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Re: polished metallic graphite || graphie edges



Polished graphite edges are not that uncommon, and when done right are very
striking.

Bookmakers in Washington sells the graphite powder. Not sure of cost, but
it's not terribly expensive.

In terms of technique, it's something described in several of the tradition
German bookbinding manuals. The only English book I know which really
covers many of the techniques required for doing these is John Mitchell's
"A Craftsman's  Guide to Edge Decoration," Standing Press Ltd, 1993. ISBN 0
9521626 0 1. It covers many techniques of edge decoration from colored to
sprinkled to gilt. It does not cover graphite, but all the edge preparation
pre-steps are the same. The illustrations are also quite good.

Guillotine/plough book edge (You want the cleanest, smoothest, edge possible.
Then put the book in a laying press with wastepaper/mat board on either
side (I usually use 1/2" on either side). The wastepaper/board must be
flush with the edge of the book. If not you'll have problems at the
first/last pages/signature of the book. You want one plane surface. What I
do is make blocks of waste paper which I fan-glue and then trim. Less
futzing. The other are you have to watch is the bottom edge of these
blocks. Mine are longer then the cheeks of the laying press I use so that
they deform out under pressure. This helps prevent pressing a line into the
book.

Crank down the press, tight. Areas to be careful of are the shoulder and at
the fore-edge. The blocks should extend beyond them. I then put the book
into a workmate and tighten just enough to hold the book/press.

Using an edge scraper (mine is curved metal, the edge is maintained by
creating a burr with a file) and fine emory cloth or sandpaper (the finer
the better) you want to get your  edge smooth and polished. When looking at
it you want to see reflections in a mirror-like surface. This will also
show pits and other things which need to be worked out. Problem areas will
be very visible. You will want to work them out.

Next step is to make a sizing out of very dilute wheat-paste. I mix it up
in a small glass bowl to a consistency of thin cream. Rub that into your
book edge. I use paper towel, or a soft rag for this step. Then sprinkle a
bit of the the graphite powder and using the same rag daub that onto the
edge and rub in evenly. You'll see the edge getting darker. Repeat until
the edge is evenly dark. At this stage you can also sprinkle a little bit
of dry graphite powder onto the edge, and rub in. You have to be very
careful not to have clumps of the graphite on the edge. When you burnish /
open the book they will break / pop off, and it'll show. Next using a very
soft rag, rub the edge with increasing pressure to polish. Some will want
to stop at this point, and it can look quite nice. The next step for me
though is to take out an agate burnisher and very carefully, starting at
one end, and moving the burnisher back and forth PERPENDICULAR to the edge
move down the whole length. That'll really bring out a shine.

That's how I do it, in a nutshell. It requires a lot of practice to get it
down cold, but once learned is a wonderful accent on a book.  Great
practice blocks can simply made by fan-gluing copier paper. If you line
them with mull/linen, you can practice endbands on them later.

Peter


>QUESTION: I have seen the language "polished metallic graphite" used in =
>the
>description of an artist's book. I gather from the context that it is
>applied to the edges of the pages, much as gilt would be. I have =
>checked
>with several of my standard book suppliers to no avail.
>
>QUESTION: Relma, in France: Is this the only place to purchase filet =
>cheveux
>gauges?
>
>Again, my thanks,  A.
>
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Philobiblon: Book Arts, Different By Design
Hand Binding, Conservation, and Project Websites
Peter D. Verheyen
<mailto:verheyen@philobiblon.com>
<http://www.philobiblon.com/philobiblon>
<Fax: 612.632.3718>

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            BOOK_ARTS-L: The listserv for all the book arts.
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                          To unsubscribe send:
                            UNSUB Book_Arts-L
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