This tutorial isn't a very involved one. We will cover:
- Pet stores, and antler sheds
- Networking how to
- Finding and cleaning
- Wood carving stores and suppliers
- Butcher bones
- Cooked bones (not recommended)
Step 1: Pet Stores and Antler Sheds
Pet stores often have beef bones, and horn sheaths, for dogs to chew on. Often these are filled with goopy snacks. Do not bother with those. Look for the ones that are empty and not cooked. I buy these, cut them in half with a band saw, and there ya go. Blank canvas!
I do not recommend buying antler chews here. They are over priced. Instead, buy some deer or elk or moose sheds off of ebay or from a taxidermy shop (they often have a pile of found sheds for sale). Better yet, find a woodcarving supplier near or in your town. These stores sometimes have antler sheds to cut up for you.
Step 2: Networking
Most of the materials you see in my image there I have acquired through trading, bartering and donations. Tell people about your hobby and people will become interested and start bringing you things. Offer free art in exchange for large lots of materials and people will bring you things. Place wanted posts on local online forums. There is a whole book I could write on just networking, but I have to leave some tricks to your imagination!
Step 3: Finding and Cleaning
Not a recommendation. It is time consuming. So unless you just cannot get the material any other way (maybe it is a super rare animal in your area, for instance), don’t do this. If you must do this, do refer to my bone cleaning tutorials!
Step 4: Woodcarving Stores
These stores are often small and go unnoticed, so open up your local google search and see if there any wood hobby stores in your area. These stores specialize in anything you might want to carve, and they have the know how to acquire any rare material you might want to try out, including animal bones.
Step 5: Butcher Bones and Cooked Bones
Unless you're prepared to put a lot of work into cleaning these (see Finding and Cleaning), I would not recommend this. Cooked bones cannot be cleaned as the heat has pretty much set the grease into the bone and it will not come out now.