When the compositor lays up a form to clear it away, after a work is finished, if he does not rinse the letter as well as if it were rinsed for present use, or rather better, the ink that is dissolved among the lye would, with long standing by, harden between the letter, and make the letter stick so fast together that when it comes afterwards to be distributed, the compositor cannot without great difficulty and trouble get them asunder.
This sticking together of the letter is called Baking of the Letter. And compositors in this case say The Letter is Baked. — M. This is the case particularly with new letter, if it be not distributed almost as soon as worked off; for if it be afterwards allowed to remain some time locked up in the chase, it is very difficult to separate and distribute, and causes great loss of time, and injury to the letter.
The usual remedy for this inconvenience is to pour boiling water on the pages repeatedly, which tends to make the letters separate more readily; but still the compositor has to press them against the edge of his case, which makes the ends of his fingers sore, and when he cannot accomplish it in this way, he not unfrequently must have recourse to his teeth. Soaking the new letter in soap and water before it is used, is said to be the best remedy.