old bookseller trick #3 – bone folder

Bone Folders – I’m sure you have seen these mentioned in various places. They are highly polished pieces of bone that are used for folding, smoothing, scoring, creasing, and working materials in and out of tight corners. But really what they are is an extension of your hand. In a pinch you can use another makeshift tool but there really is no substitute. There was a time when you had to order them from a specialty vendor, but they are turning up in the craft and paper stores. Usually only in one size, but it will do for a starter. Once you stick one in your pencil cup, you will find yourself reaching for it often, and you will probably find a different size will to be more useful for you. These are just a few of the ones I have kicking around, I think I have more somewhere. The large thick ones are perfect for smoothing pasted items, or burnishing archival tape, and the smaller, thin, sharp, pointy ones..(my personal favories) are like an 11th finger with a sharp fingernail. When you are folding acetate for dust jackets after the 4th or 5th you are tempting a blister. Depending on size they go for 4 to 10 bucks, and now come in Teflon . . . which I suppose is good too, but I’m a traditionalist, I prefer bone. If you keep them clean and polished, you can sculpt them with sandpaper to your own specifications. I once took a seminar with Bernard Middleton, who has been working as a book binder since he was 15 in 1939…and THAT’s how old his bone folder was . . . it was the tiny yellowed nubbin of a thing. The picture of antique bones is from the Indiana University Libraries Preservation Repair and Enclosure Treatments Manual. Worth checking out.

Comments are closed.

Powered by WordPress. Designed by Woo Themes