A Treatise on Calico Printing, Rules for Cutting.

A Treatise on Calico Printing, VOL. I-II
Printed for C. O'Brien, Bookseller, Islington, and fold by Bew, Paternoster-row: Richardson, Royal Exchange: Murray, Fleet-Street: And the Booksellers of Manchester, Glasgow, Dublin, &c.
1. A careful Cutter will at first look at the joinings and measure and compare the distances of the pitch pins, and if the pitch pins are only marked, he will be careful to put them in as soon as possible, as the deserring of it till the marks are so faint, that they are almost put in by guess, is productive of much trouble, for even the common practice of drilling or goudging for them, chisseling the wood away, and then driving in the pins is deceptive, the tops of the pins frequently, not being where they ought to be.

If however the Cutter puts in the pitch pins he should not chissel the wood away till the rest of the print is finished, or if it is cut at home the wood should not be cleared away till it is taken to shop or some other proper place, as they might be removed eyen in carrying thither.

2. Let the difference between the surface and bottom of the work be just so much as will serve as a foundation for it, as every cutter should be aware, that if thicker, the print will work the coarser, even if the surface be fine, and the first time it is pumiced it will work very clumsily; as for the care of preserving a face, every tyro in cutting must know that is of the first concern, and of course the cutting of it away in any part, or leaving so little foundation that it, is liable to be injured by the smallest accident, is the greatest, diicredit to a prosessed Cutter that can be.

3. Next to a proper foundation and an evens face, a found print is one where the work is not cut through, at the joinings of branches or shades see fig. 79, for where the knife goes thro' those joinings, especially if it be a thick one, or the wood very damp, it will easily be seen, after the print has been sometime at work, and lays in a warm or dry place; but as in some instances it is impossible to cut in that manner, proper attention should be bestowed on those parts that are left without the support alluded to, that they have a firm foundation, otherwise the slightest accident will remove them.

4. Where pins are marked to touch the surface of the wood as fig. 80, cut accordingly, that is, dow n right across the end, or it will be the cause of much trouble both in drawing for the pinning and in the pinning itself, from the pins not being able to stand upright, nor join with the surface of the wood; but will leave disagreeable gaps as fig. 81, between the impression of the wood and pins; and if the pins. are marked to stand' near a line as fig. 82, carefully cut more upright than in general on the lide the pins are to be, and cut deep or shallow according to the size of them.

5. Where pins are marked and have no cutting near them, leave some wood, for the file to rest on.

6. If you have to cut a curs as fig. 83, cut outside the line as drawn (unless the putter on has provided for the circumstance) otherwise the line of pins cannot be where they were intended, for the drawing being the line that the pins is to. stand in, if you cut the curs through that drawing, it is evident the pinning must be within side of that line, because of the wood, as fig. 84.

 In cutting lights with the grain, be cautious to cut with a thin knife, and rather slanting, whether you chissel away or not, or when the work is damp the wood will close in some degree and of course appear in the impression not so open as thole lights which are cut across the grain, tho in the cutting they were full as open.

 It seems to the Writer, that in cutting fine lights with the grain, it is not the best way to cut downright of each side, and chissel away at the bottom, particularly if the wood be very dry or scarcaly damp when cut, as the surface will nearly close when the wood gets damp, but rather to cut very deeply and take the wood out with the knife, for each side rising slopingly from the bottom, the chance of the two edges of the surface  meeting together is not so great; but as a counter-balance, the colour is more apt to gather than when cleared at the bottom with the chissel, therefore if cut slantingly andchisseled away with a very small tool, that inconvenience will be prevented.

7. Cutters are not sometimes aware how much they injure a block by extreme partial damping or letting it lay a long time on damp stones or bricks, especially if one end is kept damper than the other a long while, as the face is liable to come up in places by damping or wettipg while there is nothing but the glue to hold it; and as blocks are sometimes badly venered, or may have lain long in improper places, or may have suffered by a removal from a damp place to a warm one and the contrary, there is the greater reason for a Cutter to be cautious in that respect, hence it would not be amiss as a Cutter clears away, or as soon as finished, if he secured the face by a few brads.

Note, The Writer purposely inserts the following article, though properly belonging to putting on, in order to lead a Cutter to look a little further than the point of his knife.

8. If you have to cut from an impression always be informed whether the cutting is to be within the line, on it, or without it: as this circumstance is very often: a mere matter of opinion, though at other times determinable by particular circumstances. See Rule 18 for putting on.

And, In paste grounds that have to hit to objects surrounded with stormont, or other close or, solid ground, it is needful to cut within the line, for it is better the ground should come into the object than not come up to it, as that will shew a   disagreeable run of white outside the line; but if the object is only to have loose ground work round it, it would be better to secure the filling up of the object: it is only suggested in that case to be better within than without, making some allowance for the spreading of the colour.

