Bible Repair & 4 Flap Enclosure

2019-02-11
I can't believe how fast time has gone by. It's already mid February! I haven't been able to post on my blog for the last few months as I was experiencing some technical difficulties, that has now been solved and hopefully won't be an issue anymore. I started a new instagram account dedicated to my books and paper art, the instagram link has been changed to that and the handle is @percybookbinder. Please follow me if you haven't yet.
I have been getting a few bible repair jobs lately. There are still two bibles in my studio waiting to be picked up by the clients. I hear from a few of my bookbinder friends that there's always a lot of bible repairs floating around but then it is always a tough job. The issues with bible repair is that the book itself has a sentimental value but then it is easily replaceable. There's always the struggle for the client, as to how much they are willing to pay to have the bible repaired, keeping in mind the actual monetary value of the bible. Also, materials used for contemporary bibles are not the best quality and deteriorates quickly with heavy usage.
This is a new testament bible from the 1920s. The client kept it in a place where it experienced some water damage, there were tide lines throughout the pages and it was quite visible on the endsheets and the title page. The spine hinges were weak from regular usage. The binding had split toward the back of the book detaching the textblock from the covers at the spine. As you can see from the first photo and from the photo below, before the repair when the bible was closed, the textblock did not fit inside the covers, this was caused by the water damage and warping of the covers.
I had to remove the endpapers from the covers so to flatten the covers to better fit the textblock. The lifting of the endpapers were a bit tricky as the boards had deteriorated and they were very thin. I then resew the two parts of the textblock together, cleaned the spine and reinforced the spine. As it would require a lot of work and time to remove the tidelines from all the pages, the client opted for just doing the endsheets and the title page. There is some water soluble ink on the title page so it was a tricky process to remove the tidelines without affecting the writing.
The client also wanted an enclosure for safe keeping. Enclosures are for creating a stable environment for the object, it keeps the object from temperature fluctuations, humidity, dust and other outside factors. The enclosures are made to fit the object, it also protects the object during travel. For this bible as it is quite small, it fits in the palm of your hand, we opted to do a four flap enclosure instead of a clamshell box.
Four flap enclosures can be made from archival card stock, archival corrugated board or in this case from backboard covered in backcloth and lined with Japanese paper. I liked how the four flap enclosure turned out. It looks better than the corrugated board boxes and goes well with the bible.
The two leather labels were tooled in gold, one on the front of the enclosure and one on the spine side. The client was pleased with how it turned out and managed to pick it up before he left Hong Kong for good.
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