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~ Summary ~

    I first saw bone carvings as a missionary for the LDS church in New Zealand.  Just before returning to the U.S. I purchased a book on bone carvings, Bone Carving by Stephen Mhyre (published by Reed Publishing (NZ) Limited; ISBN 790000393).  This book is the only reference I have used and is excellent!  Scroll down for starter information on bone carving.  If you have further questions, feel free to email me.

 

 

 

~ Equipment ~

 

~ Preparation ~

    Bones can be obtained from a local butcher.  Usually enough material to make about 10 1"x3" carvings can be obtained for just a few dollars.  

    Cleaning the bones is definitely the most tedious part of making bone carvings.  The inside and outside of the bones need to be scraped with a knife to get rid of the attached meat and tendons.  After that, they must be soaked in a mixture of about 2 quarts of water, 1 cup of bleach, and 1 cup of laundry detergent overnight.  This helps clean the bones and prevent oil stains from setting in.  They are then rinsed with water and stood on end to dry for a day or so.  After this is done, it is a good idea to cut off any parts of the bones that are noticeably stained with oil, as the oil will spread over time.  The bones are now ready to carve.

 

 

~ Finishing ~

    After carving a bone, proper finishing can make it shine very nicely.  The first step is to sand the carving with increasingly fine grades of sandpaper.  (Be careful to not use sandpaper that has any pigment - I used a reddish colored sandpaper once and it got into previously unnoticeable grooves in my carving, resulting in small, red streaks).  Once the bone is very smooth, final polishing can be done by vigorously rubbing a dry abrasive kitchen cleaner (like Bon Ami) over the bone surface .

 

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