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Thread: using cow bone

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    Senior Member medic484's Avatar
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    Default using cow bone

    I saw a post on using cow bone from a pet store for scales do they need and kind of treatment prior to using the blanks once cut for scales? and what finishes can be appllied after

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    Senior Member spazola's Avatar
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    I have used cow bone from the pet store. I just cut them out, shaped, sanded smooth, and buffed. I did not do any furthur processing to the dried cow bone from the pet store.



    I have dyed the bone, but that was only for cosmetic reasons.




    Charlie

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    Senior Member medic484's Avatar
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    ok thanks, I belive it was your post that I saw the idea in but could not find it again

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    Senior Member niftyshaving's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by medic484 View Post
    I saw a post on using cow bone from a pet store for scales do they need and kind of treatment prior to using the blanks once cut for scales? and what finishes can be appllied after
    Bone has risks in terms of disease. All bone use in bone meal is supposed to
    be autoclaved (hot steam) to prevent the transmission of anthrax of all things. Pet store bone should be OK as it generally comes via the food inspection paths.
    At one time sick cows might have been sent to the animal feed side. That path seems to have been blocked because of mad cow.

    Should anyone be tempted to pick up "wild" bone, antler or horn pay attention to the health risks and regulations. In grinding, sanding and polishing make sure that that the dust is collected and that you wear a quality respirator (same for many "exotic" woods).

    IMO, Sanitation or sterilization when applicable should take before the blanks are cut.

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    Senior Member 1971Wedge's Avatar
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    Just curious but wouldn't you sanitized as part of the scale making process in this case? What would you use to sanitize the bone anyways?

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    Senior Member niftyshaving's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1971Wedge View Post
    Just curious but wouldn't you sanitized as part of the scale making process in this case? What would you use to sanitize the bone anyways?
    Given the risk autoclave is in order for wild bone. But
    that is cooking hot and might wreck them for your purpose.
    You may have to look for options, Peroxide and Bleach
    are a good start.

    'Old bones most likely cause of anthrax outbreak' - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

    Protect Against Diseases when Hunting or Enjoying Outdoor Activities

    The risks are quite different if you are grinding and sanding bone
    generating dust versus using a razor with bone handles.

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    what Dad calls me nun2sharp's Avatar
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    Why not bake it?
    It is easier to fool people than to convince them they have been fooled. Twain

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    I recently made a pair of bone scales (my first scales ever!). Following advice from Undream and a few others, I had a great success.

    I used a raw beef femur from the meat department of my local grocery store. The butcher there told me that it isn't a scrap. They never process meat with bones at my store, and they actually order them just for people like me who come looking for them. I imagine most of them go to lucky canines.

    Here is a process for treating bone that I found online at boneroom.com:

    Maceration - Using bacterial action to clean bone
    This is the simplest method of cleaning bone.
    1. Remove any remaining tissue or hide from the bone
    2. Immerse the bone in a container of water.
    Leave the container in a warm location where you won't mind the smell.
    Periodically pour the greasy, smelly water out (gardens love it!) and replace with fresh water.
    When the water runs clear, the bacteria have run their course.
    3. Soak the bone in regular drugstore strength hydrogen peroxide until it reaches the whiteness you prefer. This also sterilizes the bone.
    You're done!

    It's not exactly what I did, but only because I found this after I was nearly done. Next time I will follow a process like this, but to speed things up, I will probably cut step 2 a little bit short and simply go to the tools and cut my rough blanks on with a band saw. I see no reason to go through a lengthy and smelly process to perfectly clean the outside layers of the bone that will be cut or sanded off anyway.

    Wear a mask when you cut or sand the bone, and try to do it outside. It will help if you work the bone when it is wet or the dust will get EVERYWHERE, it is very fine. I sprayed the inside walls and floor of my shop vac with water to grab the dust, then hooked it up to the exhaust port of my table sander.

    To polish the bone, I let the bone sit in a zip-lock bag with some neats' foot oil overnight, then used w/d 180, 400, 800, 1500, 2k, then turtle wax polishing compound on a rag.

    Good luck. Don't get discouraged, it's all worth it once you get to the polishing stage!

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    To be perfectly honest, I always thought that the use of a dust mast was to protect you from bone dust, which tends to be incredibly aggressive on the lungs.
    As for the Autoclave, they don't kill everything, approx 99- 99.6% for the best vacuum type (2000/ $1600). Chemical sterilisation has always been my choice for bone. It's there in case any blood from the animal gets into your blood supply (CJD, e-coli and such like).

    James

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    I have used cow bone from the pet store before. It looked liked it was sand blasted, boiled, baked and bleached. This was some of the cleanest, most sanitary looking stuff I'd ever seen.

    All you need to do is shape, sand and buff. I scorched mine with a small propane torch to give it character. It came out beautiful.

    Always wear your dust mask!!!! You gotta love the smell of bone.

    Bob

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