Team Bonefolder

Kaija over at Paperiaarre commented on my last post about bonefolders that she uses a teflon bonefolder in her work instead of one made of bone.

In my work I employ a team of bonefolders: one made of bone and one made of teflon. I use the teflon bonefolder for any work on a visible surface – bookcloth or paper on the cover of a book, for example. I use my bonefolder for anything work that doesn’t show, such as inside work.

Before I got my teflon bonefolder, I used 2 boney bonefolders. I always kept one clean and the other was always used for glue work. This worked best for me because I never had to worry about whether or not my bonefolder was clean – I had an assigned clean bonefolder. The bonefolders were two different sizes so I could easily tell them apart.

Then I got a teflon bonefolder.

I knew that they didn’t leave shiny marks on paper, which was a big plus. In addition, they were nice and slippery, which helped make work easier. So I bought one. What I found was that while the teflon folder had its perks, it was sorta soft. I couldn’t get as much muscle behind it as I could with my other bonefolders.

So in addition to using my bonefolder for inside work, I also use it for any work that requires me to use strength for any reason. In these situations, I usually place a piece of scrap paper over my work so that I don’t get any shiny marks or accidental tears. I guess it would be great to have one bonefolder that was great at everything. But I’d probably use two anyway, for the cleanliness factor.

Rhonda at My Handmade Books ran a poll on her blog about which bonefolder folks preferred. It seems like most folks are like me – reluctant to give up one in favor of the other.

I’d love to hear if you’re a you’re in a monogamous or a polygamous bonefolder relationship. Fill out the poll below and make me feel validated!

Note: This poll is now closed.

8 Responses to “Team Bonefolder”

By Kaija - 21 October 2008 Reply

I think I have more than five different bonefolders that I use frequently, some of them are bone, some metal. Mostly I use the teflon bonefolder like I wrote earlier, but the bone and metal ones are much better at times. I couldn’t make neat corners with a teflon bonefolder to save my life when using linen as cover material. So no, I don’t find having MANY bonefolders freaky at all!

By elissa - 21 October 2008 Reply

Hmmm…I’ve never heard of a metal bonefolder. I am so very interested…and have lots of questions:

1. What metal is it made out of?
2. What tasks do you use it for?
3. Where did you get it?
4. What do you think is the advantage of a metal bonefolder?

By Kaija - 21 October 2008 Reply

One of my metal bonefolders is store bought (Finland), two are made by me. I had the most amazing metal work course as a part of my master’s studies and I made a couple of paring knives and bonefolders from old circular saw blades there. I believe all three bonefolders are steel so they can stain leather (hasn’t happened ever though). I see no reason why a bonefolder couldn’t be made from brass or some other metal if you have metal work equipment available.

I sometimes use my metal bonefolders when making corners with thick cover material as they’re nice and heavy. Light tapping on the corner makes wonders! You can also use the bonefolders to draw on slightly dampened leather. It gives a dark and crisp line. Basically, I use my metal bonefolders when I need a heavy or a hard and pointed bonefolder (for some scoring purposes etc.). Basic folding and rubbing are usually done with teflon or real bonefolder. I don’t think metal bonefolders are a necessity by no means but they’re nice anyway 🙂

By elissa - 22 October 2008 Reply

Thanks for sharing the additional information. Recycling saw blades as bonefolders is such a cool idea! If I ever travel to Finland, I’m going to have to get a store name from you – I am a confirmed tool junkie.

By Rhonda - 23 November 2008 Reply

I did buy the teflon folder eventually so now i have a team of folders too. Three different size bone folders and one teflon – and I use them all very differently. I’m sure I couldn’t go back to having just one!

I agree, the teflon folder seems too soft and flexible for some things. I also have snagged it a couple times with a blade somehow. So now it has a jaggy bit on the end which i need to fix. I wonder how it can be fixed….I don’t think I can sand it like bone.

By eleanor - 24 November 2008 Reply

Ooops! I just voted and it seems I am the only person who voted no. Hm… I only use one (but then I don’t do so much bookbinding these days), but I don’t think you’re a freak either. 🙂

By elissa - 25 November 2008 Reply


I’m finding that my teflon folder is eroding…there’s a distinct slant on one side of the tip, indicating that I’m rubbing on that side the most. In fact, I sometimes see bits of teflon on textured bookcloth after using the folder. My understanding is that teflon is toxic, so you should avoid sanding it. If it’s really necessary, I’d do it with a mask on so you don’t breathe it in.


By elissa - 25 November 2008 Reply


I’m a freak regardless, so no harm done. 🙂


So what do you think? I'd love to know!

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