Step by step instructions on How to repair a Bible Cover or book Spine Properly for a book that you want to keep...
Small Repairs and Large ones too..
There is not much in this life that I find more satisfaction in than repairing an otherwise good bible that has become worn beyond practical use... You know the kind... the text is good.. the pages marked with all of your favorite notes from many years of study... but the Binding or spine has been compromised...
Well if you have a little craft ability and can follow some simple instructions you will be able to repair that bible in a short period of time and know that it will still provide you years of Good use!!!
Carefully Disassemble the book
Use a Exact-o knife or a pair of scissors to cut the cover from the content and make bare the areas of the cover that need to be re glued.
Disassembly of Bible
Examine the damage and glue the first side... spread the glue to contact all of the area you wish to glue. Use a "White Glue" that is Plastic based. It is easier to clean up with a damp sponge and makes an excellent clear bond.
Spread the Glue with a finger and then press the paper back into its position... Clean up extra that oozes out with a slightly damp sponge and then do the other side...
Now Pile some Books on it to keep it pressed and make a good glue Bond.
Pressing the Glue
Making the Splint
Cut a leather Binding Splint
A Scrap of Medium thickness leather (2-3mm) is a good choice at this point for a repair to a broken spine.
For a Very thick book like a Large Bible with built in study and helps sections you may want to opt for the full thickness leather (4mm-5mm).
The thicker leather makes sure that the spine will not break in the middle again (a common problem with old bibles) But it is harder to work with.
With Thicker Leather comes a problem of Cutting it to shape. You may need to use a Jigsaw (or whatever you have handy).
Cut the Leather to shape but make sure that it is slightly SMALLER than the spine you are repairing. Remember that you will be reinstalling the same Cover and that any size increase will "Shorten" the cover itself.
This appearance can be covered up nicely with a Full Leather Cover and Closure Strap if you choose that option.
leather splint changes things
Bible with Full Leather Cover and Closure Strap
Gluing in the Binding Splint
For this Gluing you will want to use a good quality Contact Cement. (Don`t sniff the fumes)
Apply the cement to both the rough side of the Leather Splint (Rough goes inside of leather toward the pages) and apply another coat of Glue to the spine of the bible itself evenly cover the paper and binding tape.
Wait 10 minutes or so (read the directions on the side of the Contact Cement)
When you press the Leather to the Binding use a Wooden Rod or Mallet to beat the leather... The contact cement is strong glue.. but proportional to the pressure applied when the two parts are placed together. ~Spank it~ The pressure involved with the rod or mallet being properly applied to the binding will make the glue form an extremely solid bond.
But WARNING: Do Not smack your finger tips in the process... trust me it hurts... just take my word for it...
About this point there is a small mater of the inside of the cover possibly looking shabby from tears and gluing...
You can take a peace of Cardstock (often sold for printers as Couche or Photo Paper.
Usually it is about 180 gram weight and makes for a nice finishing touch to the inside of cover if done properly. You can get this type of paper in printed pasterns and colors also.
Take the paper and fold it in half.
Lay it inside the book tight to the spine and close the book... use the outside of the cover as a guide for drawing the shape to be cut.
You will want to cut INSIDE the Line by approximately 1/4 inch (6mm)
Glue the liner inside the cover and leave the other half of the paper to be a first blank page inside the bible...
I will sometimes even add a few blank pages at the front or back or even add my own notes and helps section pages... Depends on how much room you have inside the cover.
Using the same Contact Cement, carefully apply the cement to both the spine and the center part of the cover that you want to glue. Do not get the glue all over the place if you can help it...
Place the cover on a flat surface and then Carefully position the Book before touching the two sides together....
~WAIT~ for the Glue to be ready before putting the two pieces together.
Again Use the Rod or Mallet to make sure the Glue gets a good beating and forms a great Bond.
Choose your Cover Material
If you have a local leather shop (Like Tandy Leather-craft) you can usually choose from a wide variety of Natural and Patterned leathers. Some are colored, Some are Exotic (usually thin however) and others that are thicker can be tooled with names, Pictures and Titles etc.
You have a great deal of latitude when making your own Cover... Even the style can be of your own invention.. Just use some imagination and you will do just fine.
If you do not have a Leather store nearby.... there are also other options... You can sometimes find Recyclable Leather at Second hand stores in the form of old Pants, Jackets and purses that can be cut up and put to a better use.
You can also Choose to use Denim, or some Military Camouflage patern if you like... (my wife and daughter prefer flowery cloth prints)
Cut the Leather Cover
Mark your piece of material using the old cover for a template.
Mark the New Cover LARGER than the Old one... Especially Longer!!
Remember that if you cut the piece exactly the same size, it will be too short when placed on the OUTSIDE of the Closed Cover.
Your New Leather Cover should be cut Slightly Larger than the old cover so that you not only have plenty of room for Gluing but that it will properly fit when the book is closed...
Use a Square and make sure your lines you are drawing are perfectly squared (at 90 degree angles)
If your piece of Leather is not with Squared ends compared to the staight sides.. you will have a mess when you try to glue it in place.
Once you have the piece properly drawn out and Cut, Place it on the bible and play with it a little bit.. make sure the margins are large enough and you can properly picture it where you want it.
Now Mark it. Mark the top, bottom and end lines so that you will have a reference when you are ready to glue.
Are you going to add a Closure Strap??? Maybe a Buckle??
Now is the time to do any leather work of this sort before you Glue the Cover onto the bible.
Glue on Leather Cover
The New Leather Cover is now Glued onto the Outside of the old bible Cover.
Yes you could do away with the old cover... But usually do not.
The old Cover makes a great base to Attach the New Cover to... and in the end you have a much more durable cover than you would have otherwise.
Again you will be using Contact Cement (and will need to wait some minutes and then beat it etc...)