Sealing Bone Scales – Take 2

Last time, we tried just filling the voids in the bone scales with wax. This gave us spotty results – literally. Working with a couple of different formulations of cyanoacylate, we’re at the point of – still looking.

Loctite Plastic bonding with separate accellerator pen
Good for intended purpose, not so much for ours.

We attempted to follow the luthier’s method of building up the material with the bone dust from sanding the bone smooth and used  Loctite Plastic Bonding System which had an “accelerator” in the form of a marker made for gluing difficult materials.  This didn’t work well at all.

Loctite Super Glue
Liquid – not gel. Wear safety goggles as the vapors burn your eyes!

Next, we attempted to use some more off the shelf superglue – Loctite Super Glue LIQUID (not the gel, as we want this to seep into the cracks and fill them in). Piling the bone dust up and squirting the glue on made – a mess, though it might look better once it’s sanded down.

 

 

powdered bone and superglue on the left, just liquid on the right
Powdered bone on the left, liquid alone on the right

 

While we were waiting we looked at the other side of the bone and decided to just lay the glue straight down on that side to see if it worked any better.  My thoughts at the moment are that either (1) the bone dust is too fine and can’t saturate well (like lumps in the pancake batter when you make it from scratch) or (2) I need an even slower curing superglue.

 

 

After letting it dry thoroughly, I proceeded to sand down both sides with 220 grit sandpaper, followed by 600, 1000, 1800, 3200 and finally 8000 grit pads.  Wiping some oil paint across the whole piece and wiping it off, I find that the bone dust side is just as bad or worse than the untreated area (center), but the right side where we used no dust is looking pretty good! After 30 minutes the glue is still somewhat soft for scrimshawing. I’ll be testing it for “scrimmability” later in the week and will update my findings.

 

Left=superglue alone, middle - no glue, right glue and bone
Here, the liquid alone was on the left, the “naked bone” in the middle, and the powdered bone/superglue on the right after sanding. the “clear” winner so far is the plain superglue

 

 

2 Replies to “Sealing Bone Scales – Take 2”

  1. I got a can of the clear lacquer from an instrument supply house, but I think a thin coat of clear Krylon from a hardware store would work just as well. It seals the pores in the bone. Sometimes I do another coat. The bone I get at Pet Smart is pretty dense. I have to check it over for deep pores before I buy it.

    1. Thanks Troubador! I’d tried this on some highly polished ivory years back and it peeled off like a skin – I think I should have roughed it up so it could seep in. I’ll need to revisit this the next time I’m working with bone or antler.

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