Tools I Can’t Live Without: The One I’m Embarrassed to Admit (to)

Remember the 1980’s when Martha Stewart was queen of all things domestic?  I sheepishly admit to being young, impressionable, and eager to emulate the perfect holiday table – even if it meant buying a whole new set of dishes.

Fast-forward to being older, hopefully wiser, free of any illusions that I will ever be Martha Stewart — and wondering why that was ever my goal. Oh, and embarrassed that one of the most useful tools in my studio has her name on it. I suppose the saving grace is that the tool isn’t pink or purple — why do companies think that women need their tools to be pink or purple?!

This nifty tool found its way into my studio when I was teaching a book arts class for photographers. One of my students, Donnasue, showed me her Scor-Pal and I was hooked. I was in the middle of making an edition of The Heaven Project  which is a post-bound book and I was scoring a lot of pages at 1.25 inches – a lot of pages! At the time I was using a quilt ruler – another favorite tool – but once I saw the Scor-Pal I had to have one.

Before I had the chance to order my own, I was trolling Michael’s with my 40% off coupon and happened upon the Martha Stewart version, the Scoring Board. And, while not thrilled that it was Martha Stewart brand, I was glad to get the board at 40% off since I was “just trying it.” I took the board to class the following week and we compared.

The Martha Stewart Scoring Board has many advantages over the Scor-Pal, the most important one being the frequency of the scoring grooves – Where the Scor-Pal grooves were 1/4″ to 1/2″ apart, the Martha Stewart board spacing is 1/8″ across the board. (Note: while researching this blog post I found that the new version of the Sc0r-Pal now has both 1/8″ and 1/4″ grooves – unfortunately still not 1/8″ uniformly across the board.)

Another advantage of the Martha Stewart board is the scoring tool itself – it is narrower and leaves a sharper crease (yet does not tear paper) than the tool with the Scor-Pal. Unfortunately neither board has grooves that really accept a standard bone folder so it is necessary to swap tools while working.

The third advantage is that the Martha Stewart board is available in local stores –  stores which usually have coupons – so not only do you not have to pay shipping, you can usually get the tool at 40-50% off.

I started to write a more in-depth review of both tools and came across a blog, Crafting with Sue, which has a great comparison of the two tools so if you want a more detailed analysis – Check it out.

I’ve been using my Scoring Board for almost two years now. I use it daily and for every possible variation of book arts structure. It saves me time and gives my books a crisp, consistent fold and makes measuring  a breeze.

Do you have a favorite scoring tool? Another tool you’re embarrassed to admit to other artists? And why do they make tools for women pink or purple?

{Update June 2018: The Martha Stewart Scoring Board has been discontinued. You can get an identical board from EK Success via Scor-Pal also has a new board with 1/8″ grooves all the way across but I still wouldn’t choose it because it has a ledge on the right side that makes it difficult to use larger papers.}


7 responses to “Tools I Can’t Live Without: The One I’m Embarrassed to Admit (to)

  1. Ginger, This looks like a pretty sweet tool. There are occasions I need to make a series of scores at 1/8″ intervals and this looks like it would make short (and tidy) work of it!

  2. Yes, I have a scoring tool, though as I live in Europe it’s not the Martha Stewart brand and the groove spacing is metric. Yes, I use it on a daily basis. And yes, it is a peculiarly disgusting shade of mauve!
    Another tool I wouldn’t be without is a Japanese screw-punch, brass with a turned wooden handle, beautifully made. Makes neat little holes in a range of sizes from 1 to 3mm.

  3. well folks I also got MS score pad and love it, and love the light pink color!and yes MS score pal if much better than the first one I got because of more measurements and thinner scorer thingy.

  4. I recently discovered this tool at a binding class taught by a professional binder and maker of artists books. We can’t knock a good tool, so I completely get it! I hope your book(s) turned out just as you’d envisioned. Thanks for sharing this post!

  5. Bless you for this, Ginger. I remember having seen this pink-shaded Martha Stewart item quite a while back at a store and sneering. But then, just about the time I saw this post, I started working on an edition of round books needing tedious scoring. As soon as I saw this, I knew this was the answer! And it was! Is! It has made things so much easier. Even a jig wouldn’t have worked as well. The 1/8″ was exactly what I needed. I’ve discovered that it will also score with a small embossing (ball tip) tool as well as my regular bone folder (which I custom shaped for a thinner scoring edge), but the attached plastic thingy that comes with it does seem to give the crispest score. At any rate, thanks for the tip!

  6. Pingback: Tools I Can’t Live Without {Redux} | Midnight Musings

  7. Pingback: Tools I Can’t Live Without – Teflon Folding Rib | Midnight Musings

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