I want to do some bronze casting, using the cuttlefish bone moulding
process - a mould is carved or pressed directly into the cuttlefish.
I have my cuttles. Now I need to machine them a little to make flat
surfaces, interlocking keys etc. Any advice ?
Can I machine cuttlefish bone as I would timber ? Is the dust a hazard
to me, or my machinery ? Will it shatter if I go at it with power
How should I machine it ? What's the best bit of bone to use? Do I
need mortice and tenon keyways in it, and if so, how do I form them?
Thanks for any advice you can offer.
Use the soft side, almost like styrofoam. I used to flatten mine on a
concrete block, squeeze them together over the original object and notch
or mark the mating spots. Take them apart, remove the object and cut a
sprue notch on one end (of both), then re position them together and
wire together. You can cut it with a knife on the soft side.
Once upon a time I lived on the beach in Sicily and would pick them up
in my backyard. This is rather crude casting but fun.
it leaves a surface a lot like wood grain. I kind of like the effect,
and the bit of cuttlebone casting I did I brushed out the grain to
accentuate it. you can work to minimize it, burnishing to fill the
grain, but if smooth is what you're after, there are refractory casting
materials specific for the purpose.
the rubbing on a brick is a good technique for getting a flat face.
I wouldn't go snorting the dust, but in small quantities I don't
imagine handling it would be a hazard.
power tools should be unnecessary. it's soft and pretty porous. damn
near scoop it out with a spoon.
right up the middle.
if you need to register the halves, a groove in the edge where the
binding wire bites in should be plenty. if you want a flat back, save
the cost of cuttlebone and use something cheaper and easier to get flat
for the back. a fire brick or shard of kiln shelf works well. I have
used wood with good results for small castings.
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