Back in Advent I sent away my Benziger Brothers 1962 (64) Roman Breviary in English to be rebound. Unfortunately, I did not take a picture of its delapidated condition. Truly this was the "Veleteen Breviary". I even put contact paper over its tattered leather cover to make it usable. The ribbons (which the bindery sent back) were frayed and barely long enough from 45 years of life. I had put tape on the ends and man was it ugly.
I opted for the semi-yapp cover which hangs over the edge of the book in order to protect the pages from errant scuffs. The years were not so kind to the pages but they are in tact (save for the first page). But they aren't covered you say? Bah! That extra half inch of leather does a lot. Trust me.
Here is the bottom of the book. The quality of McSpadden's premium calfskin is wonderful. It feels like butter in your hand. You can see that I asked for six ribbons: 1) Proper of Season 1 2) Proper of Season 2 - post Pentecost 3)Ordinary 4)Psalter 5)Proper of Saints 6)Commons. You need all six when using a totum, as opposed to a Breviary split into parts, where 5 are sufficient. Notice the colors. They are not the ones I asked for. It was meant to have all dark ribbons and I even gave them a specific color order...so I don't know what happened. Some light ribbons discolor over time. I hope these don't.
Above you see how the cover extends out from under the book when it is open. The semi-yapp does a nice job framing the text block so your eyes focus on the psalms and prayers while reading. I didn't expect this effect but it is akin to putting up a new painting in a frame that enhances the art and draws your attention to it. Notice the ribbon has re-enforced edges along the sides.
There is another slight disappointment here in that the title on the spine is off-center. You don't have to look too closely to notice. This is an unfortunate part of getting a book rebound: one should have realistic expectations. It is not lined up by a computer but by hand and having this corrected would probably mean sending it back and having the whole thing done over. So I'll live with it as is. My Liber Usualis by the way, also bound by McSpadden's, is centered properly.
The Breviary opens flat but the text block doesn't. This is due to little flaps that McSpadden's puts along the inside cover in order to protect the binding. They loosen up with time and are eventually unnoticeable. This is part of the breaking-it-in process. Do not be alarmed if you get a book rebound and it comes back like this - it's meant to give your book a longer life.
They used a different grain of calfskin for my Liber Usualis. The Liber is much more flexible. The Breviary is stiff right now but it won't stay that way. The semi-yapp technique used here prevents it from doing (or attempting) "Bible Yoga". With the sensitivity of the older pages in this book however this comes out as a plus. I'm glad it came back this way.
So there you have it. Another good experience with book binding. Originally I paid $75 for the book and it cost $86 to get this project done. I have seen lesser books of this kind on eBay go for over $500. They were not freshly bound in a semi-yapp calfskin. So this was worth every penny and maybe a few extra.
McSpadden's Book Bindery does not nickel and dime you by the way. The gold stamping and ribbons were included in the flat fee for both of my projects. On a hardcover I have there right now the die of a crest I re-drew cost extra from the die-caster but they don't appear to be charging me for the stamping itself. I like these people and hope you will too, should you send a book their way for a shiny new coat.