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Heidi

The Coloring Of Engraved Bone

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I do bone carvings. I work with different kinds of bone. In Sweden hunting season for moose is of, but I have plenty of beef bone. Two weeks ago, I got a friendly gift of bone of wild boars. Thus, the question I have concerns bone in general, but not from a specific animal.

 

I am looking for a neet and cleen way for coloring engravings black vs brown. I mainly make different kinds of household items, such as handles and weaving tools, so I need something that can survive the everyday wear and tear. I am also a viking reenactor, so the items must fit a prehistoric environment. That means I prefer recepies with engredients i can get from nature, from modern inventions like acrylics and such. Not because it's better, but because it brings me closer to what I am trying to show with my gear.

 

I have tried pulverised charcoal (just comes of) and applying strong solutions of tea, madder and onion peels (needs boling to stay put). I have been using acetic acid when preparing the items before coloring (24%). The problem is that I want the engraving colored WITHOUT letting the entire object soak in color. Preferably, I need something I can rub into the engravings. Any recepies, anyone? Can I secure the color with wax or something?

 

O, and did I mention I want to be able to wash them in dishwashing liquid without the color fading? Am I asking to much now?

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You might try the pulpy husk on walnuts,put husk in a jar and cover with water.Let soak for about a month and strain.Various recipes for black walnut stain online.

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That sounds interesting! I took a quick look at the recipies, they seem to require fresh walnuts with their skin/shell/what-ever-you-call-it, still on. They are hard to come by in Sweden since walnut trees do'nt grow here naturally. The walnuts are imported peeled and dried, and the soft skin is gone. I'll take a look next time I visit Stockholm, they have better food stores there. The other day I tried to make colour from boiled alder cones. It was a good colour, but it only stayed on when the bone test piece was boiled in it. When fully reduced, the colour was thick and sticky, kind of like when you melt sugar to make sugar glue for your ginger bread house, or like syrup.

 

I have had some luck using the microwave. If I heat up the bone for just a couple of seconds, and apply heated colour with a thin brush while the bone is still very warm, the colour sinks in and stays there. But it doesn't always work that well. Sometimes the technique results in a shade surrounding the engravings, that penetrates the material 0.5-2 mm deep. Maybe the microwave open up the pores to much. I have yet to try the difference between bones with a different degree of moisture, using microwave coloring.

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Start here, and then use more keywords to use with the SEARCH and advanced search function. This particular topic covers different techniques for coloring metal and wood. Testing on bone might yield interesting results.

 

I imagine that all water based stains and soap sensitive (washed out by soap) colorations might all be fugitive when washed with the dishes. A lacquer might have more staying power, but I have never used that material.

 

Janel

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Update: I took your advise Janel, but instead of searching for staining of wood and metal, I went looking for natural wool dyes and found recepies for black yarn. Oak apple has been used for coloring various organic materials, and oak apple ink has worked well for my engravings. I modified a recepie from this site (no 2, boiling galls), but without adding the gum arabic. Since I wasn't gonna write with the ink it seemed pointless to add a binding agent for painting on paper.

 

http://irongallink.org/igi_indexc33a.html

 

The ink could be worked with a thin brush, just as I wanted. I let it rest overnight before washing the bone and scraping of access dye. I cannot yet say how the colour changes over time though, the sources on oak gall ink says that the stain can be a bit sensitive. If I get a good sample I'll post a picture later on.

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Hi all, I haven't been on the site since 2013. :(

Of late I have been trying my hand at carving bone using both dental burs and handtools.

The handtools I make myself to suit each carving.

Roughing out goes fastest with mechanical help but a certain amount of finishing can also be done with the dental burs.

I have been experimenting with colouring the engraved lines with Acrylic paints and/or ink. So far I haven't enough pieces to give advice.

When I have something definite to show I'll post a photo or two.

Regards Toothy

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I used a hairdryer to heat up the bone a bit, and applied the ink about 3 times. I let it stay over night before washing it off with a toothbrush. It seems to me that the oak gall ink binds to the bone better than other types of ink, but I'm not really certain. Just a feeling, really. The buckles are quite small, just 2 cm or so.

 

Don'f forget to post your results on the ink, Toothy!

post-4166-0-66353700-1458837699.jpg

post-4166-0-21133500-1458837704.jpg

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The Buckle form is an interesting object to choose to work with! I have never spent time considering the history of its development, but there must be one. Are these based on early Celtic usage?

 

It is good to learn of your progress with the oak gall experiments. Using the hair dryer makes me cringe just a little bit, although it is a useful tool. I would worry that the bone or mammoth tusk might dry more and maybe cause a split . . . but it did not happen, which is a good thing.

 

Thank you for sharing your progress with us,

 

Janel

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The bone buckles appear in different settings and eras. I based the ones above on anglosaxon finds, but here are three from sweden, medieval era. I like the fact that the pin is also bone, but there are those with metal pins as well. (Alltough the database says it's bone, I wouldn't be so sure. Bone often means "bone, ivory or antler"). There is an interesting find of a bone buckle from York that is dyed green with copper acetate. I don't know how it's done yet, but when I do I'll post the results.

 

http://mis.historisk...653&page=2&in=1

http://mis.historisk...?fid=116347&g=1

http://mis.historisk...?fid=534080&g=1

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