Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books
A Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology

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wetting down

The process of dampening paper before printing. Wetting down was necessary in the early days of printing because of the non-uniformity of the height of the type used, and because type was used longer and. therefore, wore down more. In addition, the early hand-operated presses were not as powerful as later presses. Slightly dampened paper takes ink more readily than dry paper. and does not require as much pressure to make the impression on the softened surface of the paper. The impression, however. makes a thicker line and may also show on the other side of the sheet. Wetting down also often resulted in uneven stretching of the paper fibers during impression, causing the book to be thicker in the printed area than in the margins. See also: CONVEX COVERS .

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