Bible Restoration saves and restores Family Bibles and old Bibles having detached, taped or missing covers, spines and pages
Each year, we perform Bible restoration services for hundreds of older Bibles that come to us in desperate need of restoration. Many of these Bibles come to us taped together having detached covers or spines. Many have missing or torn pages. This page shows the "before" and "after" condition of these Bibles and the different techniques our bookbinders use. Learn our process and see how a "Face trim" on the pages can make a dramatic difference. If you have any questions, please Contact Us. We are here to help!
Our Bible Restoration service can restore most Bibles, including circa 1800 and early 1900 Family Bibles.
Old Bibles can be saved with our Bible Restoration service
Some of the most stunning Bibles we receive are old Bibles and decorative antique Family Bibles. These have gorgeous, elaborate and ornate original leather covers and spines. The pages are usually torn or damaged. Some are missing genealogy pages. Due to the passage of time, these Bibles need special attention to restore these detached covers and spines and mend the damaged pages.
To learn more about our bookbinding techniques and essential options and extras that may want to be part of your Bible restoration, then continue reading.
Bible Restoration techniques we use to restore Bibles
The Bible restoration process used to save and restore original covers and spines depends on the age of the Bible, the thickness of the original cover and the condition of the original cover. Here are some examples of different methods we use in Bible restoration.
Bible are restored with "Splice" method (The Large Cross Bible example)
The "Before" photo shows a Family Bible with a detached cover and spine being held together with Scotch tape. Despite this significant damage, our bookbinders employ a "Splice Method" for the cover and the spine. The original spine is carefully removed, trimmed and glued to the newly constructed spine. The bookbinders create a notched space in the original cover and the new spine is carefully spliced together with the original cover. We restore most large Family Bibles with this technique. The new spine, together with the spliced cover give the Bible renewed functionality. This photo shows how our bookbinders salvage a seriously damaged and torn original spine. The "After" photo shows the restored Bible with an optional condition and sealant service, transforming the Bible to display a marvelous deep color.
Bible restoration with an "well" method technique (The detached Bible cover example)
The "Before" photo shows a Bible with a completely detached cover and partially detached spine. Our goal with this project is to save as much of the original cover and spine. Our bookbinders inspect the Bible and determine that the cover is too thin for splicing and therefore elects to create a new spine and frame "well". We trim and attach the original cover to the "well" frame. The spine is carefully removed, trimmed and attached to the new spine portion of the "well" frame. We foil stamp our customer's name onto the front of the cover. See the "After" photograph.
Other techniques available when covers are disintegrating (the crumbling Bible cover example)
Sometimes, the full extent of damage to a Bible is unknown due to extensive taping, especially if the taping completely covers the cover edges. When this happens, our bookbinders may have to adapt to another bookbinding technique. For example, if a front cover's edge is too disintegrated or uneven, it could prevent the bookbinder from slicing into the cover and joining it with the spine. Also, if the cover is too thick, placing it into a well is not practical. Our bookbinders may use a technique where they create a new thicker spine and integrate the cover into this new spine.
Restoring soft covers with "Well" method and applying hot foil stamping to personalize a name on the cover
This 1950s era soft cover small Bible with zipper is a great gift to a granddaughter when its converted to a wonderful hardcover. For this type of restoration, our bookbinder selects any goatskin or cowhide plonge material for a cover and spine. The bookbinder creates a special frame to receive the carefully removed and trimmed original cover and spine. The look is completed by attaching the original cross to a new ribbon marker. We gold foil stamp the granddaughter's name under the customer's name. Great gift!
Bible restoration saves portions of original Yapp covers with a "well" method
Yapp covers are popular covers on Bibles but due to their extended flaps that cover the pages, we often see these types of covers for repairs or restorations. We find these covers become brittle over time and need to be replaced. When these covers have sentimental value, we can use the "well' method to save a substantial portion of the cover. Our bookbinders create a matching leather frame and spine and place the trimmed original cover into the recessed well. This technique needs to be used when an original cover is too thin or fragile. We can add a ribbon marker or two if you want. A great solution!
