book binding, calf colouring
book binding, calf colouring defined in 1909 yearbook binding, calf colouring - book binding, Calf Colouring;
book binding, calf colouring - Although coloured calf-skins may be bought almost as cheaply as "smooth " calf (uncoloured ones), yet there are many places where coloured calf cannot be procured. Skins may be purchased already sprinkled or marbled at most leather shops. This plan of sprinkling and marbling the whole skin is good enough for cheap or half-bound work, but for extra work it is far better to sprinkle, marble, or otherwise colour the leather when on the book. Hand-colouring is coming again into use, and by degrees getting known throughout the trade.
When an acid is used on leather, it is essential to wash as much as possible of it out with water immediately after it has done its work, or in a few months the surface of the leather will be found to be eaten away and destroyed. It is a fault of some binders, that if they use a chemical on leather or paper, they are not satisfied to have weak acid, allow it to do its work slowly, and, when the proper moment has arrived, stop its further action. They frequently use the acids as strong as possible, and neglect to wash out the residue. The consequence is, the leather or paper rots. To avoid this, the recipes given below are selected for their harmless character.
Black. - Iron sulphate (copperas) is the chief ingredient in colouring calf black. Used by itself, it gives a greyish tint, but if a coat of salts of tartar or other alkali be previously used it strikes immediately a rich purple black. It can be purchased at 1d. per lb.
(a) Into 1 qt. boiling water, throw ¼ lb. iron sulphate; let it reboil, stand to settle, and bottle the clear liquid for use.
(b) Boil 1 qt. vinegar with a quantity of old iron nails or steel filings for a few minutes; keep in a stone jar, and use the clear liquid. This can, from time to time, be boiled again with fresh vinegar; an old iron pot must be kept for boiling the black.
Brown. - (a) Dissolve ¼ lb. salts of tartar (oxalic acid) in 2 pints boiling water, and bottle for use. This is mostly used for colouring; it has a very mellow tone, and is always used before the black when a strong or deep colour is required. It is poisonous, and must not be used too strong on the calf, or it will corrode it.
(b) For a plain brown dye, the green shells of walnuts may be used, broken up, mixed with water, and allowed to ferment. The liquid is strained and bottled for use. A pinch of salt thrown in will help to keep it. This does not in any way corrode the leather, and produces the best uniform tint.
Yellow. - (a) Picric acid dissolved in water forms one of the sharpest yellows. It must not be mixed with any alkali in a dry state, as it forms a very powerful explosive compound. It may be bottled for use.
(b) Into a bottle put some turmeric powder, and mix well with methylated spirit; the mixture must be shaken occasionally for a few days until the whole of "the colour is extracted. This is a very warm yellow, and produces a very good shade when used after salts of tartar.
For all the following a preparation or ground of paste-water must be put on the calf, that the liquids may not sink through too much. The calf must be paste-washed all over equally, and allowed to get thoroughly dry. It will then be ready for the various methods. Perhaps to wash it overnight and let it stand till next morning will be the best and surest plan. It matters very little whether the calf is on the book or in the skin.
Sprinkles. - There are many sprinkles, all worked in the same way, by throwing the colour on finely or coarsely, as it may be wanted, light or dark.
Presuming that the paste or ground-wash is thoroughly dry, take liquid salts of tartar and dilute with cold water, 1 part salts to 2 of water, in a basin; wash the calf with this liquid evenly, using a soft sponge. The calf will require the wash to be applied 2 or 3 times, until a proper and uniform tint is obtained. Each successive wash must be allowed to get thoroughly dry before the next is applied.
The next process is to sprinkle the book, with the boards open; 2 pieces of flat wood, about 3 ft. long. 4 in. wide, and ½ in. thick, will be found very useful for carrying the book. These rods must be supported at each end, so that the book may be suspended between them, with the boards resting on the rods nearly horizontally. Put into a round pan some of the copperas fluid, and into another some of the solution of oxalic acid. Use a pretty large brush for each pan, keeping each for its own fluid. The sprinkling may be commenced. The brushes being soaked in the fluids, should be beaten out, using a broomstick to beat on before beating over the book, unless a. coarse sprinkle is desired. Whilst beating over the book, the hand should be held up high, and moved about, so that a fine and equal spray may be distributed; and this should be continued until the desired depth of colour is attained.
This may be varied by putting some geometrical design, cut out of thin millboard, on the cover; or if the book is on any special subject, the subject itself put on the cover will have a very pretty effect, and may be made emblematical. A fern or other leaf for botanical work as an instance. The sprinkle must in these cases be very fine and dark for the better effect. The leaf or design, being lifted from the cover when the sprinkle is dry, will leave the ground dark sprinkle with a light brown leaf or design. "Cambridge calf" is done in this way by cutting a square panel of millboard out and laying it on the sides. The square on the cover may be left brown or may be dabbed with a sponge.
