Here you see the front and back of the mammoth ivory. It is a partial tusk. The other half disappeared, presumably it rotted away with time when it was laying in the Siberian tundra which is where this piece came from. A paper pattern is cut out the size of the knife handle. Using the pattern, a relatively flat piece large enough to be cut out for the handle scale is traced around using pencil.
When the patterns have been drawn, the tusk is sectioned on the bandsaw.
Each section here is going to give us one scale. The excess has to be removed by cutting the bottom of each scale as flat as possible by eye, again using the band saw. To the left, the band saw has been stopped for the picture. If you look closely at the ivory in the picture above, you can see the layer rings on the end of the top piece. It’s common for ivory this old (approx 20,000 to 25,000 years old) to come apart at the ring layers. That is why one is thicker than the other piece here even though it is from the same tusk. The ring layers have separated on the bottom piece. There is a lot of waste when cutting ivory like this into knife scales.
2/8/04 Here is the custom knife order for client Robert M we’ve been showing progress on for the last couple weeks. It is complete except for the edge being sharpened. I will leave that for the very last thing before shipping so no one gets cut. The blade is 4”, the handle adds another 4 1/4”. It is 154CM with dovetailed, stabilized Amboyna handles. I put a couple coats of Deft finish oil on the handle to help seal the wood and then a good coat of Bri-wax all around, including the blade. Tomorrow it ships to Joe for engraving and then to Sandy for a sheath. Three more knives to go for this project.
Mickley Custom Knives