Jump to content


Bone Carving


27 replies to this topic

#1 BoneMan

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 1 posts

Posted 01 June 2008 - 02:24 AM

Hello all. I am a new member to this site, and I am searching for ways to prepare bone for carving. I had some instructions I had written once, but have been lost, and I cannot find where I acquired them. Any advice on this preparation would be welcome.

#2 Janel

    Administrator

  • Admin
  • PipPipPip
  • 3,613 posts
  • Location:Minnesota, USA

Posted 01 June 2008 - 11:15 AM

Welcome BoneMan!

There are a few members who are bone carvers on the forum who may chime in and offer their own techniques for bone preparation. One topic from The Carving Path archives of posts describes one or two methods HERE, and I think with deeper use of the SEARCH functions, one might find more in the discussions on TCP.

A link provided from another TCP member, Jake, who posted information about degreasing and using cow bone: ..."an excellent description of how to clean bone thoroughly, written by Sean Barry, luthier and formerly museum curator." This one is pretty a thorough description, with cautions about not mixing cleaning ingredients and other potential risks.

Welcome to the forum!

Janel
Teachers open doors, you enter by yourself. Chinese proverb
What you can do, or dream you can, begin it; Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. ~ Goethe ~


Janel Jacobson's web site

#3 WCraig

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 22 posts
  • Location:Fair Oaks, California

Posted 17 June 2008 - 04:05 PM

View PostBoneMan, on May 31 2008, 07:24 PM, said:

Hello all. I am a new member to this site, and I am searching for ways to prepare bone for carving. I had some instructions I had written once, but have been lost, and I cannot find where I acquired them. Any advice on this preparation would be welcome.

Boil in vinegar remove gristle and any fat with knife. Rinse and let dry. cut out required shape and use either rotary tools or gravers to shape carving. protect lungs with dust mask if using rotary tools. have fun

#4 simple_carver

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 11 posts
  • Location:New Zealand

Posted 29 July 2008 - 10:53 PM

hi bone man...

personally, Im no expert and there are different ways of doing it, but i start by cutting away all the meat etc away from the bone. Try and get as much as you can as later, if not done properly, any remain bits of fat can later leach into the bone. I cut away any bone that i am unlikely to use to reduce the risk of fat leaching later. (trust me, its disheartening to see unwanted stains a few days after so much hard work has been done in cleaning). I use beef shin bone, im not sure if it has a higher fat content than what you may be using but i know that it takes abit of elbow grease in the whole process. After i have taken away as much meat tendons etc as possible i soak the bones on VERY hot water (not boiling) with one cup of disinfectant and one cup of bleach for 2-3 hours. Then i take them out and clean them more if need be. I then repeat the soaking process with another lot of bleach and disinfectant and leave for another 3 hours.
Then i take them out and thoroughly rinse them and leave them to dry for a few days.....

Hope some of this helps, and as i say, this is just the way that i do it....

Nath.

#5 simple_carver

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 11 posts
  • Location:New Zealand

Posted 29 July 2008 - 10:59 PM

oh, nearly forgot....before the soaking stage, take out the bone marrow on the inside (if your using beef shin bone) with a table knife...get it ALL out! Then get a cheap $2 bottle brush and clean the inside of it under hot water.

#6 Goatwhiskers

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 3 posts

Posted 30 July 2008 - 01:29 AM

If you want to completely degrease bone, visit brownells.com and check out a cleaning compound called Dicro-Clean 909. It is a compound used to degrease gun parts for blueing. I have found several taxidermists that use it to clean skulls for the European type trophy mount. Claims are made that the compound will remove all traced of flesh and can even cause the teeth to fall out if left to soak too long. No connection with the company other than as a satisfied customer, etc, etc.. Here endeth the lesson.

#7 DreamingDragonDesigns

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 120 posts
  • Location:Mooresville, NC, USA

Posted 02 August 2008 - 03:46 AM

View PostBoneMan, on May 31 2008, 10:24 PM, said:

Hello all. I am a new member to this site, and I am searching for ways to prepare bone for carving. I had some instructions I had written once, but have been lost, and I cannot find where I acquired them. Any advice on this preparation would be welcome.


I'm a very patient sort, but I generally use the method of soaking my bones in a bucket of water, outside, for a month or two, longer if there's more flesh. Change the water about once every week or two until it stays clear, then drain and lay the bones out to dry. Large hollow bones (like legs) should be either split or have the ends cut off if you don't want the marrow to become a nasty residue. This method uses natural bacteria to clean the bone, and doesn't leave a greasy coating afterwards.

Another option is to boil the bone or carcass in water with a little dish soap. The soap will break up the grease.

I would not suggest using either vinegar or clorox as both will leach calcium out of the bone, making it brittle. You can use clorox to whiten the surface, but there are chemicals used by taxidermists that will work better for this.

