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first attempt of carving ivory

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here is my first attempt of carving ivory. it's a little neck knife, I made the blade in a damas billet(?) made by a friend. All the carving is made with a little tool (scraper) that I made for this. I had difficulties with polishing...Sorry for the bad picture, the relief is better in truth


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Hello Greg,


Shallow relief is a good place to start, and you have begun to learn about ivory! Tell me about the difficulty with polishing ivory. What did you use to polish it with? What were the problems? I am sure we have some information to help you figure out more that you can do with polishing.


Also, there is a SEARCH feature in the menu bar at the top of the page. I found something we wrote about the subject of sanding and polishing using > sand paper


That is a sweet little knife. I could see the relief enhanced with the scrimshaw that you are so good with.


Thanks for showing us the new step!



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I sand very carefully, just as I have carved the details with great care. The little pieces of sanding paper may be shaped into many forms from flat and broad to shaped into a tiny point or curved surface, what ever the carved form dictates.


Sand with wet/dry sand paper from 320, 400, 600, 1000, 1500, 2000 grit size.

You may consider doing any or all of the suggestions below:

-cut the paper into pieces of about 2-3 cm. in size, your choice for usefulness (I color code each page of paper so that I can recognize it when it is out of the box I keep the pieces in.

-roll the paper into a tight tube

-fold the paper for a little support and control

-use glue or adhesive to attach tiny pieces of the paper to little sticks, flat, formed or tooth picks

-use a bamboo skewer or slender wood rod for rounded support and control of the paper

-use a flat, thin bamboo support for pointed paper support and control of the paper

-with some materials you may wet the paper


Begin with the lower numbers of the sand paper, with ivory I might begin at 400. Lower grit number might add scratches rather than remove scratches and ridges.


Work over the whole piece with the same grit paper, changing the piece for a new one as it gets clogged or useless. Brush off the residue, then move to the next higher grit paper, and continue through the grits until the piece is as smooth and scratch free as you want it to be.


After 2000 you may move to higher numbers of emery cloth (I do not know another name for it).


Or you may use a polishing compound. I use a liquid made to polish haze and scratches from plexi-glas. Others use a white jewelers compound.


At the very last stage I use the cotton wheel with power, and take care to not polish so long on the detail that it is altered or rounded, unless I want that effect to occur.


Polishing mammoth tusk and antler can take a long time, and be very tedious if your goal is a scratch free surface. [/b]Very tedious![/i] My goal is scratch free, because any coloration to the piece will reveal the scratches.


The great amount of time put into the sanding will produce results that compliment the sculptural work of the artist. It will show with preservation of detail and the original intent of the carving.



Read what others have said about sanding on The Carving Path. Follow this order:


The Carving Path > Techniques > detail sanding


Posts by members express their knowledge or suggestions in the messages in that topic.



I hope that this is helpful!






One way to keep the pieces organized by grit.

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