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Getting black specks out of cow bone


Kulezi

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Hi all,

I am mainly doing inlay work with different woods, metals, fossil ivories, cow bone, etc... I sometimes have the problem that during the finer sandings (220 and up) some residue gets stuck in the grain of the bone. I'd reckon that it is dust from ebony, iron wood, metals, maybe some of the aluminum oxide from the sandpaper. I can get some of it out with a sonic toothbrush and soap, but there is always some that I just cant get out without sanding it specifically, and thus losing the uniform surface I am after. I've tried different brushes and hydrogen peroxide to no avail. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

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It might be worth trying tiny pieces of sand paper on a toothpick to sand more locally or a neutral coloured buffing compound on a small wheel might avoid dust although the compound might take up some of the colour and cause an even slight discolouration.

Different brands of sanding paper seem to do this differently as well as some have better bonding of the abrasive than others

Sandy

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Is it against the "rules" to give the canals a plug up with CA glue? or just white glue? before sanding? The glue would maybe sand off the surface of the bone and remain only in the channels. I have not worked with bone so am only wondering if such an approach would be possible.

 

Janel

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Thanks, I'll try that. Would a steam cleaner (like one for jewelry) damage the bone?

 

Steam would soften and distort the bone and the surrounding wood as well, requiring further sanding, and hence, a repetition of the problem. I'd try this only as a last resort.

 

Now that I think about it, your best bet would be to (GENTLY!) use scrapers rather than sandpaper for finishing the inlaid bone and surrounding wood. Look on this forum for Janel's postings about the Myhre knives (actually more like scrapers).

 

Also, here's a link about making Clive Hallam's "Shirley Temple" scrapers for netsuke carving:

Part 1

http://followingtheironbrush.org/viewtopic...f=57&t=1361

Part 2

http://followingtheironbrush.org/viewtopic...f=57&t=1494

 

And here's a posting by yours truly about another way of grinding Clive's little scrapers for metalwork:

http://followingtheironbrush.org/viewtopic...?f=9&t=1472

 

Good luck - let us know what happens. If you decide to use the scrapers, a sequence of photos making the scrapers (and using them) would be really helpful to the forum.

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I've been researching different sandpapers to see if there are some finer ones that have light colored, or white abrasives. Silicon carbide seems to be the most available, but I've seen some others I've not heard of. Has anyone used Zinc Sterate paper? I will try a glue mask today and see how it works. Thanks everyone! This is a great resource, I hope I can be of assistance sometime.

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Here is the 5 cents' worth from someone who worked a lot with bone.

First of all, choose the bone carefully. Some areas will have faaaar less haversian canals than others. Some types of bones also are far cleaner that way, but that may present a problem. Deerbone in general is much less affected, and some areas of deer metatarsus are practically clear of the haversian canals. Generally speaking, the areas where there are a lot of tendons, muscles and the like attached to the bone will be the worst, the areas from which you can peel off the membrane with the meat by simply gently pulling will be the cleanest.

Anyway. The way to do it is to make the inlay pieces (presumably cowbone), thin them down to just a fraction thicker than the final thickness will be. That is, they have to go in last, when everything else is already more-or less finalised. Now, you need to fill the pores with something. Cyanoacrilate will work admirably. White glue will not be so hot, as it doesn't harden up, really, so always stays sort of rubbery. Epoxy, with some really fine bonedust mixed in is probably th best, though you can do it with cyanoacrilate, too, if you are very, very fast. Possibly squeezing some bonedust into the pores, and then flooding it with CA glue. The last step is to actually inlay the piece, and sand it down. The filler should be deep enough for the sanding, which is why the piece should be just a fraction thicker than the final thickness.

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