book binding, gold work
book binding, gold work defined in 1909 yearbook binding, gold work - book binding, Gold Work;
book binding, gold work - This is far more complicated than blind or antique work, so that it is better to practise upon some spare pieces of roan, calf, and morocco, before attempting to finish a book. Gold work is not more difficult than blind tooling, it is only more complicated. The different kinds of leather require such different degrees of heat, that what would fail to make the gold adhere upon one leather, would burn through another. The various colours require different degrees of heat; as a rule, light fancy colours need less than dark.
The medium by which the gold is made to adhere to the leather is used in 2 ways - wet and dry. The wet is used for leather, the dry for velvet, satin, silk and paper.
The wet medium is again divided into 2 classes, one for non-porous and another for porous leather. Morocco is the principal of the non-porous leathers, with roan and all other imitation morocco. The porous varieties consist of calf of all kinds, russia and the non-porous leathers need only be washed with thin paste water or vinegar and glaired once; but if the glaire be thin or weak it will be necessary to give them a second coat of glaire.
The porous varieties must be paste-washed carefully, sized all over very evenly, and glaired once or twice; care being taken that the size and glaire be laid on as evenly as possible.
All this, although apparently so simple, must be well kept in mind, because the great difficulty is in not knowing the proper medium for the various leathers, and one book maybe prepared too much, while another may have a deficiency. As a consequence one book will be spoiled by the preparation cracking, and the gold will not adhere to the other. By following the directions here given the gold will adhere without much trouble, beyond the practice necessary in becoming accustomed to an accurate use of the various tools.
Suppose that a half-morocco book is to be neatly finished and lettered. Take a broad and narrow pallet of a suitable and proper size, work it against the bands in blind as a guide for finishing in gold. As the impression need be but very slight, warm the pallet on the gas stove but very little. Choose some suitable tool, as a centrepiece to go between the bands. Work this also lightly on the back exactly in the centre of each panel as truly as possible and perfectly straight. A line made previously with a folding-stick along the centre of the back will greatly assist in the working of a tool in its proper position. Wash the back with vinegar, and brush it well with a hard brush to disperse the moisture and drive it equally into the leather; some use paste-water for this purpose instead of vinegar. Paste-water has a tendency to turn grey in the course of time: this is avoided by using vinegar, which also imparts freshness to the morocco, and keeps it moist a longer time, very desirable in finishing.
The impressions made by the broad and narrow pallet and the centre tool are pencilled in with glaire; when dry, pencil in another coat; allow this again to dry, then rub them very slightly with a piece of oiled cotton wool. Take a leaf of gold from the book and spread it out evenly on the gold cushion; cut it as nearly to the various shapes and sizes of the tools as possible. Take one of the pieces of gold upon a large pad of cotton wool, greased slightly by drawing it over the head. (There is always a sufficient amount of natural grease in the hair to cause the gold to adhere to cotton drawn over it.) Lay the gold gently but firmly on the impressed leather. See that the whole of the impression be covered, and that the gold be not broken. Should it be necessary to put on another piece of gold leaf, gently breathing on the first will make the second adhere.
When all the impressions are covered with gold leaf, take one of the tools heated to such a degree that when a drop of water is applied it does not hiss, but dries instantly; work it exactly in the blind impressions. Repeat this to the whole of the impressions, and wipe the overplus of gold off with the gold-rag. The impressions are now supposed to be worked properly in gold but if there are any parts where the gold does not adhere, they must be re-glaired and worked in again. A saucer should be placed near at hand with a piece of rag or a sponge and water in it, to reduce any tool to its proper heat before using. If the tool be used too hot, the gold impression will be dull - if too cold, the gold will not adhere. To use all tools of the exact degree of heat required is one of the experiences of the skilled workman.
The back is now ready for the title. Set up the words in a type-case, with type sufficiently large and suitable to the book. The chief word of the title should be in somewhat larger size than the rest, the other diminishing, so that a pleasant arrangement of form be attained. In order to adjust the length of the words, it may be necessary to "space" some of them - that is to put between each letter a small piece of metal called a "space." Square the type, or make the face of the letters perfectly level by pressing the face of them against a flat surface before tightening the screw. They must be exactly level one with another, or in the working some of them will be invisible. Screw the type-case up, warm it over the finishing stove, and work the letters carefully in blind as a guide. Damp the whole of the lettering space with vinegar. When dry pencil the impressions in twice with glaire. Lay the gold on and work them in gold.
