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First Work On Forum, Bracelet Piece In Bone.

Brian I

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Just a hello to everyone : )


I am a bit nervous posting this piece because of all of the talented people here ;) .


This piece was quite difficult to photograph because (I think) the shape and the differences in polishes and textures I used.


The material was a piece of beef bone that I used for soup ;) (I get them in the super market for about 1 euro for two of them). I then took the bone out, cleaned it with a rasp and some sand paper. I then cooked it (Brought to lowest cooking level on the range gas burner) with small amounts of thick bleach and washing up liquid in a full pot of water. I did this three times, changing out the water and using less bleach and washing up liquid. After I took it out, I left it to dry for a couple of days. I didn't have a design in mind, just to go with the flow. I made my own tools and only used a power tool to make the holes for the later bracelet bits to be added soon.


I carved / scraped it to shape. This took about 4 days of full time work and late nights ;).


When the carving was all done and scraped, I went over bits of it with steel wool, to make it basically a bit smoother. The only parts I went over with steel wool were the face bits. The tree / roots / branches and hair I left alone.


I then used Cif cleaning thing (It is also called Jif in other countries) that I had allowed to dry on a cotton towel to gently buff the face.


I was a bit stumped on how to get the stain I would use to stick, then I read on the forum a suggestion by someone here on staining bone to use a bit of vinegar (Cleaning vinegar) and a synthetic brush to work over the non-face parts (Hair/tree). I warmed the piece under a lamp and then with the brush proceeded to work the vinegar over the surfaces that I wanted a good stain on (Not the face). When I felt satisfied, I put the piece into a pot with 5 tea bags and a couple of spoonfuls of lentils. Cooked it for (Bubbling, not boiling) for a couple of hours and then let it sit til the pot was cold. Took out the piece, let it dry overnight in a warm dry place then in the morning it had dried to a nice even stain, except the face, which was much lighter, so I guess the vinegar worked. Since I wanted the face to glow (And it does), I used the steel wool and then Cif (After letting it dry on a cotton cloth, this is important) to put a high polish on the face, to let in the light below the surface of the bone. The hair I used a latex eraser to remove as much of the stain as possible and then used the dry Cif on cloth to polish it also. The Tree only received a polish with a cotton cloth, to make sure the stain would not come off.


The piece measures 6cm x 3cm if you don't follow the curve of the piece. I will later braid a silk band for it with a small carving on the end to hold the bracelet.


I started carving last year but this is one of my first beef bone pieces. The photos don't look as good as the finish piece, but I suppose this is always the way....


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Hello Brian,


The photos are good and clearly show what you wrote about for the process of coloring and polishing. You were brave to not test a piece of bone to the vinegar and tea method first. It worked really well for you. Thank you for posting about this first bone piece.


There are some good discussions about tools that would be good for bone and wood carving elsewhere on the forum. A couple of favorite tools of mine are made by Stephen Myhre and other tools that I have made are variations on the theme on a smaller scale. They would be great for you to try next time around. Use "Myhre" in the SEARCH query and see what pops up about tools for bone carving.



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