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  1. #1
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    Jul 2007
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    Default cleaning ivory elk teeth?

    This might be a long shot but I'm hoping someone might know how to properly clean elk teeth... A friend sent me a pair of "elk ivories." They are in good shape but still have some dried fleshy bits stuck on there, so I'll need to clean them before doing any scrimshaw! Any ideas on how to do this?

    Thanks!

    Katherine


  2. #2
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    Jun 2007
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    Fishermans Paradise,Idaho
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    Hi
    I used to make elk ivory jewelry and we used to just polish it with red rouge but we only use the top part of it any way.Sometimes we did make caps for them and in that case we would only use ivory that was pretty solid. We would just use a small rubber abrasive wheel and go over the root to remove any hangerson and then take it to the buffer and slightly buff it with bobbing compound and finish it with rouge,clean it with hot water and alittle palmolive in the ultrasound with a toothbrush and go from there.

  3. #3
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    Jan 2007
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    Ocala,Fl
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    Whatever you do, do not use bleach. It will ruin all the good properties of the natural enamel of the teeth.
    Nice ivories.
    gailm
    The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep.
    Robt. Frost

  4. #4
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    Nov 2006
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    Ovid, Michigan
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    Katherine, I have soaked them in peroxide and had pretty good results and it doesn't seem to hurt them. You will still have to scrape off some of the tissue, but it will come off fairly easy. Good luck with your project and show us some pic's when you get it done!

    Dan Grubaugh

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Grifton, NC
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    How about soaking in an ammonia solution until the flesh is softened and can be scraped off?

  6. #6
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    Jan 2007
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    Prairieville, Louisiana
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    Katherine,
    Don't use any cleaner's that you would not stick pearls in. I start by scraping the tissue as much
    as i can,then use a small fine barret file to take down the material at the gum line.Don't try to shape the
    tooth, just take off the high spot's.I use a soft to medium bristle on my flex shaft to polish with green rouge.
    Clean with warm soapy water ,something like dawn and a soft brush. tooth paste will work also but don't use
    your own brush. DON'T BREATHE THE DUST and they tend to stink while polishing.Good luck and polish slowly.
    Dennis

  7. #7
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    Apr 2007
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    Katherine, I have made these and scrimshawed them with gold caps that go down to the gum line. If you do this you can reshape the part covered by the gold. Abrasives won't hurt on the parts that you intend to cover, and getting the tissue off isn't tricky at all. Just treat it like ivory. You can work it and polish it very similarly, just don't get too agressive and get under the surface on the main tooth part. It is more durable than you think. It is a little harder and crisper than ivory if you know what I mean. More like walrus ivory, but not nearly as hard. They don't look to be stained much, and that coloration if it is there, you might want to retain when you scrim them.
    Good luck Katherine! Let us see your results.

    Ron S

  8. #8
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    Jul 2007
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    Thanks everyone for all the replies! I think I have a pretty good idea how to proceed and I will definitely post the final results when I figure out what to scrim. I don't mind the discoloration on the teeth, I just want the "elk jerky" gone. Lol. Should be fun, I'm looking forward to trying something new.

    -Katherine

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