I sent a copy of Zondervan’s A Reader’s Hebrew and Greek Bible off to Leonard’s Book Restoration Station in Burrows, Indiana a few weeks ago. I did this for two interconnected reasons: 1) The “Bonded European Leather” it came bound in seemed more akin to “Stiff and Ugly European Garbage.” 2) That is just as well, as I love custom projects and I love high quality leather rebinds!
The specs on this particular project are as follows:
- Pebble Grain Cowhide in “Distressed Walnut”
- 3/8″ overhang (“yapp”)
- Brown leatherette linings and end papers
- 3/8″ ribbons (forest green, dark brown, and silver) extending about 4″ below the text block
- Raised bands on the spine
- Silver imprinting to match the silver gilding
Simple enough, but the outcome is simply glorious. I am admittedly given to hyperbole, but this is quite possibly the nicest leather Bible I have handed, seen, or smelled (and I have a few to choose from!). I have three of five senses invested, which seems insufficient for this beauty; but I can’t figure out how to hear or taste it (yet).
A few observations: the leather is thicker than their normal pebble grain, which is well suited to a large Bible like this one (about 9″ x 6″ x 2″). It is incredibly flexible though. It’s grain is very pronounced- large and round. It’s shade is quite nuanced- medium brown with an ever so slight reddish tint. It smells like a fancy leather shoe…a new one though (omit the word “foot” from your mind NOW)!
I think I probably tested the patience of our good folks at Leonard’s through my persistent questions and the 15 leather, ribbon, and end page samples I requested! But their patience remained intact; and Margie, you were really a trooper and a delight to work with! And I honestly don’t think I could be happier with the outcome, and that’s saying something, since I am a very picky one. I didn’t know how silver gilding would go with brown because I’ve never seen that combination. So I was leaning toward forest green or navy blue leather, but I couldn’t shake that Distressed Walnut from my mind. Margie assured me it would work well with silver, and man oh man does it ever. To my fellow Lord of the Rings junkies, I believe wholeheartedly it would be Legolas’ color choice… and you know I’m paying it a high compliment by saying so :). Nerd-talk aside, I can’t really imagine any factors that could make me like this thing more!
Biblia Sacra / Hebraica et Graeca is Latin, and it means Holy Bible / Hebrew and Greek. Why did I choose Latin imprinting for a Bible containing no Latin? Because it’s a good mediating language for the two included inside, and also Leonard’s doesn’t do Hebrew or Greek letters …not at all because its the hipster thing to do 😉 ! I have paid so much attention to beautiful English Bibles that I’ve almost forgotten my theological and exegetical upbringing, and I deemed it about time to invest some effort in a quality original language edition of the Bible. Since none exist, at least none close to the standards set by Allan, Schuyler, Cambridge, and Crossway, I had to make my own.
If you’re looking to custom make your own premium Bible, or have your old standby repaired or rebound, choose Leonard’s! Their website does the job okay, but it isn’t a cakewalk finding what you want among the myriad of options, so look around, ask lots of questions (email@example.com), check out their Facebook page, and good luck!
And lest we get lost in leather-bound English-Bible luxury, please remember to pray for translations in the remaining 1,859 Bible-less languages in our world. Click here to see my heart on the matter and to even support the work of Bible translation.
I’ll quit talking now and let you check out the photo gallery.