help needed with split in hippo tooth

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help needed with split in hippo tooth

Postby A Bland » Thu Jul 24, 2014 7:58 pm

I'm busy working on a netsuke of a rabbit and have been for some time. One small fault/split which became clear as I have continued carving opened slightly as I removed more material and has become dirty. I'm now nearing a point where I will drill out the eyes to then replace them with inlaid ones. I'm concerned drilling will go wrong with the split so close, or will open the spilt further. Can anyone recommend a way to clean and stabilise the split?
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Re: help needed with split in hippo tooth

Postby fkvesic » Fri Jul 25, 2014 12:20 pm

Splitting is always a tendency with new hippo tooth which is why it's best to acquire some old material if possible - pieces that have already done their splitting.

Clean the crack with a soft brush and water with a little washing-up liquid, but try not to wet the material too much or dig too deeply into the crack. Rinse, surface dry, shake and allow to dry naturally. You may have to repeat this.

Sand some pieces of the same base material into dust, mix that thickly with epoxy glue preferably of a colour as near to the base material as possible and check a little of the packing against the colour of the material. Then pack the crack as neatly as possible. Allow to dry thoroughly. Any excess can be carved off, or removed with a razor sharp knife.
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Re: help needed with split in hippo tooth

Postby Doug Sanders » Fri Jul 25, 2014 12:38 pm

Just a small follow-up to that... whenever you generate fill material, don't sand: file. When you sand, bits of the abrasive get mixed in and discolor the powder. Use a very fine riffler file instead :sundae:
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Re: help needed with split in hippo tooth

Postby A Bland » Fri Jul 25, 2014 7:29 pm

That's great, thank you for the tips. The tooth is quite old (60's or 70's) I think, but the splitting was already a crack which seems to have opened after the removal of the enamel and excess material. It is a great material to work with though quite hard whilst which can slow down roughing out.
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Re: help needed with split in hippo tooth

Postby Russ » Mon Jul 28, 2014 11:07 pm

Hello there. I've recently had to do a repair on some hippo so will add to the thread what little I've learnt.

I used a grinding wheel and ground some hippo tusk down to a VERY fine powder. I then increased the size of the crack creating a v shape
so the powder had some where to sit.

Carefully pack he powder into the V shaped crack and leave it a little proud of the surface.

You will then need some very low viscosity super glue ...super thin...

I place a little S Glue on the end of a scalpel blade and then very slowly touch the blade onto the area you've packed with hippo dust.
The super glue will be sucked across and the jobs done. Leave to dry for ten minutes.
This process can be repeated to build up the thickness if needed but I would imagine it would be more secure if done in one job.
The repair can then be worked on and blended in.
I've not tried this with epoxy glue but the method I used is superb. I cant see where I did the repair. Hope you have the same results.
Do a test piece first on a bit of scrap hippo is what I did.
If you are hoping to stain you carving then this type of repair might not be the one for you. Not sure how the stain would react with the s/glued area.

Good luck and let us no the results

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