Experimenting With One-Use Folders

For every workshop, I craft a set of instruments to provide my students. Full package includes a one-use bone folder, safety ruler and a simple sewing frame.

Yesterday I have spent some time working on one-use bone folders while all the other things were done the day before. Bookbinders usually utilize bone folders made from bone (surprise!) or composite materials like Teflon (the modern ones). But initially I had a need to find some cheap way to make bone folders a consumable items in in the setting of limited access to stocks of good cheap bone and Teflon folders here in Russia.

Some eight or nine years ago, I have spent some time as an apprentice at a bookbindery. I never seen a proper bone folder there, but the standard instrument was a wooden folder. Not a surprise my first idea was during the preparation of my first workshop was to whittle and to grind out a set for my students.

Wooden folders proved to be a good and cheap substitute. I make one just in three minutes and the material itself is almost free. At the same moment they are strong enough and I wouldn’t be surprised if some of my students continue to use folders I gave them =)

Meanwhile I decided to go for an experiment. Picking up the stuff for my workshop at the warehouse, I found some pieces of laminate flooring left from renovation made couple of years ago. When you use bone folder for many processes you need a flat surface (to sleek, smooth and press the materials) and a pointed tip (to fold and to tuck). Laminated tile is almost ideally flat and the only possible problem could arise if it is not strong enough to keep the tip pointed under the pressure. OK, maybe there could be another issue: glue is a liquid matter and there is a chance of delamination. The positive side is that you can easily sharpen them again with sandpaper or a file.

Anyway, I decided to try and to test new laminated folders with my students =)

That the first batch: ten laminated folders. Ready for trials! Just wait for the results =)