Hold the book in the left hand, lay a board on one side, a little away from the back, taking the edge of the top sheet as a guide, the distance to be a trifle more than the thickness of the boards to be used. The book, with the backing-board, is then turned over, hold* ing the boards to the book by the thumb, so that it does not shift; next lay the other board at exactly the same distance on the other side. The whole is now hold tightly by the left hand, and lowered into the press. The boards may possibly have shifted a little during the process, and any correction may now be made whilst the press holds the book before screwing up tight, such as a slight tap with the hammer to one end of a board that may not be quite straight. Should the boards however be not quite true, it will be better to take the whole out and readjust them, rather than lose time in trying to rectify the irregularity by any other method.
The book and boards being lowered flush with the cheeks of the press, screw it up as tightly as possible with the iron hand-pin. The back of the book must now be gently struck with the back of the hammer, holding it slanting, and beating the sheets well over towards the backing-boards. Commence from the centre of the back and do not hit too hard, or the dent made by the hammer will show after the book has been covered. The back is finished with the face of the hammer, bringing the sheets well over on the boards so that a good and solid groove may be made. Each side is to be treated in the same way, and have the same amount of weight and beating. The back must receive a gradual hammering, and the sheets, when knocked one way, must not be knocked back again. The hammer should be swung with a circular motion, always away from the centre of the back. The book, when opened after backing, should be entirely without wrinkles. Backing and cutting constitute the chief work in forwarding, and if these are not done properly, the book cannot be square and solid - great essentials in bookbinding.
Backing flexible work is a little more difficult, as the slips are tighter; otherwise the process is exactly the same, only care must be taken not to hammer the cord too much, and to bring over the sections very gently, in order not to break the sewing thread.
Fig. 185 illustrates a section of a book in the press before backing: a, press; b, backing-boards; c, book. Fig. 1B6 represents a section of the same book in the press after backing.
The workman should take advantage of the period of drying to select the proper thickness of boards, and line them with paper on one side or both.
First square the edge which is to go to the back of the book, in the cutting-press, using a cutting-board for one side termed a "runner," and another called a "cut-against" for the other side. These are to save the press from being cut; and a piece of old millboard is generally placed on the cut-against, so that the plough-knife does not cut up the latter too quickly. The boards, if for whole-binding, are lined on both sides with paper; if for half-binding, on one side. The reason for lining Is to make the boards curve inwards towards the book. The various pastings would cause the board to curve the contrary way if it were not lined. It may be taken as a general rule that a thinner board when pasted will always draw a thicker one. If the boards are lined on both sides, paper is cut double the size of the boards; if on one aide, the paper is cut a little wider than the boards, so that a portion of it may be turned over on to the other side about } in. The paper is brushed with not too thick paste, and the board is laid on the paper with the cut edge towards the portion to be turned over. It is now taken up with the paper adhering, laid on the press with the paper side upwards, and rubbed well down; again turned over, and the paper drawn over the other side.
Press the boards so as to be quite sure that the paper adheres.
When books ore very thick, 2 boards may be stack together, not only to get the proper thickness, but for strength. If a board has to be made, a thick and a somewhat thinner board should be put together. Paste both boards, and put them in the standing press for the night. Great pressure should not be put on at first, but after allowing them to set for a few minutes, pull down the press as tight as possible. When putting made boards to the book, the thinner one should always bo next the book.
When boards are lined on one side only, it is usual to turn 1/2 in. of the paper over the square edge, and the lined side must be placed next the book.
There are many kinds of boards made.
Black boards made of old rope vary much in quality, but the blacker, harder, and smoother they are the better. The grey or white boards, used mostly for antique work, are pasted on a thin black board, and bevelled down to the black one to the required width and angle. The boards used extensively for cloth work are yellow and are made from straw, or from wood pulp. All boards are sold by weight, no matter what size or thickness.
The most useful implement for cutting the boards up are large shears, costing 16-305. One arm or shank is screwed into the laying press, and the other, left free, is used with the right hand; the left hand holds the board to be cut.
Boards, when lined, are laid out to dry, and, when dry, cut to the size of the book. The requisite width is obtained by extending the compasses from the back of the book to the edge, of the smaller bolt or fold in the foredge. After screwing them up, the boards are knocked up even, compassed up, and cut in the laying press, using as before, the "cut-against," and placing the runner exactly to the compass holes. When cut, they are tested by turning one round and putting them together again; if they are the least out of truth, it will be apparent at once. The " head " or top of the boards is next cut by placing a square against the back, and marking the head with a bodkin. The boards being quite straight are again put into the press and cut, and when taken out should be again proved by reversing them as before; if not true, they must be recut. The length is taken from the head of the book to the tail, and in this some judgment must be used. If the book has already been cut, the boards must be somewhat larger than the book, leaving only such an amount of paper to be removed as will make the edge smooth.