DIY NET Bible Reader’s Paragraph Edition

When I first heard of Adam Greene’s Bibliotheca kickstarter campaign, it was as if he gave a voice to all I was longing for in a Bible. There are endless study Bibles, and Bible publishers are comfortable cramming everything they can in on the thinest possible paper. You can’t read the Bible like you could pick up any other book.

Bibliotheca offers a clutter free reading environment for the Bible. He is printing the American Standard Version in four volumes with no section headers, and no chapter or verse notations. It is just the text in paragraph form, in a well bound book that is pleasant to hold and read.

It would be fun to read the ASV, but I thought it would be great to have the NET Bible as a reader’s paragraph edition in four volumes. The NET is an extremely cluttered reading Bible because of the amazing notes. It is a great study Bible. There is a reader’s edition of the NET, but it still has the chapter and verse and some notes. I wanted a reader’s paragraph edition that was purely for reading.

So I exported the NET Bible from Bibleworks 7 without the chapter and verses. Edited the text in MS Word to get it in paragraph form. The NT will be a volume, and the OT will be divided in the law, prophets and the writings. I have printed and bound the writings, and I wanted to share how for anyone else interested in a NET Bible reader’s edition.

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The NET Bible copyright allows a user to print up to 1,000 copies to give away. So making a reader’s edition for yourself is a nice way to take advantage of that. And the permissions team at netbible.org have graciously allowed me to share my files so you can try to make your own.

Here is the word file –  Kethuvim NET – paragraph

It’s not perfect. I was my own editor. I tried to preserve the paragraph’s just as the NET Bible. I attempted to put the Proverbs in couplets, starting in Proverbs 9, that is the only text not in paragraphs. I created chapter headers from the text. In Daniel the mention of a new year with a King became a chapter. I didn’t add anything, but if there was a clear series of section changing vocabulary, I used that text as the chapter header.

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The Process:

I chose a nice off white paper that was thick to print on. It was about $14 for a pack of 500 sheets. Then printed the text as 12 page booklets. I used a bonefolder to carefully fold and crease each sheet, and arranged them into the 12 page booklets until all the pages were in order.

Once all the pages were arranged in order, I used clamps to hold the pages together. I measured and marked where I wanted holes to sew the pages together. Then I used a small hacksaw to saw the holes where they were needed. I removed the pages from the clamp to begin sewing the 12 page signatures together. I used an awl to punch holes all the way through where the saw didn’t complete the job.

Here are a few helpful videos that helped guide me through the process.

This is a good introduction to sewing the signatures by Crafty Loops.

This video also shows sewing the signatures, by Sage Reynolds. He also shows how to tie your thread together (which is nice for a large book like we are doing).

This video is a documentary following Glenn Malkin, but you can follow how he handles different aspects of preparing his book.

This video shows how to make raised bands on the spine of your book by Alex Ogden.

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Here you can see the bonefolder on the sheets. I just had to go through my stack of sheets folding each one, then organize them into the 12 page booklets. So page 1-12 was a booklet signature, then 13-24, etc. Once they were all arranged I sewed the signatures together to make the bookblock. My own Smyth sewn binding.

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After all the signatures were sewn together, I glued the ribbons and a loose fabric mesh to hold it all together. Then added the headbands. The fabric on the cover is a nice Canapetta bookbinding cloth I purchased from Talas online. But old denim or fabric you don’t need would work fine. The book boards came from the particle board back on a dresser my two year old destroyed. The spine board was a Nilla Waffer box, I glued two or three layers together to get the desired thickness. I tried to wrap the spine board around a pipe to get the rounded edge. I glued the fabrick with Elmer’s Glue-All. There is really nice PVA glue you can buy from Talas, but I think Elmer’s is also PVA.

The text block was rounded by gently rolling it back and forth with my fingers. I did not use any kind of hammer to shape the spine. I used a little sand paper to take off some of the jagged edges from the paper. My folding work wasn’t perfect. On the Nilla Waffer spine board I glued some thin strips of vinyl cloth I had, then I used the bonefolder to work the fabric down around the ribs.

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So this is the NET Bible Reader’s Paragraph Edition – The Writings. The goal is to have a four volume set of these. Then I may add a fifth volume of creeds and confessions for family devotions.

DIY Leather Rebind

I came across J. Mark Bertrand’s Bible Design Blog and love just about everything I read there. His reviews of fine Bibles leave me longing for Bibles I don’t have. I don’t have the money to invest in those super high quality Bibles. When he had a guest post by Matthew Everhard about DIY Leather Rebinds I was intrigued. After watching several DIY book binding videos on youtube I felt ready to try it myself.

I was ready to try rebinding my favorite Bibles, but my wife gave me wise counsel to practice on Bibles I wasn’t as attached to, and work my way up to the Bibles that are irreplaceable.

So my test subjects are a 1977 NASB, and a NA27/NRSV Greek English diglot. Both Bibles had a thin cardboard cover with flexiplastic coating on the outside. The NA27 diglot has already experienced cracking and fraying along the spine and edges. Notice the nice black duct tape book repairs that had already been done.

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Duct tape doesn’t last as long as you would think. So this one really needed to be repaired. I used scissors to cut along the spine, then gently pulled the cover away from the end sheets.

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The NA27 diglot has beautiful maps on the end pages, I really wanted to preserve them. It wasn’t perfect, but I was able to keep most of the maps. The ’77 NASB lost the first few pages, but the rest of the text block including the back end sheet remained in tact.

I glued the front pages back on the ’77 NASB, and added new ribbons and new headbands. I obtained some nice leather on amazon from Reed Leather Hides. Burgandy sheep skin and green lamb skin, both were in great condition. The skins were expensive, but they will cover a number of Bibles. I went to the local fabric store and got some vinyl fabric for the interior liner.

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I used the green lambskin on the ’77 NASB, there is only a thin sheet of cardboard (cereal box) on the spine, dark brown ribbons, and a tan vinyl interior.

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For the NA27 diglot, I used the burgandy sheepskin, gold ribbons and the same tan vinyl interior, and the same cardboard spine.

I didn’t try to add bands on the spines, or do anything fancy. There is special PVA book binding glue. I used Elmer’s Glue All, I think it is also PVA. It seems to keep arts and crafts just fine, it’s easy to obtain, and it’s not expensive. I used my weightlifting weights for my book press. About 15 lbs to press both books.

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For the NA27 diglot, I tried to use cardstock paper as an end sheet, and linen fabric over it to give a nice texture. It’s not beautiful, but I think I could polish it up to be a nice end sheet. I totally failed on skiving the leather. I probably didn’t get my knife sharp enough. I’m a long way from nice rounded corners like I wanted. Also, vinyl probably isn’t the best choice for the liner, there is already cracking along the crease. I’ll look into other fabrics on future rebinds.

It was a fun process. It makes me want to pick up these two Bibles more as well. They aren’t perfect. I have so much room for improvement. But the leather smells really nice, it is a major upgrade over the plastic on cardboard covers these Bibles had prior to the rebind.