Blind and Gold Tooling Demonstration

Marking Out The Pattern
Marking Out The Pattern

Members that attended the latest meeting were privileged to recieve an impromptu and entirely unexpected demonstration of blind and gold tooling on leather. Long time member and master binder George Ross was in the midst of making two leather bound photo journalism books, and took the opportunity to show us how he was decorating the covers. One of the books is in green, and the other is red.

Blind Tooling The Corners

After marking out the pattern with dividers that also doubled as a scoring tool, the corners of both the outer and inner panels were blind tooled with a short, hot, brass tool. This allows the corners to meet exactly.

Gilding With A Wheel

The rest of the two panels were blind tooled using a straight edge and the same short tool. This tooling allows the gold to sit better, and makes it easier to apply. Here the corners have been gilded using the same tool, and now the longer runs on teh outside panel are being gilded using a hot wheel. No straight edge is required as the wheel runs along the blind tooling. The gold leaf is applied right at the edge, so no guess work is necessary.

Marking Out The Pattern

The rest of the pattern is marked out with dividers, and then blind tooled with the straight edge and short tool. A simple diagonal pattern is very easy to visualize, and also makes a striking cover.

Gilding The Dots

The last step is to place a small gold dot at the intersection of each of the rules. This is done with a small iron, and freehand with the gold leaf. Lots of photos were taken, as well as a short video.

The Finished Cover

All up the work took about 1 hour, with lots of opportunities to ask questions and discuss the methods and tools. As George is a trained finisher, there were many tips and pointers that were very valuable for those that wish to improve the quality of their binding.