Making margin is the apportioning of the proper distances between the pages of a sheet or form.
This is a most material object in book work; for, if it be not properly done, the appearance of the book, when bound, will be injured; as the binder will be obliged either to reduce the size of the book, in order to make the edges smooth, or else he will have to leave many raw edges of paper.
The spaces between the pages should be such, that, when the book is bound and cut, the page of printing should be very nearly in the middle of the page of paper.
Convenience and custom have familiarised us to the printed page being a little higher than the middle of the leaf, and to its having a little more margin at the fore edge than in the back.
The first of these circumstances may be accounted for, by the head, in all sizes except folio, being at the fold of the paper, which admits of the bookbinder cutting it smooth by taking off a very narrow shaving, so as to reduce the size but a mere trifle; while the bottom of the page lying towards the raw edge of the paper, which is irregular, and which often varies considerably from being cater-cornered — machine-made paper also varies greatly in the size of the sheets, being cut up irregularly; and paper made at different times, and by different makers, which is often used in the same volume, and which likewise varies in size — all combined, render it necessary to allow a little more margin at the foot of the page and at the fore edge than at the head and in the back; for these variations in the paper equally affect the fore edge and the foot: but the head, the back, and the gutter, being folded, remain uniformly the same, however much the paper may vary.
It is always presumed that the backing of the book in binding, takes up as much of the margin as is cut off the fore edge, so as to make them both equal.
Having premised these explanatory observations, I shall proceed to describe, in as clear and distinct a manner as I am able, the manner of ascertaining the proper spaces between the pages, for the different sizes of books, in the simplest way that is known, and as it is now generally practised; for the division of the margin by compasses is obsolete.
To facilitate the operation, it will be necessary to keep in mind the observation I made in the article Imposing, that, “when we arrive at a great number of pages in a sheet, they resolve themselves into the same order as quartos, octavos, and duodecimos,” as a recollection of this will tend to simplify the process, and, if the person who has to perform it be not well experienced, it may prevent him from getting confused, by keeping him to a small part of the form, instead of leaving him to attempt doing all at once.
After the pages have been laid upon the imposing stone, and the chases put over them, the first thing to be done is to get a sheet of the proper paper of the work, wet, and to fold it as exactly as possible to the size in which the work is intended to be printed.
If the paper for the work has not been sent in, then a sheet of the same size may be taken from the paper of some other work that is in progress, which will be found to be sufficiently near, inasmuch as a scaleboard or two in the backs and heads, more or less, will make it right; or the first sheet may be imposed temporarily with furniture out of the drawer.
I must here caution the compositor, or the person who has this business to perform, never to cut his furniture till he is certain of the proper distance required between the pages.
To ascertain this distance, take short pieces of furniture out of the drawer, or quotations, or both, and quadrats or reglets to fill up the interspace, between two pages; then push the pages close up to them, and when you have got the right distance between the pages, you can ascertain what furniture will be of the exact width, by trying the ends of different pieces, always measuring from the edges of the types themselves, and not within the page cords.
We will now proceed with making margin, commencing with folio, and proceeding through the various sizes, at least through so many as may be necessary to elucidate the subject.
Folio. — Having folded a sheet of the intended paper exactly in the middle, place the edge of the paper even upon the outer edge of the first page, and move the adjoining page to it till the fold in the paper will lie about half an inch upon it, when the folded sheet is laid upon the face of the first page; the space between the pages on either side of the cross is then to be filled up with furniture, using one piece only on each side where it is practicable, and where there is no reason to the contrary, in order to prevent mistakes in re-imposing. This space, with the addition of one or two scaleboards on each side of the cross, which are to assist in making register at press, will be sufficiently near for a demy folio, where the page is of a fair dimension; but if the page be very large, or if it be a smaller sized paper than demy, I would not allow the back fold of the paper to lie quite so much over the adjoining page, but would lessen it in proportion to the size of the page or paper; if it be very large paper and a corresponding margin, I would allow a little more proportionably; for it is to be observed, that the more the fold of the paper lies over the edge of the adjoining page, the more fore edge is given at the margin than in the back.
