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Re: [BKARTS] How to fold a sheet of paper

At 11:46 AM 24/12/2003 -0800, you wrote:
Are there any instructions available for the seemingly simple task of
folding a sheet of paper in half?

I have a bone folder, but what I'm having trouble with is making the initial
fold accurate. For example, I can use my fingernails as end guides, but what
about the sides?

For some reason I feel like answering this one. It's really easy if the sheet is a true rectangle. Then you need only match one corner to it's opposite on one edge, then rub down along the edge to the fold, or pull the adjacent fold point until the edges align, then run the crease across with the folder. All the other edges will also align, if you do it carefully. This works by the inherent geometry of similar figures. Most commercial cut sheets are accurate enough for this to work.

However, if the sheet is not true, then only one edge will align: the one
you pulled to a crease.  All the others will be out of register, more or
less.  If the sheet is only a bit out of true, this may not matter.  If
they are a lot out of true, you may want to try to improve the fit by
laying the top half over the bottom half and adjusting until you get a
better fit.  However, you need to be aware that if you try to force the fly
edges true, the fold will likely not be true, and when you rub it down, it
may end up curved, or pull the rest of the sheet off your preferred
position.  You need to let the sheet follow its own geometry.  You can pin
down one point only:  the sheet will determine the rest.  So, choose your
best guess point, pin it down with a thumb or something, and run your hand
down the sheet at right angles to the fold.  Make your crease there, and
run it out to both edges with a hand first and then the bone folder, making
sure you don't let go of your pinned point until the crease is well
established.  This is the method you need to use for rough cut sheets or
deckle edged sheets.

If the sheet is heavy, like card, then rubbing down the crease may not
work.  The thick material will tend to break before the true fold line is
established, and you will end up with a sheet that has a considerable
broken edge at the fold, and probably an inaccurate fold line.  In this
case, it is better to measure and mark, then crease with a folder or a dull
knife.  With some heavy papers, wetting the fold line may improve your
chances of a true fold.

If you want to double fold a sheet, or a signature, then you can use the
above methods for one fold only.  In order to avoid runching the paper at
the double folded corner, you must slit the first fold to just past the
halfway point before beginning the second fold.  The slit part is then
folded over the folded part,  The same method is employed, but the top
sheet will try to creep, as the outside sheet has a longer path than the
inner sheets.  While all other relative movement is to be avoided, this
creep must be allowed to develop, else the paper will crumple at the fold,
and the sheets will end up untrue whatever you do to avoid it.

More than one sheet can be folded at once, but the more sheets there are,
the harder it is to achieve an accurate fold throughout the pack.  The
method for a pack of accurate sheets with a sharp cut edge, like a
commercially cut sheet, is to knock up the edges while holding the pack at
opposite edges, then, holding the pack lightly but firmly in both hands,
bring them together to make a gentle fold.  The paper will creep at both
edges, leaving a chevron shaped fly edge.  Align a corner and pinch
it.  Check to see if the chevron is even on both sides.  If it is not,
grasp the pack a bit farther along the edge a bit tighter than your grip at
the corner, then bend the pack a little to the side of the longer chevron
edge, and then grip harder at the corner than at the other place, and
straighten the edge.  You will see that the chevron has adjusted
somewhat.  A little practice and you will be able to true up the chevron
very rapidly.  When you are satisfied, pull down the edge to the fold to
start the crease, and then lay it down and rub down the whole
crease.  There is a technique to this which takes a bit of practice to do
rapidly.  Don't try to do the maximum number at a time.  It is quicker to
do it twice than to spend a lot of time adjusting.

Hope this helps. Gavin

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