Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Holy Bible by Montgomety Ward & Co., 1903

You might've wondered how the distinguishably deep, beveled covers of large antique Family Bibles were made. They aren't curved or chiseled, nor sculpted, but are actually molded. Typically, the boards are constructed in two laminated parts; the flat base board and the molded top layer board. So, if someone asks me to make a cover like one of those antique Family Bibles, it's a bit of a trouble because I don't have a mold or an appropriate machine. As you can imagine, it's a time consuming work to create such deep ornate bevels, manually.

I was digging through the backlog shelves last week, and found this Bible, which came in at the end of last November. Horrifying! How in the world was this Bible left untouched for this long!? It appeared to be a straightforward restoration work, but as I examined the order form, I found out why no one wanted to touch it. The client asked for a brand new full leather binding with a similar design on the cover. He wanted ornate bevels... The original binding was bound in bookcloth, so the degree of the beveled lines weren't as deep as that of typical leather bound Bible's. But, the new binding was to be in leather, so the bevel would have to be deep or it wouldn't look good. Sigh.. I had to cut out 4 sheets of rather thick davy boards precisely in shape and sculpt the bevels and define the lines with finishing tools. My hand still aches from this work... Ah, a future of arthritis awaits..

I created a crisscross texture on the surface and antiqued the leather in order to make the bevels and blind tooling to look more defined. I hope the client forgives us for taking so long to complete his Bible.. Pray for me..

Oh, by the way, I'm planning to go to Vancouver Island (Canada) next week. Probably, I will be leaving on Friday, the 21st. We'll be in Victoria for a couple of days, then leave for Port Hardy. Our current intern, Mr. B, is going to visit his family there, and he generously allowed my master (One of those Bigfoot enthusiasts... sigh..) and I to go along with him. It'll be beautiful there at this time of the year in the NW, and will be a nice break from work for me.