Today’s post will be a short one, but don’t let that mislead you. I want to introduce you to a little friend of mine. He may seem innocuous and mundane, but this little tool can be a workhorse for your workspace.
It’s called a bone folder. You’ll find it’s real job description when you research the handwork involved in bookbinding. But the bone folder has made a valuable transition to the watercolor fine artist’s side of the ledger. I wouldn’t be caught dead without mine.
Here’s a small list of what I use mine for:
1. Scoring watercolor paper.
2. The final press fold prior to tearing paper.
3. Burnish my tape (as noted in last week’s post on the Marsh Taper).
4. When I gold leaf mattes, I use the folder to burnish and polish the leaf.
5. When making hinges during the framing process, the folder sets the seal on wheat paste/glue folds. This involves hinging your artwork for display.
Let me show you the most useful purpose for you as a watercolorist. Most artists know this process, but in the past they have used an inappropriate tool. Most did not know that the bone folder was made for this specific purpose. If you have creased your high dollar paper with a spoon, pencil or brush handle, you’ve been in the company of most artists. The problem with these methods is they leave residue, such as the spoon which will leave a metal residue as the paper polishes its’ surface. The pencil, brush handle method leaves yellow or black paint on your paper. Try this!
Photo 1. Lay your straight edge on your paper. Take the point of your folder and press and pull, scoring the paper.
Here’s the paper after the score line has been completed.
Now use your finger and fold the paper on your score line. Run your finger all the way down to create the first fold.
Now take your folder and re-press your crease with the folder. (This is the part we would improvise with the spoon or pencil). You can really bear down on the paper with the folder and not do any damage. Now reverse the fold and repeat the process.
Your crease is now so well defined, that tearing the sheet requires little effort. On handmade papers, like Twin Rocker, you will have a nice somewhat deckled edge.
Now you know! Looking for a bone folder? Try Artisans in Santa Fe, Daniel Smith Art Supply (look in bookbinding supplies), or Dick Blick. All are available online.
All content and images © Mark Kohler Studio.