Marbles. - As the success of marbling depends upon the quickness with which it is executed, it is important that the colours, sponges, brushes, and water, should be previously disposed in order and at hand, so that either of them can be taken up instantly. Another point to which attention must be directed is the amount of colour to be thrown on, and consequently the amount that each brush should contain. If too much colour (black) is thrown on, the result will be invisible; if too little, no matter how nicely the marble is formed, it will be weak and feeble.
Marbling on leather is produced by small drops of colouring liquids, drawn (by flowing water down an inclined plane) into veins, and spread into fantastic forms resembling foliage - hence, often called "tree-marble." It requires great dexterity of hand and perfect coolness and decision, as the least hurry or want of judgement will ruin the most elaborate preparation.
To prepare the book, paste-wash it evenly all over, and, to further equalise the paste-water, pass the palm of the hand over the board after washing it. When dry, wash over with a solution of oxalic acid 2 or 3 times to get the desired tint. When dry, glaire the whole as even as possible, and to diminish the froth that the sponge may occasion, put a few drops of milk into the glaire. Again, allow it to dry thoroughly. Put some fresh copperas into a pan, and some solution of oxalic acid into another, and soak each brush in its liquid. Place the book upon the rods, the boards extending over and the book hanging between. Should it be desired to let the marble run from back to fore-edge the back must be elevated a little, and the rods supporting the boards must be level from end to end. The elevation must be very slight, or the water will run off too quickly.
Place a pail of water close at hand; in it a sponge for washing off, and a bunch of birch to throw the water with. A little soda should be added to soften the water. Charge each brush well and knock out the superfluous colour until a fine spray comes from it. A little oil put on the palm of the hand, and the brush well rubbed into it, will greatly assist the flow of colour from the brush, and prevent the black colour from frothing. Throw some water over the cover in blotches with the birch, just sufficient to make them unite, and flow downwards together. Now sprinkle some black by beating the brush on a press pin, evenly and finely. When sufficient has been thrown on, beat the brown in like manner over the extended boards. When the veins are well struck into the leather, sponge the whole well with clean water. Have no fear in doing this, as it will not wash off. Then set the book up to dry.
Tree-marbles. - The cover is prepared and sprinkled in the same manner as in marbling; the boards, however, must be bent a little, and water applied by a sponge in the centre of each to give the necessary flow; when the water is thrown on, it will flow towards the centre or lowest part of the boards, and when the sprinkle is thrown on, a "tree," as it were, will be formed. The centre, being white, forms the stem, and from "it branches will be formed by the gradual flow of the streams of water as they run down.
For marbling, everything must be ready at hand before any water is thrown on, so that the water may not have time to run off before the colour is applied. The water must run at the same time that the spray is falling or a failure will be the result.
Dabs. - This is a process with a sponge, charged with the black or the brown liquid, dabbed on the calf either all over the cover or in successive order. Give the proper preparation to the calf, and be very careful that the ground tint of brown is even. Take a sponge of an open nature, so that the grain is pleasant to the eye; fill it with black, squeeze out again, and dab it carefully over the calf. Repeat the operation with another sponge charged with brown. Cats' paw, French dab, and other variously named operations all emanate from the sponge. When done properly, this has a very good effect, and gives great relief to the eye when placed with a number of other books.
All marbles and sprinkles require practice, so that a first failure must not be regarded with discouragement. When one's hand has got into the method with 2 or 3 colours, it is astonishing how many different styles may be produced. In all this manipulation, a better effect is obtained if a yellow tint is washed over the leather after the sprinkle or marble has been produced. Again, by taking coloured calf and treating it in the same manner as white, some very pleasant effects are brought out; and when the colours are well chosen the result is very good. Take for instance a green calf and marble a tree upon it, or take a light slate colour and dab it all over with black and brown.
In all operations with copperas, care must be taken that it does not get on the clothes, as it leaves an iron stain that cannot be easily got rid of. Keep a basin for each colour, and when done with wash it out with clean water. The same with the sponges; keep them as clean as possible; have a sponge for each colour, and use it only for that colour. A piece of glass to put the sponges on will be of great use, and prevent the worktable or board from catching any of the colour. A damp book or damp paper laid on a board that has been so stained will most probably be damaged, even though it has waste paper between the work-board and book. No amount of washing will ever take away such a stain.
When the book has been coloured, the edges and inside are blacked or browned according to taste, or in keeping with the outside.
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