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Ostrich Eggs


Josh Murray

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Planning on carving an ostrich egg that I have had laying around for several years, I'm thinking of primarily using the Foredom and mini files. I've never carved one before so any advice or tips would be greatly appreciated. It's really just an exercise in low relief carving since it's been a while since I've done it. I want to create some borders and horizontal rings at the top and bottom so I have to make some kind of jig to level the piece that will stay consistent. Any thoughts?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Josh,

 

What tools are you finding work best for you with carving this shell? How thick is the shell? The angled carving makes it look thick.

 

I tried to find the web site of a TCP member, whom I met a few years ago. He had carved several kinds of eggs. http://poleschukstudios.com/

 

Look here on TCP for another sample of egg shell carving. It looks like a very tiny burr is being used.

 

It looks like you are doing very careful work so far.

 

Janel

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Hi Josh,

 

I use a high speed engraver for carving eggshells. The high speed engraver runs at about 300,000 RPM which means there is little torque and it does not grab. The engraver uses dental burs. For an ostrich eggshell I use both carbide for cutting/carving and diamond for shaping and adding texture. I will then use files and sandpaper for smoothing if I am looking for a smooth surface.

 

Hi Janel,

 

Ostrich eggshells are about 3/16" thick. The thickness will very with each eggshell and within the same eggshell. This thickness provides plenty of depth to do some fun low relief carving in. The eggshell has a very hard, almost glass like, outer surface and a softer sometimes powdery inner shell. It holds detail extremely well but can be prone to fracture if too coarse of grit is used for sanding or too much pressure is used during filing.

 

Nick

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Hi Josh,

 

What tools are you finding work best for you with carving this shell? How thick is the shell? The angled carving makes it look thick.

 

I tried to find the web site of a TCP member, whom I met a few years ago. He had carved several kinds of eggs. http://poleschukstudios.com/

 

Look here on TCP for another sample of egg shell carving. It looks like a very tiny burr is being used.

 

It looks like you are doing very careful work so far.

 

Janel

 

 

Thanks for the link Janel, very nice work. Th egg I am carving is a good 1/8 of an inch thick, the thickness is not perfectly consistent throughout but close enough. I do want a good bit of negative space so I'm cutting in pretty deep and sneaking up on the design. Since I have never carved one before I started with one set of bands in the design just to play around with the material. I drilled in pilot holes and have mostly been using diamond burrs and some high speed steel burrs in the Foredom. Files seem to work well but I think I'll be using a lot of homemade sandpaper tools for the finishing. Like Nick mentioned the inside is a little softer, it seems to have a paper like layer inside. The egg is 7 inches tall.

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Hi Josh,

 

I use a high speed engraver for carving eggshells. The high speed engraver runs at about 300,000 RPM which means there is little torque and it does not grab. The engraver uses dental burs. For an ostrich eggshell I use both carbide for cutting/carving and diamond for shaping and adding texture. I will then use files and sandpaper for smoothing if I am looking for a smooth surface.

 

Hi Janel,

 

Ostrich eggshells are about 3/16" thick. The thickness will very with each eggshell and within the same eggshell. This thickness provides plenty of depth to do some fun low relief carving in. The eggshell has a very hard, almost glass like, outer surface and a softer sometimes powdery inner shell. It holds detail extremely well but can be prone to fracture if too coarse of grit is used for sanding or too much pressure is used during filing.

 

Nick

 

 

Thanks Nick, I only used a micro motor once very briefly. I was so used to thee Foredom that I didn't like that it did not have a foot control. I'll have to try it out again, it makes sense in this case to have lower torque.

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Hi Josh,

 

The paper like layer you are describing is the membrane. This can be removed after carving is completed by soaking in straight bleach for about 20 minutes. You will know the membrane is gone when there is no yellow left on the inside. The bleach does not affect the eggshell. Be careful not to mistake the membrane for part of the shell while carving.

 

Nick

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