[Glazing left by a regular bone folder on Dover book cloth. To the left of the shiny mark I used a Teflon folder = no mark.]
If you’ve made a handmade book, you’ve almost certainly used a bone folder. These handy tools transform a “nice” fold into a crisp-and-clean fold worthy of a military crease.
But have you used a Teflon bone folder? And why would you want to? I’ve got one in my studio and, honestly, I don’t use it every day. My handy-dandy plain vanilla bone folder is my favorite choice in most situations. In fact, I was thinking today I should just carry one in my pocket every day, the way I do my inhaler (I’m asthmatic) or my keys.
So why is it a tool I can’t live without? When I’m working with bookcloth, it’s invaluable. Many bookcloths will get a shiny or glazed look if you rub them with a regular bone folder. Imagine for a moment making a book cover and rubbing the bookcloth down to make sure it gets a good bond with the glue and the Davey board. Now look closely, in many cases, you’ll see that you’ve now got a shiny spot or line where you were rubbing. I like to see evidence of my hand in my art making – after all , it is handmade – but I don’t want a beautiful silk book cover marred by marks I’ve inadvertently made in the process. Enter the Teflon bone folder.
[Image from Talas.com]
There are some drawbacks, Teflon bone folders typically have thicker edges and corners so you can’t necessarily get into the same tight spaces as you would with a regular bone folder and I don’t think they are very useful for scoring paper before a fold. They’re also expensive: compare a regular bone folder at $4-$7 to the $19.50-$21.50 you’ll pay for a Teflon folder at Talas. Lastly, I wouldn’t alter them. A regular bone folder can be sanded into a particular shape if you use a respirator and wet-sand it. Teflon is highly toxic when inhaled and I would never consider sanding it to shape it – not even with a respirator.
There are more positives, too. In case the “doesn’t burnish your book cloth” isn’t enough for you… nothing sticks to them. They are after all, Teflon. And, if you really want a Teflon folder in other shapes and sizes, they are available. At bonefolder.com you can get 8 different shapes of Teflon folders and even Teflon coated tweezers. In fact, as I wandered around that website I found a few Teflon tools that I may have to put on my Christmas list. Squirrel?
Have you used a Teflon bone folder? What do you think?