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The textblock of the manuscript is protected from being soiled during covering by a wrapper of clean paper, one for each half of the manuscript.  A sheet of Melinex at each end of the book prevents moisture from the paste used to adhere the covering skin penetrating the boards and cockling the parchment.  Covering the textblock in two halves like this allows for greater control in manipulating the book when turning in the skin at the head and tail of the spine. 

 

The manuscript is protected from soiling during covering with a ‘cap’ of paper and sheets of Melinex.The manuscript is protected from soiling during covering with a ‘cap’ of paper and sheets of Melinex.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The manuscript was covered with alum-tawed calfskin chosen for its durability, strength and flexibility.  The skin was pared to fit the book comfortably and adhered with purified wheat-starch paste.  It is important not to over wet or handle the pasted alum-tawed skin too much as it can mark easily and excess moisture can cause discolouration. 

 

A razor-sharp knife is used to start the paring of the covering skin, which is thinned down in the areas where it is turned in around the boards and at the head and tail of the spine.A razor-sharp knife is used to start the paring of the covering skin, which is thinned down in the areas where it is turned in around the boards and at the head and tail of the spine.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The skin has to be slit to turn in around the endband lacings and the length and position of these cuts has to be accurately judged.  The ends of the slits are punched with small round holes to help prevent the cut tearing further during future use of the binding.  A paper guide for each of the four lacings and cuts is a good way to prevent costly and frustrating mistakes.

When everything is in order with the covering the book is put into a press and tied up with cord along the bands to dry.  MS 251 required just over 31 metres of cord for this process.  

 

There is no escape for a binding which needs to dry…!There is no escape for a binding which needs to dry…!