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Re: Bookbinding Plough

One of the advantages of receiving this list as a digest is that I can read
all of the responses to a query before responding.

I have a plough, but have not used it for years.  Instead, I clamp the
textblock between the cheeks of a lying press and trim the edges with a

It's a thick, wide chisel, ground to a very sharp edge.  I lay it flat on
one cheek of the press and slide it back and forth to trim off 3-4 pages at
a time.

I don't apply the whole edge to the text block; only a corner.  Pushing
away from me, the near corner is pushed into the text block; drawing toward
me I rotate the chisel and the far corner cuts into the text block.

The fingers on my left hand press the chisel flat to the cheeks of the
lying press and the fingers of my right hand move the handle of the chisel
forward or back, according to where I am in trimming.

And back in the olde days, before I had a lying press and all manner of
other time saving tools, I trimmed the edges of books with nothing more
than a right-handed leather paring knife, 2 C clamps, and a thick board.

At a corner of the bench, I laid the text block down and set the thick
board in place (up to the needle holes I used and still use for accuracy)
and clamped it in place with the C clamps.  Then I ran the paring knife
back and forth (heel away and toe back) to trim the text block.

You don't need all of the tools you see in books about bookbinding.  They
make life easier, but their lack shouldn't prevent you from doing good



Jack C. Thompson
Thompson Conservation Lab.
7549 N. Fenwick
Portland, OR  97217

503/735-3942  (voice/fax)


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