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Does etchant stain ivory?

Rik Palm

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Ferric stains bone orange and I'd suppose it will do the same to ivory, Rik. So I'd do the etch before assembly.


I'd think the ferric might attack the ivory as well depending on how long of an etch you want to do...also it might be difficult to get any remaining ferric out from under the ivory handle and neutralize the steel properly.


My 2 cents! :ylsuper:



"Imagination is more important than knowledge" - Albert Einstein


"The innovator is not an opponent of the old. He is a proponent of the new."

- Lyle E. Schaller



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I always do my assemble first and then etch. I use finger nail polish to mask the areas I don't want to etch. The only time I have had a problem is when I was sloppy with my coverage. You might even want to thin the polish a little so it will flow better.



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Thanks for the info!


I've only used ivory for a couple of times on a knife and didn't want to mess it up (so far, so good). Ivory seems to be expensive not only for the maker but for the buyer as well. I always worry about the cracking, I was also told not to try to stablized it. They told me it can lead to patchy discoloring. I'm also going to try to use hidden pins, I thought that might help. But last night I was told that "Ivory cracks" oh well.


thanx again


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Hi Rik,


I use a lot of ivory (mostly fossil) in my work, and you should think of it as identical to a dense and very brittle wood. It swells and contracts with moisture, it has grain, it absorbs liquids, it cracks and discolors with age, it has soft spots and hard spots, it will craze if it gets hot (like in polishing). If you are going to use through pins for slab handles, I wouldn't peen them in place (you'll crack the ivory), just epoxy them. Treat ivory like a delicate lady. Any user who is mistreating an ivory handled knife deserves what they will get, anyway.


I often use a wood oil finish (like Watco natural/clear, or plain thinned linseed oil 50/50 mix) on my wood and ivory pieces, and usually don't see problems in the ivory portions. Oil will change the ivory surface appearance, just like it will for wood. I don't think I would try for any really significant oil or resin penetration like in stabilizing.


My two cents.

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