Bone folder

Images and text by Garry Harrison,
Head, Circulating Collections Conservation,
Indiana University Libraries Preservation Department


Bone folder

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.


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