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With numerous engravings and diagrams
by Paul N. Hasluck 1903

Guilding Book Edges


GILDING is the most beautiful method of ornamenting the edges of books; it suits almost any colour and any binding, and may be carried out in a variety of ways so as to produce many beautiful effects. Gilding is not mere ornamentation; it is also the best preservative that can be applied to book edges. Dust cannot penetrate between the leaves of gilt edged books, decay is retarded if not altogether prevented, and the action of fire is resisted to a remarkable extent; it is for this last reason that the edges of ledgers are sometimes very thickly gilt. Among the many varieties of gilding may be mentioned gilt on colour, in which the edges are fanned out and colored, and then gilt. Red is the colour most generally preferred, hence the com­mon expression" gilt on red," or " red under gold" but other colors are used. Gilding is also done on marble; it is called marbling under gilt, and as may be imagined, when well done is very beautiful. Book edges are also gilt and tooled, tools of a fine pattern being chosen and used warm.

The tools used by the edge gilder for ordinary plain gilding are the gilding press, which has long screws, a steel scraper, a gold cushion, gold knife, tip, burnisher, and a flat brush. The materials required are gum, Armenian bole, diluted glaire, and gold leaf.

In shops where gilding is done only occasionally, the ordinary lying press may be used in place of the gilding press. But where large quantities of work are executed it is usual to have a special press of the kind shown by Fig. 64.

Gilder's Press

The ordinary steel scraper is shown by Fig. 65, and is simply a flat piece of steel about n in. thick. The scraper can easily be made from a broken knife, which should be ground up in the same way as a carpenter's chisel, except that the corners should be rounded a little. Many workers prefer it ground up while soft, so as to cast a "burr" upon the edge, and then hardened; the burr thus produced is used to scrape with, and a scraper thus made will be found to cut very quickly.

Steel Scraper for Book Edges



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