Flat angled planes cut into the edges of boards (or across the head and tail of the spines of bookblocks). The angle, width and depth of bevels vary enormously, but are necessary for a full description. The angle of the bevel can be more simply described as shallow or steep, in which 'steep' indicates an angle of more than approximately 45 degrees from the surface of the board and 'shallow' an angle of noticeably less than 45 degrees. The depth of the bevel defines the amount of the edge removed to make the bevel, from a 'full bevel', that covers the entire edge, to percentages of the edge removed. For shallow bevels, it is also useful to indicate the width of the bevel, either using terms such as broad and narrow or by measurements, though clumsily made shallow bevels may well vary in width from one end to the other. Most importantly, it is necessary to record from which side of the board the bevel has been removed, e.i. internal bevel and external bevel.
A bevel cut on the edge of a board which runs from one surface to the other in a continuous plane. Bevels may be cut from either surface to create internal or external bevels.
Internal or external bevels cut in the centre of the edge of a board, leaving a portion of the board unbevelled at each end. Boards with centre bevels on the external surface are bevelled to leave enough of the board at each corner without a bevel to accommodate a metal corner (which may or may not have been used). These centre bevels will usually occupy no more than 50% of length of the edge, often less. On the fore-edge of a book with two fastening, the centre bevel will stop short of the fastening attachment sites. The short bevels found above and below the fastenings are called clasp bevels to differentiate them from centre bevels. Centre bevels are commonly found on German bindings from the late fifteenth century, and were subsequently used across northern Europe, though they do not appear to have been used in southern Europe. They are likely to be found only on wooden boards, though some pastiche antiquarian bindings in Britain of the early nineteenth century created rather exaggerated versions of centre chamfers in couched-laminate boards. Their widespread popularity in German-speaking countries led, in the eighteenth century, to the covering skins on flat board surfaces being tooled with fillets in blind in imitation of centre bevels. Boards with centre bevel on the internal surface will usually have much longer bevels leaving only a short length of square edge at each end. These edges were popular in Italy circa 1500.
A bevel cut at an angle noticeably less than 45 degrees to the surface of the board. Bevels that are considerably wider than they are deep, creating flat planes at a shallow angle to the board surface around its perimeter are commonly found on northern European bindings and can be described as shallow peripheral bevels.
Projections which divide long bevels into separate parts.
A bevel cut from the external surface of the board.
Bevels that do not extend across the entire width of a board.
Short external bevels found both above and below the fastenings on the fore-edges of boards with centre chamfers. Clasp bevels were especially popular in bindings with wooden boards made in German-speaking countries in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, but will also be found in bindings made in other northern-European countries.
A bevel which does not extend to the full width of the board edge, but stops short of it.