The first stages in the actual binding of the book are now approaching. The first step is making the headband. It is worked on a strip of vellum or catgut of the same width as the margin of the boards, and two threads of coloured silk are required.

Fig. 24.   Headbanding.

Fig. 24. - Headbanding.

The book is nipped in one end of the press with the hack slightly tilted towards the worker. A needle threaded with silk is passed down through the middle of the second section on the left and brought out below the kettle-stitch. The needle is unthreaded, and the silk pulled through till about half an inch is left, which is frayed out and pasted down, the free end hanging loosely along the back. Half an inch of the second thread is also frayed out and pasted down, and the free end left hanging over the fore-edges. (Fig. 24.)

The vellum having been placed in position, with a small margin on the left for convenience in holding, the first thread is passed round it from back to front twice, and slipped between the cover and the book, to steady it while the second thread is passed over the first and round the vellum twice, and fixed in the same manner. The two threads are treated alternately as this last till the headband is worked right across. To keep the headband in place, a thread must at intervals be passed down through the middle of a section and under the kettle-stitch and pulled up fairly firm.

Fig. 25.   Snipping inside corners off boards.

Fig. 25. - Snipping inside corners off boards.

To finish off the headband, one thread should be passed down in the same manner as the first thread was at the start, and left outside, and the other simply pulled round it. Then both are cut off, frayed out, and stuck down. The ends of vellum are cut off neatly, close to the silk, which is just touched with paste to prevent it from slipping.

Variations of this headband can be made quite easily, either by twisting the threads differently or by using two or three catguts placed one on top of or in front of the other. In that case the silk is worked in and out, over the one and under the other in a figure of eight.

The pages of the book must now be encased in a covering or "cap" of brown paper, for protection during the final stages, the first of which is to line the back, which is necessary, to keep the sections in place when the book is in use. Nip the book in the press by its fore-edges. Now cut a slip of brown paper slightly longer and wider than the back of the book. Glue the back; lay the paper on and rub it down evenly with a folder. Damp again with water and rub again till it is firmly stuck down all over, paving particular attention to the headbands. When dry, trim the edges to the size of the back, and sandpaper any inequalities.

Fig. 26.

Fig. 26. Turning in headcap.

We have now arrived at the actual covering of the book. First sandpaper the edge of the paper that lies pasted over on the boards. Then hammer the edges of the boards until they are quite smooth. Next open them back, one at a time, resting the book on them and, in a sloping direction inwards, starting from the outside, cut one-eighth of an inch off the boards at the four corners nearest the back. (fig. 25,)

The slips are now pasted into the galleys. Open the boards right back, paste the slips on the under side and leave them to soak a minute or two. Then close the boards in the right position and rub the slips into the galleys. Remove the "cap." Place tins in and outside of each board and insert the whole in the press.

Next, the leather must be pared. Cut a piece an inch longer each way than the book. Lay the book opened out flat on the wrong side of the leather and run a pencil round accurately, marking also the notches just made and connecting them with lines.

The leather needs paring, and great care must be exercised in preparing the knife for this purpose. The tool used is a "French paring-knife," which is wide and flat with a rounded end; and it must be ground exquisitely smoothly, on one side only. Strop it well and begin to pare from just inside the lines outwards towards the edge, in a smooth slope, holding the leather firmly with the left hand and keeping the blade of the knife quite Hat. The back must also be pared, especially down the lines. It would be well to practise this process, as a false cut would ruin the leather, which, too, must be absolutely smooth and even.

When the coyer is sufficiently pared, draw the lines again and then paste all oyer with fairly thick paste. Double the covers together and leave the paste to soak a few minutes. Now, open them, and remove any lumps there may be and lay the book down exactly to the lines on one side. Then lift up the other side and pull it gently over the book. Stand the book on its fore-edges, with the leather turned outwards, and work the leather gently away from the back with the palms of the hands till it is just tight, but it must not be stretched.

To turn in the leather at the top and bottom, first put a piece of paper over one headband to protect it from the paste; stand the book on that end and turn the leather down towards the top headband until it is almost level with it, and continue turning down along the tops of the boards. Treat the other end in the same way, after transferring the protecting paper. (Fig. 26.)

Lay the leather flat on the sides and open one cover. Make a mark on the leather just the thickness of the board away from each outside corner. Just loosen the leather from the board at one corner.

Take the whole corner of the leather off with a straight cut through this mark, to even distance measured from the corner outwards along the side and top edges, holding the knife nearly flat to make a very sloping cut. (Fig. 27.)