New Tool for Sale! Fraying Shield

A stainless steel fraying shield of my design. There is not a standard term for these in English, but they are called Aufschabeblech in German.

I’d seen versions of tools like this fraying shield (sometimes called a fraying plate) for a couple of decades. Some are just a simple “V” cut into a pressing tin thickness piece of metal. Why bother, I thought? Who needs another specialized, single purpose tool for such a simple job? I’ve been fraying out the cords on scrap pieces of binders board or card stock just fine.

But recently Peter Verheyen engaged me to design and make one for him. He details some historic ones and has a video of him using this one in this blog post. I became intrigued by some of the subtleties of this simple tool. Once I had a prototype I liked, I had a familiar, nagging feeling. Why the hell didn’t I do this sooner? Even if you don’t buy this one, I urge you to make one for yourself and see!

Fraying out test. Check out the fluffy, evenly thinned slips!

The speed of fraying is quicker, and the quality of the resulting slips much better than using binders board or card stock. They are very even and it is easier to control how thin they get. This is due to fraying on a hard and flat surface, rather than an irregular surface that abrades. The thinness of the steel helps too, so that you can start fraying just next to where the cord exits the endsheet. The shield itself is made from an unhardened stainless steel, soft enough that it won’t damage your knife blade. Traditionally, though, the back of your knife is used. So far it has worked with all the different plys of linen cord I’ve tried, from 2 to 12. The stainless steel is also safe for contact with binding materials.

Fraying shield. Stainless steel, 2 x 6 inches. Buy it here, introductory price only $25!

New Tool: Deluxe Delrin Lifter

The Deluxe Delrin Lifter.

Most lifting tools are quite thin. Usually, this is great. But the thinness of the lifter results in a lack of control at the tip. In order to counteract this, I’ve come up with a very long wedge shape lifter that provides an an incredible amount of control for lifting, twisting, sliding, and prying. The straight cutting edge and rounded corners also aids precision manipulation.

This Deluxe Delrin lifter is designed for the lifting covering materials, backing removal, hinge removal, and tape removal. The cutting edge is flexible and so thin that the white delrin becomes translucent, a feature that could be useful in certain treatments. Delrin has a very low coefficient of friction, close to Teflon. The handle is hand carved out of a bar of Delrin .75 inch thick and an inch wide. The length gradually tapers, and the weight gives this precision tool a solid heft and a tremendous amount of control.

A must for paper, book, photographic, and other conservators and restorers. The length varies between 8 – 10 inches, since it is difficult for me to get a sharp, translucent, and flexible edge. They tend to get shorter and shorter as I work on them! If the overall length is critical to you, send me a note and I will let you know what is in stock.

Between 8 — 10 x 1 x .75 (thickness at the handle) inches. Tapered gradually along the length. The cutting edge is straight with rounded edges, to facilitate twisting and prying. A basic kit for maintaining the edge with instructions is included.

The Deluxe Delrin Lifter $95.00

The Deluxe Delrin Lifter.

Cor Knops’s Five Essential Book Conservation Tools

Cor Knops’s five tools.

Cor Knops

Owner of Knops Boekrestauratie. Book conservator in private practice. Munstergeleen, Netherlands.

These are my five favorite tools for book conservation.

1. Stitch Cutter. This is a Swann-Morton disposable stitch cutter blade mounted in a cheap hobby shop handle. The blade is razor sharp and ideal to cut the sewing of books. You can easily cut the threads without any damage to the paper. The blade is also useful for many other delicate cutting operations. I don’t sharpen these blades: when blunt I mount a new one.

2. Olfa Cutter SA-C 1. This is my favorite snap-off blade knife. The blade angle is 30 degrees instead of the more common 60 degrees. Because of the sharper angle, it cuts delicate paper like Japanese paper without fraying. What I also like is the very slim dimensions of this knife. It’s only 11,5 wide x 4,3 mm thick, and without the blade 136 mm long. Also the non-coated stainless steel finish is very enjoyable to hold.

3. Curved Tweezer. Very fine and precise pointed tweezer. It allows you to pick up the finest things, and you might be surprised what you find in the gutter from books….

4. Curved scissors. This little scissors is only 117 mm long. Not so visible on the picture is that is has curved blades. This makes it ideal to cut in hard to reach places. Also nice is the metal spring which open up the scissors by itself. [Note: these are called “conjunctival scissors” in the US]

5. Dental Pick. I have many, many spatula and all kind of other small tools to ‘fumble’ with. But this miraculous tool is quite unique. It has two identical end tips. But the angles are opposite, so when releasing leather from a leather binding for instance, the funny thing is you can flip the spatula in one movement in your hand and the ‘angle of attack’ changes. It needs some practicing but it helps to work more efficiently.

Vriendelijke groeten,
Cor Knops