Skip to content

Bijbel Restoration

About the Project

Family heirlooms are particularly special in my workshop and this bible is no exception. A Dutch ‘Bijbel’ printed and bound in 1910, survived the long journey across the Atlantic with the Kuiper family (now the Cooper family) and needed some work to bring it in to the new century.



The original book laid in tattered form, as often many books from this age are these days. Sadly, I didn’t take any photos of the original condition. But suffice to say it was barely being held together. Thankfully, all pages were accounted for and repairs soon began on the rebinding of the Bijbel. 

To repair paper there are many products that exist these days and are widely available. The best, however, is a Japanese product called Kozo Washi paper. Its malleability, wet strength and long fibres make it an excellent choice for binders and conservators alike.

The leather selection was another matter entirely. One of the most popular choices for design binding is Morocco, a fine goat skin that is thin and beautiful to look upon. When I spoke with the family of the Bijbel, we decided to go in a different direction. Sheepskin is less used but no less beautiful. Much thicker than Morocco, 0.8 cm vs 0.2 cm (approximately) it adds weight and thickness to the finished product, not to mention the amount of paring needed to bring it to folding levels. Its grain and hair follicles are much wider, too, as adult sheep have thick fur and live a bit longer before slaughter. Sheepskin has often been seen in the binding world as less desirable to work with, for there are two layers of skin to contend with that can sometimes play off each other, making it difficult to tool and work with gold leaf.

Last, but certainly not least, are the raised sections of the design. A simple cross bordered by in-turned corners brings this design home with a simple and elegant look, intended to last generations. This was achieved with an ‘underlay’ of thicker boards and tooled after coloring was complete. 

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.


Bijbel Restoration


Full leather binding | Inlay | Gold stamping