Book Finisher
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Book Finisher

 

'You got this sheet of gold paper, and if you blew on it, it used to crumple up it was so fine, then you'd put your stamp on first without the gold, and then you'd put the thing back on the gas and you would hold your breath and and just put think down very gently and just press it and that's how it was embedded'
 
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A book finisher would be responsible for all decorative work once the book has been bound.  The main techniques are blind and gold tooling.  Both methods involve heated had tools pressed into the cover to produce an indented design.  Gold tooling is the most skilled part of the job.  Gold leaf is placed over the indentation and the heated tool is re-applied to inlay the gold. Excess gold is removed with a special rubber and then the book is ready for polishing.

This process is shown in a display at the People's Story Museum in Edinburgh.  This display shows the work of an Edinburgh book finisher, David Nicol.