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Hei Matau

Bella Nicol

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My first experience with antler. Just a little bit tougher than cattle bone!

I start with hacksaw, then a dremmel for rough shape, then boiling water and wood carving tools

Wetsanded, and then dry sanded, and finally buffed.


Unfortunately I don't know how big the image is, I only have a cell phone at the moment. I apologize if the image is too large.

The second image was what I started with.





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Hi Bella,


Very nice work for a first time with this material. The antler crown is (was) beautiful all by itself.


Question for you, why boiling water?


I changed the size of the images. Each image that you uploaded was just over 1.6 MB, which is way tool large for this forum. I hope that you might be able to figure out how to resize the images at some point. If I were still on a land line for internet, each image would have taken about 15 minutes to down load. Now with satellite internet it took several minutes instead. The request following the guidelines has a two-fold purpose. One is that some members do not have the luxury or opportunity to have truly high speed internet, and two, I have to pay for the storage of all of the files, so keeping the images modestly sized helps me out.


But, I would rather see your images than have you refrain from sharing. Just keep in mind that it will be helpful if you could figure out how to resize the images. Does anyone know if there are apps for cell phone photo processing?


Thank you for sharing your new piece with us.



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Thank you Janel for fixing my pictures, I wish I could fix them myself I would certainly want to help you out in that aspect, thank you again for correcting them :).


As for my boiling water? I have a limited selection of tools, so in order to get the most out of my little wood carving se I boil the bone and let it stand in the hot water to make the edges soft and workable. And voila, I can have detail! It takes a little longer but its worth it in the end 100%.


I love antler, the crown was great. It was a shame to remove so much of it.

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Fortunately for me, this has never happened! Although I'm sure it is possible, in my experience the bone doesn't take on water well, it has never seemed to threaten any of my pieces.

I am curious though, if anyone has seen that before?...


I don't think it's a shared technique either ssssh. Ha ha.

It was something I started doing early and never gave it up.


However, when cleaning a butcher's bone, after removing what you can, you boil the bone in a solution of dish soap and water in order to remove the remaining marrow and greasy residue, then let it stand in a basin for 24 hours after boiling, in the same solution. You would expect it to stink, but it only smelled like dish soap so it wasn't half bad!


I would also like to know more about this!

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Soaking bone before carving is normal technique with "primitive" cultures. Including those that use Or used until recently only stone tools. The water does soften the bone. The only thing is not to dry the bone out too fast, as in putting it in hot sunshine or any other hot place, as the results will be the same as when you try to do that with wood - it will split.

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I love the piece. Seems like a LOT of work to get it into that shape ;)


On boiling bones: I have a small mask that I've carved out of bone that didn't live up to my standards so I've been experimenting with that piece and I will say that bone (This is from a beef leg bone mind you) is so amazingly tough :S . It's been boiled and dried about 7 times now, rubbed in vinegar, coloured with lentils (Beautiful red-purple colour earth colour) and then re-carved and polished and the last working of it was a month ago and not one crack yet.


It's rather small (About 4cm) and very detailed and took on another round of polishing as well.


Bone: Tougher than Chuck Norris. :D

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