Cus­tom Bone and Steel Tools for Book Work­ing with Shanna Leino – Day 1

In the afternoon I took Shanna Leino‘s toolmaking workshop. We met in the metals studio, which was wall-free – it’s a bit like a shelter you might find in a park. Thankfully, it was a beautiful day. Oh, if you’re wondering, Ox-Bow doesn’t have a bone studio.

Ox-Bow metals studio

We were introduced to the various tools that we’d be using on our bone folders – it’s primarily hand work. She said that she’s often asked why she doesn’t teach the workshop using power tools and she had a wonderful response:

There’s nothing like lavishing a lot of attention on something by hand.

This was soon followed by:

My day hasn’t started unless I’ve cut myself.

That was part of the safety lecture. As one would expect, don’t aim sharp or bladey things at your body parts.

Shanna did a demonstration of how to use a rasp (in a non-raspy voice). She gave us this great tip – put a tennis ball on the handle of the rasp and then you can rest that end of it on your leg (the ball adds cushion). Secure the other end of the rasp and then you can just move the bone over it to remove material.

If this doesn’t make sense, just check out the photo below, which will hopefully clarify it for you.

Shanna Leino doing a bone-rasping demo

You start with the coarser rasp and work your way down to the finer ones. If you need to remove a lot of material, use a hatchet. I was afraid to use a hatchet (mostly because I was tired), so I started with a thinner piece of bone.

We’re working with elk bone and got to choose the size and shape we wanted to use.

Box of elk bone pieces

Box o' bones

Here are the pieces I chose:

Pieces of elk bone

And here’s the piece I worked on today:

Piece of elk bone

Now you get to watch it get smoother:

Bone folder in process

Bone folder in process

Bone folder in process

As you can see, I’m making my bone folder with two flat, spatula-esque edges – I like having tools I can get into tight spaces. I’m just now realizing that it kinda looks like an oar.

I have this strange urge to create a wavy midsection…or perhaps a spiral like this etching tool?

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

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