Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books
A Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology

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tongue and slot

One of the techniques used to attach the covers to a book. The tongue is formed by covering the spine of the book and carrying the leather onto the waste sheet of the endpapers, together with the spine lining and slips. The leather or cloth hinges are also glued to the same sheet. The laminated flange (tongue) thus formed is cut to shape to fit a slot (not unlike an enclosed split hoard) cut into the back edge of the hoard. The board is then covered and finished in whatever manner is required, separate from the book, and is attached to it by gluing the tongue into the slot. The entire assembly is then pressed to insure proper adhesion.

The tongue and slot technique is said to offer the following advantages: 1) the boards can be finished, e.g., doublures attached, more easily off the boo; 2) large and/or very heavy books can be handled more easily; 3) more than one skin can be used in covering; 4) a design which calls for blocking the covers can be handled with greater facility; 5) attachment of the covers in this manner facilitates removal by a future restorer for work on the text block; and 6) at least part of the original bookbinder's design can he preserved if and when a more or less complete restoration of the book is required. (311 )

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