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Reproduction ivory look hand grips

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Gareth Jones 914/10/2021 11:38:22
23 forum posts

Morning folks, I'd like to replace some wooded hand grips with something that would look like old ivory. They would be in two halves, say 100mmx50mmx10mm with shaped to fit curves.

Any recommendations as to what material to use?

Many thanks,

Gareth Jones

Oldiron14/10/2021 11:41:49
997 forum posts
40 photos

You can buy deer antler from various places. Not sure if it will be perfect for the job but would be different.


Journeyman14/10/2021 11:50:02
1174 forum posts
236 photos

There are plenty of ivory substitutes about aka plastic. This was the first one I found *** LINK ***


Derek Lane14/10/2021 11:57:45
792 forum posts
175 photos

Pen turners use a Ivory substitute but finding it in the size you want may be a bit of a search unless you can find someone who would be prepared to cast some at the size you require.

 I have put a post on the Pen Turners Forum for you


Edited By Derek Lane on 14/10/2021 12:02:58

Bob Stevenson14/10/2021 12:08:00
579 forum posts
7 photos

.The knife making fraternity use what they call 'ivory micarta' which is actually sheets of cream paper laminated by pressure using polyeter resin......the resulting material is then cut and sanded to shape and the many layers give a slightly grained effect as found on some real ivory

JasonB14/10/2021 12:38:00
23076 forum posts
2771 photos
1 articles

GPS Agencies for imitation ivory, tortoise shell etc, Axminster tools are a stockist


Edited By JasonB on 14/10/2021 12:40:23

Martin Connelly14/10/2021 13:16:43
2183 forum posts
227 photos

I'm making a model of some scientific equipment from about 1830 at the moment that has what may be ivory for some small parts (I have a sketch and some descriptions but not in detail). It does not need to be exact but does need to be functional at 1:1. I am using some cream 133 ivory acrylic which will be close enough for what I want but will clearly not look perfectly like ivory. Maybe a few longitudinal scratches with dirt rubbed in will make it more realistic looking.

Martin C

Bo'sun14/10/2021 13:26:07
621 forum posts
2 photos

Hi GJ9,

I believe Xylonite was used in the past as a replacement for Ivory on domestic cutlery. I also seen to remember it was flammable.

John Haine14/10/2021 13:27:19
4718 forum posts
273 photos

Apparently you can pickle a peeled potato in glacial acetic acid to make a substitute. I've never tried it though.

larry phelan 114/10/2021 13:48:22
1192 forum posts
15 photos

Ah for the good old days, when you could just go off and shoot your own elephant.

Now you have to rely on poachers.

Frank Gorse14/10/2021 14:01:35
85 forum posts

I’ve read somewhere-can’t remember where- that one of the colours of Corian is a reasonable match. And that would be available in the dimensions you need whereas ivory substitute is often only listed in smallish rounds for turning.

Just looked,loads of offcuts on ebay.

Edited By Frank Gorse on 14/10/2021 14:06:30

Dave Halford14/10/2021 14:18:16
2100 forum posts
23 photos

The traditional substitute for ivory was bone, safest to get from a local butcher I wouldn't trust the pet shop ones.

Rod Renshaw14/10/2021 14:36:12
376 forum posts
2 photos

I can confirm the potato in vinegar story,. but like John I have not tried it.

I was told about it by a small girl who had read it in her Girl Guide Annual and told me "because you mess about with things in your shed"


Simon Johnson 214/10/2021 16:23:50
2 forum posts

I'm intrigued by the potato in vinigar method, any more information on it anyone?

Calum Galleitch14/10/2021 17:06:59
194 forum posts
65 photos

The GPS material Jason mentioned handles very like ivory, but lacks the crosshatching effect of real ivory. There is a rather cheaper material called Arvorin, which is made of resin and available in all sorts of shapes and sizes. It's a bit brittle so needs to be worked with care but does have a more realistic (though clearly not real) effect. White delrin can be baked in an oven and with a little care will scorch to a nice cream tone that can be polished. There is also the Guitar Parts stuff, which now includes Elforyn - they're pretty expensive but very nice and some of their grades are uncannily realistic.

Bone requires a lot of processing to degrease it, and if you don't do it properly it looks fine and then starts sweating fat a few days later.

You can still get actual mammoth ivory, although it's much more expensive and not particularly great quality these days. And if you search popular trading sites for "natural material", you can often find old and ugly bits of sculpture and carving that the world would not miss if they were recycled.

David George 114/10/2021 22:31:13
1874 forum posts
505 photos

My brother sells mammoth ivory from Siberia. He is a dealer in fossils and stone treasures. I have a small meteorite in my pocket that he gave me.


Alan Charleston15/10/2021 05:51:26
135 forum posts
22 photos


I used to have an old book of "useful" chemical recipes which included the potato/acid reaction. From memory, it said to use sulphuric acid instead of acetic. I followed their recipe but no joy - I ended up with a gooey mess which didn't dry down to an inert hard material. I've looked for the book but can't find it - I guess I threw it away after I found it to be untrustworthy.

I'd give bone a go - the experts on the Antiques Road Show have to look twice to differentiate bone from ivory. A pelvis from a cow is a pretty hefty piece of material. It's important that the bone is raw, apparently cooking it melts the fat into the bone. Scraping all the flesh off followed by washing with detergent and water followed by drying then soaking in acetone seems to be the way to degrease bone. It would help I guess to cut a piece a bit bigger than the final size to maximise the degreasing.


Alan C.

Gareth Jones 915/10/2021 08:35:07
23 forum posts

Morning folks, thanks for all the input. I'll start with Axminster tools as suggested by Jason.



JasonB15/10/2021 08:51:09
23076 forum posts
2771 photos
1 articles

Dicktum is another tool supplier that I use who do a couple of versions and in flat sheet.

Barnabas Taylor15/10/2021 18:41:53
33 forum posts
8 photos

I use Elforyn as an ivory substitute on knife handles. you can get it from Ground Flat Stock. Made by Juma it is an excellent material, but pretty pricy.

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