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Local leather worker restores 19th Century Bible
May 19, 2013 | 1218 views | 0 0 comments | 28 28 recommendations | email to a friend | print
ITALIAN-TRAINED MASTER LEATHER CRAFTSMAN Loriano Tolaini restores Bible, above. Left: The bible before (top left) and after restoration (bottom left).
Photos by Tom Busselberg and courtesy | Davis Clipper
ITALIAN-TRAINED MASTER LEATHER CRAFTSMAN Loriano Tolaini restores Bible, above. Left: The bible before (top left) and after restoration (bottom left). Photos by Tom Busselberg and courtesy | Davis Clipper
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BY TOM BUSSELBERG

Associate Editor 

BOUNTIFUL — A large, hand-crafted Bible from the 1800s now looks like new. 

That’s thanks to what could be called the magical touch of Loriano Tolaini, a master craftsman of all things leather. 

The Bountiful resident of 16 years has been perfecting his craft for more than 50 years. He honed his skills in his hometown of Pisa and has had his hands immersed in leather since.

 The Bible (pictured), measures 12.5 by 10.5 inches and is 5 inches thick. 

 Bountiful resident Dean Hirschi inherited it from his grandfather.   

“It took me about 10 days to restore it,” Tolaini said of the historic book.“You can’t work on it all day long.”

Rather, he called it a process that must not be rushed. For example, oils used must be allowed to settle for two to three hours.

The spine was torn into pieces and letters on the spine were no longer legible. 

Special tools, glue and material were required, all obtained by Tolaini from his native Italy. 

The Bible’s elaborate leather cover includes raised relief. There are also color and black and white pictures sprinkled throughout. They highlight such pivotal Biblical events as the Last Supper and the crucifixion, among others.  

“Thinking of the importance of the book made me want to work on it even more,” he said. 

The book has always been part of his family, Hirschi said. His grandmother bought it as a gift for his grandmother.

He remembers leafing through it as a child, adding, “we always considered it something special. Loriano did a great job restoring it.”

Tolaini was happy for the chance.

“A passion for working with leather was just always inside of me,” he said. 

“I had a great teacher,” he said of his training those many decades ago. 

Tolaini has always operated his own shop, except for the first six years he lived in the United States.

The Bountiful store moved to a new location at 74 W. 500 South, Suite 4. Hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. week days and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays. For more information call 801-706-0074. 

The shop occupies a space that formerly housed an alterations business for men’s suits.

The shop offers a variety of leather products, including purses,  all sizes and types of scripture cases and custom leather frames for protection of art pieces.

Trampoline repair, zippers and antique restoration are also offered, along with furniture re-upholstery. 

Tolaini works side-by-side with his wife, Maria Maddalena. 

The couple will operate a booth at the Salt Lake City Farmers Market Saturday mornings starting June 9 and the Bountiful Farmers Market on Thursdays starting June 20. 

editor@utahislander.com

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