Tuesday, January 12, 2010

My New RSV-2CE in Calfskin Leather

So, yes, I decided to take things into my own hands. As many of you know, I have spent quite a few posts on this blog focusing on the lack of truly premium leather Catholic Bibles. I had always figured that at some point, someone would produce a premium leather RSV or NRSV in a specifically Catholic edition. Sure, I tried out a few of the genuine leather editions that are out there, but nothing really captured what I was looking for. I should point out that my desire for a premium leather was enhanced by the wonderful posts by J. Mark Bertrand at his Bible Design and Binding blog. So he is partially to blame! :)

In any case, I decided to commission my own premium leather Catholic Bible in the RSV-2CE. Why the RSV-2CE? Well, there are a couple of considerations that made that the obvious choice. First of all, the Ignatius edition contains cross-references, some minor notes, and maps. And even though the font isn't the most ideal in my mind, it is OK and contains paragraph headings that help to break up the text. Also, the Bible itself isn't too think. In many ways, it is the ideal size. The second reason is that the text book we will be using next year at the high school is keyed to the RSV-CE. This is also aided by the continued release of RSV-CE and 2CE related study tools, like The Catholic Bible Dictionary and The Catholic Bible Concordance.

So, next began the process of finding a book-binder who would handle my commission. Funny enough, the first book-binder who I contacted told me that he would not rebind my Catholic Bible in premium leather because he only would do Protestant Bibles. He basically told me that he would only rebind the Word of God, and the one I wanted to send him wasn't it. Hmm..... Lovely way to start this search.

Next, I contacted Leonard's Book Restoration. They were more than happy to rebind my Ignatius RSV-2CE. I sent them my book along with information as to what I wanted in my rebound RSV-2CE and they accepted it. Ultimately, the bonded leather Ignatius RSV-2CE was transformed into a premium rustic calfskin leather Ignatius RSV-2CE. So far, I am very happy with the end result. The people at Leonard's were very helpful when I placed my order, and it only took five weeks to complete the project, over the Christmas holiday no less.

The cover is very smooth and flexible, which is what I wanted. When I open it on a table, it opens flat without any need to bend the binding. In many ways, it looks and feels like the cover belongs with this Ignatius Bible. They also added my name to the bottom right of the front cover, as well as including an additional Bible ribbon.
Overall, I am very happy with my new Bible, and I will in the future recommend the fine people at Leonard's Book Restoration to anyone who wants a premium leather cover for their Bible.


Matt said...

Nice job! Makes me want to get mind done now. :-)

I've got a Breviary coming back from McSpadden's in what I hope is a week or so.

Curious - who was the fundamentalist book binder that turned you down?

Timothy said...


Thanks. Have you done commissions with McSpadden before? If so, how is their work?

As for the one that turned me down, I will try to remember which one it was. When I got the email reply saying no from them, I both felt insulted and laughed at the same time as I deleted the email. Very strange!

Matt said...

Premium Calfskin Liber Usualis

Yup. My post above is from when I received my Liber back from McSpadden. They did very nice work for me.

This time I also sent a hardcover for a family a member so it will be interesting to see how they do with that. My Breviary will get a full yapp cover and I'm having them do some imprinting on the cover and spine.

I've been influenced too by the Bible Design and Binding Blog. Even though he only reviews Protestant Bibles, we can learn a lot from him.

Raphael said...

How much did the rebinding cost, and would it be possible to get the same results if you had sent in the paperback edition of the RSV-2CE to be rebound in calfskin?

Matt said...

McSpadden costs me about $85 (including shipping) per calfskin book. That is for a standard Bible sized book. But of course it depends on how big or small it is. Plus they don't charge anything extra for Yapp or semi-Yapp and they do the stamping in gold, and ribbons no extra charge. I appreciate that they don't nickel and dime me.

Most rebinders will tell you that doing paperbacks isn't possible, or if it is, the results are not nearly as good as starting with the sewn binding.

The Bible Design blogger says to keep in mind that the higher the quality you start with, the higher the quality of job you get back.

Anonymous said...

It looks like most new Bibles coming out have soft covers, but not calfskin unfortunately.
At least here in Sweden.

I like them so much I had to by new ones of all my favorite translations, from the big official swedish translation that most churches, including the Catholic, uses - to the smaller ones.


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Leland said...

How is the binding and stock leather cover of the RSV-2Ce? I hear that the leather cover is cheap and plastic like. I am assuming that the binding must be okay though seeing as to how you were able to have a new cover put on. Is it sewn? I have the paperback version now and am trying to decide whether or not to buy a new leather covered one or another bible like the new St. Bendict Douay....their RSV has no cross-refs so I am not interested in spending the money...plus it looks like the new 2CE will be taking precedent now with the release of the new study bible.

Timothy said...


I would recommend getting the RSV-2CE rebound. I recently talked with Ignatius and they have no plan to release any future editions of the RSV-2CE at this time.

Deep South Reader said...

1. All, what binderies are most popular/do the best work?

2. Matt can you share pictures of your breviary recovers?

3. What is "yapp" referenced above?

4. Tim, can you post updated pictures of your Ignatius RSV-CE recover?

Deep South Reader said...

I forgot to ask:

What is everybody's favorite "premium" leather to rebind a bible in? thanks.

Deep South Reader said...

I have sent Leondard's Book Restoration a copy of the Ignatius blue bonded leather NT & Psalms. I am looking to have them cover it in the medium brown soft-tanned goatskin. should be an amazing pocket bible.