Bookbinding and The Care of Books
|A Handbook for Amateurs Bookbinders & Librarians by
Douglas Cockerell with Drawings by Noel Rooke and other
Illustrations New York 1902
Bookbinding Chapter VI Part 1
TRIMMING BEFORE SEWING
| When the sheets come from the press the treatment of the edges must be decided upon, that is,
whether they are to be entirely uncut, trimmed before sewing, or cut in boards.
Early printed books and manuscripts should on no account have their edges cut at all, and any
modern books of value are better only slightly trimmed and gilt before sewing. But for books
of reference that need good bindings, on account of the wear they have to withstand, cutting in
boards is best, as the smooth edge so obtained makes the leaves easier to turn over. Gilt tops
and rough edges give a book a look of unequal finish.
If the edges are to remain uncut, or be cut “in boards” with the plough, the book will be ready
for “marking up” as soon as it comes from the press; but if it is to be gilt before sewing, it must
be first trimmed.
|The sheets for trimming with end papers and all plates inserted must be cut square at the head
against a carpenter’s square (see fig. 7). Then a piece of mill-board may be cut to the size it is
desired to leave the leaves, and the sections trimmed to it. To do this three nails should be put
into the covering board through a piece of straw-board, and the back of the section slid along
nails 1 and 2 until it touches No. 3 (see fig. 23). The board is slid in the same way, and anything
projecting beyond it cut off. When the under straw-board has become inconveniently scored in
the first position, by shifting the lower nail (1) a fresh surface will receive the cuts. Fig. 24 is a
representation of a simple machine that I use in my workshop for trimming. The slides A A are
adjustable to any width required, and are fixed by the screws B B.
The brass-bound straight edge C fits on to slots in A A, and as this, by the adjustment of the
slides, can be fixed at any distance from B B, all sizes of books can be trimmed. As by this
machine several sections can be cut at once, the time taken is not very much greater than if the
book were cut in the plough.
Considerable judgment is required in trimming. The edges of the larger pages only, on a
previously uncut book, should be cut, leaving the smaller page untouched. Such uncut pages are
called “proof,” and the existence of proof in a bound book is evidence that it has not been
unduly cut. Before gilding the edges of the trimmed sections, any uncut folds that may remain
should be opened with a folder, as if opened after gilding, they will show a ragged white edge.
|Bookbinding Chapter VI Part 2
|Back to Chapter V Part 3
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