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Cowbone


Yuri

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One view of a mermaid. It is yet to be bleached and then lightly stained. The bone is a section of the rear thighbone of an ordinary cow.

You can see that the bone is untreated yet. After the bleaching it will be pristine white.

 

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In the supermarket. I used to get them from butchers, but these days there seem to be far less of them. The bones are really just ordinary cowbones, sold as dog bones. By the way, the size is about one-quarter of the size of the photos.

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Yuri:

 

Very nice carving. I like carving mermaids, too.

 

Don: the bones at the pet stores have been baked, so you never get the staining out. I got shank bones from the butcher/grocery store and prepared them using information I found here.

 

Good luck.

 

Debbie K

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  • 3 weeks later...

I use thigh bone and boil it out then boil boil boil , soap, bleach and ammonia. If I can figure out how to do it I will upload a pick of an ankh I made I will. I do walking sticks primarily but when bored (like waiting for a kids game to end), I will carve smaller stuff. I was fixture at many a soccer game, knife in one hand stick in other. Bone I do at home.

 

 

But your mermaid was truely inspiring. way more refined then anything I have done. But life is for learning.

 

christie

long island ny burb to the city

 

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Image size edited by Janel

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Christie,

 

And everyone new to posting images on The Carving Path forum,

 

 

Please read about the photo size guidelines PHOTO IMAGE SIZE, PAY ATTENTION TO THIS, and resize the above photo if at all possible. Thank you.

 

 

 

The link to these guidelines are at the head of every forum area:

- 72 dpi

- JPEG works great

- around 640 x 480 pixel dimension

- and around 50 K file size

 

Tip: If possible, crop the background area that is not important to the subject of the photo. Doing so will reduce the file size and will allow the carving to fill the frame.

 

Preparing your photos will help the forum members who have slow, land line, computer modems, by posting the above recommended file sizes for your images, and also will help the forum by taking less storage space in the forum's file storage area.

 

Thank you,

 

Janel

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Some more of my mermaid stable. (except for the last one, that's more like a couple of worms). All made from supermarket-derived cowbone. In all these cases it happens to be the rear thighbone, by the way. The different bones have different uses, if anyone interested in a discussion of that, I can go into details.

I think it is obvious I'm a great admirer of the female form...

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yuri, your work is beatiful, The flow and form and especialy design is lovely.

I never get disapointed using cow bone. I get my local butcher to cut them for me here in Australia.

it is not as popular a carving medium over here, as in newzealand.( the butchers were polite, but thought I was a bit balmy until I showed them my pendants .)

my artworks in cowbone are also influenced by my time in newzealand. At my last exhibition , alot of viewer instantly recognised my works, as so many of them have taveled over to there.

 

I have trialed out imersing some bone carving in tea , to stain them ( is that how it is actually done , yuri?)

then another time I put artist ink onto the bone carving and it was a great result.

 

My favourite is still the pure white, highly polished carving.

Keep up the great work . Yuri.

Naomi

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I have used tea (different brands, they really are different in effect..., potassium permanganate, different kinds of henna and even boot polish for staining. Generally speaking I found tea a bit on the drastic side. (At least the way I used it, which is boiling the carving in it for a minute or two.) Henna works quite well, at least some of the paler kinds.

Recently I came across a suggestion on a completely different forum (bagpipe one, to be precise) about staining ivory, which is by using iodine. Someone there managed to match a brand new ivory mount to a bunch of 100 year old mounts, which have of course gone quite yellow. According to the photo, it was a real success.

Anyone tried that?

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  • 1 year later...
I have used tea (different brands, they really are different in effect..., potassium permanganate, different kinds of henna and even boot polish for staining. Generally speaking I found tea a bit on the drastic side. (At least the way I used it, which is boiling the carving in it for a minute or two.) Henna works quite well, at least some of the paler kinds.

Recently I came across a suggestion on a completely different forum (bagpipe one, to be precise) about staining ivory, which is by using iodine. Someone there managed to match a brand new ivory mount to a bunch of 100 year old mounts, which have of course gone quite yellow. According to the photo, it was a real success.

Anyone tried that?

 

Hey Juri,

 

Late reply, new here.

 

I plonk my cut offs in different stains. Just for fun and out of curiosity, not systematically yet, so no real specifics about duration etc yet.

Two things imho work best so far for staining: red bush "tea" (infusion really) and Iodine. Second started out accidentally, after washing hands with iodine soap, and spilling on a cut off. Seeing the colour, I tried iodine (not soap) on another piece.

 

First try: immersion in pure iodine

It stains quickly, and quite deep, to a rich colour brown/yellow. After some time it is through and through, as was clear after cutting the piece.

Dense bone gets a quite uniform stain. The spongier bone, and pieces that had the crosshatch stuff (what's the name for that anyway?) attached, stain irregularly, more like the pattern in deer crown. Guess that will be true for any type of staining.

 

Second try: brush on iodine

Again quick, just nor deep. Stains where brushed on, spreads while still wet. It does not seem to spread much over time once dry, but not sure yet. Way slower than grease anyway.

 

With the tea, the redbush gives a nice warm stain, orangy. It's not a cold colour like some black teas.

I just immerse it in normal strenght tea. The longer it is immersed, the deeper the staining and the warmer the colour. After cutting it shows more of a surface or shallow colouring than the iodine.

Someone told me it is good for brush on as well, haven't tried. He lets the water evaporate from the infusion and stores the powder till needed for staining, adds a drop of water and paints it on for shadow patches/undercuts.

 

Anyway, hope this helps, haven't got more specifics.

 

Cheers, Hans

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Forgot to say: I don't boil bone, hence the immersion. In hot tea, but not boiling. Bone is only cleaned in hot water with household liquid soap, not cooked/boiled, fat and crosshatch stuff scraped out. Surface of bone was sanded in all cases but one, there the stain did not get in as deep on that smooth outside of the bone.

 

Cheers

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I tried iodine, but while giving a good colour at first, I found that it fades very quickly to nothing. What do you do to stop that?

 

And as for the tea, I do not boil the bone when first cleaning. Or, rather, I only just bring it to the boil, and don't simmer after that. This gives just enough looseness to the adhering meat/sinew to be scraped off easily. When I carve using knives and chisels I know from experience that bone that has been boiled for a long time becomes really brittle and flaky. You can't really feel this when using rotary cutters, which I suppose is why many carvers boil the life out of bone. They just never touched it with a cutting tool that they can feel. (mind you, I'm not knocking that, I myself do most of my work with rotary tools.) So that's why I feel no particular problem with having the bone boiling in tea for a few minutes. I mean, some carvers boil it fo an hour or even more, and seem to get away with it...

 

But I'm really interested in iodine. What strengt is it? My way (in New Zealand) i only can get a solution, about, as far as I can remember, some 5-10%. Can you get 100% iodine?

 

Oh, and another thing. When I stain with tea, I always work it back with fine steel wool (or bronze wool). this will take away the areasthat stick out, but never like sandpaper would. It's very shaded, giving the effect of a fine graphic shading. Sandpaper would just make white/stained effects, whereas steel wool makes an infinitely shaded gradation. I like it.

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  • 9 months later...

I love mermaid carvings. When I saw these ones I just had to add this pic of Trevor Heighways mermaid carved from a whaletooth. I was stunned when talking to Trevor one day and he said he didn't even know he could carve till he was 40. And when he carves its just with a couple of carbide tips. Just amazing...

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