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Go Back   Bob Dunsire Bagpipe Forums > General Discussion > Do It Yourself (DIY)
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Do It Yourself (DIY) Making and repairing of instruments, accessories, and more.

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Old 06-19-2006, 08:47 AM   #1
Wulls
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Default Ivory mounts.

Thought some of you might find my afternoons work interesting......
The only (legal) way of getting real ivory for bagpipe mounts is to make them out of old billiard or snooker balls....
Here are some photos of the way I do it.

1/ Start with a ball.....

2/ Put it in a chuck and turn a recess to grip it on when it is in two bits and drill a pilot hole through it.


3/ Turn it round in the chuck and turn an identical recess on the other side


4/ with a very thin parting tool cut the ball in half with the drill inserted up the middle to catch the bit that falls off and support the ball.

5/ After gripping the half ball by the step, rough out the radius on the sharp end with a forming tool. The final product awaiting a set of pipes !




Once they are ready to fit and finish, shorten them to length by turning material from the round end to keep the diameter as big as possible.
Voilla.....real ivory projecting mounts.....
Hope that is of some interest......
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Old 06-19-2006, 10:02 AM   #2
Piper Mac
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Default Re: Ivory mounts.

Wulls, Great pictures, thanks for sharing. Had read or heard about using old billard balls and always wondered how that was done....Thanks
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Old 06-19-2006, 04:33 PM   #3
jcsayre
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Default Re: Ivory mounts.

That was very interesting!
Thank you, Wulls.
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Old 06-19-2006, 04:56 PM   #4
FD Piper
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Default Re: Ivory mounts.

Cool!
So, are these to go to a set of 40's Henderson's?
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Old 06-19-2006, 05:35 PM   #5
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Default Re: Ivory mounts.

Hi Wulls, my pipes are made from a set of old Billiard balls as well. Same technique, it is good advise. They worked out quite well, although I had a couple of balls that had some cracks that were a little deep. It has been a hard time finding good balls though! cheers
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Old 06-20-2006, 01:44 AM   #6
Yuri
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Default Re: Ivory mounts.

There is another legal way. That is to get mammoth or mastodon ivory. To say nothing of the stuff sold from Alaska, you also can get mammoth ivory from Russian sailors. (this one is legal to get, but questionably legal to get OUT of Russia, as normally it is smuggled out without permit.)
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Old 06-20-2006, 03:09 AM   #7
Wulls
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Default Re: Ivory mounts.

Hi Yuri, I have tried the mammoth ivory, I really did not like it at all. the colour differs a lot and it looks nowt like "real" ivory. Tagua nuts too are a royal PITA with the shake in the middle often needing filled. I do this with epoxy mixed with the nut turnings ground down.
For me it's either recovered real ivory or immitation.......
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Old 06-20-2006, 06:35 AM   #8
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Default Re: Ivory mounts.

Nice pics and explanation, Bob.

I got scared for the pics are so big that the first ball looked like a bowling one on my screen.
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Old 06-20-2006, 08:14 AM   #9
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Default Re: Ivory mounts.

I'm wondering though. According to an ivory restoration specialist I work with here in the U.S. and as I read the Division of Wildlife regs on ivory, if you're using old ivory you have to be able to prove that it was antique ivory--at least 100 years old (unless, of course, it never leaves the country). My restoration friend did a patch job on a 600 year old Buddha figure. When he tried sending it back to the owner (in Japan, I think) the customs people on this side saw the tiny little chip of ivory and held the whole thing until he could show them the piece of old keyboard ivory he used. Had to prove it wasn't "recently acquired (totally illegal)" ivory. The piano had been about 1920 vintage so the entire piece had to be classified as non-antique ivory and he had to get all the necessary permits. It took months for him to get the Buddha back to the owner. Even though the actual item was documented as 600 yrs. old, because of that one little piece the whole thing had to be permitted as "new but not illegal." I sometimes wonder though if the hassles aren't the result of a particular agent's interpretations at the time.

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Old 06-20-2006, 10:01 PM   #10
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Default Re: Ivory mounts.

Hi, Wulls.The problems with mammoth ivory are indeed manyfold, BUT they are very variable. All depends on a few differences: Was the tusk buried or merely frozen? How old it is? (it can vary from just a few thousand years frozen, which is still, believe it or not, edible, well, not the tusk, the meat; to a couple of million years buried in some clay. I wouldn't fancy trying THAT meat, though.)(To tell the truth, I wouldn't fancy the few K years' stuff either...)And finally there is a HUGE difference in the thawing process. If it is rushed, that's when all the shakes and cracks develope. It has to be done with a lot of patience, very slowly, and apparently not many poachers or whatever you'll call them have either the interest in it or even the understanding of the difference. A tusk some 5-6 k years old, frozen, never buried , thawed out the right way can be every bit as beautiful as elephant ivory. (they don't tend to have the African ivory's scroll pattern, though, much like Indian ivory doesn't, either)
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