Paste Paper and Pasting UP

This entry is part 14 of 20 in the series The Art of Bookbinding (Joseph W. Zaehnsdorf, 3rd Edt, 1897)

Coloured Paste Paper

This kind the binder can easily make for himself. Some colour should be mixed with past and a little soap, until it is a little thicker than cream. It should then be spread upon two sheets of paper with a past brush. The sheets must then be laid together with their coloured surfaces facing each other, and when separated they will have a curious wavy pattern on them. The paper should then be hung up to dry on a string stretched across the room, and when dry glazed with a hot iron. A great deal of it is used in Germany for covering books. Green, reds, and blues have a very good effect. There are many other kinds of paper that may be used, but the above five different varieties will give a very good idea and serve as points to work from. The many bookbinders’ material dealers send out pattern books, and in them some hundreds of patterns are to be found.

Before leaving the subject of ends, it may be as well to mention that morocco, calf, Russia, silk, etc., are often used on whole bound work; there must, however, be placed in the book when has been covered. After having decided upon what kind of paper is to be used, two pieces are cut and folded to the size of the book, leaving them a trifle larger, especially if the book has been already cut. Two pieces of whit paper must be prepared in the same way. Having them ready, a white paper must be prepared in the same way. Having them ready, a white paper is laid down, folded, on a pasting board (any old mill-board kept for this purpose), and pasted with moderately thin paste very evenly; the two fancy papers are laid on the top quite even with the back or folded edge; the top fancy paper is now to be pasted, and the other white laid on that ; they must now be taken from the board, and after a squeeze in the press between pressing boards, taken out, and hung up separately to dry. This will cause on half of the white to adhere to one half of the marble or fancy paper. When they are dry, they should be refolded in the old folds and pressed for about a quarter of an hour.

When there are more than one pair of ends to make, they need not be made one pair at a time, but ten or fifteen pairs may be done at once, by commencing with the one white, then two fancy, two white, and so on, until a sufficient number have been made, always pressing them to ensure the surfaces adhering properly; then hang them up to dry. When dry press again, to make them quite flat. As this is the first time I speak about pasting, a few hints or remarks on the proper way will not be out of place here. Always draw the brush well over the paper and away from the centre, towards the edges of the paper. Do not have too much paste in the brush, but just enough to make it slide well. Be careful that the whole surface is pasted; remove all hairs or lumps form the paper, or they will mark the book. Finally, never attempt to take up the brush from the paper before it is well drawn over the edge of the paper, or the paper will stick to the brush and turn over, with the risk of the under side being pasted. While the ends are pressing we will proceed with further forwarding our book.

Pasting Up

The first and last sheet of every book must be pasted up or down, _ it is called by both terms; and if the book has too much swelling, it must be tapped down gently with a hammer. Hold the book tightly at the foredge with the left hand, Knuckles down; rest the back on the press, and hit the back with the hammer to the required thickness. If the book is not held tightly, a portion of the back will slip in and the hollow will always be visible; so I advise that the back be knocked flat on the “lying press” and placed in it without boards, so that the back projects. Screw the press up tightly, so that the sheets cannot slip. A knocking-down iron should then be placed against the book on its left side, and the back hammered against it; the “slips” or cords must be pulled tight, each one being pulled with the right hand, the left holding the slips tightly against the book so that they cannot be pulled through. Should it happen that a slip is pulled out, nothing remains but to re-sew the book, unless it is a thin one, when it may possible be re-inserted with a large needle. But this will not do the book any good.

The slips being pulled tight, the first and last section should be pasted to those next them. To do this, lay the book on the edge of the press and throw the top section back; lay a piece of waste paper upon the next section about 1/8 or 1/4 inch from the back, according to the size of the book, and paste the space between the back and the waste paper, using generally the second finger of the right hand, holding the paper down with the left. When pasted, the waste paper is removed, and the back of the section put evenly with the back of the book, which is now turned over carefully that it may not shift; the other end is treated in the same manner. A weight should then be put on the top, or if more than a single book, one should lie on the top of the other, back and foredge alternately, each book to be half an inch within the foredge of the book next to it, with a few pressing boards on the top one. When dry the end papers are to be pasted on.