My daughters 18th birthday was approaching – I needed something a bit different as a present and she wasn’t giving out any suggestions!
I’d recently seen some interesting carving being done with bone so I thought I’d give it a try and involve wood (something I know) and wolves (something she loves).
Step 1: Stuff You Need...
- Dremel – one of my most used tools
- Saw (bandsaw if your lucky to own one)
- Sander (belt sander preferred)
- Processed dog bone
- Various wood types (in this case meranti, ash, walnut). All the wood I tend to use is recycled or rescued from landfill
- Image (photocopy)
I was aiming to make the pendant approx 40mm diameter
Step 2: Bone Carving ... Take 1
Initially I’d read about people using bone that had been boiled and stuff. I got a piece from the butchers, tried it - horrible! Bone was just fatty and smelly. Instead I bought a 75p dog bone, gave the inside stuff to the dog, cleaned it up – perfect as its already been processed.
This was cut in half with a bandsaw and I used the belt sander to give me a flat side.
I’d photocopied an image to modify and stuck this to the bone to aid the carving. Using the Dremel and various diamond engraving bits I started carving.
Lets just say my first attempt was awful!
I inked it in just to show how bad it was. Lets call it a practice piece!
Step 3: Bone Carving ... Take 2
So I started again using a slightly thinner piece – around 7mm. (The end bone carving is approx.. 40mm diameter and 3mm thick). I think it’s a case of take your time and also by using a strong light behind helps illuminate where you’ve cut. Once finished I used the belt sander to slim the whole piece down to 3mm (from behind) and using the bandsaw to cut it to the circle form required. This was then polished - again using the Dremel
Step 4: Veneer Middle Section
Several years ago I’d rescued lots of veneer strips out of a skip from behind a shop – I don’t like to see the waste! These were approx.. 1mm thick or less so I stuck a combination of ash and walnut veneers together for contrast and in opposing grain directions to improve strength and once dry cut a hole in it to hold the bone disc. It needed to be the same thickness as the bone disc so a little sanding required to do this.
Step 5: Outer Parts - Front & Back
The outer part is made if two pieces (front and back). This was made of meranti. The circular shape was drawn on using a compass and then cut out (using a drill and finished with the Dremel).
Step 6: Sandwich Time ...
Once done I ended up with 3 square pieces of wood each with a circular hole. The front and back pieces were finished and waxed on the visible inside edges as trying to do it at the end would be difficult.
These where then sandwiched together with the bone carving in the middle – so the front and back piece kept the carving in place.
Step 7: Outside Form
The outside form was then cut on the bandsaw and finished with the Dremel sanding bit. You could then see the contrast of the woods. I drilled a suitable sized hole to allow a neck cord to be placed through as well.
Step 8: All Done ...
Cleaned it all up and waxed the rest of it - trying to keep the wax away from the interior.
Initially I was looking to use an epoxy resin inlay into the carving but its quite a subtle piece so I didn't do this (and I think she would prefer it this way). Also if you hold it up to the light the image tends to glow where the bone is thin.
On the whole bone is quite a good material to carve with and maybe in the future I'll try something with skulls or antlers.
Thanks for viewing.