If you look closely at a deckle edge, even if you are looking at two copies of the same book, you’ll see slight variations in the edges from title to title and publisher to publisher, the quality and pattern of the edges varies more extensively, from a tight saw-tooth, when looking from the top of the book down the edge of the pages, to a more free-form ragged look.
Prized by collectors. “Deckle is not merely “untrimmed.” It is sort of “untrimmed” on steroids. The French have also been known to produce books with an edge that they call “Gilt on the Rough,” which means that gilt, or gold-leaf has been applied to the deckle edges as well as the close cut top and bottom edges.
In manual paper making, a deckle is a belt used along with a mold to gather up wood pulp from a vat for pressing and drying into sheets. It helps to control the size of the paper produced. Paper with a feathered or soft edge is often said to have a “deckled” edge for this reason as opposed to a cut edge.
Paper can have two types of deckled edge: natural deckles or tear deckles. Natural deckles are the result of the deckle used in mold-made paper, whereas tear deckles are the result of tearing the paper. Often mold-made paper will have a combination of deckled and cut edges depending on the specific size of paper required.