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Tranparent Vellum

The other night I had to send out a special digest to a number of AOL
subscribers who had their mail inadvertantly set to postpone and I reread
the thread started by Steven Hales about transparent vellum. When I was
describing the steps I use to cover the book in I left out some important
details. There are two ways (I know of) to get the vellum onto the art
work. Both are wet, so the artwork had better be waterfast (I had a very
near disaster with that one). The first involves lining the vellum with
the artwork. Cut the vellum and artwork to the same size (turn-ins and
all). It helps if the paper is a textweight. Evenly wet out the vellum,
and then very evenly paste it out. The artwork should also be wet out.
Both of these should no longer be curling before they are put together.
Pasting and wetting out on slightly oversized pieces of mylar is a
great help because it makes it easy to handle the pieces and line
them up. Smooth everything out and put remay top and bottom, the finer
the better, and put between blotters in the press with lots of pressure.
Change blotters as needed and let dry for a week or so. It is important
that the vellum be stable, otherwise it will do strange things, the reason
most binders don't like vellum to begin with ( a pity, actually). The case
can then be covered as described earlier.

The other method involves putting the artwork on the covers, pasting out
the vellum (again, the strokes must be very even and the paste not to
thick. Otherwise you WILL see streaks through the vellum (Ugly). It must
then be covered in one go, except for the turn-ins. Allow to dry in a
press. The turn-ins can then be dampened out again, and glued up. I use
PVA for that, except at the head and tail because I need the time for the
headcaps. Wetting the vellum first will make it very supple. You might
want to shave/sand it down a bit before lining/covering at the headcaps if
it is too thick. Let the cover set around the textblock after those steps.
Case-in normally.

James Brockman described a different, yet similar way of doing this in a
back issue (last years I believe of the New Bookbinder.

To Richard Minsky's comment about pssing on vellum to soften it... It
works. Actually conservators, especially Eastern Europeans, use a pure
grade of urea, the active ingredient, especially for that purpose.


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