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Bone preservation


Bob Ouellette

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I have some pieces of bone I had removed through 4 different surgeries that I want to preserve. Eventually I'd like to use some in a piece of jewelry. So my question is, can bone be stabilized like wood or is there another, better way to preserve it? 

Bob O

 

"When I raise my flashing sword, and my hand takes hold on judgment, I will take vengeance upon mine enemies, and I will repay those who haze me. Oh, Lord, raise me to Thy right hand and count me among Thy saints."

 

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Bone can indeed be stabilized like wood, and probably should be.  

 

The main problem with fresh bone is degreasing it.  Whole bones are tough to do, slices are much easier.  A long gentle simmer in water treated with about 1 tablespoon of washing soda (sodium carbonate) per gallon is a good start. Do not boil it, they'll crack and splinter.  Let dry under very low heat, like a food dehydrator. Follow that with a few acetone rinses. Once no more grease comes out, stabilize ASAP.  

 

I bet some hunters or other bone collectors may have better methods, that's just what I learned for preparing zooarchaeological specimens. I never prepped the human forensic cases, but we didn't boil or acetone them for Reasons, and they stayed greasy for years.  

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If you can acquire a copy of the book by Oppi Untracht - I think it is titled Jewelry Concepts and Technology 2nd Edition (available on Amazon) there is a section on preparing bone for use in crafts.  I used to have a copy but haven't seen it in years and fear it walked away with a former friend.  It's a great resource for all kinds of techniques that are useful to knife makers or others in the metal crafting disciplines.

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Posted (edited)

@Alan Longmire do you have any stabilization tips or preferred products you've used for stabilizing bone? Luckily I only have some slices and a few good end pieces to stabilize. Whole bones would probably have me walking funny.

 

@Gazz thanks for the tips. I'll see if I can find a copy of the book.

Edited by Bob Ouellette

Bob O

 

"When I raise my flashing sword, and my hand takes hold on judgment, I will take vengeance upon mine enemies, and I will repay those who haze me. Oh, Lord, raise me to Thy right hand and count me among Thy saints."

 

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Howdy!

 

Hydrogen peroxide 10% to 12% solution...soak for a while...check regular...once it is de-greased..soak in distilled water to get the peroxide out and air dry..stabilize the same as any other bone... that should do it...that is what I do with my bovine ivory..unless it is really greasy then it is a long slow simmer in TSP.

 

JPH

If you wish to know the price of freedom..Visit a Veteran's Hospital...I am humbled by their sacrifice... 

Why is it when the Mighty Thor throws his hammer he is dispensing Justice and fighting Evil..BUT..when I throw my hammer I wind up in a mandatory 16 week anger management course??</p>

I came into this world naked, screaming and covered in someone else's blood...I have no problem going out the same way...

 

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11 hours ago, Bob Ouellette said:

do you have any stabilization tips or preferred products you've used for stabilizing bone?

 

Send it to K&G.  Home stabilizing with Cactus Juice is too iffy for relatively nonporous stuff.  

 

10 hours ago, JPH said:

that is what I do with my bovine ivory

 

I was hoping you'd chime in!  Being the master of bone and all.

 

Gazz: Ooh, I don't have that one.  I have the other big Untracht book, though.  Metal Techniques for Craftsmen, I think...

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""I was hoping you'd chime in!  Being the master of bone and all.""

 

Geeze Alan...that makes me sound like I am, a 1980's porn star...

 

JP (Bone Man) H

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If you wish to know the price of freedom..Visit a Veteran's Hospital...I am humbled by their sacrifice... 

Why is it when the Mighty Thor throws his hammer he is dispensing Justice and fighting Evil..BUT..when I throw my hammer I wind up in a mandatory 16 week anger management course??</p>

I came into this world naked, screaming and covered in someone else's blood...I have no problem going out the same way...

 

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Posted (edited)

Thanks for all the tips. I'm very wary of sending the bones through the mail on account that they are irreplaceable.

Edited by Bob Ouellette

Bob O

 

"When I raise my flashing sword, and my hand takes hold on judgment, I will take vengeance upon mine enemies, and I will repay those who haze me. Oh, Lord, raise me to Thy right hand and count me among Thy saints."

 

My Website

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I still have the first book by Oppi but it is not nearly as comprehensive as the second one.  I hesitate to buy another copy as I'm not 100% sure it really is gone.  I have looked for it many times and it is a larger book and not easily hidden but so far no luck.

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14 hours ago, Bob Ouellette said:

Thanks for all the tips. I'm very wary of sending the bones through the mail on account that they are irreplaceable.

 

Understandable.  As long as they're degreased and properly dry they will last a very long time (several hundred years) in the usual household environment.  Stabilization is just a nice bit of insurance in case of damp or desert-dry.  

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Posted (edited)

Drying them out was one of the first things I did. They rattle around in their respective specimen cups little little bone rattles. I'll just have to properly degree them next.

Edited by Bob Ouellette

Bob O

 

"When I raise my flashing sword, and my hand takes hold on judgment, I will take vengeance upon mine enemies, and I will repay those who haze me. Oh, Lord, raise me to Thy right hand and count me among Thy saints."

 

My Website

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Metatarsal fragments from your foot injury?  :(

 

Be careful degreasing if you use the strong peroxide. It can lead to a chalky surface if you overdo it.  It’ll be pure white, though!  

 

If you do peroxide, get it at a beauty supply place.  They don't call it peroxide or label it by concentration, so here's the key: it's called clear developer, and 40 volume = 12%, 30 volume = 8%, 20 volume = 6%. The stuff from the drug store is 3%.  They also sell cream developer, which is great for hair, not so much for bone or ceramic. That's what I use it on. 18th century ceramics. They tend to soak up a lot of grease, oils, and coffee/tea stains. A month or two soaking in 40 volume peroxide and they're good as new.

 

That's my other hobby. I have a cupboard full of 200 - 250 year old English ceramics accumulated over the last 35 years or so. Buy it cheap stained and filthy, bleach it clean and display!

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@Alan Longmire thanks! They're ends of the proximal and middle phalanges from toes 2-5 on both feet. I had pretty severe hammer toes that had curled to the point of walking on my nails. So now my toes are straight and the proximal and middle phalanges are fused together on the middle 3 toes in both feet. 

 

These are probably the best pieces out of all that were celebrated over the 4 surgeries. I had already cleaned off all the soft tissue with 3% peroxide. 

 

PhotoPictureResizer_1720647521405_copy_768x1020.jpg

Bob O

 

"When I raise my flashing sword, and my hand takes hold on judgment, I will take vengeance upon mine enemies, and I will repay those who haze me. Oh, Lord, raise me to Thy right hand and count me among Thy saints."

 

My Website

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I, too, have Oppi's Metal Techniques for Craftsmen. I'm a big, big fan.  That book never ceases to get my creative juices flowing. I've never before encountered Jewelry: Concepts and Technology. Gazz, are you saying the latter is more comprehensive than Metal Techniques

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The second one is more comprehensive.   Much of the content of the first is also in the second, Metal Techniques for Craftsman.

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5 minutes ago, Alan Longmire said:

 

Those remind me of elk ivories...

 

I assure you I grew them myself lol

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Bob O

 

"When I raise my flashing sword, and my hand takes hold on judgment, I will take vengeance upon mine enemies, and I will repay those who haze me. Oh, Lord, raise me to Thy right hand and count me among Thy saints."

 

My Website

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