The perfection in covering a book depends upon the leather being worked sharp round the boards, but with the grain almost untouched.

Paste should be always used for all kinds of leather; but leather with an artificial grain should be glued, the turning in being pasted. The glue gives more body to the leather, and thus preserves the grain. White morocco should be covered with paste made without alum, which turns it yellow. If the leather is washed with lemon-juice, instead of vinegar, when finishing, the colour will be much improved.

Russia leather is pared in the same way as morocco. It should be damped and rolled with a rolling-pin before covering.

Calf, either coloured or white, need be pared only round the head-band; it should be covered with paste, and the book washed, when covered, with a clean damp sponge. In putting 2 books together, when of calf of 2 different colours, a piece of paper should be placed between, as most colours stain each other, especially green. Care should be taken to finger calf as little as possible; whilst wet, touching, it with iron tools, such as knives and band nippers, will cause a black stain. Morocco will bear much handling.

Vellum Or Parchment

The boards should be covered with white paper, to avoid any darkness of the board showing through. The vellum or parchment should be pared at head and tail, and the whole well pasted and allowed to stand for a short time, so that it be well soaked and soft. The book should then be covered, but the vellum must not on any account be stretched much, or when dry it will draw the boards up to a remarkable extent. If the book be pressed, the vellum will adhere better. Old binders took great pains in covering their white vellum books. The vellum was lined carefully with white paper and dried before covering: this in some degree hindered the shrinking in drying, and enabled the workman to give the boards a thin and even coat of glue, which was allowed to dry before putting on the covering.

Roan is covered with glue and turned in with paste. Head and tail only need be pared round the head-band.

Cloth is covered by glueing the cover all over and turning in at once: glueing one cover at a time, and finishing the covering of each book before touching the next.

Velvet should be covered with clean glue not too thick; first glue the back of the book and let that set before the sides are put down. The sides of the book should next be glued, and the velvet laid down, turned in with glue. The corners should be very carefully cut or they will not meet, or cover properly when dry. When the whole is dry, the pile may be raised, should it be finger marked, by holding the book over steam, and, if necessary, by using a brush carefully.

Silk and satin should be lined first with a piece of thin paper cut to the size of the book, glued with thin clean glue, rubbed down well, and allowed to get dry, before covering the book. When dry, cover it as with velvet.

Half-Bound Work

The book has its back, a part of the sides, and the corners covered with leather. The sides are, after the leather is perfectly dry, covered either with cloth or paper according to fancy, turned over the boards as with leather. The book is then pasted down. Before the paper is put on the sides, all unevenness of the leather is pared away. This style has come very much into reputation lately on account of its economy; the amount of leather required is less, and the work is as strong and serviceable as in a whole-bound book. It will be better if the back be finished before the corners are put on, as there is great likelihood that the corners may get damaged to some extent during the process of finishing. The outside paper may either match the colour of the leather, or be the same as the edge or end-papers.

Pasting Down

This is to cover up the inside board by pasting down the end-papers to the boards.

The white or waste leaf, that has till this process protected the end-papers, is now taken away or. torn out. The joint of the board must be cleaned of any paste or glue that may have accumulated there, by passing the point of a sharp knife along it, so that when the end is pasted down, the joint will be quite straight and perfectly square.

Morocco books should be filled in with a smooth hoard or thick paper, the exact substance of the leather. This thickness must be carefully chosen, and one edge be cut off straight, and stuck on the inside of the board very slightly, in fact only touching it in the centre with a little glue or paste, just sufficient to hold it temporarily. It must be flush with the back-edge of the board. When dry, the paper or board is marked with a compass about 1/2 in. round, and both paper and leather are cut through at the same cut with a sharp knife. The overplus board will fall off, and the outside of the leather may be easily detached by lifting it up with a knife. The paper or board, which will now fit in exactly, should be glued and well rubbed down with a folding-stick, or it may be put into the standing press if the grain of the morocco is to be polished, but not otherwise.

Morocco books only have morocco joints, thus made. Morocco of the same colour is cut into strips the same length as the book, and about 1 1/2 in. in breadth for 8vo; a line is drawn or marked down each strip about 1/2 in. from its edge, with a pencil or folder, as a guide. The leather is pared from the mark to a thin edge on the 1/2-in. side, and the other side is pared as thin as the leather turned in round the board, so that there will be 2 distinct thicknesses on each piece: the larger half going on the board to correspond with the leather round the 3 sides, and the smaller and thinly pared half going in the joint and edge on to the book. The end-papers, only held, in with a little paste, are lifted out from the book, the leather, well pasted, is put on the board, so that the place where the division is made in the leather by paring will come exactly to the edge of the board; the thin part should then be well rubbed down in the joint, and the small thin feather edge allowed to go on the book.