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Cus­tom Bone and Steel Tools for Book Work­ing with Shanna Leino – Day 2

I started out today’s class working on a new bone folder. I decided to give the hatchet a try this time. Not as a big a deal as I had thought.

Bonefolder in process

Bonefolder in process

Bonefolder in process

Then I got fidgety and started (yet) another one. I decided to let the bone tell me how to shape it.

Bonefolder in process

Bonefolder in process

Bonefolder in process

Shanna taught us how to do detail work on our bone folders. She showed us samples of her own work, which was fabulous. And so very shiny.

Bonefolder in process

Here’s how you do the line work on our bone folders:

  1. Draw pencil lines to mark your pattern.
  2. Cut into the bone with a jeweler’s saw, using your fingernail to guide the blade. Don’t cut the full depth of the blade.
  3. Use a metal file to soften and refine the cuts. Use a file without teeth on the sides and tilt it at an angle.

Here’s how my bone folder looked while I roughed out some lines:

Bonefolder in process

Here’s the finished bone folder, sanded smooth.

Bonefolder in process

Bonefolder in process

You can use a Dremel for carving bone. You want to use high speed cutters (a.k.a. burr bits) or diamond bits. You basically drill straight down into the bone – can drill all the way through if you want to make holes. Be careful with making holes because you don’t want to compromise the strength of your bone folder.

You have to finish filing your folder before you sand it. Sandpaper embeds material into the bone and subsequent filing can damage your work.

Start sanding with 220 grit sandpaper and follow with 400 grit. Lastly, use steel wool to give your bone folder a satiny surface. Make sure to remove all sharp edges before proceeding with this step.

If you want a high gloss, you can use a polishing wheel with a white polishing compound – if you use a dark polishing compound, it can stain your bone folder. Shanna recommended purchasing white polishing compound at an automotive supply store.

Here’s the work I have completed so far:

Bonefolder in process

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

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