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Hi All,


I have spent a while carving a ryusa style netsuke in antler. Antler is very lovely, but I want to pick out some details in colour (greens and browns as the carving is of an owl in an oak tree). I only want some delicate staining, I do not want to overpower the material and do not want to use surface pigment that will rub off with wear and tear. Any advice, or links to other discussions would be gratefully accepted.



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I cannot say much about targeted staining of antler, but I know one thing. Antler, unlike ivory or bone, is not uniform. So whatever you do, be extra careful, keeping in mind that some patches are likely to be more porous than others.

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I have been searching the Net for stains, etc, and (of course) love the work of Natasha Popova who uses something called Yshabushi. I'm baffled; what is Yshabushi - a brush, maybe, or a stain/ink of some sort?



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yashabushi やしゃぶし / http://www.aisf.or.j.../yashabushi.htm


Alder Trees / http://www.2020site....rees/alder.html


Yashabushi dye Carving Path / http://www.thecarvin...ye/page__st__20


Yashabushi dye Japanse google https://www.google.b...m=isch&imgdii=_


I cook alder off in vinegar water , and allow it to reduce , from last autumn harvest ,


sperm whale tooth ,

sperm whale netsuke , colored with acid and boiling yashabushi ,

brushstroke by brushstroke in order to keep the color control in ,




polished off the whale , and uses the structure of the tooth ,

in order to accentuate the skin of the sperm whale ,


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boiled onionshell work fine 4 me. check this out



you put it in several times 2 get it darker and darker. let it stay in a few hours every time. i only want it on special parts you can use modelling clay so the liquid stays on one specific place.


Kia Ora!


Stefan L

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi Everyone,


thank you for all your advice, it has been much appreciated.


This is what I ended up producing, I think perhaps I should have gone for a black ink, and may re-do things at a later date.





I used a heavily cut acrylic ink for the branches and leaf detail, ebony inserts for the eyes, and yashabushi for the owl. A clear wax was applied and then heated gently to finish.


Any constructive criticism would be gratefully recieved,




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