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trinityforge

Bone Knives

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I have been considering making a bone knife.  Does any one have any experience in this area?  I could use some advice and direction.  I would like to know what bones would be good for a knife (oh, this is decorative...at least at this point), attaching it to a handle, etc...

 

Thanks in advance

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A BONE knife? for cutting bone? Bone handle? or bone bade? Questions need to be more specific.

 

Frosty The Lucky.

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Sorry, and yes.  The blade is going to be bone and the handle is going to be wood.  I was wondering if there is a specific bone that is better to use and which bone that would be.  I have seen a few where the handle is wood attached with animal hide glue.  

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I have seen some original bone knives and they seemed to favor the cannon bone of white tailed(or mule) deer, that's a pretty strong bone and the shape was kinda that of a stiletto.

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One suggestion I have while doing this, respirator and glasses, you dont wanna breath in the bone dust, very bad for you.....

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Some friends of mine work at processing deer, elk and moose antler for dog chews, boy do they get to hating the smell of bone dust as they band saw all those pallets of antler apart. I have bought some of the antler for buttons, rings, powder flasks, brooches and other decorative items and I can tell you it sure stinks when using power tools, not so bad with hand tools. I polished some American Buffalo horn to a shinny black and that stuff will stink you out of the house when you use a power sander on it. The dogs seem to think it a very good smell and lick up the bone dust.

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I've made a few bone blades in the past, and used them.  As an experiment, I butchered a deer with a bone knife that had a 2" edge and was held into a wooden handle with pitch glue and poplar bark string.  It was a very durable set up and I didn't really have any problems after I got into the carcass.  Making those initial cuts to do the field dressing was an absolute bear, and I resorted to my fall-back blade (a flake of chert) to get things started.  Soft tissue wasn't a problem for the knife.  I did get a few chips in the edge when I was trying to separate the joints, but going through meat wasn't much less efficient than a steel blade.

 

Bone works like wood for the most part, and you can burn it on the sander.  Bone likes to split along its length, so watch out for any existing hair-line cracks as they will only get worse.

 

The biggest issue I found was that an edge geometry like we're used to on modern knives makes for a very sharp edge, but also one that chips, cracks and dulls easily.  A thicker edge was reasonably sharp and lasted longer, but nowhere near the performance of iron.

 

Maybe it was the quality of the bone I was using?  Bone that's been cooked/boiled definitely has a different feel than a clean bone you found in the woods, or a bone fresh from the kill.  

 

As for deer bones, the shoulder blade offers a nice sheet of flattish stock to start from, but the bone wall isn't very thick.  The rear lower leg bone has a very square cross-section and the flat pieces can be both strong and thick enough to work into a small blade.

 

You can definitely get bone sharp enough to cut yourself if you weren't careful, as I confirmed a few times. :)

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