Saturday, July 17, 2021

Tool Talk 3: Edge Trimming Rule (Kantenlineal)

Edge trimming rules have been mentioned the German bookbinding literature at least since Greve in his Hand- und Lehrbuch der Buchbindekunst (1823) and L. Brade's illustrirtes Buchbinderbuch (1868 with various editions). These rules are used for cutting the boards down to their final size after they have been attached to the text block, either on the guard with spine piece or if laced on. The rules illustrated below have raised lips that are 3 and 5 mm wide. These are made from machined aluminum and were ordered from Schmedt. The ones I used as an apprentice in Germany were made of steel. In both cases, they were machined so that the ends adjacent to the lips were beveled.



To use, the rule is slipped under the outermost leaf with the board underneath. The lip is pressed tight to the edge of the book, and the excess is then cut off with a sharp blade. The beauty of these rules is that even if the book is out of square, the book will always have even squares.


I most commonly used the 3 mm rule, with the 5 mm rule being used for the ledger books like springback bindings that are beefier. I would love 2 mm and 4 mm as they align better with the board thickness I use. The way I learned, board thickness = size of squares.

Below a video of the tool in use.


I find these rules incredibly useful, especially for in-boards bindings.

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Tool Talk 2 - Kaschiereisen (Frottoir/Grattoir)

The Kaschiereisen as this tool is known in German is made to shape and consolidate the spine of a book in backing where it was used as an alternative (or augmentation) to the hammer offering a high degree of control. Jeff Peachey has written about these tools several times, also sharing his growing collection. Most recently, Ulrich Widman "reintroduces" the tool to German bookbinding audiences with an upcoming article for the Meister der Einbandkunst Rundbrief (2021).

In the German bookbinding literature the tool has several spellings,  Cachiereisen/ Cachier-Eisen /Kaschiereisen/Kaschier-Eisen. The interchangeable "c" and "k" are very common in German, the "c" being connected to the French roots of a word, but also as an affectation from when French was considered superior. Cashier, comes from the French "cahier" meaning signature/quire, or in our context a tool for working/shaping/folding the signatures. Eisen = iron, the material the tool was often made of.

In its history, the Kaschiereisen was sometimes two tools, in French the grattoir had a toothy end that grabbed the folds and provided the friction to push the signatures over to form the shoulder. The frottoir was smooth and used to smooth the folds and finish the shaping of the spine and shoulder. It also served to scrape off excess adhesive and ensure that it penetrated into the space between signatures.

At left the Rücken-/ Cashierholz and at right the Cashiereisen
from plate 2 of Greve's Die Buchbindekunst, 1823.
The use of the tools is described on pages 214-15.

The use of the tool is also described on page 35 of Schäfer's Handbuch der Buchbinderkunst (1845). Schäfer refers to it as a Kratzeisen (scratch iron), and Reiber (burnisher) made of iron, these being distinct tools like the grattoir and frottoir. He also and issues warnings about the improper use of the tool and the damage it can cause. 

Paul Adam describes using a Cachiereisen to finish the backing work of the hammer. The shape at both ends is smooth and curved like a frottoir.

From Paul Adam's Der Bucheinband seine Technik
und seine Geschichte
, 1890 (pg 45).

In his Practical Bookbinding (1903), a translation of Die Praktischen Arbeiten des Buchbinders (1898), Adams writes that "the use of a tooth Cachier iron is strictly forbidden, but the round side of this tool may be used instead of a hammer" (pg. 59).

Use of the tool seems to have declined, but it continued to receive mentions in manuals. The best description of the tool appeared in Der Buchbinderlehrling (1937) as a two part article. The first part featured a picture of the tool with the question of "who knows what this is..." The Buchbinderlehrling was a magazine for bookbinding apprentices, and quizzes were a regular feature

The quiz in Der Buchbinderlehrling.
1. Who knows this tools, and what is it called?
2. For what task is it used?
3. How is it used?
4. Are there images showing how it is used

The tool in use from Der Buchbinderlehrling.

The bulk of the article featured 7 responses from apprentices, Meister, and others. The responses varied, with some going into detail and others being cautionary. They also referenced depictions in the literature, but the tool was unfamiliar to most.

Below images of these tools that I use.

It was made by Jeff Peachey, called a "backing tool",
and featured in his first catalog (link to 2nd catalog).
I love using this one on smaller, more delicate books.

My first Kaschiereisen, acquired early
in my career from a German binder

Jeff Peachey's latest, made of stainless steel.
It is a dream to use.
Order yours here!

Here some images and videos of the tool in use.

Backing/shaping the spine.


Smoothing the spine.

Monday, July 5, 2021

Tool Talk 1 - Fray Shield (Aufschabeblech)

 A looooooong time ago, not to long after I started this blog, I introduced the Aufschabebelch, a simple tool that one could purchase or make one's self. Below an image of it, also in use from 1806.

From plate II of Hendrik de Haas' De Boekbinder, 1806.
Fig 8. Het opvlas planje.
Fig 9. Het opvlasten der banden.
(PDF pg 174-76)

They were usually made of tin and the one I am most familiar with was shaped like in the image below. Why that shape and hole configuration? It's not explained, but is pretty much identical to the one I used as an apprentice in the mid 1980s.


(Halle a.d. Saale, 1909), plate 1.
Attaching the boards in the German Franzband tradition.
From from Wiese's Werkzeichnen für Buchbinder..., (Stuttgart, 1937).

Recently, I was invited to give a workshop on what I call the Ur-Bradel, the German Pappband structure that over the course of the centuries morphed into various flavors, often national, and of which all seem to have slightly different understandings. I won't get into those here, but in that structure, if the book was sewn on recessed cords, those cords were frayed out, paste was applied (often hide glue was applied to the guard (Ansetzfalz)), and then they were fanned out smoothly. The benefit was that this process resulted in sewing supports that were almost invisible under the endpapers when the book was done. That was the theory, because the extent to which the cords were frayed and fanned out varied by skill or time pressure.

The image below is from a cutaway model I making of one of these Ur-Bradels, ca 1800 and shows the cords frayed out and put down on the guard. The next step would be to attach the spine piece to the guard, then the boards, but I digress.

Fritz Otto did ok... Not atypical.

In the past I would have just teased the fibers of the cord apart with a needle then run them over a not to sharp paper/standard bookbinders' knife blade. Then I thought, perhaps Jeff Peachey could make me one. I sent him the image above and after a good bit of back and forth he sent me two prototypes to test out.

Fritz Otto showing off the two fray shield prototypes.
The shape is different from the one in German manuals... Will it matter?

Another view. The dimensions of the bottom one were what I asked for,
with a heavier steel used. The top, Jeff's reinterpretation.

In the end, I really liked Jeff's reinterpretation more.
You can even order your own from him now!

After teasing the fibers of the cord apart, they are slipped into
the notch and a bookbinders' knife is used to finish and make
then silky smooth.

Below a video in which I try out both to see which I liked better. There is no sound or narration.


As a surprise, Jeff even made one for Fritz Otto. He loved trying it out. Worked great, and he's glad to have it in his tool box.

Holding his "right-sized" Aufschabeblech.

Fraying out the cords...

Brushing the hide glue onto the guard...

Fanning out the frayed out cords on the guard.