Great care must be taken to rub the whole down well, that it may adhere properly; the grain need not be heeded. With regard to the overplus at the head and tail, there are two ways of disposing of it: first, by cutting both leathers slanting through at once, and making the two meet; or, secondly, by cutting the cover away in a slant and doing the same to the joint, so that the 2 slant cuts cover each other exactly. This requires very nice paring, or it will be seen in the finishing. The book should be left till quite dry, which will take some 5-6 hours. The boards are then filled in by the same method, and the end-papers are fastened in again properly.

Cloth Joints

If the cloth has been stuck in when the ends were made, after cleaning all unevenness from the joints, the boards are filled in as above, and the cloth joint is stuck down with thin glue, and rubbed down well. The marble paper may now be put on the board by cutting it to a size, a little larger than the filling in of the board, so that it may be well covered. When cloth joints are put in, the board paper is generally brought up almost close to the joint; but with morocco joints, the space left all round must be even.

Calf, Russia, etc - After having cleaned the joint, the leather is marked all round a trifle larger than the size intended for the end-papers to cover. Then with a knife, the leather is cut through in a slanting direction by holding the knife slanting. The boards should be thrown back to protect the leather, and the book placed on a board of proper size, so that both book and board may be moved together, when turning round. When the leather is cut, a piece of paper should be pasted on the board to till up the thickness of the leather, and to curve or swing the board back; the boards otherwise are sure to curve the contrary way, especially with calf. When this lining is dry, the end-papers may be pasted down.

There are 2 methods of doing this. In the most exact, the paper is pasted all over, especially in the joint, and the paper being held in the left hand, is well rubbed down, more particularly in the joint. The paper is marked all round (head, foredge, and tail) with a pair of compasses to the width required for finishing inside the hoard. With a very sharp knife, the paper is to be cut through to the depth of the paper only, by laying the straight-edge on the marks made by the compasses. This has the advantage of procuring an exact margin round the board; but it must be done quickly, or the paper will stick to the leather round the board from the paste getting dry, the leather absorbing the watery particles in the paste. The other way is to lay the paper back, and down on the board, and then to mark it. A tin is then placed between the book and paper, and the paper is cut to the marks made. The paper is then pasted down as above. When pasted down, the book should be left standing on its end, with boards left open until thoroughly dry, which will be about 6 hours. A tin should be kept especially for cutting on, and the knife must be as sharp as possible.

This latter method is used for all half bindings.


Hand - finishing is really an art. The finisher should be able to draw, or at least have some knowledge of composition, and also know something about the harmony of colours. Taste has no small influence. It is better to finish books plainly, rather than put on more gold than is necessary. Let the tools be always in keeping with the book, both in size and character. Large ones should be used only on a large book, and those of less size for smaller works. A book on Natural History should hare a bird, insect, shell or other tool indicative of the contents. A flower should be used on works on Botany, and all other works should be treated in the same emblematical manner. In lettering, see that the letters are of a size proportionate to the book - legible but not too bold. They should neither be so large as to prevent the whole of the title being read at one view, nor so small as to present a difficulty in ascertaining the subject of a book when on the shelf. Amongst a large number of books, there should be an agreeable variety of styles, so that the effect may be in harmony with the colours around, and produce as pleasing a contrast as possible.

Tools And Materials

These embrace rolls, fillets, pallets, centre and corner tools of every possible class and character; type of various sizes for lettering books or labels. The type may be either of brass or printers' metal; if the latter, care must be taken that it be not left at the fire too long, or it will melt. Type-holders are made to fit the respective sizes, but one or two with a spring side, adjusted by screw, will be found convenient for any type, in England it is the custom to letter books with hand letters, each letter being separate and fixed in a handle. Doubtless these will in time be laid aside, and the type and type-case will be adopted.

Of polishing-irons 2 are necessary - one for the sides and one for the backs. Often a third is kept for polishing the board end-papers when pasted down.

The gold-rag, to wipe off the surplus gold from the back or side of a book, should have a little oil well worked into it, so that the gold may adhere to and remain in it. This rag when full of gold will be of a dirty yellow, and may then be melted down by a gold-refiner, and the waste gold recovered.

Rubber, cut up very small - the smaller the better - and steeped in turpentine so as to make it as soft as possible, is used for clearing away any gold not taken off by the gold-rag. This should also be melted down when full.

Sponges are wanted - large ones for paste-washing, smaller for glairing and sizing.

Glaire may be purchased already prepared, or it may be made from white of egg very carefully beaten up to a froth with a whisk. In breaking the egg, care must be taken not to let any of the yolk get amongst the white. A little vinegar should be mixed with the white before beating up, and a drop of ammonia, or a grain or two of common table salt, or a small piece of camphor, will in some measure prevent it from turning putrid, as it is liable to do. Some workmen keep a stock of "good old glaire," as they term it, by them, fancying that it produces better work; but this is a mistaken notion. When well beaten, allow the glaire to stand for some hours, and then pour the clear liquid into a bottle for use.