Cannon bones – the Dark Age boneworker’s best resource

Halldor the Viking

This post is just a little run down of the most useful bone to the Early Medieval bone worker – the cannon bone, specifically those from cows.

What is a cannon bone?

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A cow cannon bone

As hoofed animals essentially walk on their finger/toe tips, the long bones in their feet have fused together to form a third long bone below the wrist/ankle. This third long bone is the cannon bone (or metapodial).

Why are they useful?

The principle reason for their usefulness comes from the fact that they are straight and broad, quite thick walled and allow for a range of items to be made from a single bone. Additionally, because they are not a particularly meaty bone, they were not usually cooked in the Early Medieval and were discarded as waste.

As a result a bone worker could have an almost unlimited supply of cow metapodia if they were close…

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Keeping safe while bone working – respiratory issues

Halldor the Viking

Yet another fun post from the world of Halldor the Viking! Seriously, I know ‘elf and safety is not exactly the most enthralling of subjects, but regarding certain aspects of bone working with modern tools it is pretty important. The vast majority of the safety concerns are blatantly obvious and easy to address or avoid – e.g. saws, knives, axes etc are sharp so be careful! hot oil/water (for moulding horn) is hot so be careful! and so on.

Dust

However, one particular area is quite important and not so simply dealt with – dust. When working bone in a traditional manner, the dust is never really an issue as most shaping uses blades, and even a lot of finishing can be done with a knife. Additionally, most smoothing of items using pumice, ash, sand etc takes place at low speed and never really creates a dust cloud or fine…

View original post 696 more words

Keeping safe while bone working – respiratory issues

Halldor the Viking

Yet another fun post from the world of Halldor the Viking! Seriously, I know ‘elf and safety is not exactly the most enthralling of subjects, but regarding certain aspects of bone working with modern tools it is pretty important. The vast majority of the safety concerns are blatantly obvious and easy to address or avoid – e.g. saws, knives, axes etc are sharp so be careful! hot oil/water (for moulding horn) is hot so be careful! and so on.

Dust

However, one particular area is quite important and not so simply dealt with – dust. When working bone in a traditional manner, the dust is never really an issue as most shaping uses blades, and even a lot of finishing can be done with a knife. Additionally, most smoothing of items using pumice, ash, sand etc takes place at low speed and never really creates a dust cloud or fine…

View original post 696 more words

How to make a composite antler comb

Halldor the Viking

As always in the run up to a fresh season, these last couple of weeks have been rather busy. In addition to the usual kit repairs and so on, my Etsy shop has taken off and I have had  quite a lot to do through that, the Bone Crafting Facebook Group has been getting more popular, and in anticipation of the Society training weekend coming up I have gone through my Boneworking Guide and updated it (though apparently I have still managed to focus so much on getting references and information right that it is littered with grammatical errors I didn’t notice^^).

However, in between all this I have managed in cram in enough time to make a few other bits and pieces, the main ones being combs. As I have meant to write a comb-making post for a while, I made sure I photographed and recorded the process and…

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A pin a day……

Halldor the Viking

As I believe I have mentioned before, I am trying to take my kit and craft display up a notch for this year. While my actual personal kit, i.e. what I wear/carry, has been coming along nicely and is almost as correct as I think is possible (I will be writing a post about that soon enough for everyone to rip apart 🙂 ), my craft display is still lacking.

The basic aim is to have a table of completed artefacts and a range of raw materials for the people to look at, a comprehensive toolkit and a small portable workbench with capacity to be a bow lathe. Most of this has been the mainstay of my display for years (except for the bench), but I feel I need to expand it and just generally polish the display as a whole. However, so far all I have managed to make is the stool that…

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Run up to the first show and some recent crafting

Halldor the Viking

Despite not seemingly that long ago that I was outlining plans for all the great things I would do over the winter, my first real show of the year is just about upon me! This weekend I will be demonstrating boneworking at Bamburgh Castle.

Thankfully I have managed to sort out most of the personal kit issues I wanted to deal with, and I am fairly happy with where my “soft kit” is at currently. Unfortunately, the larger pieces of kit I wanted to have made for my boneworking display have not come on nearly as well – my portable bench/bow lathe is still in pieces and while I may be lucky enough to get it finished as a bench, the lathe part will almost certainly have to wait. However, I do have a finished stool and thanks to my “pin a day” project, the actual display of bone and…

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