Family bibles that go back generations are precious heirlooms. However, these books sometimes don't stand the test of time that well. If you've recently inherited your family's bible and it isn't in good condition, then you may be thinking about having it restored by a bookbinding specialist.
An effective restoration could make the bible look good again. It also preserves it for future generations. However, given that your bible is precious to you and your family, you want to choose the right person or company for the job.
What questions should you ask bookbinders before you choose one to use?
Have You Done This Before?
Restoring older books isn't always the same as restoring more modern ones. The original bookbinding techniques may be different and the book may use materials that aren't commonly used today.
So, you need to find a restorer who has experience of working with antique books. They will be able to source the right materials or effective substitutes, and will have the right tools and skills to do the job.
Many bookbinders who do restoration work keep records of past jobs. For example, they may have a set of before and after pictures that showcase their skills. If you can find someone who has worked on old bibles and who can show you their results, then this is a sign of an able restorer.
What Can You Do With the Book?
Older books, like family bibles, come out of restoration work in different ways. Some are in a good enough condition to be fully restored to their original glory.
However, books that have a lot of problems may never look this good again. A restorer can work on them to put them in a better condition but this may be the best you can hope for. The end results you get also sometimes depend on the availability of suitable materials and any specialist training the restorer has.
An experienced restorer will assess your bible so that they can tell you what they can do with it. Sometimes, you get the option of a full restoration. Sometimes, however, you may have to settle for getting the bible back into a usable state or, at the very least, preventing its condition from getting worse.
It's a good idea to talk to a few bookbinding restorers or at least to get a couple of opinions before you choose who to go with. This helps you make a more informed decision.