turning mastodon/mammoth ivory

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Forum topic by bake posted 02-22-2013 05:55 AM 1373 views 0 times favorited 1 reply Add to Favorites Watch
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384 posts in 3670 days

02-22-2013 05:55 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question lathe turning

Has anyone had any experience turning mastodon ivory?
A friend gave me a small piece of tusk and asked me to make a couple of pens. I know that people do turn it I just wondered if anyone had any tips.
It looks to me like the outer bark may break off but the inner core looks pretty solid.
This is not fossilized but it is somewhat mineralized so it’s supposed to be somewhat harder than elephant ivory.
FYI, mastodon ivory is not regulated like elephant ivory. It can be bought and sold and imported and exported.
It is often found in the arctic sticking out of riverbanks where the natural erosion has exposed it.
I know one gentleman that spends his summers floating arctic rivers looking for the stuff and then exports it to Bali where he works with a group of artists carving it, and I have another friend in the mining industry in Alaska and they dig it up all of the time, another friend has an entire tusk that his grandfather left him.(His grandfather had been a bush pilot in Alaska in the 50’s and found an entire skeleton sticking out of a river bank while searching for some lost hunters. He was able to retrieve both tusks).

-- I love the smell of Home Depot in the morning, it smells like.......carpentry. Bake, Bar Lazy U Woodworks, Lehi,UT.

1 reply so far

View tamboti's profile


207 posts in 3135 days

#1 posted 02-23-2013 05:52 PM

Hi I have turned a small piece of ivory and all I can say to you is your tools must be sharp and for detail use a 3 three point tool and if you dont have one get 6mm / 1/4” piece of HSS rod about 8” long and make one you will always use it again for fine detail work Regards Tambotie

-- Africa is not for sissies

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