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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  CAS TOPICS  |  The Longbranch (Moderators: Marshal Halloway, Silver Creek Slim, Camille Eonich)  |  Topic: Faux Ivory 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: Faux Ivory  (Read 1555 times)
PJ Hardtack
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« on: October 08, 2018, 04:19:02 pm »


What grip material looks and feels most like real ivory?
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« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2018, 04:30:21 pm »

American Holly



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« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2018, 06:58:08 pm »

Mammoth tusk. Had a friend who would use it for knife handles.
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Professor Marvel
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« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2018, 12:55:09 am »

Licensed and documented Mammoth and walrus ivory is literally, .... ivory.
but it is pricey and fragile.

As major2 pointed out, american holly is an outstanding substitute, and economical.

I used to used paper-based "ivory micarta" when knifemeaking, and I was astounded to learn (about 5 years ago) that it hasn't
been made for ages! It was THE best stuff for knife handles and pistol grips, took stain and aged nicely, but alas it is no more.

I have been told that white-ish colored corian works well, and is supposed to take stains ( such as tea), but I haven't been able to
latch on to any.

I don't care for the look and feel of the "plastic" fake ivory grips out there.

I have tried fimo clay but it doesn't seem to bake as hard as I would like, and is "odd" to file and sand.

I have played with tagua nuts, which are excellent for very small items, but just not large enough for anything useful.

I acquired a crapload of 8x10" sheets of some sort of acrylic countertop in off-white, but it isn't taking any stain....
If I can't find a SOMETHING that penetrates I may try "burning" it gently with a powered buffing wheel...

hope this helps
prof marvel

addendum - a new search turns up these:

http://www.truivory.com/availability.htm

http://masecraftsupply-com.3dcartstores.com/Alternative-Ivory-Sheets-12_p_2108.html
4x5x 1/2 is $14 but 1/2 is as thick as they offer

and I stand corrected - I found one source for paper micarta, but I am unwilling to
drop $200 on a 1.25" x 6" x 12" chunk....
https://usaknifemaker.com/paper-ivory-paper-aged-micarta-1-25-knife-handle-material.html

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« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2018, 03:36:17 am »

Mammoth tusk. Had a friend who would use it for knife handles.



Here you go, https://www.boonetrading.com/collections/mammoth-ivory-bone

knock yourself out  Wink
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« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2018, 08:03:07 am »

There used to be a product called Ivoryide (sp?).   It was a synthetic version, but pricey.  That may be what Tru Ivory is, but my firewall is blocking them for a unknown reasons as an adult site.  I believe (if you do not mind the chemicals), micarta can be made at home, a process of layering paper and resin/fiberglass.   Do it in well ventilated areas.   

I have also seen bone dust mixed with resin to form a bone/ivory imitation.   KAL Bone Meal is a supplement for dogs, not sure of the color, but readily available on the web.  If it is a white to off white, an easy source to mix with resin.    Sanding it should expose enough of the bone to allow it to take a dye (I have used walnut hulls, or coffee to color actual bone for great results.  little more safety needed when sanding/shaping resin and fiberglass based materials, but easily done in the garage with a dust mask.   The KAL bone meal is $14 for a pound and I would think that would make enough for a nice set of grips.   I like bone handled knives, so I think it would feel pretty good.
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« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2018, 04:30:48 pm »

I've made some grips out of Corian counter top material. Corian is easy to shape and impervious to just about anything. It is necessary to wear a mask while shaping and sanding the material.


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« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2018, 05:19:48 am »

I remember a faux ivory called Elephmbine or Elefambine. That pronunciation anyway. Senagalese guys sold African ornaments etc on the beach and around bars at night. Italy. Looked good with a creamy white finish.
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Cliff Fendley
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« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2018, 12:29:58 pm »

The ivory paper Micarta is no longer available to many knifemakers disappointment including myself. It apparently causes cancer in California.

