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3977Re: [Marbling] Marbling edges

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  • irisnevins
    Mar 13, 2007
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      Regarding brushes... being self taught, when I first started, and still used brushes (I am a plastic squeeze bottle devotee) I used to get a nice long medium thick silky hair (don't ask what hair, I have no idea, but this works on all I tried) brush and tie a little rubber band just below the metal part. Then I'd wet the brush and stick it in a glass or cup until it dried. Remove the rubber band, and they have their shape still, after 29 years, a nice curve. I'd guess they were close to an inch long at first. I still use them for Stormont at times, or the large French Shell patterns.

      As for book edge marbling, I had a big order for this about two or so years ago. It is not easy. You must insist you get the unbound,
      unrounded, book/text blocks, and get them to run up to 20% over in case you ruin some. I think I did 150 good ones though marbled ate least 160. I messed up about 10 or so beyond redemption, others had smaller blank spots that could be touched up after drying. The loss of text blocks is their loss, you do not discount for it. It is usually no problem for them to print extra while up and running.

      Here is how I did it... and please experiment before taking on the job, it is a lot trickier than marbling paper. I would, for practice either collect a whole load of peoples' unwanted paperbacks, or find them at a thrift store for real cheap, take the covers off and practice. I don't like ruining ANY book, I feel sorry for them! But you can tip the covers back on later and they will have pretty marbled edges. Or you can buy blank notepads about the right size and then give them away as gifts later. Whatever...practice first... and I charged extra for this job, I think about 35% over what a marbled paper would cost. I also supplied the endpapers to match the edges at regular price. You will see why you need to charge more, you have to be ultra careful and it is slower than paper and you need to buy tools and make others.

      So once I felt confident enough, I took a saw and cut two boards a little smaller, about 1/2 inch all around except for at the spine, where it should meet. I used some maybe 1/3" or so thick wood. I did this 5X over, so ten boards the same. I got some long easy to adjust clamps... I do not know what they are called, but they have a lever to ride them up to the boards and then you screw them tighter. The lever works later to release the clamp. You will likely need about ten if a large order, because they need to sit clamped a little while before they come off. I used 10. (Ha ha now I remember where my clamps are, thanks to you, and I bought all new ones, because I am building guitars these days! How crazy is that!... anyway can't have too many clamps!).

      OK...this is getting lengthy, but it will help you. First insert wax paper inside the front and back endpapers of EVERY book, as they will be most prone to sticking if any water gets in. Then I clamped, and this depends on thickness of the book, about four together tight in the wood boards. I dampened with alum, about half strength or less, use as little as you can get away with because you can't rinse them without a little water getting into the text block. Wipe any excess with a paper towel. The clamps have a handle, so you can hold them by the handles to lower to the size, that is why this type clamp is so good. You will see how to place them on, there will just be one obvious way. Do the pattern, and I start on one of the smaller edges, by touching a corner to the size, going towards the side edge, usually the largest. Do not pick the book up but keep rolling onto the next edge until you have done all three. I shake it out over the size or a bucket, whatever, to get drips off. then... the bricks! I suppose you can rig up some poles or tubing, but I lay them fore edge facing down in the open space between two little towers of bricks, wood will work, anything strong enough.... it is heavy with clamps and boards.

      Then go on to the next set of four or more or less depending on comfort. Do all the same things, and when you set the second set to dry, go back to the first and blot the edges with a paper towel. Lightly so you don't ruin the pattern... and remember to not over use your paints...use just enough so you won't need to rinse. I know some will complain that a little alum gets left on, and it will. Others say the alum actually helps to preserve the paper somehow... anyway Don Guyot did a lengthy study on that years ago and concluded it preserves. I don't know one way or the other but tend to believe Don's studies, but use as little alum as possible just in case.

