Living in Wyoming, USA, we come across a lot of natural materials
that we use. These include antlers, elk ivory (teeth), horns, claws,
fossil ivory and bone. Some materials can be sanded, and is necessary
to get a good surface for engraving or scrimshaw. Use wet-dry
sandpaper or those nail finishing bars from a beauty supply place. Use
fine grits with plenty of water, but don’t get the material you’re
working on too saturated, or else it will be too soft to sand
effectively (speaking of horns and claws). On these softer materials,
often it’s best not to remove too much material, and to only get by
with what will smooth the surface.
For polishing, I use fine grit Cratex points, judiciously. For
carving, use aggressive cross-cut burs, like Krauses. Horns and claws,
being chitinaceous material rather than ivory, you can only carve
shallowly. For ivory, I like to use White Diamond on a soft muslin
buff for the initial polish, followed by Fabulustre on a loose muslin
buff. For horns and claws, only Fabulustre on a loose muslin buff,
followed by a compound for plastic on a loose muslin buff.
Always wear your respirators when working with natural materials.
Hope it helps. P.S. No, I don’t kill the animals. The parts are brought
to me by hunters and Native Americans. I make the hunters show me a
current stamped license. I also have a kid who works for the Forest
Service and does genetic studies on bears for a university. No flak,