LJ
www.dreamingdragondesign.deviantart.com

#8 Scott

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 24 posts

Posted 02 August 2008 - 06:22 AM

View PostDreamingDragonDesigns, on Aug 1 2008, 11:46 PM, said:

I'm a very patient sort, but I generally use the method of soaking my bones in a bucket of water, outside, for a month or two, longer if there's more flesh. Change the water about once every week or two until it stays clear, then drain and lay the bones out to dry. Large hollow bones (like legs) should be either split or have the ends cut off if you don't want the marrow to become a nasty residue. This method uses natural bacteria to clean the bone, and doesn't leave a greasy coating afterwards.

Another option is to boil the bone or carcass in water with a little dish soap. The soap will break up the grease.

I would not suggest using either vinegar or clorox as both will leach calcium out of the bone, making it brittle. You can use clorox to whiten the surface, but there are chemicals used by taxidermists that will work better for this.

LJ
The best answers to how to clean and prepare bone will come from a taxidermist. Taxidermy supply companies will have the best chemicals and processes for doing the the job. I have seen many people using animal bone, antler, and horn in their art and asking questions on preparation and processes of how to do one thing or another. I myself had asked how to stain pet shop beef bone and got no working answers although there were a lot of suggestions I found the answer to my question through a taxidermist. Here is just one of many places to find some information on how to clean bone Skull Cleaning there most likely are many more places to find similar information and you don't have to use the all of the products suggested in the link I provided, this was just a starting point for you to search out the process that you feel the most comfortable with. I got my information on how to stain pet shop bone from a taxidermy forum.

Good Luck and let us all know what you find on preparing raw bone for carving.

Scott

#9 Scott

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 24 posts

Posted 06 August 2008 - 06:14 PM

I have done some more research on bone cleaning and preparation and found something interesting. The preferred skull cleaning and preparation is beetle cleaning. What is beetle cleaning? The process involves the use of Dermestid beetles to eat away the flesh from the bone in a natural process as not to damage the bone by boiling it. Beetle Cleaning

#10 Brent Duty

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 61 posts
  • Location:St. Pete., Florida U.S.

Posted 07 August 2008 - 05:29 PM

View PostScott, on Aug 6 2008, 02:14 PM, said:

I have done some more research on bone cleaning and preparation and found something interesting. The preferred skull cleaning and preparation is beetle cleaning. What is beetle cleaning? The process involves the use of Dermestid beetles to eat away the flesh from the bone in a natural process as not to damage the bone by boiling it. Beetle Cleaning
Ants are good cleaners too.
“If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else. It will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”
- Bruce Lee
"Drawing is the honesty of the art. There is no possibility of cheating. It is either good or bad. "
- Salvador Dali
Bone Carver

#11 Brent Duty

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 61 posts
  • Location:St. Pete., Florida U.S.

Posted 07 August 2008 - 06:01 PM

View PostScott, on Aug 2 2008, 02:22 AM, said:

The best answers to how to clean and prepare bone will come from a taxidermist. Taxidermy supply companies will have the best chemicals and processes for doing the the job. I have seen many people using animal bone, antler, and horn in their art and asking questions on preparation and processes of how to do one thing or another. I myself had asked how to stain pet shop beef bone and got no working answers although there were a lot of suggestions I found the answer to my question through a taxidermist. Here is just one of many places to find some information on how to clean bone Skull Cleaning there most likely are many more places to find similar information and you don't have to use the all of the products suggested in the link I provided, this was just a starting point for you to search out the process that you feel the most comfortable with. I got my information on how to stain pet shop bone from a taxidermy forum.

Good Luck and let us all know what you find on preparing raw bone for carving.

Scott

Arguably there is no "best way" to do anything when you're creating art. I never use quotes from the south, but this one seems to apply, "There's more than one way to skin a cat."
“If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else. It will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”
- Bruce Lee
"Drawing is the honesty of the art. There is no possibility of cheating. It is either good or bad. "
- Salvador Dali
Bone Carver

#12 DreamingDragonDesigns

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 120 posts
  • Location:Mooresville, NC, USA

Posted 09 August 2008 - 05:14 AM

View PostBrent Duty, on Aug 7 2008, 01:29 PM, said:

Ants are good cleaners too.


Only if you want to clean something other than a skull. Ants end up stuck everywhere when they die.
LJ
www.dreamingdragondesign.deviantart.com

#13 DreamingDragonDesigns

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 120 posts
  • Location:Mooresville, NC, USA

Posted 09 August 2008 - 05:18 AM

View PostBrent Duty, on Aug 7 2008, 02:01 PM, said:

Arguably there is no "best way" to do anything when you're creating art. I never use quotes from the south, but this one seems to apply, "There's more than one way to skin a cat."

One might argue that the only way to skin a cat is to remove the skin from it. But here in the South, I'd suggest ya'll start with a dead cat if you don't want to wake the neighbors and require a tetanus shot.

