Paring on Glass

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Charles Tomas Jacobi The Printers’ Handbook of Trade Recipes, Hints & Suggestions  (London: Chiswick Press, 1891), 265.

Yes, yes, and yes. Note there is no mention of a litho stone. 18th century paring surfaces seem to generally be marble, I suspect the only reason litho stones became popular was that they were a cheap plentiful source of a flat surface in the late 19th. Save the litho stones for the printers or your beautiful bookbinding photography.

2 Replies to “Paring on Glass”

  1. Although I have two very nice lithostones, one a great size for paring on, I’ve always preferred my built in light-table/paring surface. 1/4″ plate glass about 18 x 24. Works great. Just don’t bang on it.

  2. I’ve used all three. There are two kinds of litho stones, one with a slightly creamy tint and the other with a slightly grey tint. I find that the creamy-tint litho stones are the gentlest on a knife-edge, and prefer them for that reason. The glass seems to me to be the harshest. Grey litho and marble seem to be in the middle, with grey litho the gentler. But the stone I take to workshops is a marble trivet, because it is small and light and has non-slip rubber things on the bottom. For spokeshaving I don’t think it matters, but I lean against the skin to hold it in place so the bumpiness of litho stone edges is an issue.
    Some binders in this area have French paring stones that are about an inch thick and maybe twelve by fourteen inches square, in their own wooden holders. I’ve never used one, but they look like fine granite and the surface is just slightly harsh feeling. Absolutely the worst surface, to my way of thinking, but it makes sense in combination with the French habit of stropping their paring knives on the paring stone.
    Back when I was starting, in the late ’80s, one local trade bindery pared leather on the window of a WWII fighter plane. I was never told that, but it was unmistakeable, about two inches thick and flat with a trapezoidal shape, a smaller surface on one side than the other. I wish I had it, but that business and all its equipment disappeared quietly while I wasn’t looking.

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