without overrunning each other, they are said to be mitred. Joined at an angle of 45°.

Mutton-thumping. — A term used in bygone days, indicating the common binding of school books in sheep-skin.

Mutton-thumper. — An old term indicating a bad workman.


Off-set. — The impression made by the print against the opposite page, when a book has been rolled or beaten before the ink be dried. (Also Set-off.)

Out of boards. — When a volume is cut before the boards are affixed, it is done out of boards. Nearly the whole of common work is done out of boards.

Out of truth. — When a book is not cut square.

Overcasting. — An operation in sewing, when the work consists of single leaves or plates. Over-sewing.


Pallet. — The tools used for finishing across backs.

Panel. — The space between the bands.

Papering-up. — Covering the edges after they are gilt, to protect them while the volume is being covered and finished (see Cap).

Paring. — Reducing the edges of the leather by forming a gradual slope.

Paring knife. — The knife used for paring.

Paste-wash. — Paste diluted with water.

Peel. — A wooden instrument used to hang up damp sheets for drying.

Pencil. — A small brush of camel's hair used for glairing.

Pieced. — Any space that has another leather upon it, as a lettering piece.

Plough. — The instrument used for cutting the edges when the book is in the lying press.

Plough knife. — The knife attached to the plough. Polisher. — A steel instrument for giving a gloss to the leather after finishing.

Press. — Of various kinds, viz,: lying, cutting, standing, blocking, finishing, etc.

Press pin. — A bar of iron used as a lever for standing presses; a smaller kind for lying presses.

Pressing blocks. — Blocks of wood used for filling up a standing press when there are not enough books.

Pressing boards. — Boards used for pressing books between.

Proof. — The rough edges of certain leaves left uncut by the plough, are "proof" that the book is not cut down (see also Witness).


Rasped. — The sharp edge taken off mill-boards.

Register. — The ribbon placed in a volume for a marker. A list of signatures attached to the end of early-printed books for the use of the binder. In printing — when on looking through a leaf the print on the recto and verso is not exactly opposite, it is said to be out of register.

Rolling Machine. — A machine introduced to save the labour of beating, the sheets being passed between two revolving cylinders.

Rolls. — Cylindrical ornamental tools used in finishing.

Runner. — The front board used in cutting edges.

Run-up. — When the back has a fillet run from head to tail without being mitred at each band, it is said to be "run-up."


Sawing-in. — When the back is sawn for the reception of the cord in sewing.

Sawing machine. — A machine for sawing the backs of books quickly.

Setting the head-band. — Adjusting the leather in covering so as to form a kind of cap to the head-band.

Sewer. — The person who sews the sheets together on the sewing press—generally a female.

Sewing machine. — A recent invention for the sewing of books with wire and thread.

Shaving tub. — The paper cut from the edges of a volume are called shavings. The receptacle into which they fall while the forwarder is cutting is termed the shaving tub.

Shears. — Large scissors used for cutting up mill-boards.

Sheep. — An old term for all common work covered in sheep-skin.

Signature. — The letter or figure under the footline of the first page of each sheet, to indicate the order of arrangement in the volume.

Size. — A preparation used in finishing and gilding, formerly made with vellum, but can now be bought ready for use. When used on paper a thin solution of glue.

Slips. — The pieces of twine that project beyond the back of the volume after it is sewn.

Squares. — The portions of the boards that project beyond the edges after the book is cut.

Stabbing. — The term used formerly for piercing the boards with a bodkin for the slips to pass through; more generally known now as "holeing." The operation of piercing pamphlets for the purpose of stitching.

Stabbing machine.—A small machine used for making the holes through the backs of pamphlets.

Standing press.—A fixed heavy press with a perpendicular screw over the centre.

Start.—When any of the leaves are not properly secured in the back, and they project beyond the others, they are said to have started. When the back has been broken by forcing the leaves they start.

Stiffener.—A thin mill-board used for various purposes.

Stitching.—The operation of passing the thread through a pamphlet for the purpose of securing the sheets together.

Straight-edge.—A small board having one edge perfectly straight.

Stops.—Small circular tools, adapted to "stop" a fillet when it intersects at right angles; used to save the time mitring would occupy.


Tenon saw.—A small saw used by bookbinders for sawing the books for sewing. More strictly speaking a carpenter's tool.

Title.—The space between the bands upon which the lettering is placed. The leaf in the beginning of a book describing the subject.

Tools.—Applied particularly to the handstamps and tools used in finishing.

Trimming.—Shaving the rough edge of the leaves of a book that is not to be cut.

Trindle.—A thin strip of wood or iron.

Turning-up.—The process of cutting the foredge in such a manner as to throw the round out of the back until the edge is cut. All books that are cut in boards have a pair of trindles thrust between the boards and across the back to assist the operation.

Tying-up.—The tying of a volume after the cover has been drawn on, so as to make the leather adhere better to the sides of the bands; also for setting the head-band.

Type.—Metal letters used in printing and lettering.

Type-holder.—An instrument for holding the type when used for lettering.


Varnish.—Used as a protection to the glaire when polished on the covers of books.


Whipping.—Another term for overcasting, but when longer stitches are made.

Witness.—When a volume is cut so as to show that it has not been so cut down, but that some of the leaves have still rough edges. These uncut leaves are called "Witness" (see Proof).

Wrinkle.—The uneven surface in a volume, caused by not being properly pressed or by dampness, also caused by improper backing.