Bone Folder to Fit

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Project by RussInMichigan posted 06-20-2014 08:41 PM 1564 views 5 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

If the name is new to you a bone folder is typically used to run along a fold to make a tight crease in paper or other light material, thus the name, “folder.” They are also used to smooth light materials like paper or cloth into tight corners, or to simply press the materials together so adhesives can bond. They reach into those restricted places where fingers often won’t reach. For pressing materials into place they are indispensable since skin chafes and wears off easily even when the material seems soft.

The first picture shows two bone folders. One of them cost seven dollars at the craft store. The other cost pennies at most, though it did require a few minutes of effort.

A hint as to which one cost seven dollars is in the name “Martha Stewart” in the second photo.

Picture three shows the reason I made this bone folder. The seven dollar one was too long for me to use to smooth down the fabric I used to line this tin box. The new one fits nicely. And, it works real well at getting the felt to lay down and making the edges snug.

Image four shows the thickness.

The wooden bone folder is made from maple. It is about 5/16” thick, 5.25” long and 7/8” wide. I shaped it with stationary belt sander and hand sanding pads and blocks. Then, I wiped it with butcher block conditioner and rubbed it out several times to avoid having residue.

Have a great day lumberjocks,


9 comments so far

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

16808 posts in 2527 days

#1 posted 06-20-2014 08:49 PM

Very nice , Russ. Although Martha Stewart is one of my favorite people, I like yours a lot and it fits where hers would not. that is a cool idea. I made it a favorite!!!!!!!! Thanks…..........Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View leafherder's profile


856 posts in 1374 days

#2 posted 06-20-2014 08:58 PM

Great job! I worked in the archives department of a library for 10 years so I am very familiar with these – they are a must have for book binding repair tasks. Quickly discovered that each one was slightly different – length, width, sharpness of the point, smoothness of finish, curvature of handle. Library bought them in bulk because the best ones were always mysteriously disappearing. I set aside some mulberry and dogwood to dry last year to try to make my own.
Thanks for posting.

-- Leafherder

View hoss12992's profile


3813 posts in 1315 days

#3 posted 06-21-2014 12:15 AM

Great job

-- The Old Rednek Workshop

View deon's profile


2507 posts in 2447 days

#4 posted 06-21-2014 03:55 AM

Looks like a useful tool, well done

-- Dreaming patterns

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3128 posts in 3134 days

#5 posted 06-21-2014 05:10 AM


I have one of these but didn’t know what it was called. I use mine to poke out tight corners when sewing. I always use my silver letter opener for scoring and folding papers, especially card stock. I’ll have to try my “bone folder” now that I know what it is! LOL


-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View RussInMichigan's profile


584 posts in 2202 days

#6 posted 06-21-2014 12:34 PM

Thanks lumberjocks,

Jim, I thought about buying a second one and chopping it in half. Then, I’d just have two tools with differing profiles. But, I’ve seen wooden bone folders before and decided to give it a try. Glad I did, too. It was a pleasurable ten minutes or so with a bit of wood which I’m sure would otherwise eventually have made its way to the trash.

Leafherder, since I was a kid doing origami(when Ike was president) I’ve been hunting down some random something or other to perform the specific functions of the bone folder. Never really thought about there being a tool designed for those purposes. Once I started using an actual bone folder, I realized how much time I’ve spent over the years, a minute here, a minute there, reinventing particular parts of the bone folder for some ad hoc need, only to throw it away during clean up.

Thanks for the thumbs up, Hoss.

Deon, Thanks. These things are useful. lightweightladylefty points out more applications in sewing.

lightweightladylefty, I picked up the name for it from watching bookbinding videos on youtube(Then, my wife had me rebind her ancient “Joy of Cooking” which was in pieces).

Thanks for looking in folks.

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 1714 days

#7 posted 06-21-2014 12:54 PM

Great project! Your post is one of the things I love about this forum—it ’s a constant source for leaning new things. Thanks.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View Ted's profile


2785 posts in 1633 days

#8 posted 06-21-2014 03:11 PM

Bone folders…. that’s a new one on me. I definitely have to make a few of these. I know at least a half dozen people who would use one regularly, and probably already have one. But the one they have wasn’t made by me so I’ll have to fix that.

I like yours better than Martha’s. I’ll take home made wood over mass produced plastic any day. Thanks for sharing! :)

-- The first cordless tool was a stick. The first power tool was a rock.

View RussInMichigan's profile


584 posts in 2202 days

#9 posted 06-21-2014 03:54 PM

Thanks HillbillyShooter, the learning is what I like best about lumberjocks. I like that when I conceive of a way to do something, I can get on this site and find a bunch more. There’s always more than one way to skin a cat, or a catalpa for that matter!

I appreciate the kudos, Tedster. The shop made bone folder has a much more pleasant feel to it. I sanded it to 600. Then, I finished with butcher block conditioner and several rounds of buffing. It’s really smooth and comfy to hold. I just used it to press down the edges on an photograph that will become a wedding guest book puzzle for my niece.

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