I finally got around to finishing the bone folders.


Lessons learned:

  • bone is hard
  • bone can hold an edge

I thought I could just shape this stuff with a file, but damn it’s hard. I got out a belt sander and used that to shape it. That worked a treat, but the bone dust stinks so I used a filter mask. Once they were shaped, I sanded them by hand down to 280 grit. They are now very smooth.

I can see why bone gets used for tools as well. Not only is it hard, but it can be sharp. I had to deliberately sand the edge off these tools. They were too sharp to comfortably handle, and I think that if I left the edge on, instead of scoring paper, they would probably have cut it. Hmm, now there’s an experiment I could try.

This is my first attempt at making a bone folder, so I’m going to have to play around with them a bit to see if they actually work like they are supposed to. I may need to modify my design.

I used the beef bones, as the lamb bones I had prepared were too thin.

I bought a new bone folder while I was on holiday, and it’s dead straight, and quite a bit longer then the ones I made. I don’t think I could make mine any longer with the bones I had, so I wonder what kind bone is commercially used. I here Elk is popular. I don’t know where I could get Elk here in Australia.

I’ve kept some smaller bits of bone so I can make buttons and the like.

Jog the tail

I’m back from Holiday.

It’s time to start making books again.

There was a couple of book related highlights on the trip:

  • Art shops
  • San Francisco Center for the Book
  • Paper shops

First off, I was able to pick up some book binding supplies in Blicks art store in San Francisco. I’ve been having trouble finding a bone folder in shops here in Melbourne, but I was able to get one in Blicks. Also found some linen thread and some supplies for codex binding, even though I’m no where near ready for codex stuff, but I figured that I’d need it some day and I might as well buy it while I could.

We were fortunate that while we were in San Francisco, the San Francisco Center for the Book was running an introduction to book binding course. Run by Jennie Hinchcliff, the course was a blast. I’d tried a few of the binding techniques before, but it was great to have somebody so knowledgeable to show tricks of the trade. We made the books in the following picture.


From front to back:

  • single page folded
  • single page folded with cover
  • accordion fold with cover
  • 3 hole saddle stitch
  • 5 hole Japanese stab binding

The centre itself was amazing.
I’ve never seen such a well appointed workshop for printing and book binding. Of course I only have my own shed to compare for book binding, but the printing supplies were better than the print making studio from my undergrad study (I did a minor in printmaking).

The other place I fell in love with was a paper shop in LA; Hiromi Paper inc. This place had the most amazing collection of Japanese papers. I was a little overwhelmed by the selection, and had no idea how I’d get any of the papers home without destroying them (we were backpacking). In the end I found some book binding supplies they had and bought a Japanese screw punch and some hand dyed indigo thread.

That’s enough for today. I’ll probably do a more detailed post for each one of these topics later.