Originally Posted by wyndslash
so it turns out that the used book i wanted to buy is dyed red on the edges. someone told me that books with dyed edges don't really keep very well aesthetically, but i don't think the book would be reissued anytime soon
! and the condition is very good, according to the seller D;
That someone told you BS. The edges were gilded to minimize demage done to books by dust. Bibles do almost always have gilt edges. Today most of the gilding is done with dye only but for expensive books it is still done with gold.
If you are interested in book binding I recommend J. Mark Bertrand's blog
it is shock full of information about binding, paper qualities and type faces/ type setting. It also contains information about different leathers. Bibles are one of the last books today to be handbound and done with craftmanship, for example smythe-sewn. Only a hundred years ago this was different.
The HC sold today will have a shelf life of approximately 20 - 30 years due to inferior paper qualities. I have books from 1908 - 1958 that look brand new. The paper as white as it was back than. Have a look at the books on your shelf. I bet there are books you bought 10 years ago whose pages are already yellowing.
GILDING is the most beautiful method of ornamenting the edges of books; it suits almost any colour and any binding, and may be carried out in a variety of ways so as to produce many beautiful effects. Gilding is not mere ornamentation; it is also the best preservative that can be applied to book edges. Dust cannot penetrate between the leaves of gilt edged books, decay is retarded if not altogether prevented, and the action of fire is resisted to a remarkable extent; it is for this last reason that the edges of ledgers are sometimes very thickly gilt. Among the many varieties of gilding may be mentioned gilt on colour, in which the edges are fanned out and colored, and then gilt. Red is the colour most generally preferred, hence the com*mon expression" gilt on red," or " red under gold" but other colors are used. Gilding is also done on marble; it is called marbling under gilt, and as may be imagined, when well done is very beautiful. Book edges are also gilt and tooled, tools of a fine pattern being chosen and used warm.
The tools used by the edge gilder for ordinary plain gilding are the gilding press, which has long screws, a steel scraper, a gold cushion, gold knife, tip, burnisher, and a flat brush. The materials required are gum, Armenian bole, diluted glaire, and gold leaf.