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Bob H.

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Howdy Everyone,

 

I’ve been lurking around the forum for some time and decided to join up. My hobby is wood carving. I use the typical hand tools and more recently moved to using power tools! (YES! More power!) One of my students (martial arts) is Hawaiian and I wanted to make something for him as a Christmas gift. This led me into discovering bone carving.

 

I've carved a couple of pieces (bovine) which still need a lot of work, but the rough outline is complete. The pieces are small; designed to wear as a necklace. (These are my first three pieces.) A lot of work to be done. I had to start somewhere. The turtle now has a flower carved into the front/back. (First carving goes to No. 1 student, second to No. 2 student, turtle goes to wife extraordinaire.)post-2904-0-80758000-1305122022.jpg

 

I've bought a couple of books on bone carving, but disappointed since I wanted something more on the 'how to level'; do this and avoid that. I haven't found it, but I'm finding more information in this forum! I hope to learn more about bone carving since I find it more enjoyable than carving wood.

 

I'll get additional info from my brother in law who lives in NZ for recommended books I’ve seen posted in this forum! He returns to the USA on a regular basis.

 

I'm looking forward to chatting and learning more!

 

Thanks,

 

 

 

Bob

 

 

 

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Hi, Bob!

 

Welcome to the forum! I'm somewhat new here to, and love seeing all the talent here!

You probably already know this (these) but can't repeat too many times:

 

Do:

Wear a face mask! Yes ... it's a pain, yes it fogs up your glasses (sometimes)..., but you don't want to be breathing in that fine dust. Nasty stuff!

Use a good air filter/exhaust system! There are 2 kinds of junk flying around when you are power-carving ....

1) close field debris ... chips, chunks bits and pieces,.(.. sometimes, even bits of burrs) ... and heavier duest!!! Face mask and eye protection here. I have a dual fan 5micron air filter setting right on my carving table, usually < 1foot from my carving.

2) fine dust .. this stuff tends to float, and is just as nasty, if not worse, than the heavier dust that falls close to your work. I leave my filter running WELL after I'm done carving, to help get rid of this light stuff. It wouldn't hurt to have a 2nd filter in my case ... and even and exhaust fan, as I work in the basement, to keep more fresh air flowing into the area.

3) Vacuum up the close debris .. the heavier stuff that falls close to your work, often

4) use a downdraft vacuum/filter/work table, if you at all can. Mine is just a hinged plastic box (cheap thing for keeping cheese in or some such thing) .. with holes drilled in the top for a work surface, and a larger hole drilled at the bottom of one side, to connect a shop vac to. This collects most of the 'close field' debris, that simply falls close, and sucks in some of the other. An advantage for me is, that it keeps my small projects at a higher work level also, so I'm not bending over so much.

5) use earplugs ... the constant whine of the vacuum, 1 or two filter fans, your power tools, and your significant other screaming at you because you're making so much noise .... can really get to you, otherwise. :-)

6) keep carving burrs sharp and clean .. or replace. Dull or uncleaned burrs can burn or singe antler quite rapidly. Clean often with a block of small pumice stone, or a burr cleaning brick. I prefer the pumice stone. It makes more dust and junk, because the pumice breaks down so much, but I think it does a better job of cleaning, with less negative effect on the cutting surface.

 

Don't

1) be afraid to try something. Well ... as long as it's not obviously stupid or unsafe. I don't need to tell you that trying a 1" hole, lengthwise, down a piece of deer antler with a hand drill, by holding on to the antler with one hand, and the drill in the other, is a bad idea, do I? The salt and pepper shaker I did this way turned out really well. So did significant divot out of my left hand. (DUH!!!! ) :-0

2) Use the wrong tool. I should have had a drill press and a proper clamp for the above!

 

May I ask what kind of power tools you are using?

 

Have a good one!

 

Dennis

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Hi Dennis,

 

Thanks for the info. I did a lot of research about bone carving before stepping off. I treat carving bone just like I would carving any exotic wood. I've got the equipment (dust collector, eye protection, hearing protection and excellent respirator) for wood carving which has duel purpose for bone carving. I use a coping saw and jeweler's saw for detail cuts. I lurked on the forum for several months before joining.

 

I got my three original bone pieces almost complete. Wife extraordinaire is very happy with the turtle. (She now wants a fake green gem in the center of the flower I carving into the front/back. She loves emeralds.) The other two bone carvings have color imperfections in the bone that I'll have to cover up. I read that tea can be used as a dye to hide some of the discolorations. I have a couple of test pieces resting in some strong tea as a way to test the bone. We'll see what happens.

