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September 21, 2007



For those interested in rebinding, I have recently found out some info. WHile mechling does a fine job rebinding bibles with goatskin, they do not add the red under gold gilding or just gold gilding. But I spoke with mcpadden book bindery earlier today and found out that they will rebind bibles and add the gold gilding. Although it is not cheap. they will send the bible to a gentleman that cleans off the pages (shaves the edge off, and can even trim down the bible) and then will add gold or red under the gold. The Gold is 24K which is very elegant compared to the spray on used on most bibles today. And the work is garaunteed.

Rebinding with goatskin (ribbons, etc)= $130
adding 24K Gold to the edges that will actually last = $100

Total = $230

anybody know someone that does the gilding cheaper?


Matt -- thanks for the info. To clarify, does the $100K for gold include the red under the gold?

I guess if one has that "perfect" Bible -- this is a great way to rebind and put it back to new condition.


The red under the gold bumps it up another $20 I believe. The idea is to take any bible and turn it into an Allans look a like. Many bibles today have poor gold gilding (not even real gold, so it doesnt last long), and this allows someone to do almost the whole package. With Mcpadden you can use a goatskin that is a hand finished and natural grain similiar to Allans.

My future project may be to take the new ESV personal single column and transform it.

Its a lot of money, but I could just forgo buying clothes for a year :)


Matt -- sounds interesting, but it would seem Crossway would need to figure out the paper issue first (too thin). That issue alone would keep me from investing any more $$ into that Bible.

Also, why not check out what Cambridge will offer in the Wide-Margin ESV in the next year?


I will wait most likely until next year...I am looking forward to the cambridge edition. As far as the ESV goes I have a few classic reference editions that had the 27ib paper (same as the heirloom) and they are wonderful for marking on.


After making some calls I located another binder. His name is Paul Sawyer of sawyerbinder.com (out of florida) originally from England and has been binding for 38 years I believe. He will also do red under gold gilding, and though he charges a lot for the gilding (around a $100) he will color page edges for free when ever he does a bible (he also mentioned that he does the gilding on a case by case basis depending on how long he thinks it will last). His trademark is silk linings. He doesnt like leather linings as much saying that over the years customers have enjoyed the feel and longitude of real silk linings with a natural dyed Goatskin. He told me a number of stories, one of which is of a pastor that had him rebind a very used bible 25 years ago and recently brought it in to Paul to show how long the re-binding has lasted.


Paul Sawyer also posted this on his website...very interesting experience:
"Apprenticed in 1970 for 6 years with British government contractors. Worked and
trained in many British institutions. (Ministry of Defense, Admiralty, House
of Lords, Somerset House, Old Bailey, Inner Temple)

Colleges attended were Camberwell Art & Crafts as well as London College of Printing
where the City of Guilds of London granted me awards becoming a master bookbinder.

Worked and trained by binders such as:
Roy Russell British Museum..........................John Mitchell LCP
Bob Moody Designer Bookbinding Forefather......John Smart, Camberwill Arts & Crafts

Chosen to bind the Queen of England's
SILVER JUBILEE CORONATION ALBUM...Presented in Greenwich, London.

Bound books and photograph albums for:
Lord Patrick Litchfield..........The Royal Astrological Society..........The Alpine Club

I previously owned the Lakedale Bindery in London England. I then came to the
United States and was sponsored to contract for the Library of Congress.
Have owned and operated my present business for 14 years."


What a disappointment...I live in Florida too :)

Actually, this is quite impressive...I wonder what he would think of the Allan's if he was shown it based on some of our discussions.


He has heard of Allans, and said he ran across their Bibles back in the Old Country, but has not seen many out here...said he remembered them being very good quality. Although he mentioned a bindery in southern London area called Watkins that he said has made the finest bibles he has ever seen. He mentioned that they may be shut down now...but runs across their bibles in the states from time to time.


Wonder if we could track them down and see if they are still around???


I did a couple google searches and found nothing.


I need to get a Cambridge KJV (RCD266) re bound. The inner binding has come away at page 8. Is it possible to get the rebinding done and the cover replaced, goatskin, semi yapp etc?


