Answer: First, we need to evaluate the binding of your Bible.
If it has an intact, sewn binding, we can go straight to talking about what leather you’d like. If the pages are falling out or the was originally only glued, we usually need to insert cords into the spine, to repair it and secure the pages first. Check out our blog post to learn more about this.
Click here to go straight to our rebinding categories and see what we can do for you, or read on to learn more.
Never Bonded Leather! The leather used for the standard hand-held, take-to-Bible-study, on-the-go Bible must be durable. This is why we use genuine leathers for Bibles, never bonded leather. Common bonded leather can be as little as 70% leather fibers and 30% “bonding agent,” and it will fall apart when handled much. Even the softest genuine leather will have a longer life expectancy. See our video about leather and its strength.
Not all leathers are suitable for Bibles, but we stock an assortment of recommended Bible leathers, including pigskin, calfskins and cowhides, various goatskins, lambskin (very soft but better for a smaller Bible), and even kangaroo (better for a larger Bible). Many leathers also come in several grains, both natural and impressed. We mostly use leathers in the 1.75 to 2.75 oz. range.
The most economical is pigskin, which is commonly used on Bibles in natural and pressed grains. In most cases, Bibles which say “genuine leather” are covered in a pigskin. It’s sturdy and dependable. The most common grain is mission grain, which is mostly linear, like a grained calfskin. A natural grain shows visible pores. It’s easy for pigskin to become too stiff when rebinding, but we can keep the cover flexible.
Goatskin is often a preferred leather, because of its grain and luster. We have several good goatskins, including an unembossed soft-tanned goatskin, which is incredibly soft but still durable. We have black (pictured), medium brown (chocolate or tobacco), and glossy chocolate, along with some other bright colors like turquoise, red, green, and pink.
For the older Bibles, such as the ones with the wide overhanging edges like your grandmother kept on her nightstand, we are currently using this soft-tanned goatskin to recreate the original look. Often the pages have been torn and taped and sections are falling out.
While we can’t turn your keepsake Bible into a new Bible, we can usually get things back together so that the Bible can once again be used or at least passed on to the next generation in reasonable condition, complete with all the underlinings and notes in the margins.
The most durable is kangaroo, which is known to have the highest tensile strength of any leather on the market. But overall, the cost of the leather is not related to its strength as much as it is to its availability. Pictured below is our hand-dyed kangaroo.
The above is not a complete list of your options — it’s just a short sampling. But whether your Bible is old or brand new, we will do our best to guide you through the choices of leathers, grains, and colors and find something that works for you. Click here to go straight to our categories and learn more about what we can do for you. Or, you can click here to check out our specialty styles, including a leather-lined style and our historical styles.
We are also aware that there are some folks who just don’t like using animal hides for their Bibles. For this reason, we have imitation leather. This is actually a type of cloth with a leatherlike finish and comes in several grains. While it may not last as long as genuine leather, it will not disintegrate like bonded leather, and it can be imprinted and used for either a hardcover Bible or a softcover. Also available are a variety of standard bookbinding cloths suitable for indoor use with hardcover Bibles. See our Budget Menu.
Once your Bible is neatly dressed in its new skin, we can add ribbons and personalize it with your name or initials, so it doesn’t accidentally get picked up by the wrong person. Check our ordering information page for more on pricing.