Hitherto a separate craft, the lining-in of inset leather or baize surfaces to table- and desk-tops was usually passed over to small specialist firms who also gold blocked the borders. The actual laying of the leather, etc. is now often done by the furniture-maker, with any gold border blocked in by a specialist. It should be pointed out in this connection that most leathers are now heavily dressed with synthetic resin lacquers during finishing which may or may not take the leaf or foil, and this should be established before laying.
Inset leather-tops are laid against a shoulder and flush with the surface (they can be very fractionally below but never above). The shoulder was originally formed by gluing on strips of saw-cut veneer, but as plywood tops are now usual a raised edge is used instead (306:1). Two methods of laying are practised: (a) the leather is cut oversize and laid from the centre outwards, using a felt-faced pad to smooth out the air pockets. The shoulders are then scored in with the back of a knife or the thumb-nail and the leather cut against a metal straight-edge. This method is very quick in the hands of an experienced worker who will often only score with the nail and trim off the surplus by eye alone, (b) The inset surface is carefully
306 Table lining
measured, or if not truly square a stiff paper template is fitted and used as a pattern. The actual leather panel is then cut fractionally full in size, say 1/8 in (3 mm) over the length and the width of an average desk-top. Actual laying requires two pairs of hands, one to locate one end of the sheet in the exact position, the other to hold the other end of the sheet and gently lower it into place. It is then smoothed out from the centre, the edges tucked in tight against the shoulders and any surplus width gently eased away back towards the centre. This method is slower but has more chance of a neat finish if table lining is only occasionally done. If any edge tends to fly leaving a slight gap it can be pulled back into position, and held with fine steel dressmaking pins until the glue has set.
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