FullbibleIn 2001, Crossway released the English Standard Version, an evangelical revision of the venerable RSV. The problem: while I admired the translation, Crossway's production values came nowhere close to the quality I wanted. So I turned to Mechling Bookbindery for help. If you're interested in fine Bibles, the odds are you've contemplated something similar. What if you could strip away the cardboard-like substance that passes for genuine leather in most Bibles and have a rebinding wizard replace it with some exquisite substitute from yesteryear? My reviews have generated a lot of e-mail inquiries over the years, and the number one topic has to be the feasibility of rebinding a Bible. My own experience suggests that it's possible -- but you have to know exactly what you want!

BibleclosedMy specifications were fairly complex: the Thinline was to be removed from its shoddy Crossway binding and given a goatskin cover with semi-yapp (i.e., overhanging) edges, with as much attention given to limp flexibility as possible. I wanted this Bible to fall open when set on its spine and stay flat. In addition, I wanted two gold ribbons added and no stamping on the binding except for the words holy bible on the spine.

FlatbackOverall, the results were good. The goatskin is quite luxurious and the binding strong. I was disappointed, though, by the flatness of the spine -- in the photo at right, you can see that the edges of the spine curve, but most of its length lies unnaturally flat. This might have been alleviated by a series of bands on the spine (which I thought I'd specified), but the Bible arrived without these.

SpineAlso, while it is more flexible than the original binding, the Thinline does not fall open with the ease I was hoping for. To sum up, I am pleased with the results, but if I were to do it all over again I would make a more detailed inventory of features and do everything I could to communicate them to the binder. The cost of the project was under $100.

Mechling Bookbindery