      After you are out of clamps and boards.... you should have five or so sets of books hanging on the tubes or bricks, you can start unclamping the first one and lay that on a clean board, with another on top and a weight. I used a larger board so I could lay down four at a time and stack them... always wax paper between rows of books. This kept the edges from cockling with heavy weights overnight while drying further. As you marble a new set of books, you keep unclamping the next in the drying row, reusing the same clamps and boards. Dry the boards with towels before reuse, sometimes they get little drips, which you can see falling onto your pattern as you have already started....annoying, and a ruined book! I am detailing everything that I learned from having no experience, and the old books sure don't tell you much of anything, esp. the little bad things that can and do go wrong.

      All books finally done, and me, swearing never again... I was surprised that only 10 were ruined. About the same number had a flaw I could touch up with colored markers. It is easier on a stone pattern to touch up than on a combed one, so if you have a choice insist on a stone one.

      The whole ordeal turned out well, but gave me such anxiety I really don't want to do it again. It is more prone to air pockets/blank spots than paper because it is so inflexible while rolling down. Looking back, I should have asked them to chip in for the clamps, which were $20 each, so five sets (10) cost me $200. And the prep time with the boards was rough, sawing to size, sanding edges, I had the bricks laying around. Still, I lost a lot of the pay to tools for the job, though true, I have them now and only have to buy them once. Keep that expense in mind though when setting a price. You would have to cut different size boards all over again for a different size book, and this is very time consuming. I imagine the apprentices used to do all that!

      Anyway.... hope this helps. I am glad to have had the experience, but it was one of the most trying experiences of my life as a marbler. Make sure they understand, you can even print this out for them if you want, I feel I didn't get paid enough to do it. All they may see is... ok, she did four at a time and they are smaller than the papers so it should cost way less. It is a whole art unto itself and requires practice, and is very frustrating. I wonder how many the old marblers used to ruin in the process too. We only see the good ones! The prep time will easily take you a few days between getting clamps and cutting boards, inserting wax papers, getting weights etc. Figure in for you time and materials on that. If you will use the clamps for other things you may not charge in part for them if you wish, I never used them for anything else. Now I will.... building the fourth guitar, it's addictive! I play professionally too, so it was a longtime dream, and now I am doing it. Thus far I keep them all!

      hope this helps....
      Iris Nevins

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: hamburgerbuntpapier_de<mailto:studio@...>
      To: Marbling@yahoogroups.com<mailto:Marbling@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Tuesday, March 13, 2007 6:49 AM
      Subject: [Marbling] Marbling edges

      Hi Joan,

      thanks for the word! I simply didn't dare to use the direct translation.
      I suppose the bristles are boiled because bristles contain protein, and protein will be
      hardened by boiling. I can vouch that it works, even my oldest drop brushes never lost
      their form.

      As to marbling edges: the bookblock incl. endpapers is cut to format, the edges must be
      very smooth. All irregularities will show. Then protect the endpapers with waste paper,
      place the block tightly between boards and 'roll' the edge over the surface of your size.

      All the best,
      Susanne Krause

      --- In Marbling@yahoogroups.com<mailto:Marbling@yahoogroups.com>, "sixshort" <joan@...> wrote:
      > --- In Marbling@yahoogroups.com<mailto:Marbling@yahoogroups.com>, "hamburgerbuntpapier_de" <studio@>
      > wrote:
      > >
      > >Dear Susanne, I have seen methods of making these brushes, called
      > simply "drop brushes", and have even bought some horse hair and rose
      > twigs to make one, but time . . . . . interesting to hear of the
      > boiling process - maybe to weaken the bristles so that they retain the
      > curved shape? From memory the directions were given in one of my Anne
      > Chambers books, but as my bookcase is barricaded by rolls of winter
      > mats, it will be a major effort to go through the books right now -
      > come on, winter, we have had enough of summer heat in Australia.
      > As an addendum - can anyone point me in the right direction to info
      > about end-marbling books? I have had a request from a bookbinder to
      > do this, but can't find any practical directions on websites, and
      > don't own a book with the details.
      > It is so good to be in a field where there are no ends and no limits
      > except those of the imagination. Happy paper decorating! Joan Ajala

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