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#220462 - 03/05/11 05:16 PM What to do with some ivory scrap
RHD45 Offline
Sidelock
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Registered: 10/08/07
Posts: 1505
I've got a couple of small boxes of ivory scraps,I think some of it is mastadon ivory,and would like to do something with it. Does anyone know a book on carving ivory or anything about carving it? The pieces are anywhere from 1/2"x1"x1/4" to 3"x1"x3/8." I think it could be used for inlay or sight beads. It came from the estate of Russel Anton, the stockmaker from Waterloo,Iowa.Might be willing to trade it off or donate some of it to some deserving forum member.

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#220530 - 03/06/11 07:57 AM Re: What to do with some ivory scrap [Re: RHD45]
J.D.Steele Offline
Sidelock
***

Registered: 09/14/08
Posts: 1153
Loc: deep South
I have a few books on scrimshanding and ivory carving, given to me by The Infamous Engraver (Ben Shelor), and I'll be happy to lend them to you for some splendid ideas and inspiration. Possibilities are limited only by your own imagination and artistic ability!

If you become interested in carving then I'll be happy to show you my tools and technique. There are many approaches to this art and I suggest that you experiment with different cutting tools and carving techniques to find the method that suits you best. Like Paul Simon says in the song, there are indeed fifty ways.....(to do the work, in this case, grin).

Some ideas include knobs on the covers in cased sets, thumb plates on M/L rifles, bead sights, side plates for Sharps Borchardts, initial plates, knife scales & scale inserts, handles for small items as well as a multiplicity of jewelry items such as earrings, pendants, bracelets, inserts and even netsuke if you have some larger pieces.

I've done some ivory skeleton grip cap inserts but am still working on the design(s) to make them appear less gaudy. When used on a rifle the light ivory color seems to absolutely resonate with gaudy poor taste unless toned down a bit.

There are laws limiting sales of elephant and whale ivory and there's a lot of misinformation about it, so I suggest caution. Small scrap pieces such as yours are not usually any problem at all unless you try to sell it in quantity. Please be advised that all fossil ivory is more difficult to carve and finish than elephant ivory, and hippo ivory is as hard as woodpecker lips!
Regards, Joe
_________________________
You can lead a man to logic but you can't make him think. NRA Life since 1976. God bless America!

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#220546 - 03/06/11 08:38 AM Re: What to do with some ivory scrap [Re: RHD45]
Gary D. Offline
Sidelock
***

Registered: 12/27/08
Posts: 492
Loc: Annapolis, Md
A buddy of mine works part time with a famous ivory carver (Wurther or Werther?) in Ohio, and slips me some scraps now and then. Yes, the regulations governing the sale and transfer of elephant ivory are draconian, but not insurmountable. Laterly he sent me a gallon zip-loc bag full of ivory dust (They evidently scrap nothing when working it, plus a pretty sophisticated dust collection system is employed for health reasons.) I've been meaning to try using epoxy as a matrix and seeing what can be fashioned out of the result. Anybody ever try this?

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#220553 - 03/06/11 09:09 AM Re: What to do with some ivory scrap [Re: J.D.Steele]
RHD45 Offline
Sidelock
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Registered: 10/08/07
Posts: 1505
Yes, I saw a collection of netsuke and was impressed with the carving of it.I have a pretty complete collection of carving tools,2 foredoms,2 dremels,70 odd carving chisels and engraving tools but wonder how do you hold something as small as some of these pieces.I googled it and see that there are a couple of places selling various ivories too.If you want some of this I will send you a box as I am never going to get into it. I have enough projects. I might make some escutcheons for a dresser drawer or a dot inlay or two.

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#220562 - 03/06/11 09:50 AM Re: What to do with some ivory scrap [Re: RHD45]
DES/TSD Offline
Sidelock
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Registered: 06/23/05
Posts: 307
Loc: Tygh Valley, OR
Boone Trading Company in Wasington State (www.boonetradingcompany.com) may be helpful as a source of books and instructions. They specialize in horn and ivory sales.
_________________________
Dennis Earl Smith/Patron Life NRA, ACGG Professional member

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#220575 - 03/06/11 10:30 AM Re: What to do with some ivory scrap [Re: DES/TSD]
J.D.Steele Offline
Sidelock
***

Registered: 09/14/08
Posts: 1153
Loc: deep South
Boone is a good source.

The dust is used along with some sort of epoxy to make what has become known as 'Texas ivory'. Apparently some vegetable products such as cabbage are also used to make 'ivory' in this way, according to gun show urban legend.

Thanks for the offer, I'm always looking for more scraps, will PM you about lending you my books. You will be pleasantly surprised by some of the truly beautiful creations.
Regards, Joe
_________________________
You can lead a man to logic but you can't make him think. NRA Life since 1976. God bless America!

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#220598 - 03/06/11 12:09 PM Re: What to do with some ivory scrap [Re: RHD45]
BrentD Offline
Sidelock
***

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 2184
Loc: Iowa
I inherited some old hippo ivory when I moved into my first lab. Pretty brittle stuff, but I saved it for???? Anyone that needs some scraps I have nothing to do with them.

