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About Damien

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  1. Hi everyone, A few months ago i bought a box full of tortoiseshell, ivory, and mother of pearl scraps at auction from an antique restorer that was retiring. Included in the box were a few unusual pieces of dark mother of pearl (i think, from a european fan). I was just wondering and hoping whether someone could possibly tell me what species of shellfish this type of mother of pearl could might have come from? It has a huge degree of shimmer and colour variation, with heavy pinkish purple to greenish tones I was thinking either black lipped oyster or rainbow lipped oyster?
  2. Thanks for the fast response, I'm aware of the basics of the technique, and have managed to achieve several laminations, however none of them have been truly perfect - i.e. - i can still seperate them fairly easily by passing a sharp knife through the seam of the weld. I think i'm probably not using enough pressure and that my steel plates are too thin (at 5mm thick) to retain enough heat for long enough to achieve an ideal bond I'm mostly after some advice on the temperature ranges that the metal plates need to be heated to in order to obtain a proper fusion.
  3. Hi everyone, i was just wondering if anyone on here had ever had any success at getting a really good bond when trying to laminate layers of tortoiseshell together, and if so, whether you could share any tips or help on how to do it? I've been doing some minor experiments using some hawksbill turtle scutes i bought at auction some time ago and thus far have had no breakthroughs getting a flawless weld. My method has been thus - scrape two pieces of tortoiseshell to a flat and clean bevelled edge, boil the tortoiseshell until soft and pliable in salted water, transfer the soft tortoiseshell to hot fresh water (in an attempt to wash off any major salt traces that might spoil the join), place the tortoiseshell with the bevelled edges of the two pieces overlapping each other between two 3mm thick pieces of softwood or ply (as is shown in all of the japanese examples of the technique), then clamp the package between two heated 5mm thick steel plates using a g clamp over the point to be fused and tighten as much as possible. Following what the historical guides (written in english) say about the technique, i've been heating the steel plates up until they're hot enough to brown paper but not burn it. I've only been trying to achieve fairly thin joins, up to a thickness of 2mm or so, using two or three pieces of shell, but as yet have only succeeded in creating laminations and joins with visible seams, along which the pieces can still be pried apart with a knife quite easily. Is there something i'm missing? Not enough steam?
  4. Hey Janel, I've looked into both goat and rams horns, as well as a few species of antelope and buffalo, but unfortunately all of them are a bit too thin for what i'm after, and likewise for the most part from what i've found, american long horns seem to have walls even thinner than watusi/african long horns. The one potential method i've considered as a way of avoiding a partially synthetic material was to do some sort of lamination by seperating the horns into strips and then fusing or gluing them together, but alas, thus far i've not been able to find the magic heat + pressure conditions at which horn fuses to itself, nor have i found a really good glue for tight long lasting joins (though, it has to be said, i've not experimented much with glues so far ) It could possibly be made up as a vast 3d puzzle by carving individual sections of the design from thicker sections of horns before being pinned together though?
  5. Hi all, i've been trying to find a decent material to approximate the look of rhino horn for carving and have been wondering as of late whether using either human hair or horse hair compressed and bound with hide glue or a synthetic resin of some sort might work? I've given a great deal of thought to using Watusi cow horns for the job, but alas, the walls of them are annoyingly thin for most of their length at around 1-5mm, and the horn i'm trying to reproduce has walls around 1cm thick at its thinnest point. I'm intending to use it to more or less copy this Chinese rhinoceros horn libation cup in the collection of my local gallery/the National Gallery of Victoria. Although it features a lot of detailed carvings, they're not particularly fine or small, with the second detailed picture being about half life size. Buffalo horn could also be used, but to my eye, the thickness of its walls aren't sufficient to be able to give the same sort of look that rhino horn has. I've included an example of a carved buffalo horn 'libation cup' to show what i mean (third picture) I was just wondering what others thought of my idea and whether there might be any potential for it to work, or alternatively, whether anyone could suggest a better option?
  6. Likewise found plenty for 3200 grit pads and abrasives, but thus far i'm still looking for the more elusive 16,000, 32,000 and 64,000 grit ones
  7. Hi there everyone, I was wondering if anyone had any ideas as to where i might be able to get extremely fine grit sanding pads? I've got all the micro mesh grits going up to 12,000, but if its possible i'd like to try out the others. 32000 is the finest that i've heard of, and despite reading about a lot of people on model making and airbrushing forums having it, i'm afraid i'm turning up blanks in my search for some online.
  8. Damien

    Giant Clam Shell?

    Going by these pics of a sliced up clam shell it also appears to be a decent ivory substitute at least as far as overall density and lack of pores is concerned. That said, i'm curious about possibly using moose antler, as a few photos i've seen of the sections close to the base of the antler seem to be relatively dense/not as porous as deer antler. So i'd be very eager to hear what anyone has to say on that too
  9. Damien

    Giant Clam Shell?

    Unfortunately even mammoth ivory tends to be difficult to get in australia, much less importing it from elsewhere. Same goes for hippo ivory, girraffe bone, and just about every other animal sourced carving medium. I'm wanting to use giant clam is it seems to be fairly hard and takes a good finish, and unlike true ivories...i don't need to go to the trouble of buying it, as i've already got a couple of large clam shells in my garage that i've been wanting to use for something for some time.
  10. Hey everyone, I was wondering if anyone on here has any experience at working with giant clam shell? I'm hoping that i might be able to use some as an ivory substitute in a reproduction of this Ruhlmann desk. The most important info i'm after is what its like to cut and turn on a lathe, and how strong and stable it is once its finished, as i need it for knobs, escutcheons, and feet, and possibly for the dentil inlay around the top of the desk. Also curious to know what sort of saw one would use to chop it up with? I'm some sort usually used for lapidary?
  11. Unfortunately they seem to have chosen not to continue selling it internationally Or are they actually still willing to do it and just not advertising it? http://www.boonetrading.com/Pg2.html
  12. Having been doing quite a bit of snooping on the forums on here and a few other carving sites i've noticed a lot of people using hippo ivory, and i'm afraid its gotten me interested in trying to get a little bit of it to have a play around with. I was just wondering if anyone knew of any suppliers that will ship it internationally? I'm in Australia, and thus far have been having zero success at finding anything locally or online, with seemingly everyone saying that they will only ship within the US or the UK.
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