I’m a fan of the English Standard Version, so when I read about the single-column, reference edition of the ESV in a personal size on Mark Bertrand’s blog I knew immediately that this would become my daily use Bible.
The major problem was that (as is typical of Crossway) there was not a high-quality binding available. Fortunately, however, the “Genuine Leather” edition comes with a sewn binding and therefore begs to be rebound.
I was so tickled about the prospects of this edition that I bought a buddy of mine a copy as well. I was having a bit of difficulty getting used to the idea of spending $70 to re-bind a brand new bible, however, so the PSRE mostly sat on my shelf for several weeks, since the Genuine Leather cover exhibited more cardboard-esque than leather-like qualities.
A few weeks ago, however, I saw my buddy’s PRSE, which he had been using daily. The state of the cover was so disconcerting (permanently curled up, etc.) that I immediately began looking in to who I should have do this re-bind.
I had previously used Mechling Book Bindery for a black goatskin re-bind of a Classic Reference Edition ESV and was fairly pleased. The quality was excellent, but the action and handling of the bible left something to be desired, which may have been my fault for using a bible with the cheapest paper available. On the other hand, goatskin is slick in the hands and I’ve dropped the bible a couple times while reading or teaching, which involuntarily elicited a “Christian” swear-word right in front of the congregation! Can’t have that happening again (for those of you wondering, I said, “doggoneit” with particular vigor.)
I checked out the prices at Abba Bibles because the photos I’ve seen of their work looks like the richest leather I’ve seen anywhere. While their quote was half of anyone else, the cost of shipping to Mexico and back was going to be four times the cost of the re-bind! So that option was out.
Leonard’s Book Restoration happens to be about two hours from my house, so the Long family went on a road trip to see what a custom book binder looks like. After considerable discussion with Eric (the proprietor) and handling all the leather they had on hand, I chose a 2 ounce, natural deerskin.
I received the deerskin bible yesterday (it took 5 weeks since Eric had around 150 bibles to do before mine). I must say that this is the best handling, best feeling bible I’ve ever experienced.
Check out the color and grain of that beauty! I told Eric that I wanted a darker but still undyed, natural skin. What he had on hand was a bit lighter than I was hoping for, but he got a new shipment in, and the result is absolutely perfect. Here’s a close-up of the grain.
The critical factor behind my choice of deerskin was the way it felt. I wanted that luxurious, thick leather feel, but didn’t want the slick feel that goatskin has. Deerskin was a bit tackier to the feel than calfskin, and not as expensive, plus the natural deerskin color was exactly what I wanted.
I went for a blind stamping rather than foil stamping, and I’m really pleased with how that turned out. Inside I went with a brown leatherette. I was concerned that the synthetic material would make the cover less “floppy” than I wanted, but Eric assured me that he thought it would work well.
Sure enough, it is precisely the right combination, and produced the “action” in the hand that I wanted. I chose chocolate brown for the ribbons and asked for three.
Eric and Margie are very friendly and will talk with you at length about what you’re looking to accomplish. Make sure to mention every detail that you want, and feel free to clarify whether what Eric describes is the same thing you’re looking for. Eric enjoys talking so don’t call when you’re in a hurry.
Check out the delightful result:
Leonard’s Book Restoration can be reached at (574) 652-2151; they are also very responsive to email. Their website is www.leonardsbooks.com.
I should point out, however, that I have large hands, so this picture could be slightly misleading.