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Re: [BKARTS] creating embossed bookcloth

Hi, Bill --

Thank you very much for the valuable information. I have all the supplies
here that you mention, so I am going to play around and see what I can come
up with.

Much appreciated.

Beth Stegenga
Paternoster Row Books

-----Original Message-----
From: Book_Arts-L [mailto:BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx]On Behalf Of
William Minter
Sent: Friday, January 18, 2008 11:08 AM
To: BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: creating embossed bookcloth

There may be some information in the archives on this subject.
I have made my own embossed bookcloth on a number of occasions, both
for rebacking, as well as, for facsimile bindings. Originally,
manufacturers used specially cut male and female cylindrical dies.
Obviously, they would be very expensive to reproduce. Large flat dies
could be used, but again expensive.
I have made some satisfactory, early publisher's, bookcloth by lining
(facing) cotton muslin with colored Japanese paper. When dry, the
Japanese is further colored with acrylic paints mixed with wheat
paste and methyl cellulose.
When that is dry, the material is again sized (actually wetted) with
methyl cellulose. As the upper surface dries, I then emboss the
material. Over the years, I have searched for commercially available
(inexpensive), textured materials that could be used, as again,
making special dies could be expensive. My most successful embossing
material has been various types of wire mesh, i,e. heavy, coarse
window screen --- used for screening and filtering of particles.
The mesh is laid on top of the nearly dry, prepared, faced and
colored fabric. A large book press is used to emboss the material.
Depending on the pressure obtainable, one might have to make only
small pieces of cloth. A good etching press would be ideal.
The mesh will leave a square pattern, but this can be altered by
rotating the screen about 45 degrees for a second pressing. The
result is quite good, almost circular.
In fact, I made a facsimile binding for an early Horatio Alger book
that had been previously "library bound". The owner / book collector
was exceedingly pleased with his book.
Good Luck,
Bill Minter

On Jan 17, 2008, at 1:50 PM, Elizabeth Stegenga wrote:

> Has anyone successfully created an embossed bookcloth that mimics
> Victorian
> cloth? I have a few books to reback that originally were embossed with
> designs, and I want to see if I can imitate the pattern so it
> blends into
> the boards better.
> I assume they used some sort of large brass die to make these
> impressions,
> but how to do that today, I am not sure, though I have many single
> handed
> brass tools at my disposal. Was it done with the cloth dry, damp,
> etc? I
> know that whatever they used, it also went into the boards, as the
> design is
> firmly pressed into the bookboards themselves beneath the cloth.


William Minter Bookbinding & Conservation, Inc.
4364 Woodbury Pike
Woodbury, PA  16695
Fax:   814-793-4045
Email:    wminter@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

          The Bonefolder, Vol. 4, No. 1, 2007 is Now Online at

             For all your subscription questions, go to the
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          The Bonefolder, Vol. 4, No. 1, 2007 is Now Online at
             For all your subscription questions, go to the
                      Book_Arts-L FAQ and Archive.
          See <http://www.philobiblon.com> for full information

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This page last changed: January 18, 2008