I also have some warthog tusks. Their tusks are probably the best ivory you can get. It is much more durable than most (or so I'm told). You can also get warthog trinkets like bottle openers and corkscrews made with it, so for $10, you are in business. But most easily found in Africa, not Alabama.

Chances are good you can find some elk ivories, either as winter kills or on ebay. They tend to be a bit yellower though.

Brent

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#220605 - 03/06/11 12:32 PM Re: What to do with some ivory scrap [Re: RHD45]
Gary D. Offline
Sidelock
***

Registered: 12/27/08
Posts: 492
Loc: Annapolis, Md
Hippo ivory is hard as nails. I had a couple of guitar picks made out of it. Worked nice, right up 'til when I lost them.

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#220666 - 03/06/11 06:13 PM Re: What to do with some ivory scrap [Re: RHD45]
BrentD Offline
Sidelock
***

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 2184
Loc: Iowa
Yes it is. Hard and brittle. This stuff shattered on itself as it dried out. What it was doing there in the first place, I'll never know.

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#220723 - 03/07/11 06:41 AM Re: What to do with some ivory scrap [Re: BrentD]
J.D.Steele Offline
Sidelock
***

Registered: 09/14/08
Posts: 1153
Loc: deep South
Ivory will dry out & crack & delaminate if not kept in some sort of oily environment, at least a minimal amount. I use a small amount of baby oil with the ivory, stored inside a plastic ziploc freezer bag. Items made of ivory that are actually handled with the bare hands are usually OK if handled fairly regularly, at least several times a year. Otherwise expect checking and cracking unless lightly smeared with baby oil once a year.
Regards, Joe
_________________________
You can lead a man to logic but you can't make him think. NRA Life since 1976. God bless America!

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#220733 - 03/07/11 08:08 AM Re: What to do with some ivory scrap [Re: RHD45]
Gary D. Offline
Sidelock
***

Registered: 12/27/08
Posts: 492
Loc: Annapolis, Md
Thanks Joe. Now I have images of wild elephants passing bottles of baby oil back and forth. "Go easy on the Johnson and Johnson's, Horton. The next shipment from Nairobi isn't due in 'til next week."

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#221146 - 03/10/11 12:44 PM Re: What to do with some ivory scrap [Re: Gary D.]
J.D.Steele Offline
Sidelock
***

Registered: 09/14/08
Posts: 1153
Loc: deep South
Here's an example of what I do with some of my pieces. The ebony elephant is one of a pair brought back from what is now Nigeria by my Great-Great-Grandfather in the late 1890s. It shows the results of over 100 years of neglect and generations of children's abuse. You're looking at the good side, the other tusk is missing as is the other eye and a few toenails.

I'll shape other ivory pieces to replace the missing ones, and repair the various cracks and missing ebony with ebony scraps & epoxy. I restored the other elephant last year and swapped it to my brother for this one and now I'm restoring it.

Curiously enough, these elephants and a few other touristy-type gewgaws were obviously made for trade to the European element. He also brought back a pair of carved & painted wooden plaques, one showing a tiger's head & the other showing an American Indian chief's head, and a Birmingham-made butcher knife with a locally-made sheath.

Elephants and a trade knife I can understand, even in the dreaded Bight of Benin's Slave Coast, but where oh where did that tiger and red Indian come from? Had to be from some local Asian Indian or Portuguese trading outlet. By the 1890s the coastal slave traders were mostly gone (slave routes moved to the East coast) and the inland Ashantis had been recently chastised into submission, so things had become at least partially-civilized around the area of Cape Coast Castle.

Anyway, the ebony elephants have an interesting family history and are well worth restoration using authentic materials as much as possible.
Regards, Joe
_________________________
You can lead a man to logic but you can't make him think. NRA Life since 1976. God bless America!

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#222542 - 03/21/11 03:24 PM Re: What to do with some ivory scrap [Re: J.D.Steele]
J.D.Steele Offline
Sidelock
***

Registered: 09/14/08
Posts: 1153
Loc: deep South
Here are some more ideas. The elephant ivory piece shown is now a hexagon shape and will become the handle for the cleaning rod in a cased set. I'm still cogitating, but it will probably be carved into something like the tooth on the left.

IMO using ivory on a rifle is a risky proposition, aesthetically. I really like it better when used in a cased set or on other small items or as inserts within a larger application, such as a presentation oval with scrimshaw initials or a thumb plate on the wrist of a muzzleloader.

My 'Mother-In-Law' varminter has an ivory grip cap insert but I'm not satisfied with the overall look, it's far too light-colored to suit me.

Regards, Joe

PS: RDH45, my offer still stands, if you want to carve your ivory I'll be happy to lend you my own source books and if you want to trade it off I'll see if I have anything that interests you. I have some orphan hippo and warthog ivory myself if you're interested, plus a little gun stuff (grin).


Edited by J.D.Steele (03/21/11 03:31 PM)
_________________________
You can lead a man to logic but you can't make him think. NRA Life since 1976. God bless America!

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#222545 - 03/21/11 03:48 PM Re: What to do with some ivory scrap [Re: RHD45]
RHD45 Offline
Sidelock
**

Registered: 10/08/07
Posts: 1505
Thanks again and I sent a pm. Bob

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