There are some beautiful Bibles out there, finished in gorgeous leather. If you are the proud owner of one of these, you will no doubt want to ensure the leather stays in fine condition.
I have a fairly non-exotic leather bound Cambridge KJV, albeit calfskin leather. I have noticed recently, that I have a minor issue with the leather binding on my Bible. A light rub of kitchen towel over the cover of my Bible, will result in a black deposit being left behind, not something to be desired.
So I did a little searching on the Internet, and found some tips. It seems that the best way to keep the leather binding on your Bible in good condition, is to handle it often.
Apparently the oil from your hands transfers onto the leather binding, and over time this builds up to keep the binding from drying out, cracking and splitting.
Now that I think about it, I may have done something that contributed to these black stain residues. I remember using a damp rag with some washing detergent on it, to try and get some very small speckles of dirt off. I guess in doing so, I must have removed some of these protective oils, as some of the areas of the binding look distinctly ‘matt’ in finish, when held up to the light. Doh!
So I guess I've learn't a little lesson and gained some wisdom. My intention now is to continue using my Cambridge Bible instead of looking for a replacement, and I handle it as often as I remember, in the hope the those natural oils will once more transfer on the the leather binding, and over time, those matted areas turn shiney once more.
Other care tips
Below are some tips from Cambridge University Press:
Care and Handling
The beauty of leather is that it maintains its looks over a long time; it changes its appearance, feel and suppleness with use and wear and, perhaps, can be said to develop ‘character’. Follow a few simple guidelines to ensure that your Bible remains in the best possible condition:
- The combination of very thin paper and a generous layer of gilding may mean some pages stick together until they are separated for the first time. If this happens, hold those pages between your thumb and forefinger and rub them together with just enough pressure as is necessary to part them.
- As all Cambridge Bibles have sewn bindings, you should open the pages carefully at first to allow the threads to settle.
- Do not bend the cover backwards on itself. Even in the most flexible of Bibles, this process may damage the sewing and binding that hold the book together.
- Carrying extra materials, paper or writing instruments in your Bible could damage the binding by putting excessive strain on the threads.
- Occasionally, the ends of ribbons may start to fray after use. This can usually be rectified by neatly trimming the end and sealing it with a hot iron.
- The more you handle the Bible, the more quickly it will become supple to the touch as the natural oils from your hands will nourish the leather. If necessary, use a slightly damp cloth to clean the cover but do not use any detergents or packaged Bible cleaning products. When cleaning the cover, avoid moistening the foil stamping on the cover and spine.
- Keep the Bible away from sources of extreme heat and from water. Protect the page edges from moisture, rain and snow, which will damage the metallic foil.
- The material used on any Cambridge Bible cover is suitable for individual imprinting by a professional. However, imprinting is undertaken at the customer’s risk: Cambridge cannot guarantee the competence of the person doing the imprinting, or the quality of the equipment being used. Your tips