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[BKARTS] Mulling it over

I'm afraid we may be forgetting the purpose of mull, or super, in our zeal
to find something stronger and more closely woven than the familiar starched
cheesecloth we find in old books and that is usually prescribed in
instruction books.

Edith Diehl (1876-1953), one of the world's foremost practitioners of
traditional bookbinding, has this to say in her BOOKBINDING: Its Background
and Technique, vol 2, p. 177:
"One lining paper hardly suffices to make an even and sufficiently solid
back for tooling, for most of it has to be sandpapered in order to take down
the high spots. It will be found that if a lining of meshed cloth, called
"super," is glued over the back, it will be unnecessary to use so many
thicknesses of paper. This makes for a more supple back, and the meshes of
the cloth serve to conceal the irregularities of the back, so that little
sandpapering has  to be done after the paper is added. Super, in my opinion,
is superior to muslin or the English jaconet for lining up backs, because
the meshes of the super clinch the glue to the back, whereas the muslin,
being a solidly woven material, is stiffer and cannot be made to conform to
the back and make as close a union with it as the super. This "clinching" is
very important in joining materials, as is demonstrated in cement work,
where a meshed wire is placed over one layer of cement to clinch it to the
next layer."

A better quality of mull, loosely woven but with double weft threads and
stronger warp threads at intervals, used to be available but I have
forgotten the source. Someone on the list may know where to find it now.


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