carving bone hands for an old cuckoo clock

Discussion in 'Clock Repair' started by timepast, Mar 6, 2017.

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  1. timepast

    timepast Registered User

    Aug 3, 2006
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    Any advice for carving bone hands for a 100 year old cuckoo clock. I have the minute hand , a very plain one which looks like the celluloid one`s on modern cuckoos. I plan to use beef bone. Do I cut and carve on a fresh bone or do I need it to dry to minimalize shrinkage and cracking? I don`t have a band saw so will be cutting with a hand jig saw and hacksaw. and drilling with an electric or manual drill. Any recommendations on the type of jig saw blades or hacksaw blades for cutting the thickness of the hands. Should I rough out the shape of the hand and cutouts before I cut the thickness of the hand. or vice versa. I will finish up the details of the hand with small files. Thanks for any advice
     
  2. David S

    David S Registered User
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    Hi Timepast, if you would like to start from real scratch, I applaud you. However if you would like to do what you wish to accomplish a tad easier, you can get bone guitar saddle blanks. Assuming of course that they are long enough.

    This is what i did when I had to make a bone hand for an old cuckoo.

    David
     
  3. dAz57

    dAz57 Registered User

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    #3 dAz57, Mar 6, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2017
    The bone should be cooked or boiled, not raw, raw bone is too soft and you want to make sure to remove the fat, marrow and blood.

    Look for bone folder on eBay, used in folding paper and card, these are bone, 6" long 3/4" wide, should be large enough for most cuckoo hands, make sure you get bone not plastic.

    For cutting from the stock if that's the way you go, try the Japanese pull saws, thin blades, fine teeth with little or no set, cuts on the pull stroke leaves a very clean surface on wood or bone, for cutting out the hands, jewellers saw and a support block, cutting in the detail on the hands a Dremel and various burrs or a carving chisel.
     
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  4. roughbarked

    roughbarked Registered User

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    Using a dremel and burs will have to be on the slowest speed which isn't good for the dremel because bone burns easily and a spinning burr is like an aboriginal with a spinning fire stick.
     
  5. timepast

    timepast Registered User

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    Some of the beginner websites for bone carving suggested precleaned dog chew bones. I think I`ll start there. Thanks so much for all your suggestions and carving advice
     
  6. dAz57

    dAz57 Registered User

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    I still would not use raw bone, too soft, anyway I bought a couple of these bone folders, 3 cost me $11AU delivered, these are bone, some are plastic so make sure to get "bone" folders usually made from beef bone, they are 150mm long 20mm wide and 5mm thick at the middle, so enough to make a pair of hands.

    [​IMG]
     

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  7. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    Cool! Where do you get them?
     
  8. timepast

    timepast Registered User

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    The cleaning process for raw bones sounded tedious --changing with soapy water over weeks.. So made soup outta a lamb shank; scraped off all the meat, cut off the joint balls, cut it in half , scrapped out the marrow, scrubbed then soaked bone with dawn dishwashing soap overnight, scrubbed with Bon Ami scouring powder . The bone was perfectly degreased and ready in 2 days. And ready for my carving... We`ll see how that goes...lol But may also get some of the bone folders to try too
     
  9. dAz57

    dAz57 Registered User

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    #9 dAz57, Mar 17, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2017
    Shut, eBay, just look for bone folder, these are ox bone, make sure it's bone and not plastic in the description, there are dozens of sellers for these


    Timepast, that's what I did, I made a stew, I got the butcher to cut the ends off a beef shin bone and so the bone will fit in the pot, the meat fell off and the marrow just slid out, chilli beef and beans, yum!

    I boiled the bone in clean salted water, then just left it in the sun for a while.
     
  10. Dave T

    Dave T Registered User
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  11. dAz57

    dAz57 Registered User

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    Dave, be careful, check the description, they say bone folder but!

     
  12. Dave T

    Dave T Registered User
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    #12 Dave T, Mar 17, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2017
     
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