I recently had the unusual experience of binding a Bible that had been written out by hand. I was contacted by someone whose father had written out the whole Bible by hand over a period of a couple of years. His father is now deceased and he wanted to have the Bible nicely bound for the family to keep.
I regret that I have lost the “before” photo of this work. It came to me in large files and was written on ordinary lined A4 paper. Unfortunately (from a bookbinding perspective) there was not much by the way of margins, so I was not able to trim the book blocks of the 4 volumes that were produced. But the leather covers with a debossed Cross and ribs on the spine gave the volumes a pleasing finish.
I haven’t been very good about posting on here recently, partly because of business and the pressures of moving and partly because I’ve often forgotten to take photos of my work. I hope that things will get more organised in the future.
In the last few months I’ve repaired and recovered a number of soft-covered Bibles, something that I hadn’t done much of before but which there seems to be a demand for. Personally I’ve been more inclined to prefer Bibles bound in hard covers, so soft-cover leather binding has been a new experience for me. Here are a few that I remembered to take photos of.
I have just restored another family Bible, this time a Swedish one. I’m afraid that I forgot to take photos of how it was before restoration – it was a case bound Bible (from the early twentieth century) with the book block basically intact except for a few tears to the paper. However, the cover was coming off and the spine was badly damaged. I gave it a new cover (quarter bound with leather and linen as the original had been) and reattached the leather from the spine and the linen from the front and back covers (which must have a name in English, but I can only think of the Dutch word!). I also gave it new end pages and headbands. Anyway, here is the final result:
Here are some photos of my latest project, the restoration of a – rather huge – Dutch Statenbijbel. It was basically intact, except for a couple of loose signatures, but the cover was coming off and the leather was in quite bad condition. A number of the pages were also quite torn.
I mended the tears in the pages with Japanese paper and paste, reattached loose pages and signatures and gave the book block new end pages. Because the leather was very brittle, I gave the book a new leather spine and glued the remnants of the old spine onto the new leather. Here is the completed result.
Ever since doing embossed covers on some bibles I repaired, I have been thinking of doing this on bibles to sell. The bibles on this post are bibles which I bought and rebound. The book blocks were all stitched, but I gave them new end papers and leather headbands and coloured the edges. I have a variety of other bibles in the pipeline – and the variations of translation, size, colour and cover design are endless – but I didn’t manage to finish them in time for the market, so I’m just posting these three for now. They were supposed to have lettering on the spine, but that is one of the technical hitches that I still have to resolve.
I’m inclined to think that these bibles are among the more pleasing aspects of my work until now. They were both moderately damaged, and I rebound them both using black leather and handmade paper end pages with black leather headbands. The most striking feature are the embossed designs on the cover.
The book block of the first was reasonably intact, except for the first signature that had come loose, but the cover was in tatters.
Here it is before:
and here it is afterwards:
The second bible had a somewhat more damaged book block with some loose and damaged pages that needed to be repaired with Japanese paper and stitched into the book.
Here it is before:
And here it is afterwards: