So my brand new Nestle-Aland27 arrived in the mail. There’s nothing like the feel and smell of a new book.
So the next step was going to be the hardest of the entire project. Cutting the binding off and launching do-or-die into this project.
Now, for those who don’t me, I’m the guy who fixes things and somehow ends up with leftover pieces, almost without fail. Apparently, those hours of my childhood dedicated to Legos have absolutely failed me in later life. So I could easily imagine this project ending with a pile of pages on the floor and me sobbing into them.
So I sat there at my desk staring at the new book. Do I? I did. I took a pair of scissors and detached the cover. I did lose two maps in this step, as the NA27 has a map inside each cover. O well. It’s not like I’m going to drive through 1st Century Palestine and need to compute mileage from Bethpage to Capernaum.
There you can see the separate core of the pages from their husk. You can also see a map inside the cover if you look closely.
The next step was to cut off the binding (the brown part on the left of the pages in the photo to the left). Some use table saws to do this; living in a 1-bedroom apartment means I don’t have one. I previously learned from Office Depot that their giant paper cutter can handle books up to about 1 1/4″ thick. The NA27 is fairly thin, so no problem.
This was the next scariest step after that very first one. I wish I could have done it myself, but my Office Depot in town wasn’t real keen on that. So the girl behind the counter took my book, with instructions to cut as close the binding as possible (more on that below), and in about 45 seconds I received back a loose-leaf NA27 for a $.75 cutting charge.
This to my left is the loose-leaf stack. Obviously in order to make this NT “Blank”, I needed to pick up some blank pages to insert. For that, a ream of the store-brand copy paper (20 lbs., acid-free) was all I needed. It only cost $4-something. Awesome.
We measured the page size of the NT and found it was 7 3/8″ by 5 1/8″. This means that you can get two blank pages from every piece of normal copy paper. (Actually, 4 if you’re counting both sides.) There are about 690-something pages of NT text in the NA27, so that means I would need 345 blank pages. (I put 2-3 in at the start of every NT book for intro notes as well.) So I could very easily have asked for half the stack to be cut to match. But something in my brain wasn’t clicking that I could get 2 per page, and I had them cut the whole thing. O well, 2 bucks.
I assume here that one doesn’t feel the need to “blank” the pages of the German/English introduction and the text notes at the end of the NA-27. That would obviously require more pages, etc. Even I’m not that big a nerd.
Now for the time-consuming part…collating. Following Tony Reinke’s advice, I simply made 2 stacks- one with the NA27 pages and one with the blank pages. Then after putting on a disc of Seinfeld, I went to work, putting a blank page in between each page of the NA27. These I stacked in the middle. As I went through, I periodically would hit the middle stack like a deck of cards against the table surface to align the pages on the side where the new binding would go. This paid off later. I also added in extra pages near the start of each book (3 for larger books, 2 for smaller) as I went.
The great thing about the NT is that while collating feels like it is starting off very slowly, because the Gospels are very long, around Galatians you’re knocking out a book every couple of pages and feeling good. I originally set a finished stack of the Gospels to the side, as I was hoping for 2 volumes. Then I finished Acts- Revelation.
So there I had two giant stacks that I could eyeball and tell were over the 1 1/4″ spiral binding limit at Office Depot. I did measure them just to make sure! So I was going to need three volumes. I thought about putting all the text notes and introductory materials into one volume and maybe having two for the NT, but since the critical materials did not have the thicker “Blank” pages in between, their size was not of enough consequence to alleviate the need for 3 NT volumes. So I went a Matthew-Luke Volume 1, a John- 2 Corinthians Volume 2, and a Galatians-Revelation Volume 3. Essentially I just had to move John from the end of the first Volume 1 to the other stack. And then split it in half, which was about Galatians. And great for me, each of these division points was at a place where the book started a new page in the text. So no photocopied or orphaned book ending/beginnings!
So now I had this…3 stacks waiting to be bound into 3 volumes.