 

I've got a Foredom for my power needs. I've had it for awhile now (a year) for basic wood carving needs. Now, if I had a band saw, I'd be set for tools . . . . for a couple of days! :D

 

Thanks for the welcome!

 

 

Bob

 

 

Hi, Bob!

 

Welcome to the forum! I'm somewhat new here to, and love seeing all the talent here!

You probably already know this (these) but can't repeat too many times:

 

Do:

Wear a face mask! Yes ... it's a pain, yes it fogs up your glasses (sometimes)..., but you don't want to be breathing in that fine dust. Nasty stuff!

Use a good air filter/exhaust system! There are 2 kinds of junk flying around when you are power-carving ....

1) close field debris ... chips, chunks bits and pieces,.(.. sometimes, even bits of burrs) ... and heavier duest!!! Face mask and eye protection here. I have a dual fan 5micron air filter setting right on my carving table, usually < 1foot from my carving.

2) fine dust .. this stuff tends to float, and is just as nasty, if not worse, than the heavier dust that falls close to your work. I leave my filter running WELL after I'm done carving, to help get rid of this light stuff. It wouldn't hurt to have a 2nd filter in my case ... and even and exhaust fan, as I work in the basement, to keep more fresh air flowing into the area.

3) Vacuum up the close debris .. the heavier stuff that falls close to your work, often

4) use a downdraft vacuum/filter/work table, if you at all can. Mine is just a hinged plastic box (cheap thing for keeping cheese in or some such thing) .. with holes drilled in the top for a work surface, and a larger hole drilled at the bottom of one side, to connect a shop vac to. This collects most of the 'close field' debris, that simply falls close, and sucks in some of the other. An advantage for me is, that it keeps my small projects at a higher work level also, so I'm not bending over so much.

5) use earplugs ... the constant whine of the vacuum, 1 or two filter fans, your power tools, and your significant other screaming at you because you're making so much noise .... can really get to you, otherwise. :-)

6) keep carving burrs sharp and clean .. or replace. Dull or uncleaned burrs can burn or singe antler quite rapidly. Clean often with a block of small pumice stone, or a burr cleaning brick. I prefer the pumice stone. It makes more dust and junk, because the pumice breaks down so much, but I think it does a better job of cleaning, with less negative effect on the cutting surface.

 

Don't

1) be afraid to try something. Well ... as long as it's not obviously stupid or unsafe. I don't need to tell you that trying a 1" hole, lengthwise, down a piece of deer antler with a hand drill, by holding on to the antler with one hand, and the drill in the other, is a bad idea, do I? The salt and pepper shaker I did this way turned out really well. So did significant divot out of my left hand. (DUH!!!! ) :-0

2) Use the wrong tool. I should have had a drill press and a proper clamp for the above!

 

May I ask what kind of power tools you are using?

 

Have a good one!

 

Dennis

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Thanks for the info. I did a lot of research about bone carving before stepping off. I treat carving bone just like I would carving any exotic wood. I've got the equipment (dust collector, eye protection, hearing protection and excellent respirator) for wood carving which has duel purpose for bone carving. I use a coping saw and jeweler's saw for detail cuts. I lurked on the forum for several months before joining.

 

I got my three original bone pieces almost complete. Wife extraordinaire is very happy with the turtle. (She now wants a fake green gem in the center of the flower I carving into the front/back. She loves emeralds.) The other two bone carvings have color imperfections in the bone that I'll have to cover up. I read that tea can be used as a dye to hide some of the discolorations. I have a couple of test pieces resting in some strong tea as a way to test the bone. We'll see what happens.

 

I've got a Foredom for my power needs. I've had it for awhile now (a year) for basic wood carving needs. Now, if I had a band saw, I'd be set for tools . . . . for a couple of days! :D

 

Hi, Bob ...

 

Very good on your safety gear! I hear ya on the band saw. My 9" Ryobi died 3 or 4 weeks ago ... and I broke down and got a larger Rigid one. MUCH better! My power carver is a high speed air driven one, although good for most detail, the Foredom would be better at removing the bulk of the material .. and faster. I have a small Weecher (sp?) with a flex cable and handpiece, but the Foredom would have much more power. Is it the hanging type?

 

I haven't actually tried carving bone, per se. I just got a couple pieces from the pet supply store to try, but most of my 'hard' carving has been on deer and elk antler ... and piece of soapstone.

 

I think you're off to a great start! Keep at it!

 

Dennis

 

 

 

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