Our multi-step process in a Bible Restoration
The primary goal of the Bible restoration process is to restore a Bible's functionality. Our bookbinder will typically perform the following tasks and steps for Bible restoration:
- Meticulously separates the original cover and spine from the book block
- Meticulously cleans the binding edge of the book block, removes the old glue and prepares the book block for hand groove stitching.
- Repairs pages (if a customer elects these services)
- Inserts any repaired or new pages into the book block
- Hand sews and/or reinforces book block
- Attaches End sheets
- Trims pages (in the discretion of bookbinder or if requested) See Face Trim below
- Sets book block in job backer machine and plies edge by hand
- Attaches ribbon book markers (if requested)
- Attaches new headbands and applies "super" (a linen type of gauze material) to the binding edge
- Builds a new spine and makes the spine ready to receive the original old Bible cover.
- Incorporates the spine and the old Bible cover using a "Splice method", "well method" or other bookbinding methods
- Cases in the book block into the cover
- Places the Bible into one or more book presses for pressing
A "Face Trim" provides a clean look to the page edges
Many Family Bibles and old Bibles have very rough used dirty edges. After any page replacement or repairs, some customers want their Bible to have a fresh clean look on the page edges to match the new look on the exterior. We use a professional hydraulic paper cutter that uses special shape blades and thousands of pounds of pressure to get a razor clean cut which we call a "Face Trim".
Please know that a "Face Trim" may affect any notes on the edges of the pages. Please let us know if you do not want your Bible to have a "Face Trim". We typically do not do a "Face Trim" if a Bible has gold gilding edges unless requested.
There are available Options and Extras to enhance the Bible Restoration
We have great "Options and Extras" that you may want as part of your Bible Restoration. We can discuss these options and extras with you after we receive your Bible and inspect it. For more information about what is available, we encourage you to go to Options and Extras.
- Do you want to preserve a thin or brittle exterior cover with a "Well"? We have a special technique to save covers by creating a new spine and frame with a recessed "well" to receive the old exterior cover. It is a way to save sentimental covers. However, it does cost more to save covers. Before deciding, you may want to consider a NEW cover. See Bible Rebinding (NEW cover)
- Material Upgrades: The Bible Restoration price includes a very high quality bonded leather. There is an option to upgrade to beautiful and durable goatskins and cow plonge leathers.
- Page Marker Ribbons: Customer selects color(s) and the up to three ribbons. Plenty of colors.
- Foil Stamping: Spine foiling text, names or images are popular on new spines. For more information see our Bible Personalization page.
- Spine bands and Rule lines: Raised bands on a new spine add character and dimension while the rule lines can look great by themselves or used to make the spine bands stand out.
- Marriage, Birth and Death genealogy inserts: We have a great selection of genealogy inserts.
- Upgrade End sheets: The Bible Restoration price includes an end sheet choice of ivory, white or black cover stock paper, but we have beautiful and more durable upgrade options and can replicate existing end sheets using graphic design techniques. We can also "repair" damaged end sheets and reproduce them.
- Repairing torn or damaged pages: Are there torn or damaged interior pages? Do the page edges have "dog ears"? For more information see our Page Repair page.
- Missing text or pages replaced: If missing a portion of text in many cases, we can recreate the missing text. If pages are missing, we have sourced other similar Bible translations and bound them into the original. This is our Research and Replace service.
- Leather Cover Treatments: When saving an original Bible cover, it may need Conditioners, Sealants or a Red Rot Treatment.
Top 10 Essential "Options"
We have a large selection of leathers, skins and other materials to rebind your Bible with a beautiful NEW cover
"I am really satisfied with the job that Bella Becho did on our vintage family Bible. The Bible was falling apart and seemed very fragile. Once the job was completed, I was no longer afraid that it would turn to dust in my hands. The rebinding process was worth it to preserve a part of our family history. You can now turn the pages without fear!" Karen
There are times when a repair, restoration or rebinding could negatively affect the market value of a rare or historical book or Bible. Click to Learn more