Thursday, January 20, 2011

Large Family Bible

As you can see books can be in all sorts of condition when you get them in. This large family Bible is heavy but the owner carries it and uses it at church. Both the front and back boards were separated from the Bible because of inadequate joint material, with the spine section of the cover only held to the front board by strapping tape. The original boards were covered in black cloth and slightly padded. Thankfully the book block itself was in fairly good condition. It actually is a "perfect" bound book with side stitching that goes through the entire thickness of the book. I removed the side stitching to replace both the endpapers and cloth for the joint. These were then sewn back onto the book as I replaced the side stitching with new linen thread.

Above I have pictured the black cowhide used to cover the new boards. You can see the leather was cut to size and the edges pared just enough to make a smooth transition under the endpapers. You can see the new spine liner with fake raised bands of leather in place. These raised bands give the spine a nice look and feel. You also see a bit of elaborate work on the front cover board. Rather than have one large expanse of plain black leather I decided to put some design work in place that will show through the leather and give it a nice look. I'm currently unable to do the fancy gold work typical of many family Bibles so decided this would be a good way of making it look a bit nicer. It will produce the opposite affect as the raised bands on the spine since these are recessed areas.

The picture above is of the case after it had been put together. You can see the affect of the raised bands on the spine and the recessed areas on the front cover.

This picture shows the finished Bible. It turned out pretty good! This new leather cover should last a very long time.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

For Clara

I failed to take a before picture of this one. The book block itself was in good shape but the cover was just a cheap paper that had quickly fallen apart. She had used a lot of black tape to keep it usable. She also had used wide / clear packing tape to hold a couple of pages in place. I was able to remove the tape by using my wife's hair dryer on its hottest temperature. That softened the glue enough that I was able to gently remove the tape from the delicate Bible paper. I made the fore edge of the new black goatskin cover to overhang enough to provide some protection for the Bible book tabs she had added. I did this Bible in December, 2010.

For Jenny

As you can see this Bible had a curved spine. Unfortunately it was curved in the wrong direction! What you can't see is that it was FULL of dog ears (folds at the corners and elsewhere on a page). I think I had gone through a rather large part of the Bible, page by page, repairing these dog ears before I finally came across a page without any.

As you can see we were able to restore the Bible to a much more usable state. We were able to make the spine curve in the right direction, get all the dog ears out, and put a nice crimson colored goatskin on it. You can see it is very floppy. This job was finished in December, 2010.

For Patti

This little Bible presented me with a couple of challenges I had never faced before. First, it had a flap on it. None the Bibles I had done before (years ago) had a flap on them. I had to figure out how to construct the case with a proper flap. I was able to use the old case as a pattern for starters. The second challenge was the bar snap. I had never worked with snaps of any kind before. I first had to find where I could purchase new bar snaps. I bought the only ones I could find anywhere and they turned out to be rather cheap looking. I sent them to my uncle who is a jeweler and he was able to plate it in real gold. They came back looking really nice.

Here is the finished product. I used a crimson colored goatskin leather. Where do you stamp a persons name on a Bible with a flap? I chose to put it on the flap itself just below the new bar snap. Also, the lining on the inside of the flap itself (not shown) is made of the same leather pared down real thin. She was pleased with the results. This was done in June, 2010.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

For Curtis

This was a "perfect" bound Bible which I converted to a reinforced double fan glued Bible. It is bound in a really nice exceptionally floppy wine colored goat skin. It was done in April 2010.

For Richard


As you can see this Bible had not been well taken care of. I had to deal with more dog ears than I remember ever having to deal with before. It turned out to be a "perfect" bound Bible, meaning it was not a sewn book but just single sheets of paper with glue applied to the spine. I was able to get all the pieces back together and pretty well straightened out. I used black goatskin with new black Bible endpapers and a red ribbon. This Bible was done in February of 2010.

For Shelley


This Bible was rebound in a nice crimson colored goatskin with new maroon Bible endpapers and two ribbon markers (black/red). This Bible was done in February 2010.

Johnson's Notes

This was a commentary for my mother-in-law. The book block itself was in fairly good condition so only needed some minor repairs, new endpapers and a new cloth cover. I also drew a simple line with my bone folder around the front cover board to add a little to the look.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Fall '09 Bibles

Here are some Bibles I rebound in December of '09.

The first one above is in purple goatskin. It was done for my wife. I reluctantly agreed to buy this purple hide of leather so she could have a purple Bible. Since then two more church members have had their Bibles rebound in the very same leather and ribbon combination. You just never know. The second was a NT and Psalms done in a crimson colored goatskin for a church member.

The first Bible above was done for my mother in the same crimson goatskin. The second for my son-in-law was done in a chestnut brown goatskin (hard to see the color here).

As you can see during 2009 I was doing a lot of rebinding for myself and family members. The purpose being to rekindle my skills after having taken more than 20 years off from the craft.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Apostolic Fathers

The two volume set above is from my own library. They were given to me by a bookstore owner 25 years ago in the condition you see here.

In the summer of 2010 I produced a really nice binding for them, with marbled papers for endsheets and leather in a half binding. I used red bonded leather for the board panels. They aren't books that I use much but I wanted to do this project to finally put a binding on these books and to attempt a fine binding for the first time in more than 20 years. I'm pleased with the results.

My Personal Bibles

These two Bibles were rebound in the fall of 2009 and are my personal Bibles that I now preach from. They were bound in black goatskin. Yes, you are seeing it right. There is an OT and a NT. I didn't use the New Testament from that Bible (used a separate NT) so when I first became a bookbinder 25+ years ago I cut the NT off and bound it as just an Old Testament. As I remember I was lucky in that the OT ended near the end of a signature (folded section of the book). This allowed me to carefully remove the NT and rebind only the OT. The NT I was using at the time was actually what I learned the basics of bookbinding on, being taught by Bill and Helen Smith (the "Booksmiths") on Montreat, NC. That NT held up and was in use until I rebound this new copy of that same NT. I still use the original at my desk.

Binding projects from the past

I will start this gallery of my bookbinding work by looking back on some books that I rebound more than 20 years ago. These are a few of the books from my own library that I rebound using traditional bookbinding techniques. The first was a flexible leather bound book. Books covered in cloth and paper are next. The last two are a bit more special.

This half binding is my father's commentary on the book of Revelation. It was bound from the ground up. The signatures of the book arrived printed but unfolded. I had to fold them, sew them all together on tapes, trim the book, and I hand sewed the headbands. I used the same marbled papers for both the endsheets and cover material. A black cowhide (I believe it was) was used for the spine and corners.

This is another copy of my father's commentary prepared for my mother. The same black leather was used for the spine and corners. A nice red bonded leather was used for the field of the cover with complimentary marbled papers as endsheets.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Welcome to my new blog!

For some time now I have been thinking about putting together a blog that could be used to highlight the various bookbinding projects I have been working on. For those who don't know me, my name is Alex Ogden and I am a preacher currently working with the Clay church of Christ in Clay, AL (20 miles NE of Birmingham). I learned traditional hand bookbinding back in the early '80's while living in Asheville, NC. After a few years of building my skills I set it all aside while we moved about working with different congregations and while we were raising our three kids. They are all grown now so a couple of years ago I made the decision to return to the craft. I was able to acquire several pieces of equipment and some supplies that previously belonged to my former teachers in Montreat, NC. I'm off to a great start and I hope by this blog to show off some of my work. 

Over the next few days I will slowly post pictures of both past and present work, giving details about the nature of the work done. I may also show pictures of my bindery or discuss new tools or supplies that have come in. So come back often and see what is going on.