In this post we are going to deal with the final few stages that need to be completed before work on the Leather begins.
All these stages involve Lining.
Before we do anything, we need to protect the book block. From now on we won’t need to open the book, so to keep the pages clean and keep the gilt edge from harm we have to Cap the book.
For this I use a 120gsm Archival Kraft paper. It needs to fit snugly around the block, so you need to measure all its dimensions, height, width and depth.
Once the Net has been drawn out onto the paper join the depth dimension with a diagonal line. Then cut it out and crease along all the lines with a bone folder.
Turn the flat cap over and crease the triangles that will form the corners in half.
Now form the cap off of the book to firm up the creases and form the corners. The excess triangular corner pieces on the inside need to fit into the hollow area created by the concave fore-edge.
When you’re happy with it, cap up the book block and tape it down.
Once capped up we are now ready to line the spine. The idea is to strengthen and protect the spine edge of the sections, whilst still allowing the spine to open freely.
Each piece of lining material is slightly larger than the preceding layer, with the final lining measuring from centre to centre of the endpapers. Also all material used needs to have its grain running from head to tail as usual.
The first lining is to even out the spines profile. We need to build up the areas between the tapes, for this I use starched muslin glued on with PVA.
For the next layer I use a quality heavy, yet supple hand made paper longer at head and tail. I have used 190gsm Bockingford.
To even out the gaps between the tapes still further, I apply fillers made from 120gsm Archival Kraft. Then finally a layer of Manila Kraft paper.
Using a good strong pair of scissors, you need to trim the lining close to headbands. This can be quite scary so take your time. Cut in a well-lit area, keep the scissors steady and roll the book from the beginning of the cut to the end. Again, take your time; you don’t want to nick the headbands!
We are now going to apply a Hollow Back to the spine. This in effect is a tube of kraft paper or light card that is stuck to the spine and in turn to the leather. Towards the end of the binding process it will be slightly slit to accommodate the leather turn in.
For this I’ll be using Belmont Hollow, a 225gsm card ideal for the purpose although I have used the same 120gsm Archival Kraft mentioned earlier. Both are fine.
Take a piece of scrap paper and measure the width of the spine between the coloured portions of the endpapers. Now measure out three widths of the spine on a piece of Belmont and cut the whole longer than the spine. Now crease and fold and check for fit.
Now glue out one edge and so that you have a tube with one thickness of card on one side and a double thickness on the other.
The single thickness will be glued to the book and the double will be stuck to the leather. This is known as one on and two off.
It’s a good idea to glue the hollow to the book quite soon after it has been made as it will be more pliable now as opposed to when it is dry. You will need to keep working the hollow until it is well stuck.
Now trim the hollow in the same manner as the lining.
Before we put a final lining on the cover boards we need to set the slips.
At the moment the tapes are standing proud from the boards. Place the boards in their final position and mark the profile of each tape.
Now open the book back on its self and with a sharp scalpel cut the marked sections out to the depth of the tapes. Brush a little PVA into the recesses, close the book and smooth down the tapes.
Finally you need to line the boards. I’ve used 300gsm Somerset Satin, a heavy paper but with a smooth surface that will give the leather a good foundation.
Cut the paper larger at head, tail and fore-edge. Paste and apply right on the spine edge of the board. Smooth off and gently crease around the edge. Do the same on the back board and press until dry.
When dry remove the excess board lining paper by sanding with a fine wet and dry paper. Do not be tempted to trim it off with a scalpel or craft knife. You will cut the headband; trust me it happens!
Sanding the edges gives you a clean edge and a softer profile for the leather.
In the next edition I’ll show you how to measure up and pare the leather. Until then leave the prepared book between pressing boards.