Very nice Randy! I will probably have to pick some up from you in the future.
I think I got it for the block size.. Ill be cutting more tooth soon. and will post the blocks here first for you guys to choose from. Both Full blocks and ferrule blocks and possibly a couple if sets, or spacers. etc.
Thanks guys for the info.
Pierre, Here are some tips and instructions on Working with Mammoth tooth.
Don't be discourage by this stuff. Its really not that hard to use. and with a little extra time and care. Anyone can do it! These are some Tips and instructions that should help. This is not the only way, or necessarily the best way.. Its what I have found works for me..
This is always a challenge. Yet with a little patience. and a band saw it can be rough cut to shape. I cut scales to shape on my wood band saw. with a 10T per inch or higher TPI blade. It will tear up a blade, sparks will fly etc.. But it will cut it and get you close to shape and ready to take to a belt sander. I use a old blade and just get the job done! Then I dont worry about screwing up a blade or the cost of a blade. (TIP.. dont try and cut hard curves.. cut soft curves and come back and take out any extras after initial cut is made.) or make relief cuts then come back and cut the curve.
This is probably the hardest part for most. But with a little prep and following these instructions you will be easily able to drill perfect holes.
Try and work cool, dont allow the piece to heat up to much. Take your time and be patient and you will have better results. OK, when I drill scales, first I glue a thin piece of wood on the back side. This help to keep the exit hole from blowing out, giving a much cleaner look to your finished knife. and all but stops blowouts from drill through. I use HSS drill bit.. I have used many other kinds of drills and most will do the job. If I have a piece that really fights me, I will switch to a 2 flute carbide drill bit. These are more money, but last a long long time. and can be used to drill hardened steel so cutting the tooth is normally not problem.. HHS is cheaper. and easily available t your local stores. IMPORTANT.. Its best to secure or vise your piece down to the table so it wont move around when you are drilling. The reason this in important is because some parts of a tooth are harder then others.. If you do not vise it and attach to your table on the drill press. your hole will likely not be straight. The drill will want to wander, or follow the path of least resistance. Take it slow. especially at the end of the hole as not to blow out the back side. After drilling, I sand the thin wood backing off. (Tip.. sometimes even with all the efforts to not blow out the exit of a hole. it still will have some This can be filled with superglue and dust from the drilling of the tooth, then sanded flush. then re drilled. and will all but disappear)
I use ceramic or AO belts also have had good success with zirconium belts for rough shaping mammoth tooth. and have found a new 80 G works best as a starting point. ant coarser and you will have issues with chipping on the face or backside. Then I go through the grits on a belt sander from 80 to 400 G and finally hand sand to 1000 or more and buff lightly with the finest rouge you have. (TIP... knock the back edge off at about 45 ever once in a while will help stop it from chipping out s you rough shape the scales.)
SUPERGLUE is your friend!
Because of the nature of the material, even when stabilized properly. It can and does chip or break. I normally take my scales after I have them rough shaped. And completely cover them in thin super glue. let is dry, then sand it off, I do this to both sides. At least one time, sometimes many. This makes the material even more stable and tough, fille any small voids etc. I do this B4 I drill.. Also after the rough shipping is done. and Im pretty close to final handle shape. I do it again, a second round of super glue. then sand it back off. I use the Thin glue. which will easily penetrate and fill any of the fine cracks or areas that need it! I can go on and on about how useful the stuff is. Lets just say I buy it in large containers and use it on pretty much every knife I make.. even though I sand away 95% of it. The 5 % that stays left makes my handles better!
Disclaimer. I dont like that I have to put this in here, But will.
These techniques and tips work for me in my shop with the tools I have. Your results may vary. If you have any questions or need more detailed info. feel free to PM me.
I will add this. To cut spacers, straight lines, nothing is faster or easier than a thin zip wheel on an angle grinder. It doesn't have a chance to get hot enough to do damage. To drill or carve, use a carbide burr like die makers use. The many cutting edges, close together, prevents ripping or gouging the way a drill bit does. I use one shaped like a tear drop. When the tip goes through, turn it over, aand do the same from the other side, until you have a hole the diameter you need. Put it in your drill press chuck and give it heck! Like a hot knife through butter... Big problem with mammoth tooth, is the layers of different hardness. The enamel and the dentine layers vary vastly in hardness. It causes the drill bit or saw blade to wander, spin uselessly, and when you increase the pressure to punch through, you likely shatter it. Diamond burs work well, but are not aggressive enough for my taste. 10 to 12 seconds to cut through a 1 1/4" X 1 1/4" block for a spacer, and about 20 seconds to put a half inch hole through a 3/8" thick spacer. I haven't broken one block, or set of scales, using this method since I switched.
Shaping, ceramics are for sure the best
I agree with using super glue. 100%!
As I started typing, I figured that I would generalize and share the tips and tricks I have learned along the way.. In hopes someone gains a little from the info. And realizes that the material is a challenge to work with, But not so much so that its impossible to use.
Thanks for the tips. I gota try the carbide cutters.
You will love it, they were recommended to me by a supplier. You are correct in the challenge part. I wrecked my share! It is much easier now. Except the smell... Phew! Still make me gag when I take of my respirator.
How big are the blocks your cutting? You got me intrigued
Yes, There is nothing quite like the smell of this stuff! My whole shop is covered in a layer of mammoth dust from preparing these scales!! The smell is bad, but not near as bad as the smell of buffalo horn IMO!
What is a zip wheel? If I google it will it show up?
The blocks are gona be somewhere in the range of 26mm square and varied lengths.