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Re: Handmade Backing Boards - BOOK_ARTS-L Digest - 25 Jan 2000 to 26 Jan 2000 (#2000-25)

 >  Sherri McDonald sent 27 Jan:

 >  Hello to all,
 >  I'm looking for some answer about handmade backing boards. I want to make
 >  them out of wood, but do I need to have metal on the edge, like brass. What
 >  is the propose of the brass, does it make the bend in the shoulder crisper
 >  or what.

A metal edge is needed to ensure that the act of backing the shoulder of the text block over a period of time does not destroy the otherwise wooden surface through the hammer action, also the metal edge is well defined and as you suggest gives a crispness to the joint.

I used brass for the boards I have made.  The width needs to be slightly more than the planed wood surface on which it is screwed as the mounting face is at an angle.  The metal plate is screwed every couple of inches with countersunk screws and then the two plate edges need filing to match the surface of the boards.  I found that bedding the plates into an epoxy filler ("Plastic Metal" here in the UK) gave a nice clean finish to the visible joins after filing.   If you use brass screws then make sure that the holes are drilled to clear the screw shank, the reason being that brass is a soft metal and if the effort to "cut" the thread is too great you risk shearing the screw  -  in fact if you have some steel screws of the same size, then it is a good idea to "tap" the thread with one first, before inserting the brass screw.

 >  Also at what angle does the board need to be cut at, 45 degrees? Or
 >  is the angle degree not that important, just that they are both the same
 >  angle?

My boards are at home so I cannot check the angle, but I don't think it is as great as 45 deg, perhaps 30.  I am sure it is not critical.  It needs to be sufficient to let the shoulder form a 90 deg angle when the block is released from the press and relaxes, so it normal to slightly over compensate when backing the spine.

Hope this helps.

Rodney Fry


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