Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books
A Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology

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The process whereby the fibers of a leather are separated to a degree, thus softening the leather and improving its feel and handle. The process involves flexing the skin, either by hand or machine. Staking by hand is done by pulling the skin in all directions across a blunt blade fixed in a stake. The staking machine consists of a table that is divided into two parts with an opening of about 10 inches between them. The machine is equipped with two jaws, one above and one below the table. The upper jaw has a rubber roll at its end, while the lower jaw has a bladed opening into which the roll of the upper jaw may sink. The operator slides a portion of the skin between the jaws, which then come together and pull back. As they do so, they force the leather to flex sharply over the blades of the lower jaw and around the roll of the upper jaw. The operator holds the skin in place against the backward movement of the jaws and shifts the position of the skin after each motion of the jaws. There are also machines with automatic clamps that hold the skin when the jaws are staking it. Instead of a roll in the upper jaw, some machines have a smooth blade which forces the skin into a slot; both blade and slot pull backward with the skin between them, flexing it sharply along their path. (306 , 363 )

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