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Another new member from NZ ...

Rex Pepper

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Hi my name is Rex Pepper and live in Cambridge, New Zealand.

Scultpture has been a hobby of mine for several years and have recently got back into carving bone. Being fairly isolated at the bottom of the world it is hard to come across material with any thickness so I have mainly been using beef bone which is cheap and plentiful.

Thankyou Janel for your welcome, as I mentioned to you I am amazed at the generosity of the members of this forum in their willingness to share experience and ideas.

It is good to see others Kiwis in this forum, such as Donn and Brett, whos work I have long admired and are held in high regard in NZ.

When I feel confident enough to post some of my work here I will.

One question, what do people finish thier ivory/horn/bone pieces with. I use use olive oil, which is probably a bit crude but gives a nice low sheen. I am sure there must be something more suitable.





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  • 1 year later...

Hey Rex,


This is a good forum. You'll enjoy it here.


I don't recommend you treat your ivory with anything other than an occasional waxing. Many of my fellow knifemakers rub their ivory handles in baby oil. One maker heated Crisco shortening in one of those small kitchen deep friers, then soaked his ivory in it in the belief that it would stabilize it to prevent checks. (That much heat isn't good for ivory.) I used to soak mine in medicinal mineral oil (didn't want the baby bottom smell on my knives). One man wanted his done in the Crisco method, but I didn't want any that was absorbed to turn rancid, so I heated the mineral oil in a double boiler and soaked the ivory in it. Going from my area with moderate humidity to drier areas shocked the ivory, sucked the oil out and cracked the handles. I've had much better luck just sanding and buffing it, then waxing it with Renaissance Wax.


I do the same with any horn I've used, mainly black buffalo horn, and antler. I have not used bone that much.


I'd be concerned with using olive oil, or any other vegetable or animal based oils. Could turn rancid.



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