Too bad they don't offer yapp edges anymore. Also, as regards stamping, I think that I've got the opposite problem that you had--I don't want the words "Holy Bible" stamped anywhere on it, but I would really like to have the spine stamped with what the original said ("New Oxford Annotated Bible/With The Apocrypha/Expanded Edition/Revised Standard Version"), and I've yet to encounter anyone offering to do custom stamping on the spine. Incidentally, I'm convinced that Oxford's imitation leather (which is excellent) is hugely superior to their genuine leather, which is terrible (and nearly indistinguishable from barely passable imitation leather).



Paul Sawyer, one of the binders listed here under the "REBINDING LINKS" heading in the right column, agreed to do custom spine stamping for someone, if I recall correctly. There's a post about that rebinding project from earlier this year, but I can't seem to track it down at the moment. Might be worth contacting him to ask...

Michael Freeman

My wife has this affinity for blue bibles and silver gilding. As most of you are aware, the high end bibles do not offer this combination at all. About the best binding/cover I could locate was a cowhide Oxford Scofield.

Myself, I'm an Allan's and Cambridge goatskin fan. My wife picked up my Allan's 5C and sort of requested(!) that she would enjoy a bible of similiar quality in blue.

Enter Mechling Bookbinding. I sent the Bible to them and requested the "deluxe binding package" which included the goatskin, two ribbon markers, silver stamping (I declined additional stamping past "Holy Bible" on the spine), shipping etc.

They delivered. I tried not to be unrealistic in my expectations, however, they did a superb job with my request and an Oxford bound text block. The endsheets that they went with (best match) lined up perfectly with the leather lined blue goatskin cover. I decided on 3/8" blue silk ribbons(2) instead of the deluxe two toned that were standard with the package deal. This has made the bible a one of a kind work of art.

The goatskin is a subtle as anything that Cambridge puts out and near the quality of the Allan's. I also requested "as floppy as possible" which was exactly what we got. A liquid cover straight out of the box.

They will not however do a full yapp, but they will do up to a 1/4" past the text block.

The bible passed the "yoga" test and the binding/cover has held up to my satisfaction (I'm pretty picky). My wife adores it.

Mechling Bindery has my recommendation. They did a great job well within the 2 week time frame without appearing to turn out "fast" work.

Brian House

Mark, Afer reading your review of Mechling's rebinding of your ESV Thinline, I have decided to have Mechling Bindery rebind my Service Book. Thanks for the information!

Bryan C. Bailey

I'm sending off one of my Pitt Minion's to Mechling tomorrow to see what magic they can do with it. I'll post pics when I get it back!


Cheryl Prohaska

I am interested in having my large study bible Thomas Nelson NKJ in genuine leather. I don't know if the spine on my bible is sewn or glued. If it is glued I want it rebound so the pages won't fall out and the cover won't tear away from the spine. What is the best way to have the spine rebound? I have checked out two rebinding companies on line so far. One says they insert two cords into the spine to reinforce it. The other says the machine sew the spine. Also the criteria for choosing which leather for my bible is: Durability, soft texture and flexibility. I want it to be flexible enough so it will lay flat on the table when I open it, but not so flexible it goes limp when I pick it up. I would also like binding rings on the spine of the bible. Any suggestions on which book binders to contact that might be able to meet my criteria?
Cheryl Prohaska
April 23, 2011


Cheryl, Have you searched under this blog and elsewhere for hints on determining if your bible is Smyth (saddle-) sewn or not? You really should know this before picking a bindery and committing to an approach. If you have a Smyth-sewn binding and you get it stitched through the side (what the one probably means by "sewing the spine") I don't think you'll be happy with the result and there's no turning back. On the other hand, if the original "binding" is just glued, the side-stitching won't be that big a change for you, although you'll still lose space on the inside (gutter) margin.

Maybe you can give us more info about the volume...what the ISBN is, what you paid, etc? Someone on this blog will possibly be able to identify your bible's binding. You could also try calling Nelson.

joshua hoyle

mark, did you do the deluxe rebind?

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  • J. Mark Bertrand is the author of Back on Murder, Pattern of Wounds, and the forthcoming Nothing to Hide, crime novels featuring Houston homicide detective Roland March. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Houston and lived in the city for fifteen years. After one hurricane too many, he and his wife moved to South Dakota. Mark has been arrested for a crime he didn't commit, was the foreman of a hung jury in Houston, and after relocating served on the jury that acquitted Vinnie Jones of assault. In 1972, he won an honorable mention in a child modeling contest, but pursued writing instead.

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