I was asked to take a look at a Bible recently. I have done many Bible restorations over the years but this one was….. interesting.
The client, an elderly gentleman in Wisconsin, studies his Bible every night. As a result of his decaded of study the Bible fell apart. I accepted the job to restore his book without knowing very much about the quality or age of the work. When I received the Bible in the mail it was in pieces and was a modern tissue paper printing. I was less than thrilled to attempt separating modern glue and tissue paper.
What I realized after looking over the book is that the client didn’t just study his Bible….he put copious notes on every page. What touched me even more…what really made me realize that this gentleman and myself were made of the same stuff, was that his notes clearly showed he was not accepting the words in the book as “gospel” but searching in Greek, Latin, Hebrew, historical texts, shcolarly studies and just about every place he could for the truth of those words and of that book. He was testing, digging, clawing his way through more than a thousand years of human error to get as close to the possible truth as he could. My respect for his efforts soared when I realized this. After speaking to him on the phone, my thoughts were confirmed.
My client for this book wanted a simple leather cover to replace the one that had disintegrated. Most of the pages needed repair and, if anyone has ever tried to repair tissue paper, this task was far from easy. Modern Bibles are printed on a thin tissue-like paper that is more like prison toilet paper than writing paper. No disrespect intended. So many hours were spent bent over separated leaves with strips of Japanese repair paper, glue, and a scalpel.
After the extensive paper repairs I hand stitched the book on my sewing table and added a basic cream end paper set as per the client’s direction. I then moved on to backing. It was very important for the client that the Bible lay flat on his computer desk while he work. I added the head and foot band and put a backer on the spine to create a hollow. I prefer to cap the head and foot, which I did, and once it was finished achieved the desired result.
I had never done a flexible Bible cover. It was much easier than I had thought and I was thrilled to get the same corner folds as the original –with almost no depth and a nice according folding on a curved edge.
The Cover is veg tanned brown goat. Although my client wanted “simple” he was fine with additional decoration. I added the blind tooling and “BIBLE” title and I was finished.
I hear the gentleman is very happy with the results. As long as he continue to dig for the truth and not get so lazy as to believe the voices of men…I am happy too.