That is the reason it was priced so high when Prof. Marvel provided the link. It is very expensive if you can find any old stock laying around. I think I can make more on my stash than I can get putting it on knife handles.
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« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2018, 12:57:42 pm »

I would not think any other micarta would be different than the ivory, so is all micarta banned?   I would think the resin material would be what they have issue with.  Either way, with some quality paper, micarta is fairly easy to make, but messy.
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« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2018, 07:37:08 pm »


AS an Retired Professional Cabinet Maker, I have also made Grips from Corian.  Corian machines well, Shapes well, With the correct adhesive cannot be separated.  Is impervious to most anything.  Will NOT stain.  It's available in some really wild colours as well as a creamy off-white.  Excellent stuff.  If you want it to look like Ivory, don't give it a polish.  leave it rough.

Commercially, I like the material from Gripmaker.  Actually, I like their grip kits.  I believe the material to be a bonded something.  Looks really good.

Personally, I cannot abide Real Ivory.  I know how it was harvested.  Harvested the same way, no matter when.  Not on anything I own.
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Cliff Fendley
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« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2018, 12:26:23 pm »

I would not think any other micarta would be different than the ivory, so is all micarta banned?   I would think the resin material would be what they have issue with.  Either way, with some quality paper, micarta is fairly easy to make, but messy.

I have just been told they aren't making ivory micarta anymore, something about carcinogens is all I was told, the places that still have some are charging high prices.

Hopefully they will get it worked out and still make it because I use it on a lot of knives and a friend of mine who makes the knives for Sylvester Stallone uses it on the Expendables Bowie knives like was used in the movie and sells a bunch of them to collectors so has stocked up on what we could find but our stash will run out soon. The Ivory handle on that bowie knife in the expendables movie is actually the ivory micarta that has been scrimshawed with the expendables logo.
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Fingers McGee
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« Reply #12 on: October 14, 2018, 01:39:22 pm »

Add my vote to American Holly.  Unfortunately the guy that did them all for me is not in the business anymore.  Here are some examples:



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« Reply #13 on: October 14, 2018, 02:31:31 pm »

Thank you my Good Fingers!

I have two questions regarding your magnificent Holly grips -

a) do you know how (ie what stain) he used for the aged sets?
2) did you find any documentation for the saw-cut style of checkered grips?

thanks in advance
prf mvl
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« Reply #14 on: October 15, 2018, 01:08:44 pm »

Another vote for Holly........  

I've made several sets of grips with Holly.  I never tried to pass it off as Ivory but many have thought that's what it was.   Holly has a very fine grain structure and, similar to maple, it allows a very smooth final finish because it's non-porous.  No grain filler is needed.

My preferred finishes are Tru-Oil for a semi-gloss look or Nitrocellulose laquer (yes, really) wet sanded to 600 and buffed to a very high gloss.  Both of these finishes seem light-sensitive and take on an aged amber tint with time.

No fellas,  I don't want to make any for sale.   It's too much darned work for a lazy geezer. Grin

BTW, on the subject of Corian, I bought a pair for a Smith & Wesson d.a. and while they were quite pretty I thought they always felt cold and artificial.  YMMV.

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Fingers McGee
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« Reply #15 on: October 15, 2018, 06:48:22 pm »

Thank you my Good Fingers!

I have two questions regarding your magnificent Holly grips -

a) do you know how (ie what stain) he used for the aged sets? No stain, color is a result of use. Sweat and BP.  He uses plain old oil to finish them.  The picture was taken a few years ago, so the Man With No Names have aged some.
2) did you find any documentation for the saw-cut style of checkered grips? Checkering on the 2nd Gen 1851s was done by a laser.

The ones at the top are the oldest having been done around 2005, the short 1860s and the sharps were done about 2013 or 14; and the man with no name conversion 1851s were done in 2009.  

thanks in advance
prf mvl

The MWNN pistols are showing use and are not as white as in the picture.
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« Reply #16 on: December 03, 2018, 11:17:49 am »

I'm impressed with the holly. Another wood I have fooled with just whittling is Pacific rhododendron. Also very white and close-grained. It does occur in diameters large enough for grips, but just barely. I'd love to see someone with skill play with it.
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