“Building” new hard covers


Dear Sophia,

I so appreciate your willingness to so patiently answer my endless questions.  Now that I accumulated the materials you suggested, I have a few more questions related to making new hard covers for the Bibles.  I’ve read many guidelines on the Internet (unsurprisingly) far from consistent, and I turn to you for keeping me from going astray.

Question 1:  Using the 0.08 inch Davey Board you recommended for the cover substrate, it would seem that if I use the same board for the spine as the covers, that will force the spine to be flat.  But the book blocks of these Bibles have curved backs and faces.  So should the spine be made from a thinner material in the new cover than the front and back cover pieces?

Question 2:  It seems that the height of the cover boards is fairly consistently about  8 mm greater than the height of the book block.  But the width and the “gaps” are not.  (One source states the cover board widths should be 3 mm less than the block width, the gaps 7 mm, and the spine width is 4 mm wider than the measured spine).  It would seem that the indentation (which I assume all books have?) along the end where the spine and the covers meet depends upon some combination of how much shorter-than-the-block-width is, and the gap dimensions?  The boards are to be covered with Buckram fabric.

I can imagine nothing worse than to make a new cover: cutting board and fabric, gluing it up, and then it doesn’t properly fit the text block!

Thank you again!



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User Avatar Posted by (Questions: 6, Answers: 2)
Asked on October 13, 2020 9:20 am
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Hi Paul,

These are great questions. The case-spine liner will not be board. It will be a stiff piece of paper as you suspected. You will need yet one more kind of paper or even chipboard/bristol board. I highly recommend taking another book apart to examine how the covers are constructed. Most hard-covers have this chip-board case-spine. Art-style books have the book board spines. You probably have a variety of original covers but this variety will suit most of them.

The spacing between the "chip-board" case-spine and the book board covers will depend on the height of the shoulders of the text-block. This is why the spacing changes. You will get a feel for it. Try to construct one bit at a time and check and re-check the fit as much as you can. It is hard to fix too tight! Remember to leave space for the turn-in of the buckram fabric in your considerations. 

Don't forget to make sure the grain of all the materials is the same and lines up with the spine.

Good luck!


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User Avatar Posted by (Questions: 1, Answers: 253)
Answered on October 13, 2020 10:26 am