Images and text by Garry
Head, Circulating Collections Conservation,
University Libraries Preservation Department
These variously-shaped pieces of bone are used for
functions such as smoothing, scoring, and creasing paper and cloth, and working materials into tight
corners. The bone folder is polished to a smooth finish to avoid damaging the materials it is used to
manipulate, but with sufficient (or excessive) pressure its edge is sharp enough to cut paper or cloth.
This cutting function of the tool can be either handy and deliberate or unfortunate and accidental, so
one needs to be careful in avoiding the latter. It is best to keep the bone folder clean and free of
glue so it slides and burnishes nicely. Two of the folders shown are commercially available ones; the
rest of them were made by us from elk and deer bone. They are the products of two workshops conducted
by former Head of General Collections Conservation Jo Burgess.
Complete Treatments Manual Table of Contents