The margin for the head of a folio is arranged at press.
After the scaleboards have been put in, the page cords taken off, and the pages pushed up close to the furniture, you should try it again, to see that it is correct. It is a good plan to take a slip of paper, and cut it to a length equal to the width of the back, then to fold it even in the middle so as to make a distinct crease, to open it again and lay it in the back, so that the crease shall be exactly in the middle of the back; then to open out the sheet of paper, and lay it upon the form, with the crease in its middle upon the crease in the slip of paper; the margin in the back may then be compared with the margin in the fore edge as well as if the sheet were printed, and it may be altered if thought necessary by a scaleboard more or less.
If two jobs, that are to be cut up, are worked together, it is usual to impose them so that the margin shall be equal on both sides; to effect this, fold the paper exactly in the middle, and laying it folded upon the left hand page with the edge of the paper even with the edge of the page of types, bring the other page to it till the left hand side fairly touches the fold of the paper; this is termed being out and out; and when the paper is cut evenly in two, after having been printed, the side margins will be found to be equal.
Quarto. — Fold a sheet of paper exactly into quarto; then lay it, thus folded, upon the first page, the fore edge of the paper being even with the left hand edge of the types; bring the adjoining page towards the first page till the fold in the paper lies upon the left hand side of it about as much as a Double Pica body; this will make the back about right: then place the lower edge of the paper even with the foot of the page, and bring the heads of the pages which adjoin at that part towards each other till the fold in the paper covers the head line, and barely the first line of matter; this will make the head right. Then fit the furniture into the spaces; add a scaleboard or two, as the case will admit; and, after cutting and folding slips of paper and laying them in the back and head, open out the sheet of paper, laying the folds in the paper exactly over the folds in the slips, and it will be perceived how the margin is to be for all the pages.
Before I proceed to octavo, it will be necessary to observe, that in all sizes except folio and quarto, if there be not enough in the backs, the raw edge of the paper in the front margin will project beyond the folded margin, and this in proportion to the deficiency in the back; the same will take place in the length in duodecimo, and in smaller sizes where there are offcuts, if there be not enough at the foot of the pages whence the offcut is taken: the effect produced by these deficiencies is, that the binder is obliged to reduce the size of the book both in length and width, when cutting, in order to make the edges smooth.
The French allow the raw edge of the paper in the front to extend considerably beyond the folded edge; and also at the foot in duodecimos: in England we endeavour to give the book the fullest size that the paper will permit, and suffer the raw edge of the front margin to project but a very little beyond the folded edge, to allow for any discrepancy in the size or shape of the paper.
Octavo. — Fold a sheet of paper into octavo, and lay it, thus folded, upon the first page, the fore edge of the paper even with the outer edge of the types: then bring the adjoining page towards it till the other side of the octavo paper lies over the left hand side of this page about a Pica; this will give the width of the gutter: then open the paper out a fold, into quarto, and laying it upon the two pages, bring the third page on the right hand sufficiently near for the right hand side of the paper to lie upon the left hand side of the page about a Long Primer body; this will give the width of the back: then fold the paper up again, and laying it upon the first page, with the foot of the paper even with the direction line, bring the head of the page above it so near that the top of the octavo paper will cover the head line and barely also the first line of matter; this will give the space at the head: then put into all the spaces on one side of the long cross, and into the head, small pieces of furniture from the drawer, or quotations, which are generally used where they will fit, or quadrats, making both the gutters alike, and push the pages up close; cut the slips of paper as before, and fold them; lay them in the gutters, head and back, and open the sheet of paper to its full size; lay it with the crease of the middle fold exactly upon the crease of the slip of paper in the back, and if the margin be right the creases between the other pages will fall exactly upon the creases in the slips of paper laid in the gutters; if they do not, the space in the back must be increased or diminished till they do, when the margin will be right; the furniture may then be cut, and a scaleboard inserted next the crosses at the backs and heads in all the quarters.
