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Re: [BKARTS] decorative stamps

Hi Richard ... Yes, you can use brass finishing tools or printer's
ornaments, these last held in a type holder, to tool on cloth, paper, and board.
However because these materials generally display less give than leather  you will
find it more difficult to get an even impression with any real  depth
especially with larger sizes of tools. There is no doubt that tooling  on cloth and
board, because of their harder surfaces, will more quickly wear  printers type
and ornaments. You will be hard pressed to apply sufficient hand  pressure to a
brass finishing tool to damage the tool face though I would avoid  tooling a
heavy law buckram surface with a finely cut tool.
It is especially important to not overheat the tools. In the case of
printers type and ornaments it is wise to heat the type holder and then to place  the
type in the holder and depend upon heat transfer. It is surprisingly easy to
melt printers type on an open flame or electric stove! One judges the correct
 temperature by putting the heated tool shank on a wet ball of cotton wool
and  listening to the tone and duration of the hiss. After a bit of experience
you  will learn how quickly it takes to heat a given mass and be able to judge
temperature by touching the tool with a spit coated index finger. Hold off on
 the latter until you are confident of your ability to avoid being burnt by a
too  hot tool.
You might consider adapting an electric soldering iron to become your tool
holder. Combined with a rheostat you will find it much easier to maintain a
correct and consistent temperature. This is especially nice when  doing repeat
tooling. That correct temperature will vary according to  materials and methods
(dwell time most especially) and must be learned by trial  and error on a
test piece.
I think most finishers would suggest that you begin by tooling through  foil.
There is no reason that you cannot use glaire and metal leaf though  these
introduce complications best taken on after you have mastered handling the
tools, judging temperature, etc. And I would suggest that you then use a shellac
rather than egg glaire for the lower working temperature.
Finally I think that you will find John Mitchell's book on gold finishing
very, very helpful and well worth the investment. And nothing beats getting some
 first hand instruction from a finisher if at all possible. Best,  James

James  Tapley
Hand Bookbinder
2077 Thirteenth Street
Sarasota, FL  34237
Tel 941 366 8248

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