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Bookbinding For Amateurs

The Various Tools and Appliances Required and Instructions for Their Effective Use by W.J.E. Crane 1888

Bookbinding Materials


The materials brought into requisition in the binding of books are not very numerous, and the following may be taken as being all that will be required by the amateur, or even the professional bookbinder; unless the latter be in a very large way of business, when crocodile skin and other novel coverings are sometimes called for:

Morocco and Calf.-These leathers can be had in different colors, from about 7s. per skin upwards. Calf is a smooth leather, morocco one with a raised grain. One is the skin of the animal whose name it bears, the other that of the Oriental goat. Either is excellent leather for good books, although morocco is just now, perhaps, the favorite. At Messrs. Eadie's, Great Queen-street, Long Acre, either may be bought in half and quarter skins, or even enough for the back and corners of a single volume-of course, at slightly enhanced prices over the whole skin relatively.

Persian.-We have said that morocco' (Turkish understood) is the skin of the goat. Persian is also the skin of a small Eastern goat, but the leather is much harder and inferior to the Turkish. It is good leather, however, and very suitable to second-class work, and is only 3s. 6d. per skin. It may be had in various" grains" or surface patterns, but not in many hues only, perhaps, plum-colored and dark green. The "hard grain" Persian is the best.

Russia.-This is a strong, brown, smooth leather, only used in" stationery binding "-i.e., for ledgers, pocket books, &c. It is occasionally used in bookbinding, and is a good leather, but very thick, and needs careful paring. It can be bought in skins or small pieces, but is expensive. It is celebrated for its pleasant odor, due to the empyreumatic oil of the Russian birch bark employed in tanning it.

Hogskin -This should never be used, as it engenders mildew and mould in other bindings placed near it.

Roan.-This is a stout sheepskin, tanned with a smooth shiny surface and a straight grain. It is a common leather, but much used for half-bound books of no great value; about 4s. per skin.

Skiver.-This is the "grain" or outside portion of a sheepskin, split from the "flesh" or inside of the skin (of which the so called" chamois" leather is made). Skiver is very thin, and will tear almost as readily as good paper. In appearance it is much like roan, but is only suited to very common work.

Vellum.-This is made from calfskin by a peculiar process. It is a tough but intractable material, much used in the Middle Ages, but rarely now, and then generally for ancient theological books. It resembles stout parchment. The skins are small, and cost from 5s. to 7s. 6d. or 10s., according to size.

Velvet and Silk.-These materials are occasionally used by bookbinders, but we should not recommend them to the amateur. Prices vary, and cannot well be quoted.


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