This article shows a step by step demonstration of a leather family Bible restoration.
Large family Bibles
One of the most common tasks that I undertake is a leather family Bible restoration. This is usually required when the covers or the spine have become detached from a large Victorian Bible. These hefty family Bibles, all produced between around 1850 and 1900, were made to look very striking. They were covered in full black goatskin with lots of blocked gold decoration on the spine and covers. Sometimes they had brass fittings around the edges of the covers or on the corners. Their heavy covers were almost always poorly attached considering the book’s size and weight. After 150 years of use, the leather on the hinges can start to split. Eventually either the spine detaches or one or both of the covers fall off.
I recently repaired a family Bible that was a good example of the sort of damage that these volumes can sustain. This presented a good opportunity to detail the step by step process of the restoration of this kind of Bible. It arrived looking like this, with both covers and the frontispiece detached and with parts of the spine missing:
Leather family Bible restoration process summarised
The loose frontispiece and detached covers were re-attached. The book was then rebacked with a new leather spine. Following this, the remains of the old spine were mounted onto the new one. Missing areas of gold tooling were re-tooled to match the original and the inside cloth hinges neatly rebuilt. Finally, rubbed areas of leather on the original spine and covers were re-coloured to the original tone. The Bible was returned to its owner looking like this:
Leather Bible restoration process – step by step
I thought that it might be interesting for anyone reading this post to see the various stages of the work involved. As a result, I photographed each stage of the process which is described and shown below:
Reusing the original spine
If you are interested in having your Bible restored, please contact me for a price quotation either by email or by using the contact form.