My First Handmade Bakelite Folder

Several weeks ago I have ordered 3 mm thick 20×20 cm (778” x 778“) Bakelite sheet from China (you can easily find them at, eBay or AliExpress) to experiment a little with Bakelite folders. I almost always use bone folders and make wooden or laminate wood folders for my students (cheap and fast, you know).

First time I’ve seen Bakelite folder in use was last summer, during my study at the American Academy of Bookbinding in Telluride, CO. That was not a small folder, but a larger one. Very useful while gluing covering material to bookbinder’s board. However, the first thing I’ve tried to do was just an ordinary-sized folder.

20160310_150722 - Bookbinding - Bakelite folders

I’ve started to work with a hacksaw. Not the best decision, because cut was not so straight and I had to spend more time to sand it and get an even edge. I’ve also decided to sand the sharp end of the folder — maybe it is more reasonable to cut it and then shape it with sandpaper.

Anyway, all the other bars were cut with power jigsaw. It took almost no time. The resulting bits were as straight as you can get, because I always use guides, while operating the power jigsaw. I didn’t finish all the other small folders — I wanted to buy a multi sander first, to save even more time.

However, I’ve proceeded with the large folder — I wanted to make something like the one I’ve seen used by Peter Geraty last summer.

I’m not sure that’s an exact replica, and I still hadn’t got a chance to try that large folder. But I wanted to share this with you anyway. I’ll follow up after I finish all the other small folders with multi sender and have them tried at my next workshop =)

Do you have any experience with bakelite folders? Any favorite shapes? Have you ever tried to make one yourself?


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