Restoring Family Bibles

At Craft Bookbinding, we can make your old Family Bible look like you have kept it in good condition over the years. Not only will it be beautiful again, but it will be sturdy and usable.

We begin by treating the old dry (even powdery) leather with our own formula leather preserver that we have used for over thirty years. Our "Original" Leather preserver is particularly suited for dry powdery leather and to our knowledge is the only leather preserver that is. Next we clean the old gilding which has often accumulated so much dirt that it is hardly visible. We then re-tint the areas of the cover where the color has either faded or been scuffed off.

If the text-block needs to be resewn and they often do, we take the book apart. The text-blocks of traditionally bound books are made up of sections (folded sheets of eight to sixteen pages). These section are most often sewn onto linen cords. These sections are cut apart and resewn by hand with the proper weight linen thread onto linen cords.

Often the pages of Family Bibles have gotten torn and tattered from hard use. When there are pages in need of mending, they are mended with Japanese mulberry paper which is nearly invisible on the page. If portions of the page are missing, we replace that which is missing with paper of a similar weight and color.

Occasionally a book will have gotten wet at some point and is showing "tide marks" from having been wet. Sometimes the pages are just dirty from a century or two's handling. We wash these pages and re-size the paper to clean and rejuvenate it. We leave in minor stains so that the paper will still have the appearance of age.

When the text-block has been resewn, it is then "backed," and given a ribbon and headbands of a suitable style and color. When we can, we reuse the original headbands and endpapers.

The old cover that we had previously chemically treated and re-tinted, etc. is now ready for the rest of its restoration. New leather is applied where the old leather is missing. New leather is put under the old spine for strength and to join the front and back covers together so as to be one piece. If the old spine is missing, we create a new spine. If we know what the old spine looked like, we create a new replica spine.

When the Bible is back together again, the leather is then given a sealant so that the leather will not absorb dirt and airborne acids.

All mends are disguised as much as possible so that repairs will not be obvious. 99% of the existing material will be used in your Family Bible's restoration. We never chop off portions of the spine and slap it on over a piece of leather, which practice is all too common in Bible restoration.

Other services we offer in the restoration of old Family Bibles is the replacement of missing clasps. Very often, we can even supply missing pages. If you wish to have additional record pages or gallery pages, we can replicate those already in your Family Bible.

Also available for protecting and enhancing your Family Bible, we can make a display or slip case for you.

We are unsurpassed in the craftsmanship and authenticity in the restoration of old Family Bibles. We believe you will find it a rewarding experience.

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