Again, if there be large and small bodies to work together in she same ground, as fig. 85, cut the small bodies rather more within the line than if they stood alone, as the quantity of colour necessary to be carried by the large ones andthe blow requisite to impress them, would other wise cause the small ones to spread over the line. See Rules 1 2 and 18 for putting on, where there are similar observations respecting both prints and ounds.

Note, In speaking of cutting, if may be ob served to those who preser the usesul to the superficial, that as what is required of a print or ground, is its being able to make a proper impression, and for a proper length of time, all that is done which does not tend to that point is delaying its going to work, of course, all that delicacy and formality in the subordinate parts of hand-tooling, chisseling, &c. which some affects can  only give a print or ground a good appearance, but does not enhance its intrisic value in point of utility; as every one knows that the clearness, and soundness of the cutting in respect to the face, is the essential quality that is desired; hence longer time bestowed in those particulars, more than sufficiently clearing the superfluous wood away, is, beside delaying the working of it (as. above-said) rendering it unnecessarily expensive to the proprietor.*

* It is supposed the Writer will not be thanked by many Cutters for this observation, but as he occasionally makes free with Masters (as the following ob servation evinces, as well as many others, which will appear at the close of this publication, as likewise where he makes as free even with himself) he trust they must acquit him of partiality in what he advancesThe Writer cannot suppress the insertion of aword or two, as a hint to some Masters (though copiously discussed with similar matters in the essay  toward the conclusion of this work) that they do not always get their cutting done so cheap as they imagine, when they press a man down to a low price, for a Cutter who is a master of his business has a mode of working, not easily detected when he brings his work home, according to the price bargained for, or what he expects for it from h is knowledge of his employer in that particular especially if he knows his employers judgment of cutting is not very extensive.

As there is a wide difference between being imposed on, and getting work done for much less than it is worth, the writer just hints here at the impolicy of some, who when they get work done very cheap, (no matter through what motive it is so done) cannot be so far contented, but will speak of it, and will perhaps say who the person was, in order to induce others to do the same; the consequence maybe a combination not to work for such a person; and any how it renders such a man unwilling to do work very cheap again: after hinting at impolicy on one side, it is proper to hint to Cutters, that it is equally impolitic to make a boast (particularly a public one) how expeditiously they can work, what ex cellent and peculiar instruments they use, how well paid they have been, &c. when this is the case, can it be much wondered that masters so often doubt the integrity of their workmen, re specting the value they set on their performances.

This valuation qf cutting is a disagreeable and difficult part for a principal to go through, if he is willing, to give labour the price it deserves, or if he would avoid being deceived or imposed on some leave it to arbitration, some fix a price at first, and others pay according to their ideas of its worth when it is done, or for what they can get it done; unfortunately each mode has its inconvenience; arbitration is often but another term for collusion, when left to other Cutters, and to many it is disagreeable, and perhaps injurious to intersere between master and man; as to fixing a price, though it may prevent some contention when the work is finished, it does not ensure good work (as above intimated) for as a man cannot always tell merely by seeing the drawing, what work there may be in the cutting, he accordingly suits his performance to the price; or if he agreed to do it well, he may use all the deceptive and expeditious modes that he can (as before: spoken of) and lastly, to pay for cutting according to its worth, cannot be done without a, consummate knowledge of the operation, which includes a knowledge of the deceptive modes that may. be used, so as to make it appear found, though it be really far otherwise.

It is not here attempted to offer a decision on the above observation, as that must depend on a circumstances which will lender one or the other of these modes most eligible to adopt; it however is offered as an opinion, that generally speaking,the last-mentioned one is the most equitable; but then upon that principle it can only be adopted by a judge of cutting, and such a one will endeavour to suit the quality of what he gives out, to the ability of the Cutter; and of course makes the necessary distinctions in the estimation of it's worth.

It is begged it may be observed, when speaking of expeditious modes, those are meant where deception is used to make the work appear well at first; for it certainly ought not to be considered by a master as an inducement for a man to work cheap, if he can work more expeditiously than many others, so the werk is perfect in every particular; in fact, he deserves a higher price in proportion to his expedition; for if he can execute a piece of work in 6 days, that another would be 8 or 10 about, and brings it home, it goes to work so much sooner; and in many cases no master needs being told such a circumstance is of very material and pecuniary consequence; but unhappily, workmen suspecting an advantage Will be taken from finishing work very soon, and masters suspecting they are imposed on, by a deal of work being soon done, will, most probably, never suffer, in general, such an accommodation to take place.

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