Tag Archives: Talas

Tools I Can’t Live Without – Teflon Folding Rib

Among my favorite tools is this wonderful folding rib that was designed by Christine Cox of Volcano Arts. If I had to choose only one bone folder to have in my studio, this would be it. I prefer options and actually have several different tools in this category, but if going to a desert island with limited luggage, this would be the one.

I can use it like a regular bone folder to score a page and sharpen a crease.

It works well with the scoring board I like to use.

It’s shape fits comfortably in my hand.

It has the benefits of a Teflon bone folder.

It smooths larger areas at a time and more easily. I especially love it for covering Davey board with paper or fabric for book covers.

It’s a dream to use for box making. The curved end gets in tight spaces and allows detail work. The square end is great for getting into inside box corners.

It is shorter than a traditional bone folder so it fits better in my pockets.

Tempted to try it? You can buy it directly from Christine Cox at Volcano Arts, or if you’re ordering from Talas already, you can buy it from them.

Do you have a favorite shape or material bone folder? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!



Holiday Gift List – Support an Artist!

This time of year it’s pretty likely that you’ll be purchasing a gift or a few for people that are important to you and/or they’ll be asking you, “What would you like?” I found some artist created goodies I thought you might want to add to your list(s). Note, I have no association with any of these products, but I think they’re cool, and they’re made by artists, so I fully support that!

  1. Excellent for anyone from your casual crafter to your serious artist, let’s start with Helen Hiebert’s Twelve Months of Paper Calendar. This calendar is filled with fun paper projects to enjoy each month. You can buy the calendar separately for $30.00 or you can add the paper pack for another $35.00.

2. For the more serious book artist or book binder on your list, any of Karen Hanmer’s books on Lulu would be a fabulous treat. I’m adding the Biblio Tech ($15.00) and Contemporary Paper Bindings ($55.00) books to my wish list. (Yes, Greg, I know you read my blog.)

Contemporary Paper Bindings

3. For an artist or anyone who works with paper, fabric or leather,  I highly recommend the Teflon Folding Rib from Talas. As I was telling my students on Sunday, it is truly the one tool I can’t live without. I use it in place of a bone folder in almost every application now. I use it for everything. It is especially fabulous for box making, book covers, anything with an inside corner, anything sticky… It’s probably the single most useful tool I’ve ever had in the studio. Seriously. Really. Buy one for your artist friend. They’ll love you. Get two and save one for yourself. $20.00

Image result for teflon folding rib

4. For a fun look at the history of Blooks (objects that look like books), check out Mindell Dubanksy’s book: “Blooks: The Art of Books That Aren’t.” A great gift for the book collector on your list, anyone who makes books, anyone who likes the history of objects, etc. $45.00

5. If you’re looking for artist book eye candy, you’ll want the new catalog of Julie Chen’s work, “Reading the Art Object: Three Decades of Books by Julie Chen,” available from Vamp and Tramp. A steal at $30.

5. For the children on your list, check out the children’s books and artwork of Melanie Hope Greenberg. Melanie is a children’s book illustrator. Her illustrations are colorful, fun and lively.

And for the adults on your list who are children at heart, check out her original artwork. I’m partial to the one below! (Or you could hang one of her original pieces in a nursery or children’s room. What a great birthday or shower gift!)

There are so many wonderful gift options out there! From now until Christmas I’ll fit in some extra posts like this one. If you have suggestions, please let me know. Shameless self-promotion encouraged.




Tools I Can’t Live Without: Teflon Bone Folder

[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?



The Joy of Raw Materials – Wet Adhesives (Glue)

Gluing is one of the most necessary parts of bookbinding – and also one of the most stressful. Other than Saran Wrap (which always wraps around me, not whatever I want it to), working with glue is one of my biggest challenges as an artist. I’ve gotten better at it, but I still get anxious at the beginning of a gluing session. All that beautiful book cloth and/or paper just waiting to become a new book, or a glue-y mess that can’t be used.

I use four main types of glue. I’ll share my favorites with you — and look forward to your comments.  I think every book artist has very strong opinions about glues. Which ones are the “right” ones to use, which ones are archival, which ones are absolute no-nos. It seems like there is at least an annual discussion on the merits or hazards of YES! glue on the Book Arts List Serv on the Book Arts Web hosted by Philobiblon.

The glue that I use most often is PVA. PVA is, according to Talas’ website, “a general purpose, resin based, internally plasticized polyvinyl acetate emulsion that contains no solvents. It is fast drying, very long-lasting and forms a transparent, flexible film.”  It is pH neutral and acid free. In other words, it won’t yellow and it is considered archival. The brand that I use, because it is readily available at local stores and because I can get coupons for 40% off, is Sobo. I’ve been using it for six years with excellent results. No yellowing, cracking or separation. The artists’ books I created with it six years ago look as good as the day they were made. I use straight PVA to attach sections of books together – for example hinges in an accordion book.

For book covers, I mix PVA with methyl cellulose (also seen as one word, methylcellulose). Again, according to Talas, methyl cellulose “is non-staining, will not discolor paper, will not decompose in dry or liquid state and is not affected by heat or freezing. Forms a highly flexible bond but is a weak adhesive.” Which is why I use it with PVA. PVA is an excellent adhesive but dries quickly. The addition of methyl cellulose allows for good adhesion and a longer drying time. That extra time is precious when working with cover materials that need a little extra manipulation or when the weather is warm.

 Book artists use PVA and methyl cellulose in different ratios depending on preference, humidity and working conditions. I prefer a 2:1 PVA: methyl cellulose ratio. A fellow artist friend, Janice, uses 50:50 to good effect. I use Elmer’s Art Paste brand of methylcellulose after being introduced to it in a class by Laura Russell. As a side benefit the methyl cellulose can be used with acrylic paints to make lovely paste papers.

For applications where I need to bond two pieces of paper together – laminate them – and I need the glue to be extra thin and not bleed through the paper, I use Rollataq. This glue is terrific for those applications, such as flag books, where you might want to create two-sided paper – perhaps a photo on one side and a color on the other – by bonding two sheets together. Rollataq sells a hand-held applicator that I’ve found to be invaluable for laying down a thin layer of glue. According to Rollataq’s website, “the glue will not soak through thin papers, will not yellow over time, is acid free and non toxic.” In Pendulum  I bonded paper printed with photos with the same black paper used to make the accordion part of the flag book structure so that the flags look like an integral part of the structure. You can see here that the flags are straight and well-bonded using Rollataq:

Lastly, there is the glue stick. I used glue sticks often when making a mockup or sample of a book I am working on. For quick, mess free gluing, they can’t be beat. I caution against using a glue stick for any application where there will be stress or torque such as an accordion book hinge. Glue stick is meant only for lightweight applications such as a piece of paper with a title to be glued to the front of a small book. In those cases, and when making mock-ups, I use the UHU purple glue stick. I like the purple color because I can see where I’ve put the glue, and I’ve found that this glue stick has the same qualities of any other glue I want for my artists’ books. It’s non-yellowing, acid free and non-toxic.

For gluing advice for adhering almost anything, check out thistothat.com. You can choose what you are attaching (fabric, paper, leather, metal, etc.) to your substrate (fabric, paper, leather, metal, etc.) and then press the “Let’s Glue!” button to get great advice on glue options.

Do you have a favorite glue? Feel free to add your comments.

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