If, however, the book is to be entirely uncut, the size of the book is taken, and the portions called "squares" that project round the book, in addition.
When a book has not been cut, the amount to be cut off the head will give the head or top square, and the book being measured from the head, another square or projection must be added to it, and the compass set to one of the shortest leaves in the book. Bearing in mind the section on trimming, enough of the book only should be cut to give the edge solidity for either gilding or marbling. A few leaves should always be left not cut with the plough, to show that the book has not been cut down. These few leaves are called "proof," and are always a mark of careful work.
The boards having been squared, they are attached to the book by lacing the ends of the cord through holes in the board. The boards are laid on the book with their backs in the groove and level with the head; they are then marked with a pencil or bodkin exactly in a line with the slips, about 1/2 in. down the board. Holes are next made in the board with a short bodkin (with a piece of wood beneath) on the line, at a distance from the edge in accordance with the size of the book. About 1/2 in. away from the back is the right distance for an octavo. The board is turned over, and a second hole is made about \ in. away from the first ones. The boards having been holed, the slips are scraped, pasted slightly, and tapered or pointed. Draw them tightly through the hole first made, and back through the second. Tap them slightly when the board is down, to prevent them from slipping and getting loose. When the books are drawn-in, cut the ends of the slips close to the board with a knife, and well hammer them down on the knocking-down iron to make the board close on the slips and hold them tight. The slips should be well and carefully hammered, as any projection will be seen with great distinctness when the book is covered.
The hammer must be held perfectly even, or the slips will be cut by the edge.
The book is now examined, and any little alteration may be made before putting it into the standing press. Pressing-boards, the same size as the book, should be put flush with the groove, and in the centre of the press directly under the screw, which is tightened as much as possible. With all good books, a tin is put between the millboard and book, to flatten the slips and prevent their adherence to the book. The tin is put right up to the groove, and serves also as a guide for the pressing-board. In pressing books of various sizes, the largest is put at the bottom of the press, with a block or a few pressing-boards between the various sizes, in order to get equal pressure on the whole, and to allow the screw to come exactly on the centre of the books.
The backs of the books are pasted, and allowed to stand for a few minutes to soften the glue. Then with a piece of wood, called a "cleaning-off" stick, the glue is rubbed off, and the backs are well rubbed with a handful of shavings and left to dry. Let them lie as long as possible in the press, and, if the volume is rather thick, a coat of paste should be applied to the back.
In flexible work, care must be taken that the cleaning-off stick is not forced too hard against the bands, or the thread, being moist, will break; or the paper, being wet, will tear; or the bands may be shifted. The cleaning-off stick may be made of any piece of wood; an old octavo cutting-board is good.
When the volume has been pressed enough (at least 8 hours) it is taken out, and the tins and boards are put away. The book is then ready for "cutting."
All cutting "presses" are used in the same way: the plough runs over the press, and its left cheek runs between 2 guides fastened on the left cheek of the press. By turning the screw of the plough, the right cheek is advanced towards the left: the knife fixed on the right of the plough is advanced, and, with the point, cuts gradually through the boards or paper secured in the press, as already described in preparing the boards. There are 2 kinds of plough in use - in one the knife is bolted, in the other the knife slides in a dovetail groove - termed respectively "bolt knife" and "slide knife." The latter is preferable, on account of its facility of action, as any length of knife can be exposed for cutting. A bolt knife, being fixed to the shoe of the plough, is necessarily a fixture, and must be, worn down by cutting or squaring millboards, or such work, before it can be used with the truth necessary for paper.
To cut a book properly, it must be quite straight, and the knife must be sharp and perfectly true. Having this in mind, the book may be cut by lowering the front board the requisite distance from the head that is to be cut off. A piece of thin millboard or "trindle" is put between the hind board and the book, so that the knife when through the book may not cut the board of the book. The book is now lowered into the cutting-press, with the back towards the workman, until the front board is exactly on a level with the press. The head of the book is now horizontal with the press, and the amount to be cut off is exposed above it. Both sides should be looked to, as the book is very liable to get a twist in being put in the press. When it is quite square, the press is screwed up tightly and evenly. Each end should be screwed up to exactly the same tightness; if one end is loose, the paper will be jagged or torn instead of being cut cleanly.
The book is cut by drawing the plough gently to and fro; each time it is brought towards the workman, a slight amount of turn is given to the screw of the plough. If too much turn is given to the screw, the knife will bite too deeply into the paper and will tear instead of cutting it. If the knife has not been properly sharpened, or has a burr upon its edge, it will be certain to cause ridges on the paper. The top edge being cut, the book is taken out of the press and the tail is cut. A mark is made on the top of the hind or back board just double the size of the square, and the board is lowered until the mark is on a level with the cut top. The book is again put into the press, with the back toward the workman, until the board is flush with the cheek of the press; this will expose above the press the amount to be taken off from the tail, an before described, and the [eft-hand board will be, if pot level with the cut top, exactly the same distance above the press as the right-hand board is below the cut top.