I’m interested in having my great grandma’s big Family Bible restored. What are my options?
The words “Family Bible” often bring to mind the large, deeply-recessed and highly decorative Bibles of the 19th century. These Bibles were once very beautiful, and a common adornment in American homes. However beautiful, most were so big and heavy that they eventually tore themselves apart, and now the challenge is to get them back into a condition where they can be displayed and even used in a Christian home.
Our goal in restoring your family Bible is to do all that is possible to get it back into a functional displayable condition and at the same time preserve and restore the antiquity and hidden beauty of the original binding.
We can replace spines, which are often missing, with new leather, antiqued, color matched, and blended to the original boards. We include the wide raised bands often found on these period Bibles.
We have some larger fonts we can use for title imprinting, but we do not attempt to replicate the original spine. Our goal is to draw attention to the beauty of the original boards.
But we can also add some blind-stamped embellishments to add beauty to the new spine. If the original spine isn’t too far gone, we can attach it to the new leather as a cap.
Beyond that, we can repair torn pages with acid-free materials, repair breaks in the text block, apply new durable hinge cloth, replace head and tail bands, and recondition the leather on the original boards.
Sometimes, we can take something that looks hopeless and bring it back again.
Would you like a “ballpark price” on restoring your family Bible?
For the family Bibles that pre-date the gaudy Victorian era, we offer complete rebinding in calf or goatskin with an antiqued finish to replicate what your Bible should have looked like with years of careful use. We are always careful to preserve any personal notes, even on the pastedown end pages. If we can save the original decorative end pages by applying a cloth patch along the inner hinge, we will. When replacing end pages that aren’t salvageable, we use archival quality hand-milled cotton rag paper specially made to match the period.
Often the biggest challenge in family Bible restoration comes with the mid-20th century Bibles. These Bibles with decorative front covers and sometimes color paste-down illustrations were made of acidic cardboard with a pressed-in leather grain. Restoration without total recovering is nearly impossible, but we have had success in re-covering these using genuine leather, saving a portion of the original cover art and embedding it into the new leather.
Here are some examples of the restoration and rebinding of family Bibles:
Do check out our Ballpark Page to see some sample pricing on such a project. If you feel ready to send us your family Bible, you can see our Shipping Page for information on how to get your Bible to us.