Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Wayne V

Tips for working with bone.

Recommended Posts

Once again I need some help.

 

A friendly Giraffe donated a rib bone to my worthy cause. I have seen masses of references to "stabalizing" the bone on this forum. Could someone tell me how this is done, and what sort of resins are used. Please note that Brand names generally are not the same here, except the big ones like Pepsi, Coke, Microsoft etc etc. so for the most part, I need more technical information, so that I can find an equvalent.

 

The Giraffe rib curves through two dimensions, kinda like a helix I suppose. I would appreciate some guidence wrt what tools you use to "work" the bone. Its not going to be easy to get a large, flat peice out of it, so I am planning on making Scales out of it.

 

Regards

Wayne

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I cut up some cow bone recently (not stabilized, bought it as a dog bone). It cut with a dull bandsaw blade but the smoke stunk up everything. I ground it on a medium grit bench grinder which left a surprisingly well polished surface, but made lots more stinky dust. I finally dragged the grinder into the doorway and set up a fan to blow across it and out the door, which mostly took care of the smell. I would expect some kind of vacuum chamber with epoxy or similar would be used to stabilize bone.

 

Michael

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like to put the carved bone into a mason jar, fill it with wood hardener, and let it soak for a week or so, then let it dry for a few days once I've pulled it out. You'll know it's dry when you hold it to your cheek and it doesn't feel cold. The only problem with this procedure is that it makes the bone resistant to accepting dyes or stains (I use leather spirit dyes). If the bone is colored before immersing in the hardener, the stuff removes the tints. Can't win!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've had some luck by adding the dye to the wood hardener. It wont dye all the way through but it works for a durable surface finish on bone. The colorant I used didn't soak into wood too well, even though the hardener did.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmm, I've got some wood dye (As opposed to stain) that I used on my last clock. Think I'll see what it does with bone. Keep you posted on this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey guys!

 

I have been away for a week on a business trip, so I haven't been near a keyboard in a while. Thanks for the info so far.

 

I have heard that some guys boil the bone in Sulpeter. This apparently makes it white and gets rid of the residual marrow. As far as colouring goes, I have even heard of people soaking the bone in a strong brew of Rooibos Tea (This is a herbal tea that is native to South Africa and is very high in Tannins). The results I have seen take on a honey colour. The bone is then allowed to dry and then is "stabalized."

 

I was thinking of using a type of low-viscosity resin that is used to seal, stabalize and penetrate slate tiles. It seems that everybody has their own recipe, so I will try this and let you guys know how it turns out.

 

Using power tools on this stuff seems to be a no-no. I will use hand tools! The thought of smelly, burned giraffe bone just doesn't appeal to me!

 

Regards

Wayne

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You don't need fancy tea; I made that nice honey-brown color once with plain old Lipton teabags. :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Alan!

 

Rooibos (Translates as "Red Bush") Tea isn't fancy at all. It's everywhere here. Very nice though it may be a bit of an aquired taste. We let our kids drink it because it doesn't have Caffeine.

 

Have you heard of bleaching the bone with sulpeter?

 

Regards

Wayne

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ah! My mistake, I keep forgetting you're in South Africa. :wacko:

 

No, I've never heard of using saltpeter to bleach bone, only strong hydrogen peroxide, gasoline/petrol ( :ph34r: ), or chlorine bleach diluted in water. Or just strong sunlight, which I hear you have in abundance! I wonder if some of the new oxygen bleaches would work as well?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Stephan's Florilegium

 

Click on crafts on the menu to the left, then scroll down and select bone from the list that appears. Lots of information about working with bone and plenty of books for reference.

 

To summarize what I know about working bone: Bone dust is BAD to breathe, it is abrasive and will cut lung tissues if inhaled, and if that is not enough, some viruses become encapsulated in a dormant state in bone and can become active again when you breathe the dust into your lungs. You can pretty much work bone with tools used for woodworking it is just going to go slower. Wood ashes, when made into a slurry, will polish bone and is supposed to work very well.

Edited by B. Norris

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting read here, I may have to try the wood hardener trick. Last evening I was trapped in a large local pet supply store during a torrential lightning storm and resorted to my usual way of amusing myself when I'm bored which is looking for knifemaking supplies in unlikely places. Perused the raw hide bone section, plenty of resources there for that rustic look. Went looking for the hollow skeletonized cactus from the southwest (choyo??) in the bird toy section but didn't find any that wasn't already filled with something of more interest to our avian friends than to me. Went back to the dog bone section and turned up a smallish bone the perfect size for a knife handle and just had to add it to the supplies for the menagery here (the kids thought it was for our dog, heh heh heh, tricksy me!) It's quite nice as it is, gleaming white. I think it may get a seax blade at some point and I think I will try using wooden wedges in the hollow inside against the tang along with epoxy though some cutler's resin would work as well I think. Never worked with bone before though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...