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Thread: alternate ivory disaster

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Mountain Home, Arkansas
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    alternate ivory disaster

    I am.....correction...WAS....in the middle of making my most expensive pen yet. It, maybe someday, will be an Emperor. Kit is $55.00. The material I was using is a form of alternate ivory that, at one time, I had aspirations of selling. Long story short, that didn't come about. This material is known as white paper micarta, or a/k/a white paper phenolic micarta. It is widely used for knife handles and pistol grips. It is a very different product than what Craft Supplies, and others, sell for pen blanks.
    This stuff is very hard to turn. And, I do mean HARD. For half a blank, I had to sharpen my Henry Taylor HSS skew three times. Plus, it gets very hot, as does the tool. I paused frequently to let it cool. But, perhaps not enough. While nearing the end of turning the second half (I don't use a mandrel and only do one half at a time) it suddenly blasted in half on me. I don't know why, excess heat maybe. Dunno fer sure. However, as can be seen in the picture, the interior of the broken half doesn't have much glue on it. I use 5 min. epoxy. Maybe the fit was so close it all got squeegeed out. Again, dunno. Maybe thin CA would be better. This piece of alternate ivory cost about $10.00 but I'm grateful my $55.00 kit is still intact. Not sure what I'll put on it now as I was really looking forward to this ivory, it really is a beautiful material and looks far more like genuine ivory than the CS stuff. I have a blank of white bowling ball material I got from the circulating box, may use that. Or may use some alternate jade. Oh, did I mention I am not a happy camper at the moment? Plus, I'm not in a mood to go out and kill another one of those alternate elephants right now.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails alt ivory.jpg  

  2. #2
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    ABQ NM
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    Bummer, but as you said, better the blank than the whole pen kit.

    I hadn't heard of the alternate elephants before. I'm guessing they grow their hair long, are strict vegans, live in geodesic domes, and drive veggie oil-powered diesel vehicles.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Ireland
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    Hi Frank,

    I haven't used alternative ivory but I saw stuff that takes a beautiful finish and looks just like it...bone. Would that be any use for your pen? I have been thinking of getting a few lamb leg bones and trying to make a pen because I've seen how bone finishes and it looks beautiful.

    Maybe you have all been using bones for years?

    Brendan

  4. #4
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    Mountain Home, Arkansas
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn McMillan View Post
    Bummer, but as you said, better the blank than the whole pen kit.

    I hadn't heard of the alternate elephants before. I'm guessing they grow their hair long, are strict vegans, live in geodesic domes, and drive veggie oil-powered diesel vehicles.

    Those are the California strain of AEs. In Arkansas they have long hair but it is very unkept. They live in caves, eat catfish and possums and ride on the backs of Arkansas Razorbacks.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brendan McAreavy View Post
    Hi Frank,

    I haven't used alternative ivory but I saw stuff that takes a beautiful finish and looks just like it...bone. Would that be any use for your pen? I have been thinking of getting a few lamb leg bones and trying to make a pen because I've seen how bone finishes and it looks beautiful.

    Maybe you have all been using bones for years?

    Brendan
    Bones can be problematic for pens. Usually they are larger diameter than the pens and after you turn them down you are into the hollow part. I think some have been made from turkey leg bones. Get them raw, cooked will crumble. The only bones I know of that are thick enough to use for pen blanks are Giraffe. They are available, you will have to do a search for them though.
    Antler is popular for pens even though it comes with it's own sets of problems. I have pretty much decided to kill the alternate elephant for another chunk of the alternate ivory and finish the pen with the idea I had in mind originally. However, saying that........BTW....do y'all mind if I ramble a bit here?....I got out a chunk of holly that has been drying for a couple years. I'm considering cutting it into blanks, drilling the holes then bleaching. And, after that stabilizing it. Understand, pen turners have never been known to be entirely sane.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Ireland
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    Thank you Frank,

    I was thinking about my lamb bone suggestion afterwards and was wondering about the bone structure near the centre and how strong it is. However, I have done some more thinking (can be dangerous enough!) and now I'm wondering about the viability of using big bones like cattle thigh bones and cutting a blank from the wall of the bone so that the more spongy bone near the centre would be turned off. Giraffe bone is available here (Ireland) but it's the whole business of sneaking into Belfast Zoo at night to chop the leg off one that can be problematic.

    Brendan

  7. #7
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    Brendan (my grandson's name, BTW) even cattle thigh bones probably won't work. The thigh bone is thin and the marrow comes quickly. Don't raid the zoo. I'll try to find a source of the giraffe bone for you and let you know.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Phoenix, AZ
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    Bonnie Klein demo'd here last year and turned some cow bone. I believe she bought a bag of bones at Petsmart. She also talked some about bleaching and cleaning them if you can get them from a local butcher shop - if you can still find one. They do polish up quite nicely, she made a small box with an inserted disk to fill the hollow in the top and bottom.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    When this blew out, the first thing I did was to explore much of my seldom used vocabulary. Then I wrote my post, saved it in Notepad and hastily took the picture.
    I never did really examine the gory remains until a few minutes ago.
    Surprise, the 'unscuffed' tube is really COMPLETELY COVERED WITH EPOXY GLUE. The glue did adhere to the tube. I am now convinced that heat was really the culprit. Next time I turn this stuff, I'll first bandsaw down as much as is safely possible then turn with frequent long-long pauses for cooling.
    The was this stuff comes from the dead alternate elephant, there will be enough for two full blanks, and I'll have another 1/2 left over. Dunno if I'll personally use it or maybe sell, trade, give away or burn at full moon while doing a voo-doo dance over it.

  10. #10
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    Nov 2006
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    project ressurected

    Well, as luck would have it, last night, after closing the big door on my shop I heard a ruckus. Went to look and came face to trunk with a genuine alternate elephant that got locked in. I think he may have been attracted by the corn I put out in the deer feeder. They arenít very large so I saw an opportunity to finish my pen with some new alternate ivory.
    After wrestling him to the ground, I removed one tusk then let him go.
    Shown is what I got. Enough to finish my Emperor, make another pen, maybe a Patriot and some that I segmented. The black in between is paper thin ebony. Iíll attempt that at another time.
    Watch for either my finished Emp. or a report of me going completely bonkers after blowing another blank.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails elephant.jpg   two more alt ivory.jpg  

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