Most of you know I am a BURL junky and have a almost abnormal obsession for these beautiful pieces of wood!
But theres another material that really makes me happy and makes a amazing knife. Its Mammoth Ivory. These pieces you see me use on our knives are ancient fossils from 10s of thousands of years ago. These Giant animals roamed the earth some 50000 thousand years ago. Then at some point.. They became extinct.
The fossil and bones and stuff are found throughout the world. They even found 2 full skeletons here in my town a few years back when digging a foundation for a house. I didnt get any of that one, lol But you can bet if I could of I would of!
The ivory is often colored. This is from the minerals and stuff around the animals when they fall. Thousands of years later the Ivory soaked up these minerals changing the color.. The colors in the Ivory can range from almost pure white to tan or browns.. With the outer part, often referred to as Bark. The Bark can be any number of colors.. But can range from Black to tan and gold and every color hue in between. Its really quite unique and amazing stuff! Some of the most beautiful and rare colors are would probably be Blue and Green.. But they all are quite cool in my opinion!
Every once in a while I score something special.. This ivory just arrived at my place yesterday!! Im Stoked. Its some of the finest quality mammoth tusk I have ever seen. Super solid and almost white to cream color insides. With the outer bark a nice brown and golden tan color.. Its very solid with great character highs and lows. similar to stag horn. these are called fissures I think.
The material is very stable and dense and the solid insides part, polish like glass. Where the outsides often are left smooth and buffed but with as much of the color and texture as possible!! I have not made a kitchen knife yet with a ivory handle and hope to at some point.. This piece should make as many as 8 sets of knife scales and many smaller cut off pieces to use as spacers and end caps etc. :)
I guess Thats about enough of my babbling!! Thanks for looking and if anyone has any comments or questions, Ill do my best to answer.
Here are some pics of that chunk I just scored. Its over 6" long and is about 5" across and 2" thick..
Very interesting chunck of fossil there. I have a fossil walrus ivory handled knife. It is beautiful and buffs up nicely, but it also formed a little crack :( Dave has it right now.
looks liek folder scales and 3 full WA handles
K, Ivory can be finicky. and will develop cracks if its overheated when sanding it.. At least thats what I have learned. :) So far I have only made one knife with walrus Ivory and didnt have any problems. Also drastic changes in humidity and heat can cause it to do some funny stuff. Similar to wood in that respect. It is also similar to wood in that it needs to be cured and allowed to dry and find its happy place, B4 you use it for things like knife handles or pens etc.
Butch, I agree on the scales. But so far I have not tried Wa handles.. But one day soon. I hope to give it a try. I was actually thinking I may first attempt a Delbert style Wa handle.
randy, somewhere probably with my Watanabes I have two full walrus tusks sitting in a box in California. I'll see if I can convince the old man to find them and maybe we can see what comes of it. I was a staff paleontologist in a past career for a company in California. found a lot of cool stuff over the years. kept some, misplaced some
i also have a good source for legally culled hippo ivory from South Africas wildlife management program.
That sounds great! I have used walrus ivory on a few knives, Its always awesome looking! Its much different them Mammoth. The core is almost textured and has a cool look.
Originally Posted by sachem allison
If you get them Im sure we can come up with something AWESOME!!
Paleontology (pronounced /ˌpælɪɒnˈtɒlədʒi/; British: palaeontology)[note 1] is the study of prehistoric life, including organisms' evolution and interactions with each other and their environments (their paleoecology). As a "historical science" it tries to explain causes rather than conduct experiments to observe effects. Paleontological observations have been documented as far back as the 5th century BC. The science became established in the 18th century as a result of Georges Cuvier's work on comparative anatomy, and developed rapidly in the 19th century. Fossils found in China since the 1990s have provided new information about the earliest evolution of animals, early fish, dinosaurs and the evolution of birds and mammals. Paleontology lies on the border between biology and geology, and shares with archaeology a border that is difficult to define. It now uses techniques drawn from a wide range of sciences, including biochemistry, mathematics and engineering. As knowledge has increased, paleontology has developed specialized sub-divisions, some of which focus on different types of fossil organisms while others study ecology and environmental history, such as ancient climates.
Wow Son, Thats awesome.. I had to Google it!! We gota talk!
the short of it was I dug up fossils for a year and lugged alot of tools in hot scorching weather for miles.
Like hearts of palm...with bark. :D