Advice To The Student The Best Means To Make Casts Or Take Impressions Of The Hands

I would strongly advise students of this subject to make casts of hands
in plaster of Paris, wax, or any other suitable material, in order to
make a library or collection, both for their own private study, and also
as a valuable record of their work.

Before I read any hands professionally, I had some thousands of casts,
impressions on paper, and photographs of hands in my possession, and I
found that I derived the most valuable aid from being able to analyse and
study their shapes and markings at my leisure.

In making casts I would advise the very finest plaster of Paris to be
used. When the plaster is worked up to the proper consistency, it is
necessary to rub a fine oil into the hand before bringing it into contact
with the plaster, as otherwise the hair may stick and so cause trouble
and annoyance.

Dental wax heated in hot water and made very soft is also an excellent
material to make moulds from, especially as it does not make a mess, and
is very little trouble to employ.

The great disadvantage of making a collection of casts arises from the
large space that such a collection will eventually occupy. To avoid this
the student can also make a library of impressions of hands on paper, and
keep them marked and numbered in a series of albums or scrap-books that
may easily be obtained at any stationer's.

The best means of taking these impressions is to obtain a small gelatine
roller used by printers for fine work, such as die stamping, a tube of
printer's ink, and a small sheet of glass to roll the ink out until it
covers the surface of the roller in an even way.

The roller may then be passed over the surface of the palm, the hand
pressed firmly down on a smooth sheet of white paper, and with a little
practice, most excellent impressions can easily be obtained.

When the impression is dry it can be dated, numbered, and placed in an
album for reference.

In order to remove the black ink from the hand, powdered washing soap,
well brushed into the hand with a nail brush, and a little hot water is
all that will be found necessary.

These impressions taken with printer's ink are far better than those
taken by smoking a sheet of paper by camphor, or by a candle, or any
other means.

The best time for examining hands is during the day, first because the
light is better and, above all, because the circulation of the blood does
not redden the entire palm as it does at night, and the finer lines can
consequently easily be detected.

As I described earlier in these pages, the right and left hands should be
examined together to note what difference there may be in the shape and
position of the lines, but the markings on the right hand are the only
ones to be relied on.

Lastly, do not be for ever on the lookout for faults and failings in the
subject whose hands you may be examining, remember no one is perfect, and
that faults and failings may in the end be as stepping stones "by which
we rise from our dead selves to higher things."

Transcriber's notes:
P(ix) d'Arpentigny corrected to D'Arpentigny
P10 dveloped corrected to developed.
P76 forshadows corected to foreshadows
P63 Removed extraneous comma.
P130 Period added at the end of a paragraph.
P132 Added "is called the Finger of" instead of " to clarify.
P135 Period added before a capital The.
P142 decribed corrected to described.
P158 Extra opening parenthesis removed.

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