"To preserve the reputation of the Fraternity unsullied must be your constant care."


Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Custom Book Restoration and Conservation

If you are anything like me, you trawl the web, Ebay, Abebooks, and other sites constantly on the lookout for that rare volume of Masonic writing, or just one more you don't already own. I'll say right up front that I despise ebooks as a format for actually reading. Alice owns two versions of Kindles, a Nook, and a Surface, and I never use them. Even Google Books, despite being the sole online repository of numerous rare books long out of print, drives me crazy to actually sit in front of the screen for hours to go through a helpful or interesting tome. Please don't pass along the usual pap about "carrying a whole library in one device," because I'm not doing it. Our house has 84 linear feet of bookcases, all filled, and every room, with the exception of one bathroom, has a bookcase in it.

Over on Facebook, Illus. Art de Hoyos gave a shoutout to a small company that many Freemasons might find beneficial, most especially us book collecting obsessives. Brother Joseph Adams down in Texas is the proprietor of Eidolon House, and specializes in the hand crafted processes of fine book binding, rare book conservation and restoration, and other associated services.

On the website, he explains the difference between conservation and restoration: "Conservation aims to stop any current deterioration of the book, as well as limit further damage. Restoration aims to bringing the book back to its original state and strength as far as archival methods will allow."

Art posted a couple of examples of Brother Adams' work done for books in his collection (above), but the site includes numerous images of other projects, as well (John also raises Angora rabbits on the side). He seems to especially interest people with old, rare, or just sentimental Bibles and other religious or inspirational works. 

One slightly different option to a total rebinding is the creation of a leather or cloth slipcase or enclosure (right) that is beautifully decorated on the outside, even though it might just be for a rare or sentimental paperback inside.

Other Masons chimed in on Art's post about work John has done for them, their lodge, or library, so he comes very highly regarded and well recommended. 


  1. Equally adept at book preservation and re-binding is The Ohio Book Store, 726 Main Street, Cincinnati, Ohio. They have rebound a number of rare books for the Valley of Covington (KY), Kentucky DeMolay and for me, individually.

  2. For sure, no ebook or electronic devices of any kind can take the place of experiencing the joy (journey) of reading and owning (something to cherish and eventually pass on to someone worthy) a good book.

    Over 20 years ago, a thoughtful brother Mason who knew he was about to enter the Celestial Grand Lodge, bequeathed 3 wonderful Masonic books to me before his passing which I still cherish to this day.

    "The soft sheen, the superb gilding, not to mention the centuries of wisdom they contain....they are the rarest, the choicest editions in existence. It's taken me a lifetime to assemble them. Only the supreme master piece is missing." -from Roman Polanski's film, The Ninth Gate.

    O'kay, laugh if you must. But I did obtain a copy of the book movie prop (the supreme master piece), entitled: Nine Gates of the Kingdom of Shadows. And guess what? The engravings really are quite unique. :)

  3. Thank you so much for writing this! My wife Jill and I love to help fellow bibliophiles save precious books, especially those of Masonic persuasion. -Joseph Adams

  4. I'd love to see a service that would take an online book like an old manuscript found in Google books (like the Regius Poem or some such) and print it on beautiful stock, bound in a custom leather cover.


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