But with lead type and a spring type-case (more suitable for amateurs on account of its relative cheapness, and the case fitting itself to the different sizes of the type) the latter must be warmed before the type is put in. The heat of the case will impart sufficient heat for the type to be worked properly. If the case and type be put on the stove, the type will probably be melted if not watched very narrowly. Hand letters are letters fixed in handles and each used as a single tool. The letters are arranged in alphabetical order round the finishing stove, and as each letter is wanted it is taken from the order, worked, and replaced. They are still very much used in England, but where several books are to have the same lettering, brass type is very much better. It does its work more uniformly than hand letters, however skilfully used.
When this simple finishing can be executed properly and with ease, a more difficult style may be attempted, such as a "full gilt back." This is done in 2 ways, a "run up" back and a "mitred" back. As a general rule, morocco is mitred. Place the book on its side, lift up the millboard and make a mark at head and tail on the back, a little away from the hinge of the back. Then with a folder and straight edge mark the whole length of the back: this is to be done on both sides. Make another line the whole length down the exact centre of the back. With a pair of dividers, take the measurement of the spaces between the bands, and mark the size at head and tail for the panels from the top and bottom band; with a folder and strip of parchment make a line across the back, head and tail, at the mark made by the dividers.
Work a thin broad and narrow pallet alongside the bands in blind. Prepare the whole of the back with vinegar and glaire, but lay the glaire on with a sponge. When dry, lay the gold on, covering the whole of the back with it, and mending any breaks. For mitreing, take a 2-line pallet that has the ends cut at an angle of 45 °, so that the join at that angle may be perfect. Work this on the side at the mark made up the back, and up to the line made in blind across the back. Repeat this to each panel. The 2-line pallet must be worked across the back and up to the lines made in gold, the cutting of the pallet at the angle will allow of the union or mitre, so that each panel is independent of the other. There will be spaces left at head and tail, which may be filled up with any fancy pallet or repetition of tools. The corners should be in keeping with the centre, and large enough to fit the panel. Work these from the sides of the square made, or from the centre of the panel, as will be found most convenient according to the thickness of the book and style of finishing, and then fill in any small stops. When the whole is done, rub the gold off with the gold rag, and use the rubber if necessary. The title is put on in the manner before described.
It is not always necessary that the finishing be done in blind first. One accustomed to finishing finds that a few lines marked previously with a folding-stick are all that is required. When working the title, a thread of silk drawn tightly across the gold produces a sufficient line, and is the only guide that an experienced workman requires.
To finish a side, make a mark with the folder and straight-edge as a guide for rolls or fillets. Prepare the leather, as before described, where the ornamentation is to come; but if the pattern is elaborate, it must be worked first in blind. As a greater facility, take a piece of paper of good quality and well sized. Draw the pattern on the paper, and if any tools are to be used, hold them over the gas flame; this will smoke them so that they may be worked on the paper in black. When the pattern is complete in every detail, tip the 4 corners of the paper with a little paste, then work the pattern through the paper on to the leather, using the various sized gouges as the scrolls require, and a single line fillet where there are lines. Work thus the complete pattern in blind. This being done completely, take the paper off from the 4 corners, place it on the other side, and work it in the same way. Prepare the leather with vinegar, and pencil the pattern out with glaire. -If the whole side be glaired with a sponge, it will leave a glossy appearance that is very undesirable. The whole side is now laid on with gold, and the pattern is worked again with the warm tools, in the previous or blind impressions.
The inside of a book is generally finished before the outside. This should be done as neatly as possible, carefully mitreing the corners when any lines are used. Most frequently a roll is employed, thus saving a great deal of time. A style was introduced in France called "double," the inside of the board being covered with a coloured morocco different from the outside, instead of having board papers. This inside leather was very elaborately finished; generally with a "dentelle " border, while the outside had only a line or two in blind. It is a style which, although very good in itself, has quite died out with us, so many prefer to see the finishing to having it covered up when the book is shut.
The edges of the boards and the head-bands must be finished either in gold or blind, according to fancy, and in keeping with the rest of the embellishment. A fine line worked on the centre of the edge of the board by means of a fillet looks better, and of course requires more pains than simply running a roller over it. If it is to be in gold, simply glairing the edge is sufficient. Lay on the gold, and work the fillet carefully. Place the book on its ends in the finishing press to keep it steady, or it will shake and throw the fillet off. If a roll is used, take the gold up on the roll, grease it first a little, by rubbing the gold-rag over the edge to make the gold adhere. Then run the roll along the edge of the boards; the kind generally used for this purpose is called a "bar roll" - that is, having a series of lines running at right angles to the edge of the roll.
Imitation morocco is generally used for publishers' bindings, where books are in a large number and small in price; and the finishing is all done with the blocking press. To finish this leather by hand, it is advisable to wash it with paste-water and glaire twice.
Roan is generally used for circulating library work, and is very seldom finished with more than a few lines across the back and the title. This leather is prepared with paste-wash and glaire, and, when complete, varnished over the whole surface.
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