Duodecimo. — After folding a sheet of paper exactly into 12mo., proceed as in octavo for the gutter, but let the fold lie rather less over the edge of the adjoining page than a Pica; proceed in the same manner for the back, but that the paper lie on the third page barely a Long Primer body will be sufficient; the fold in the head will just cover the top line of matter in the adjoining page above it, as in octavo, but the pieces of furniture put in there are called bolts. The offcut is now to be considered — this is always imposed on the outside of the short cross, and the back and gutters are the same as those in the other part of the sheet; for the head of the offcut, the space between the running title, or, where there is no running title, the headline, and the middle of the groove in the short cross, must be exactly half the width of the bolts; for as register is made at this part, and the points fall into the groove and there make point holes, the binder folds to these holes, and takes off the offcut in accordance: thus when the sheet is folded, the offcut inserted, and knocked-up, the head lines of the offcut ought to range with the head lines of the other pages, and this should always be kept in view by the printer; the space between the bottom of the other pages and the middle of the groove in the short cross, should be within a Pica of the outer margin at the feet of the pages, which will allow for any little variation in the size of the paper, and not affect the size of the book in cutting the edges: when these distances are thus arranged, put short bits of furniture, quotations, &c., as before directed, between the pages, in the gutters and back in one row, and in the head and both sides of the short cross in another row lengthways, and push the pages of both these rows close up: cut the slips of paper and fold them for the gutters and the back, as also for the bolts: then open out the sheet of paper, and lay the middle crease in it exactly upon the crease in the slip of paper laid in the back; and if the side margin is right, the creases in the sheet of paper between the other pages will fall upon the creases in the slips of paper laid in the gutters; if they do not, the space in the back must be altered till they do: then try it the other way, by laying the crease in the sheet of paper upon the crease in the slip laid in the bolt, and if the crease of the offcut falls exactly in the middle of the groove in the short cross, it is right; if it does not, the space at the feet of the pages next the cross must be altered till it does: it being presumed that the gutters and bolts are right, the only places at which to alter are the back, and the space at the feet of the pages adjoining the offcut; a scaleboard or two, as may be required, must be put into all the quarters next the crosses.
In Duodecimo Music way, the pages are reversed in shape, being so wide as for two of them to occupy the width of the sheet, and so short as to have six in the depth; in this case there are no backs, technically so called, but only gutters; but as the long cross comes between the pages, they must be treated as backs, in the same manner as in folio, and the fold of the paper must be allowed to lie more over the side of the adjoining page, as was described in making margin for folio; if the page be very wide, less than half an inch; if it be narrow, and a large margin, it may be a little more; the head margins or bolts are three in depth, and may be ascertained in the same manner precisely as for octavos or common twelves, which, being done, the foot margins must be ascertained; these, being two, may have a Pica body each less than the outer foot margins, to allow for any inequality in the size of the paper, or in laying on the white paper at press; this will be done by folding the sheet of paper exactly in three portions across it, and extending the pages till one of these portions covers the two outer pages with the gutter, and lies over the third about a Pica body; when this has been performed at one end, repeat the same process at the other end of the form. The margin may then be tried in the manner before described, and any necessary alteration must be made in the space at the feet of the pages, care being taken that both spaces are equal.
In Long Duodecimo, the pages are the same in size as in the preceding, only that they exchange the length for width, and the width for length; the manner of making margin is the same for this size as for the last; the only difference between them being one of words — that which was the gutter in the other being the head in this; and what was the head or bolt, and the foot margin, now becoming the gutter and the back; the spaces between the pages, for heads, for gutters, and for backs, are ascertained in the manner before described.
As the number of pages multiply in a sheet, so the utility of placing slips of paper, folded in the middle, in the gutters, backs, &c., becomes greater, by enabling the person, whose office it is, to know readily the middle of each space when he tries the whole margin with the sheet opened out; to some this may appear unnecessarily minute, but I hold that whatever method tends to facilitate an operation, and enables a person to perform it more correctly, is useful.
