Thursday, July 9, 2009

Rebinding a Family Bible

Our usual goal when restoring a family Bible is to reuse the original spine and boards. Repairs are hidden underneath the original materials and the book retains the look and feel of a period piece. When the covers are missing or unsalvageable, the best approach is not always clear. Because the sculpted boards and the blocked gold tooling are an irreplaceable part of the book's history, there's no easy way to recreate the look and feel of an antique Bible from the mid to late 1800's. While sculpting boards and having metal dies made for tooling is possible, it's fairly expensive.

These covers suffered heavy water damage, shrinking the leather and exposing large areas of the boards beneath. We were able to salvage the center portion of the leather, sculpt new boards to receive it, and suggest the correct period by a combination of blind and gold tooling.

It's far more common for the spine to be missing, and we face the same difficulties in matching intricate tooling without scanning the original and making new dies. Here's a recent effort that suggests the ornate original and blends well with the original boards.

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