There are "best ways" to do some things, and taxidermists clean more bones for more $$$ than even museums. They have had plenty of reason, and plenty of time to learn the best ways to clean bones without degrading them.
LJ
www.dreamingdragondesign.deviantart.com

#14 DreamingDragonDesigns

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 120 posts
  • Location:Mooresville, NC, USA

Posted 09 August 2008 - 05:23 AM

View PostScott, on Aug 6 2008, 02:14 PM, said:

I have done some more research on bone cleaning and preparation and found something interesting. The preferred skull cleaning and preparation is beetle cleaning. What is beetle cleaning? The process involves the use of Dermestid beetles to eat away the flesh from the bone in a natural process as not to damage the bone by boiling it. Beetle Cleaning

Dermestid Beetles are a great option- if you have somewhere inside where the smell won't be an issue, and if you have a steady supply of fresh bone. They will not degrease bone, and they must have enough to eat. I doubt there's a carver on this list who could support a healthy colony, and they can't be kept outside, unless you want ants and other insects to kill your colony. The reason they are preferred for skull cleaning is because they are fairly easy to remove from all the nooks and crannies when you're done, unlike many other insects. There are easier ways to clean the leg bones and joints that are more commonly used for carving.

LJ
www.dreamingdragondesign.deviantart.com

#15 Toothy

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 94 posts
  • Location:Cape Town, South Africa

Posted 08 December 2008 - 06:15 PM

Hi All
This has been a fascinating thread.
My bone has always been ex soup and then ex dog and then ex a few days in the garden :blush:
Thanks to you all
Toothy

#16 DreamingDragonDesigns

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 120 posts
  • Location:Mooresville, NC, USA

Posted 18 December 2008 - 05:08 AM

View PostToothy, on Dec 8 2008, 01:15 PM, said:

Hi All
This has been a fascinating thread.
My bone has always been ex soup and then ex dog and then ex a few days in the garden :)
Thanks to you all
Toothy


Ok, as someone who's been known to use bone that's been ex-roadkill before cleaning, I gotta say it: Ew!

You do boil the ones from the garden and the dog before using, right?
Both dirt and dogs have strange bacteria that you don't want to deal with if you should nick yourself while carving....

Please, be sure whatever method you use involves sterilizing before carving.
LJ
www.dreamingdragondesign.deviantart.com

#17 Toothy

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 94 posts
  • Location:Cape Town, South Africa

Posted 18 December 2008 - 08:50 PM

LJ
Its now 45yrs since I started using rotating instruments at speeds between 1000 and 500 000 rpm and the only time I came a cropper was stabbing myself with a syringe needle (used needle :) ) I could never take the chance of getting injured.

Believe me those bones are clean!! especially after the ants and a week in the SA sun, and bleached. I take your point though. They do get treated before use on the rare occaisions that I have carved them. :) Preferred human ivory :)
Toothy

#18 Debbie

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 116 posts
  • Location:Anchorage, Alaska

Posted 19 December 2008 - 03:19 AM

As far as germs in things we carve, I was told by an old doctor friend of mine years ago to get a tetnus shot once a year and if you do cut yourself drench the wound with hydrogen pyoxide and put antibiotic salve on it and a bandage. I have never had problems following what he perscribed. So I really don't worry about things I carve, I love to carve alot of things that at one time could have had really bad and nasty germs, I still carve!
Regards,
Debbie

#19 DreamingDragonDesigns

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 120 posts
  • Location:Mooresville, NC, USA

Posted 19 December 2008 - 02:59 PM

View PostToothy, on Dec 18 2008, 03:50 PM, said:

LJ
Its now 45yrs since I started using rotating instruments at speeds between 1000 and 500 000 rpm and the only time I came a cropper was stabbing myself with a syringe needle (used needle :) ) I could never take the chance of getting injured.

Believe me those bones are clean!! especially after the ants and a week in the SA sun, and bleached. I take your point though. They do get treated before use on the rare occaisions that I have carved them. :) Preferred human ivory :)
Toothy

Sun and ants don't really kill germs, especially ones in the marrow. All my bones get a clorox dip for 1 minute before use but after major cutting.
Safer that way......I'd rather not contract E. coli from un-cloroxed cow bones. And I ALWAYS wear a mask when cutting bones or doing anything to them that creates a lot of dust.
LJ
www.dreamingdragondesign.deviantart.com

#20 Phil White

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 450 posts

Posted 19 December 2008 - 10:59 PM

It's been a while prepared bone for carving, but I used to do a fair bit of work with it. The last time I came across a decent supply was in a large pet store. It was pre-boiled, very clean with no marrow or fat residue, pure white and solid, and essentially ready to use. I bought about 6 pieces around 6" long for about $3 each.

Phil
Follow my work on Facebook



1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users