A wedge-shaped cutting board is then placed on the left-hand side of the book, so as to stand with its thick edge considerably higher than the course the knife will take; another board is then placed on the right side, exactly on the line which the knife is to follow, and. which line must be previously marked with the point of a pair of compasses, and so measured that the edge when ploughed may fall about 1/6 inch within the projection of the covers. When the boards are thus placed, the paper knife or flat piece of metal is withdrawn, the covers are allowed to hang down, and the volume is thus carefully lowered into the cutting press, until the right-hand board is flush with the cheek, when the press must be screwed tight. The cutting press stands on a hollow frame some 3 feet in depth, which allows of large books being partially lowered into it, and also receives the paper shavings as they are ploughed off. It consists of two wooden cheeks connected by two sliding bars, and two wooden screws. Upon one of the cheeks are two guides, or small raised rails, for the plough to work in. The cutting instrument consists of two sides, connected by a screw with a handle, and by two slide bars.
A knife is fastened to the under side of cheek by a strong bolt, which perforates the cheek perpendicularly, and also the circumference of the lateral screw, and is kept tightly in its place by screwing down its nut. The knife is worked by grasping both ends of the lateral screw, moving the plough backwards and forwards, and gradually turning the screw with the right hand, until the whole of the fore-edge is cut through. The book is now taken out of the press, the covers are folded in their place, and the back is rounded as before, when the front edge, if the cutting is well done, will be elegantly concave, corresponding with the convexity of the back. The boards, being kept in the ledge or projection produced by backing, are now pulled down about 1/8 inch from their central position, and the head is ploughed by the knife in the same way as the fore-edge. Before ploughing the opposite end, the boards are pulled below the head as much again as it is intended they shall project; and this end also being ploughed, it will be seen that the projection of the covers is equal on the three sides, or, better still, that it is a little in excess on the fore-edge.
After cutting the edges of a book, the next process is to ornament them. This may be done in a simple way by sprinkling them with a brush dipped in a thin solution of umber, or any other colour, ground fine and mixed with size. A more elaborate method is that of marbling the edges, for which purpose a trough must be provided of convenient size and depth,which is filled with pure gum water. Coloured pigments, spirit-ground and mixed with a little ox-gall, are then dripped on the surface of the fluid from a bunch of quills dipped in them - such colours being used as will float and not sink to the bottom. These are then combed with a coarse comb into a neat pattern, and the book being tied between two boards, the edges are applied to the floating colours, which are thus transferred to them. A dash of cold water over them fixes the colours and heightens their brilliancy.
There are two kinds, stuck on and worked. Head-bands stuck on are formed by cutting a piece of striped linen about an inch deep and as wide as the thickness of the book, folding it over a piece of twine, and gluing it to the back so that the enclosed twine shall in a manner lap over the cut edge, the same being repeated at the opposite end. In well-bound books, however, the head-bands are worked on in the following way: - A strip of string, prepared by rolling it tight in pasted paper, is chosen of a size suited to that of the book; stout silk thread of one or two colours is then taken; if two colours are used, they are doubled and tied together by the ends, one of them being previously threaded in a needle. The book is placed in the cutting press with the back uppermost, the head being elevated towards the workman; the needle is passed through the middle of the second section, on the left-hand side, just below the catch-stitch, and drawn out far enough to bring the knot joining the two silks close into the middle of the section; the needle is then brought up, and passed again through the same place, and the silk is drawn nearly close; the round strip is placed in the loop thus formed, and the silk is drawn tight with the left hand;' the other silk is brought over with the right, and passed under and over the head-band, and held tight with the left hand; the other silk is now put over that, and also under and over the head-band; they are thus worked alternately over each other for about ten sheets or sections; the needle is then passed below the catch-stitch to keep the head-band in its place, and brought over it again, and the work is proceeded with as before.
This weaving and frequent fastening to the catoh-stitch goes on as far as the last sheet but one, when the needle is passed through the section and over the headband twice, and fastened to the back. The ends of the head-band are then cut off, almost close to the silk at each end. The braiding produced by working one silk over the other should rest evenly on the leaves of the book. Both ends of the book being worked in this way, the glue-brush is drawn across the back of the bands, which retains them in their proper places. After head-banding, the book should receive a hollow back, which is formed by cutting a slip of cartridge-paper twice the width of the back and the same length; fold the paper in half, glue the back, and stick on one of the folded sides, leaving the other doubled upon it.
The volume is now ready for covering with leather, cloth, or leather and paper. For whole-bound volumes the leather is cut nearly an inch larger all round than the open book, and the edges are pared thin with a sharp knife. The inner side of the leather is now well soaked with strong paste, and a small slice being cut from the corners of the covers where they touch the back, the volume is laid on the pasted leather, care being taken that the covers are in the right position, and the two sides are first covered smoothly but not too tightly. The folding over of the pasted leather inside the covers and outside the back, so as to give a handsome appearance to the ends of the volume, is a matter of some difficulty, which, however, a little practice will overcome. It should be done so that the leather in a manner embraces the head-band, which lies half-concealed within it, and yet does not project beyond the proper projection of the covers.