Bone Folders

Tools, Workshops

A few days back, when it was sunny and moderately warm for the first time in this god-forsaken land, we took an afternoon to make some bone tools. Here are three that I finished that afternoon.

These are only my latest attempts at bone shaping: as a Lennox Foundation Intern at Iowa State University, I also made a few bone tools last summer. You can read about that experience here.

Even though we were using elk bone, which is much harder than the deer and cow bones that I used before, I was able to dramatically speed up the process this time. Although I had a much better idea of the tools that I wanted before starting this time, the factor that significantly improved the process was using a Ferrier’s Rasp.

These are designed for removing or leveling the hoof wall, so they are much wider and longer than a typical wood rasp. The increased surface area allows you to really cut quickly using the rasp side, then smooth out the shape evenly with the file side. As always, one has to be ever-mindful when rasping for an extended period of time. I lost a few of my fingerprints when I allowed my attention to wander. Hopefully they will come back soon:)

So far, I’m finding the largest of my bone tools (I think it looks like a butterknife) to be the most useful. In addition to the usual folding of paper and scraping of gunk, I find the increased length to be very helpful in compressing sections while sewing.


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