Rebinding is a hot topic in our little community, so I've asked a number of readers to share the results they've had. First up is Matt Morales, who recently had an ESV Wide Margin re-sized and bound in brown goatskin by Paul Sawyer. I haven't seen this one in person, but based on the photographs Matt sent for this feature, it appears to be superb. Matt specified a cover in brown Russel's Nigerian goatskin, a hand-finished product with a natural soft grain similar to that found on R. L. Allan's editions. The cover is lined in burgundy silk, and the page edges have been colored a light brown with a "gloss" on top, which Matt says turned out quite nice. Matt sourced the ribbon himself and provided it to Paul Sawyer (and he's generously offered to help other readers with ribbon, as well). As you can see from the photos, the spine has raised bands and antique gold imprinting.
The original wide-margin was resized slightly from 6x9 to 5.5x8.5, leaving a one inch margin. This removed the factory gilt edges, and also brought the size in line with an Allan's ESV. Matt measured the thickness at 1.3 inches, too. "In all I was looking for a wide margin with the feel of a hand size Allans," Matt says, "and it is pretty close."
While the margin-hungry among us are no doubt having palpitations, from the photo I'd say the results are still quite usable. The thing I wondered about was how a silk lining would compare with leather. It certainly looks nice, but is it as supple?
"I prefer the extra suppleness of the leather-lined to the silk liners," Matt reports. But: "The feel is great with the flexibility improving daily." The photo above testifies to that fact!
Whenever I talk with readers about rebinding projects, I'm always intrigued by the choice of colors and material. In this case, the brown goatskin looks incredible, and I think Matt has chosen an excellent ribbon to complement it. The brown page edges are quite unorthodox, and the photos don't seem to capture the full effect (which is understandable). It never would have occurred to me to cut a wide-margin down to size; now I'm intrigued.
Matt estimates the total cost of the rebinding at $200. Specifying this particular goatskin drove it up by $50. Rebinding is definitely a pricey alternative, especially if you start with a genuine leather edition in the first place. As you can see, though, you end up with a result you couldn't otherwise obtain -- and a Bible that will last. What impressed me most was the turnaround time on this project, which was just one week.
Now that Matt has gotten the rebinding bug, I asked whether he has any future projects in mind. Not surprisingly, he does. If the new Personal Reference ESV turns out nice, he's thinking of having one rebound, this time by Mechling. And he liked the way the cut-down wide-margin turned out so much that he's contemplating another of those.
Thanks, Matt, for sharing your project with the rest of us. And I'd like to offer an invitation to those of you with similar rebinding projects in mind to get in touch with me about a feature on the Bible Design and Binding Blog.