Mammoth, Elephant, Hippo, Fossil Walrus, Raw Walrus, Or Oosik Or Stellar Sea Cow?


Mar 8, 1999
All run less than a hundred bucks apiece for the amount I need to rehandle the katana or tarwar.

I ain't saying where, but you can find it with difficulty and long hours invested ( might as well tell Berk up front - write me and I'll tell you for your ears only ).

Maybe add coral and turquoise cabochons on handle and scabbard. I WILL let everyone know my sources, just that it'll be AFTER I get finished.

The katana scabbard will have to go or get stretched and a kydex insert added. The Tarwar's is fine, except for fancying up.

Decisions, decisions. Which of the above do I choose? Suggestions? Fantasies? Wild A** hairs? Let your imagination run wild. Recover the scabbard with turquoise colored leather? Do -----?
Best thing I can think of, Rusty, is to sell me the tarwar for a nominal amount and use the proceeds toward the katana.

--Mike L.
Well, if you go with oosik, you know what you've got hold of, right? So if anybody accuses you of "compensating" they'll probably be right;)

Man, Rusty, those are all some great materials.

I'd be hard pressed to pick just one, though I must say that oosic and fossilized (blue Siberian) mastodon ivory are two of my favorites.

I've seen some puukkos of late on Blade Gallery that featured several of the materials on the same handle. Really made it interesting in terms of both its looks and its sense of "natural history". 'Course, I don't know how financially feasible it would be for you to get to do something of that sort.

In any case, I'll be very interested in seeing how your project comes out. I'm sure it'll be great.

Since you asked, I'd urge that you stay away from the endangered species--elephant and hippo--because of the poaching situation. Still leaves a lot of interesting choices. And warthog tusk is another one worth considering; knifemakers in South Africa use it a lot, and warthogs seem to be as common there as prairie dogs around here.

Last I heard they were killing more africans than crocs and snakes put together, and were being culled by the governments for the protection of villages.
Send pix when you're finished up. Or, drop by the Cantina and we'll take a couple as we have done in the past.
Sort of - hippopotamus and pygmy hippopotamus are listed in Schedule II of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). Appendix II species are not currently rare or endangered but could become so if trade is not regulated, and require export permits from the country of origin.
"Da(yu)mn their eyes!" comes to mind as an appropriate retort.

Or am I mixing that up with "Oscar Mayer has a way with B O L O G N A!" ???

Oh, just say "Ayo Ghorapani!" and leave it at that, I suppose.

According to the book "Mammoths" by Lister & Bahn (1994), there may be as many as 20-50 million undiscovered mammoth bodies in the Arctic Permafrost, meaning a vast supply of fossil mammoth ivory.

I would thus encourage the use of mammoth ivory, as there is ample quantity and it would not in any way threaten any living animals.

You've got me interested in seeing what you've got planned, though -- I'm totally superficial when it comes to my weapons, and I just love the 'pretty' stuff...! :D :cool:
Same goes for Steller's Sea Cow rib bones.

The Sea Cow was "discovered" in the Bering Sea in 1741. They were killed for meat by sailors, and were extinct by 1768. Therefore all specimens found have to be in excess of 230 years old. Just a little late to save them now.

Some of the ribs I've seen pictures of have shown a beautiful golden tan to brown color.

Another good source for thin elephant ivory for inlays is that recovered from old piano keys.

"Bonded Ivory" is a composite of pieces of ivory ground and then bonded together. Supposedly passes about any test you can put it to with just the 5 senses.

Tagua nut is vegetable ivory, with older pieces priced ( amazingly ) near equivalent to tooth ivory.

Carved oosik comes out whiter than you'd expect.

The fossil/mineralized walrus tusk has obviously been in the ground long enough to absorb the mineral colors.

Warthog is interesting - might try it on the ( sickle shaped ) hasiya.

At this point I'm just collecting possibilities, let alone trying to make up my mind. There are many, many more options not to be ruled out without a good close look.
Bro if you're really planning on using any of the materials you listed it would be a good idea to ask for information on the Shoptalk Forum. The reasons are the obvious ones about safety in machineing the materials and things that you possibly need to be aware of such as getting any of them too hot or something.

Also I think it was in the Blade magazine where it was being said that the so called fossilised mammoth ivory is more in fact mineralized as well.
And it may be that you will need some speciallised tools in working the materials such as diamond or carbide.
And with the expense of the materials you sure want to take the necassary steps to do it right the 1st time.:D
Perhaps even Ivan or Art may know the answers to the above?!?!?!?:D
Most of the materials can be worked with regular tools, but use only sharp tools and fresh abrasives. Drill bits must be sharp, all power tools must be run at low speed and you must pause frequently to avoid heat buildup. All natural materials respond badly to heat.
Wear breathing protection while grinding, sanding etc. Wet sanding helps to control the dust and helps keep the piece cool.
Of course, fossilised materials vary greatly, so try each step on a scrap of each material. When you buy your material, ask the merchant for advice on how to drill and sand it.
I worked with some mammoth ivory a while ago. When the stuff gets hot via grinding it stinks to high heaven and leaves you in no doubt whatsoever that the fumes have to be toxic.

Pala made himself sick for three days when he was cutting up some horn for handles using an abrasive disc hooked up to the bench grinder.
Well, I won't be handling my swords in the horn of the unicorn,

( it's actually narwhal tusk ). Each tusk starts at $2,500 to $3,500, when available from ( Alaskan ) native hunting or scavenging permitted under CITES.

For the record, I wouldn't use a material that endangered a species. I just don't believe our government knows when it's telling the truth or not anymore, so remain skeptical about it's pronouncements until reliably proven.:barf:

And ecofreak organizations may be rational, or have been taken over by those with no grasp on reality. So who do you trust?:barf: :barf: