The Art of Bookbinding/Chapter 21

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The Art of Bookbinding by Joseph William Zaehnsdorf
Chapter XXI.


Pasting Down.

This is to cover up the inside board by pasting down the end papers to the boards.

The white or waste leaf, that has till this process protected the end papers, must now be taken away or torn out. The joint of the board must be cleaned of any paste or glue that may have accumulated there during the course of either gluing up or covering, by passing the point of a sharp knife along it, so that when the end is pasted down, the joint will be quite straight and perfectly square. Morocco books should be filled in with a smooth board or thick paper, the exact substance of the leather. This thickness must be carefully chosen, and one edge be cut off straight, and fastened to the inside of the board very slightly, in fact only touching it in the centre with a little glue or paste, just sufficient to hold it temporarily. It must be flash with the back-edge of the board. When dry, this paper or board is to be marked with a compass about half an inch round, and both paper and leather cut through at the same cut with a sharp knife. The overplus board will fall off and the outside of the leather may be easily detached by lifting it up with a knife. The paper or board, which will now fit in exactly, should be glued and well rubbed down with a folding stick, or it may be pressed in the standing press if the grain of the morocco is to be polished, but not otherwise.

As morocco books only have morocco joints, I may as well explain at once how they are made. Morocco of the same colour is cut into strips the same length as the book, and about one inch and a half in breadth for 8vo.; a line is drawn or marked down each strip about half an inch from one edge, either with a pencil or folder, as a guide. The leather is now to be pared from the mark made to a thin edge on the half inch side, and the other side pared as thin as the leather turned in round the board, so that there will be two distinct thicknesses on each piece, the larger half going on the board to correspond with the leather round the three sides, and the smaller and thinly pared half going in the joint and edge on to the book. The end papers, only held in with a little paste, are to be lifted out from the book, and the leather well pasted is to be put on the board, so that the place where the division is made in the leather by paring will come exactly to the edge of the board; the thin part should then be well rubbed down in the joint, and the small thin feather edge allowed to go on the book.

Great care must be taken to rub the whole down well, that it may adhere properly; the grain need not be heeded. With regard to the overplus at the head and tail, there are two ways of disposing of it: first, by cutting both leathers slanting through at once, and making the two meet; or, secondly, by cutting the cover away in a slant and doing the same to the joint, so that the two slant cuts cover each other exactly. This requires very nice paring, or it will be seen in the finishing. The book should be left till quite dry, which will take some five or six hours. The boards are then to be filled in by the same method as above described, and the end papers fastened in again properly.

Cloth Joints.—If the cloth has been fastened in when the ends were made, after cleaning all unevenness from the joints, the boards are to be filled in as above, and the cloth joint stuck down with thin glue, and rubbed down well. The marble paper may now be put on the board by cutting it to a size a little larger than the filling in of the board, so that it may be well covered. When cloth joints are put in, the board paper is generally brought up almost close to the joint; but with morocco joints, the space left all round should be even.

Calf, Russia, etc.—After having cleaned the joint, the leather must be marked all round a trifle larger than the size intended for the end papers to cover. Then with a knife, the leather is cut through in a slanting direction by holding the knife slanting. The boards should be thrown back to protect the leather, and the book placed on a board of proper size, so that both book and board may be moved together, when turning round. When the leather is cut, a piece of paper should be pasted on the board to fill up to the thickness of the leather, and to curve or swing the board back; the boards otherwise are sure to curve the contrary way, especially with calf. When this lining is dry, the end papers may be pasted down. As there are two methods of doing this, I give the most exact but longest first. The paper is to be pasted all over, and being held in the left hand, is to be well rubbed down, particularly in the joint. The paper is then marked all round—the head, foredge, and tail, with a pair of compasses to the width required for finishing inside the board. With a very sharp knife the paper is to be cut through to the depth of the paper only, by laying the straight edge on the marks made by the compasses. This has the advantage of procuring an exact margin round the board, but it must be done quickly or the paper will stick to the leather round the board from the paste getting dry, the leather absorbing the watery particles in the paste.

The other way is to lay the paper back, and down on the board, and then to mark it. A tin is then to be placed between the book and paper, and the paper cut to the marks made. The paper is then pasted down as above. When pasted down, the book should be left standing on its end, with boards left open until thoroughly dry, which will be about six hours. A tin should be kept especially for cutting on, and the knife must be as sharp as possible. This latter method is used for all half bindings.