Sixteens. — After having described so fully the manner of folding the paper, and ascertaining the spaces between the pages for the gutters, the heads, and the backs, which are required for quartos, octavos, and duodecimos, it appears unnecessary to extend this article by repeating the same thing in every size. For sixteens, fold a quarter of a sheet of paper exactly in four; pursue the foregoing direction for ascertaining the width of the gutter, the back, and the head, in one quarter of the form, and having made these right, arrange the remainder of the form in the same manner, always trying all the pages by the whole sheet opened out, and rectifying any thing wrong by adding or diminishing in the backs, and similarly at the feet of the pages next the short cross.
The greater the number of pages in a sheet, the smaller in proportion does the margin become: it must therefore be evident, that the folded paper should lie proportionably less over the edge of the adjoining page, both for gutter and for back, as the number of pages increases; for as a folio may require the page to be half an inch nearer the back than the fore edge, an eighteens may not require it to be more than a Long Primer; and so in proportion with respect to the size of the page and of the margin.
Eighteens. — A sheet of eighteens is the same as three half sheets of twelves imposed together: there are two backs and three gutters in each form: the other way of the chase it is three pages in depth, having bolts and an offcut the same as twelves; and the process is the same as when making margin for twelves, only ascertaining the first gutter and hack by one third of the sheet of paper the long way, instead of one half of it the narrow way: having made the six pages on the left hand of the form right, make the remaining twelve pages like them, and then try the whole with the sheet of paper opened out; the creases in the folds should fall exactly in the middle of the gutters and backs; but as the offcut is not imposed on the side of the short cross with the groove in it, the crease for the offcut should be exactly half the width of the bolt from the running title or headline, or it should fall in the middle of the long cross.
I wish here to impress upon the mind of the person who is making margin, never to attempt doing so with the whole form at once; for if he does, it is more than probable that he will get wrong, cause himself additional trouble, and frequently waste furniture; but let him get one portion right, then make a range of pages through the form one way the same, and then another the contrary way, and afterwards try them with the sheet of paper opened out, when any little variation that may occur will be easily remedied before he cuts the furniture.
Twenties. — A form of this size has four pages in width, and five in length; in width the margin will be made in the same manner as for twelves; in the length there are two heads or bolts, which will be also ascertained as for twelves; the space between the feet of the pages must be out and out, except about a Pica body; and the offcut must be treated the same as for a form of twelves or eighteens.
Twenty-Fours. — The side margin will be ascertained just as for eighteens, there being the same number of pages in width; and the head and foot margin as for sixteens; the difference in the size of the pages not affecting the principle of making margin.
Long Twenty-fours A form of this size is similar to a sheet of twelves imposed in one chase, the width of the pages being the longest way of the paper; the method of making margin for it will be similar to that for twelves or eighteens.
Square Twenty-fours. — The difference between this size and twenty-fours is, that the width of the pages occupy the sheet the longest way; the margin will be made in the same manner.
Thirty-twos.— One quarter of a form of thirty-twos is similar to a form of octavo; and the margin may be made by folding a quarter of a sheet of paper, and arranging the pages of a quarter of the form only in the first instance: then place the others at the same relative distances, and try the whole with the sheet of paper opened out, before cutting the furniture.
There is no variation in any principle of making margin as to the remaining sizes; and if I were to go into detail for each, it would be but a repetition of the method of ascertaining the width of the gutters, backs, heads or bolts, and of the spaces at the feet of the pages where they either cut up, or fold, at that part, which I think unnecessary; for when a person is competent to make margin correctly for an octavo, a twelves, and an eighteens, he will find no difficulty with respect to the other sizes.
Wherever a half sheet is imposed, or two half sheets to work together, the middle margin, where the sheet is cut in two, should always be made out and out, that both the fore edges may be equal.
When the margin to the first sheet of a work has been made, and the quoins tightened with the fingers, a gauge should be cut for the back and head, for the succeeding sheets. See Alteration of Margin. — Gauge. — Imposing.