(a) "Run-up." Make a mark up the back on both sides a little away from the joint with a folder and straight-edge. Put on lettering piece. When dry, paste and paste-wash the back. When again dry, take some of Young's patent size, melt it in a pipkin with a little water and apply it with a sponge. Lay this on very evenly with a very soft sponge, and be particular that it is perfectly clean, so that no stains be left. When this size is done with, put it on one side for future use. This size should not be taken of its full strength, and when warmed again some more water should be added to make up for evaporation. When the coat of size has dried, apply 2 coats of glaire. The first must be dry before the second is applied, and great care should be taken that the sponge does not go over the same place twice, or the previous preparations will be disturbed. It is now ready for finishing. Cut the gold to proper size; rub a little lard over the whole of the back with cotton wool. This requires great attention. Very little must be put on light or green calf, as these colours are stained very readily. Take the gold up on a cotton pad; lay it carefully down on the back; breathe on the gold, and press down again. If there be any places where the gold is broken, they must be mended.
Heat a 2-line fillet so that it hisses when placed in the cooling pan or the saucer with the wet rag in it, and run it the whole length of the back on the line made before paste-washing. Do this on both sides, and rub the gold off with the gold-rag up to the line on the outside. Work a 2-line pallet on each side of the bands, and the morocco lettering piece last, as it requires less heat. The centre piece of each panel is next worked, firmly but quickly. The corners are worked from the centre or sides, using the right-hand corners as a guide, and judging the distance by the left-hand ones. The press must be turned when it is required to bring the left side to the right hand in working the corners. The requisite pallets are worked to finish the book head and tail, generally in one operation with the 2-line pallet.
Calf-work requires very quick working. The tools must not be held over the various places too long, or the heat will destroy the adherent properties of the albumen. With morocco this does not signify so much, as the heat is not so great.
(6) "Mitred back" is prepared the same way as for " run-up back," and the mitreing is done as explained in working morocco. This is superior work, requires more skill, and takes longer, but looks much better. Each panel must be an exact facsimile of the rest. If the tools do not occupy precisely similar places in each panel, the result will be very unsatisfactory. When the backs are finished, rub the gold off with the gold-rag, and clear off any residue with rubber. Be very careful that every particle of the surplus gold be cleared off, or the delicate lines of the ornaments will be obscure and ragged in appearance.
The book is now ready for lettering. Set the type up in the case, and work it carefully in a perfectly straight line over the back. The whole of the back is polished with the iron, which must be perfectly clean and bright. Prepare a board from an old calf binding, by applying some fine emery or charcoal and lard on the leather side of it. Rubbing the iron over this prepared surface will give it a bright polish. It must be used over the back by holding it lightly and giving it an oblong circular motion. Go over every portion of the back with very even pressure, so that no part may be made more glossy than another. The polishing iron should be used rather warmer than the tools: but if too hot, the glaire will turn white; if too cold, the polish will be dull. The grease upon the leather will be quite sufficient to make the polisher glide easily over the surface, but the operation must be rapidly and evenly done. All light and green calf requires less heat than any other kinds, and will turn black if the iron be in the least degree too hot.
The sides should be always in keeping with the back. Before the sides can be finished, the inside of the boards must receive attention. With a "run up" back, the edge of the leather round the end-papers is worked in blind or has a roll run round it in gold. In any case it should be paste-washed. If for blind, the roll is heated and worked round it; if for gold, it is glaired twice. The gold, cut into strips, is taken up on the roll, worked, and the overplus taken off with the rag as before directed. Extra work, such as mitred, should have some lines or other neat design put on. Paste-wash the leather, and, when dry, glaire twice. When again dry, lay on the gold all round, and work the single or other fillets, or such other tool as may be in keeping with the exterior work. When the gold has been wiped off, the leather is polished with the iron.
The outside must now be finished. If the sides are not to be polished, paste-wash the whole of the side up to the edge of the back carefully, then glaire only that portion which is to be gilt. In general a 2-line fillet only is used round the edge, so that the width of the fillet or roll must determine the width to be glaired. When glaired twice and dry, take up the gold on the fillet or roll and work it evenly and straightly round the edge. The corners where the lines meet are next stopped by working a small rosette or star on them. Clean off any gold that may be on the side, and work a small dotted or pin-head roll at the edge of the glaire. This will cover and conceal the edge.
Extra calf books generally have the sides polished. Paste-wash the sides all over, and size when dry. Hold the book, if small, in the left hand; if large, lay it on the press and work the sponge over the side in a circular direction, so that the size may be laid on evenly. Be very careful that it does not froth; should it do so, squeeze the sponge out dry, and fill it anew with fresh size. Some workmen work the sponge up and down the book, but if this be not done very evenly it produces streaks. Allow to dry by leaving the book with boards extended. When perfectly dry, glaire once. This will be found sufficient, as the size gives body to the glaire. When sizing and glairing, be sure that the book is laid down with the boards extended on a level surface; if the book be not level, the size or glaire will run down to the lowest portion of the surface and become unequally distributed.
The gold is now laid on the respective places, either broad or narrow, according to the nature of the finishing or width of the rolls. As a rule, the sides of the better class of calf books are only 3-lined round the edge and mitred in the corners. This is, however, quite a matter of taste. Some have a border of fancy rolls, but never any elaborate pattern as in morocco work. To finish the sides, place the book in the finishing press with the boards extended, so that they may rest on the press. This will afford greater facility for working the fillets, rolls, and tools necessary to complete the design on each side. The finishing press being small, it can be easily turned round as each edge of the border is finished.
To polish the sides, place the book on its side on some soft surface, such as a board covered with baize, and kept for the purpose. Use the large and heavy polishing iron, hot and clean. Work the iron quickly and firmly over the sides, first from the groove towards the foredge, and then in a contrary direction from the tail to the head by turning the volume. The oil or grease applied to the cover previous to laying on the gold will be sufficient to allow the polisher to glide easily over the surface. Polishing has the effect of smoothing down the burr formed on the leather by the gilding tools, and bringing the impressions up to the surface. The iron must be held very evenly, so that its centre may be the working portion. If held sideways, the edge of the iron will indent the leather. The heat must be sufficient to give a polish; but if the iron is too hot, it will cause the glaire to turn white. A practised finisher can generally tell the proper heat on holding the iron at some little distance from his face.
Calf books should be pressed, whether polished or not.