Putting on the End Papers

This entry is part 15 of 20 in the series The Art of Bookbinding (Joseph W. Zaehnsdorf, 3rd Edt, 1897)

Two single leaves of white paper, some what thicker than the paper used for making the ends, are to be cut, one for each side of the book. The end papers are to be laid down on a board, or on a piece of paper on the press to keep them clean, with the pasted or made side uppermost, the single leaves on the top. They should then be fanned out evenly to a proper width, about a quarter of an inch for an 8vo., a piece of waste paper put on the top, and their edges pasted.

The slips or cords thrown back, the white fly is put on the book, a little away from the back, and the made ends on the top even with the back, and again left to dry with the weight of a few boards on the top. If, however, the book or books are very heavy or large, they should have “joints” of either bookbinders cloth or of leather of the same colour as the leather with which the book is to be covered. Morocco is mostly used for the leather joints. If the joints are to be of cloth, it may be added either when the ends are being put on, or when the book is ready for pasting down. If the cloth joint is to be put on now, the cloth is cut from 1 to 3 inches, according to the size of the book, and folded quite evenly, the side of the cloth which has to go on the book being left the width enfolded 3/4 one side, leaving 1/4 the other, the latter to be put on the book. The smallest fold is now glued, the white fly put on, and the fancy paper on the top; the difference being, that the paper instead of being made double or folded is single, or instead of taking a paper double the size of the book and folding it, it is cut to the size of the book and pasted all over. It will be better if the marble paper be pasted and the white put on and well rubbed down, and then the whole laid between mill-boards to dry.


A piece of waste or brown paper should be slightly fastened at the back over the whole, (turning the cloth down on the book) to keep it clean and prevent it from getting damaged. The strongest manner is to overcast the ends and cloth joint to the first and last section of the book, as it is then almost impossible either for the cloth or ends to pull away from the book. If, however, the cloth joint is to be put on after the book is covered, the flys and ends are only edged on with paste to the book just sufficient to hold them while it is being bound; and when the book is to be pasted down, the ends are lifted from the book by placing a thin folding-stick between the ends and book and running it along, when they will come away quite easily.

The cloth is then cut and folded as before and fastened on, and the ends and flys properly pasted in the back. Morocco joints are usually put in after the book is covered, but I prefer that if joints of any kind are to go in the book they should be put in the same time as the ends. Take great care that the ends are quite dry after being made before attaching them, or the dampness will affect the beginning and end of the book and cause the first few leaves to wrinkle.

When the ends are quite dry the slips should be unravelled and scraped, a bodkin being used for the unravelling, and the back of a knife for the scraping. The object of this is, that they may with greater ease be passed through the holes in the mill-board, and the bulk of the cord be more evenly distributed and beaten down, so as not to be seen after the book has been covered.

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