Supposing a book is to be done in 2 colours, red and white. The head-band is cut to size, the book is, for convenience, held in a press, or a plough with the knife taken out, so that the end to be head-banded is raised to a convenient height. The ends of the silk or cotton are joined together, and one, say the red, is threaded through a strong needle. This is passed through the back of the book, at about the centre of the second section, commencing on the left of the book, twice, and a loop is left. The vellum is put into this loop, and the silk is drawn tight; the vellum will then be held fast. The white is now twisted round the red once, and round the head-band twice; the red is next taken in hand, and twisted round the white once and the head-band twice. This is done until the whole vellum is covered. The needle must be passed through the back at about every 8 sections to secure the head-band. The beading is the effect of one thread being twisted over the other, and the hand must be kept exactly at the same tightness or tension, for if pulled too tightly the beading will go underneath, or be irregular.
The fastening off is done by passing the needle through the back twice, the white is then passed round the red and under the vellum, and the ends are tied together.
This is commenced in the same way as with 2, but great care must be taken that the silks are worked in rotation, so as not to mix or entangle them. The silks must be kept in the left hand, while the right twists the colour over or round; and as each is twisted round the vellum, it is passed to be twisted round the other two. In fastening off, both colours must be passed round under the vellum, and fastened as with the 2-colour pattern. «
, Head-bands may be worked intermixed with gold or silver thread, or the one colour may be worked a number of times round the vellum, before the second colour has been twisted, giving it the appearance of ribbons going round the head-band.
Stuck-on head-bands may be made at little expense, by using striped calico for the purpose. A narrow stripe is to be preferred of some bright colour. The material must be cut into lengths of about 1 1/2 in. wide, with the stripes across. Cords of different thickness are then cut somewhat longer than the calico, and a piece of the cord is fastened by a nail at one end on a board of sufficient length. The calico is then pasted and laid down on the board under the cord; the cord, being held tightly, may be easily covered with the striped calico, and rubbed with a folder into a groove. , When this is dry, the head and tail of the book are glued, and the proper piece of the head-band is put on. Or the head-band may be purchased, as before stated, worked with either silk or cotton ready for fastening on, for 2s. 3d. to 4s. 6d. a piece of 12 yd., according to the size required. The amateur will find this far better than working his own head-bands, but it has the disadvantage of not looking so even as a head-band properly worked on the book.
After the. head-band has been put on or worked, the book is "lined up" or "got ready for covering."
Nearly all modern books are bound with hollow backs, except where the books are sewn for flexible work, or otherwise meant to have tight backs.
The head-band is first set with glue, if worked, by glueing the head and tail, and with a folder the head-band is made to take the same form as the back. This is done by holding the book in the left hand with its back on the press, then a pointed folder held in the right hand is run round the beading 2 or 3 times to form it; the silk on the back is. then rubbed down as much as possible to make all level and even, and the book is allowed to dry. When dry, it is put into the laying press to hold it, and the back is well glued all over; some paper, usually brown, is now taken, the same length as the book, put on the back and rubbed down well with a thick folder: a good-sized beef rib is as good as anything. The overplus of the paper is cut away from the back, except the part projecting head and tail. A second coat of glue is put on the top of the brown paper and another piece is put on that, but not quite up to the edge on the left side. When this is well rubbed down, it is folded evenly from the edge on the right side over to the left; the small amount of glued space left will be, found sufficient to hold it down. The top is again glued, folded over from left to right, and cut off level by folding it back and running a sharp knife down the fold.
This is what is generally termed "two on and two off," being 2 thicknesses of paper on the back and 2 for the hollow; but thin or small books need only have 1 on the back and 2 for the hollow. Thick or large books should have more paper used in proportion to their size. Books that have been over-cast in the sewing should have rather a strong lining up, so that there be not such a strain when opened. When the whole is dry, the overplus of the paper, head and tail, is cut off close to the head-band.
The better the paper used the easier will be the working of it. Old writing or copy-book paper will be found to be as good as any, but good brown paper is mostly used.
The book is now ready for putting the bands on. These are prepared beforehand by sticking with glue 2 or 3 pieces of leather together or on a piece of paper, well pressing, and allowing to dry under pressure. The paper must be glued twice, allowing each coat to dry before glueing again. It should then be put on one side for future use, and when wanted, the proper thickness is chosen and cut into strips of a width to correspond with the size of the book. The book is marked up, 5 bands being the number generally used, leaving the tail a little longer than the other portions. The strips of band are then moistened with a little hot water to cause the glue upon the paper to melt. Each piece is then fixed upon the back just under the holes made with the compasses in marking up. This will be found to be a far better plan than to first cut the strips and then glue them. By the latter plan, the glue is liable to spread upon the side, where it is not wanted, and if the book has to be covered with light calf, it will certainly be stained black: be careful that all glue is removed from the back and sides before attempting to cover any book with calf.