We care about the Bible. Paul tells us in Ephesians that “the Sword Of The Spirit Is The Word Of God.” We recognize the value of the Bible. We care about your Bible. It’s not just any old book!
I keep my weapons and tools in good working order. I should do no less with God’s Word. So here are some hints to keep your Bible in good condition.
Bible Care Tips
*Don’t use your Bible as a filing cabinet. Refrain from using it to store old church bulletins and loose notes. These will break the spine and cause your pages to fall out.
*Don’t store your Bible on the dashboard of a car or in direct sunlight. This will cause the leather to dry out and the color to fade, or even get sticky. A hardcover Bible will become warped.
*Don’t fold the covers of your Bible backwards. This stretches the sewing and can permanently warp the spine.
*If you use a Bible case, don’t put your Bible’s cover into the inside flaps. That will cause great strain on your Bible’s spine. Those flaps are for the bulletins and notes you took out of your Bible earlier.
*Keep your Bible out of reach of overzealous pets.
*Read your Bible as often as possible, at least once a day. If the cover is genuine leather, this keeps it naturally oiled and supple. And, as one good friend used to say, “It couldn’t hurt you none, either!”
*A Bible displayed is a Bible that’s going to survive. Moderate climate is best, not too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry, etc. No direct light of any kind. But I must stress, the worst thing for any leather book is to be hidden in a dark corner of a closet or attic, or (God forbid) basement. These things can become a full-course meal for nocturnal creatures.
*Don’t repair your Bible using scotch tape, masking tape, electrical tape, box tape, or duct tape.
* Treat your leather cover once or twice a year, as needed. I’m using Lexoll conditioner, but it should be used sparingly, no more than once or twice a year.
Bible Repair Tips
If you use your Bible, then it has the potential to get damaged. We have included a few tips that have been supplied to us by various book restorers.
Tears In The Paper Or Dust Jacket
For tears in the paper or dust jacket, use any document repair tape. This is a tissue tape that is peeled from the backing and applied. The instructions are on the box. Wash hands before using and apply very carefully. It only gives you one chance.
NEVER use cellophane tape. It’s very acidic and will turn brown and drop off over time, leaving an ugly stain on your paper.
For hinge repair, I recommend Eco-Flo Leather Weld. This is a water-based laminate that is designed for leather to paper, but actually works better from paper to paper and paper to fabric. It is the same pH-balanced adhesive that is sold as archival glue by conservation binders. It is non-toxic, water reversible, and permanently elastic.
School glues are not recommended on a spine. These glues will dry out in just a few months and when they do they will leave the hinge cloth brittle. However, a little Elmer’s will work on an end page that’s coming off. If the end page is really coming off a lot, … then you should probably pick up some of that Leather Weld mentioned above, or another acrylic glue.
NEVER use rubber cement or glue guns on a book, unless, of course, you don’t like the book and wish to destroy it, in which case, I would also suggest cello tape, masking tape, electrical tape, or even duct tape.
To Clean Book Surfaces And Dust Jackets
For cleaning book surfaces and dust jackets, there are many products out there and many of them don’t work. I have tried Lyons dry cleaning pads, Absorene paper and book cleaner (nothing more than wall paper cleaner), and other similar products, and have found that nothing works better than a large, soft eraser.
If the cover or dust jacket is mildewed, I use a little common glass cleaner with ammonia on a clean, non-dyed cotton cloth, applying just enough to the rag to barely dampen it. Always try the eraser first.
The Absorene or similar products will work on removing coal dust from paper and documents, but a loaf of fresh white bread will also work, and if you buy the cheap stuff, you can clean your books, have a sandwich, and save a little money, too!
Conditioning A Leather Cover
For conditioning a leather book or cover, such as an antique family Bible, everyone has their own preferences. My recommendation is this:
Avoid conditioners with oils such as neet’s foot oil, or mink oil. They certainly won’t hurt the book, but too much oil has the potential of staining the surface you have the book sitting on.
If the leather is in good condition, it has probably been treated periodically over the years.
I recommend Lexoll. It takes very little and seems to work just fine on older leather that is in good condition. A twice-a-year application is sufficient, but I would highly recommend that you open the book from time to time so the leather can move with the hinges. It’s good for the Bible, and it’s good for you.