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Bible Recovery

About the Project

Recovering a special heirloom is one of my favorite duties as a bookbinder. In some ways, I feel a certain responsibility to help bring life back to objects like this, if at all possible. This project was no exception.

Desiring to restore a book that meant the world to him, the client reached out with a vision in mind and I was happy to help in any way possible. I was not the least bit surprised to learn that the client was advised by some other binders to just “get a new book” and that rebinding this would “not be worth it”. I’ve heard many binders say things like this in the past and it is a bit disheartening.

Books hold a special place in our hearts, the value of which cannot be determined by most measures of cost or labor. To me, it did not matter what the book was made out of or if I felt it was “worth it” because it was worth it to the client. He loves this book and I could immediately feel that love radiating throughout the text-block. I’ve worked on many bibles in the past and rarely have a seen one with notes on almost every page (~2,500 pages or so)!

Design

Methods

This was a fairly straightforward process and meant to reflect the simple beauty of the book itself. Using copperhead-brown leather and 36pt typeface for the gold stamping, the finished product is both smooth and elegant.

While the original text-block was in shambles, the client was a bit worried if we could do the work without damaging the book in the process. I assured him that we can make this work possible without incident.

Before

As is very common with much-loved books, this bible had seen it’s many fine days of reading and study. Seeing a book in this condition is not at all uncommon for a bookbinder to be asked to repair, and the needs of the book itself do not differ much from fundamental tasks. As you can see on the sine, much of the binding is still somewhat intact, though fraying near the head and tail of the book.

Process

As carefully as possible, each signature is separated from the text-block and the glue is removed. The quality of the paper has much to do with the method needed for glue removal, as the thinner the paper is the more fragile one needs to be to accomplish this task. Additionally, if any paper decides to run or begins to tear, then methyl-cellulose and Japanese tissue paper are needed. Thankfully, I was able to remove everything and resew it all without incident. After the boards are measured, then the case is made to fit the book perfectly, allowing for proper mechanical function of the text along with comfort in the reader’s hand. It is important to remember what the intentions of the customer is for the book after it is all finished. In this case: rigorous use and daily study. Thus, we went with materials and methods that could withstand the passions of the customer’s academic and theological pursuits. 

After

The result of our design turned out beautifully. Choosing a simple “Copperhead” brown Morocco, selected both for its quality and supple feel in one’s hand, gives it a timeless elegance that is guaranteed to stand the test of time. For the front decoration, 24k gold leaf was used to reflect the original gilding. I also opted not to guillotine the edges, desiring to keep a remnant of the original and its design. The marbled endleaves are handmade and colored for this project. After asking the client for their favorite colors, a set of papers are produced for the front and back.

We are excited to begin working with you. Boston Harbor Bookbindery is experienced in designing custom, one-of-a-kind books for each client.

Whether you’d like to restore a family heirloom, re-bind a personal favorite, or print a book from scratch; we have just what you need to make your dreams a reality.

CUSTOMER

Dotson Bible

WHAT WE DID

Full leather binding | Repair & Resew | Gold stamping