Making a bone needle

Aussie123

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I started making a bone needle today. I ran out of time, so I'll have to continue the process next weekend (if I get a chance)

Here are my tools. A bone and a couple of flint shards:
20170917_130044 (Medium).jpg

Start in to score lines in the bone to enable to it break cleanly:
20170917_130621 (Medium).jpg

Two lines scored, about 1/3 the thickness of the bone:
20170917_133259 (Medium).jpg

I gently whacked it with a stone. It didn't break along my scored lines at all. But I still have 3 very usable shards:
20170917_133609 (Medium).jpg

This is the shard I worked on. I realised that "mounting" the flint shary in a crack in the rock enabled me to use it as a very effective scraper. I also rubbed the shard on the surface of the sandstone "hammer" to sand the edges etc
The mounted shard was by far the best tool:
20170917_140143 (Medium).jpg

Here's where I finished up. I'll leave the bone and flint shards in my pack so I can bring them to work on next timeL
20170917_140155 (Medium).jpg



... and a modern cuppa coffee while I worked. One tube for powdered milk (in the cup) and one for coffee grounds (in the jetboil) - definitely need more coffee grounds, it wasn't strong enough for me ...
I think it tasted a bit like a commercial coffee bag strength ... next time I'll .... :
20170917_122749 (Medium).jpg


See Also "Flint drill bit" : http://bushcraftoz.com/forums/showthread.php?9592-Flint-drill-bit&p=98433#post98433

Eye of the none needle: http://bushcraftoz.com/forums/showthread.php?9596-Eye-of-the-bone-needle&p=98446#post98446
 
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Thrud

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A noob question, are bone needles better from cooked or raw bone?
 

Le Loup

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A noob question, are bone needles better from cooked or raw bone?
I have never used cooked bone to make needles or any other item Thrud, but I would imagine cooked bone should be fine providing of course it has not been boiled with added vinegar!
Keith.
Roo_leg_bones_REDUCED.jpg
Plenty of roo bones out bush.
 

Aussie123

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I have never used cooked bone to make needles or any other item Thrud, but I would imagine cooked bone should be fine providing of course it has not been boiled with added vinegar!
Keith.
View attachment 24437
Plenty of roo bones out bush.
I'm not an expert in bones. The one I'm using here is from the family roast, so its cooked.

My reading suggests that raw bones are harder, but more brittle, than cooked.
Fresh (raw) bones can crack and split as they dry; cooked bones are less likely to do so.

So for an arrow or spear point, perhaps raw is good (hard and sharp for penetration); for a needle or awl perhaps cooked is best because its less likely to dry out and split and can retain some degree of flexibility so it doesn't break as readily.

Broken bone needles are a common archeological find. (Then again almost everything archeologists find is broken, so perhaps we shouldn't worry too much about broken needles on that basis)


I'd love to hear from anyone with more experience ?


PS I probably should have mentioned that you should be sure not to breath bone dust. This is esp an issue is you use power tools or are inside, or during a sanding process.

Keeping the bone damp with a few drops or spray of water will keep the dust down, or wear a mask.
The bone dust can set up infections in your sinus, or cause lung and respiratory issues (eg pneumoconioses - with a lot of exposure).
 

Askew

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Given bone carvers often boil bones to clean them I don't see why using cooked bones would be a problem, unless you're worried about the bone staining as it absorbs the fat from the meat. Compare the photos Aussie 123 posted with the ones Le Loup posted. Although bone that comes in regular contact with skin will develop a patina anyway as it absorbs the oils from your skin.
Looking forward to seeing how these turn out, making some bone needles has been on my to do list for a while.
 

CraftCritter

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Hmm, now this was an interesting read. I might try this out someday, bone needles. :)


___________________________________________________
Bushcraft Beginner and Photographer at Petstreetmall.
 

Kindling

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Clefs de l'histoire:
"As bone needles could easily be broken when sewing thick hide, the Inuit seamstress would employ an awl (kaputaq) to start the hole for the stitch. Awls are made of any strong material: bone, ivory or metal. If an awl was not available, a pointed tool, a splinter of bone or the corner of an ulu served to make the needle-hole. Awls can also be used to make the large holes required in the sealskin that goes onto the drying-frame or on skins for kayak covers.
Women's tools, including awls, are often elaborately decorated by men and are greatly treasured by women. This awl is carved in the shape of the elongated body of an animal, possibly a sea otter. Incised lines decorate the body with fanciful representations of a seal, fish, fur-bearing mammal and plant life."

Here's the link for this information after getting interested after reading these posts I went looking.

The Inuits knowledge is still pretty comprehensive
And they got "make " cool clothes too.

http://collections.musee-mccord.qc.ca/scripts/printtour.php?tourID=CW_InuitClothing_EN&Lang=2
 

Aussie123

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Here's the finished product. Its very sharp and hard, just like a sewing needle !

20180422_160111 (Medium).jpg
 

ChrisM

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That looks great!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Le Loup

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I'm not an expert in bones. The one I'm using here is from the family roast, so its cooked.

My reading suggests that raw bones are harder, but more brittle, than cooked.
Fresh (raw) bones can crack and split as they dry; cooked bones are less likely to do so.

So for an arrow or spear point, perhaps raw is good (hard and sharp for penetration); for a needle or awl perhaps cooked is best because its less likely to dry out and split and can retain some degree of flexibility so it doesn't break as readily.

Broken bone needles are a common archeological find. (Then again almost everything archeologists find is broken, so perhaps we shouldn't worry too much about broken needles on that basis)


I'd love to hear from anyone with more experience ?


PS I probably should have mentioned that you should be sure not to breath bone dust. This is esp an issue is you use power tools or are inside, or during a sanding process.

Keeping the bone damp with a few drops or spray of water will keep the dust down, or wear a mask.
The bone dust can set up infections in your sinus, or cause lung and respiratory issues (eg pneumoconioses - with a lot of exposure).
Roasted bones in my experience are more brittle than raw bone.
Keith.
 

Aussie123

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Thanks everyone.

Its a really worthwhile exercise and really doesn't take that long (at least in terms of effort, although the elapsed time was extended for me).
I think I could easily make a needle in an afternoon.

I think the secret for me was to find a really good rock to abrade on, and bringing a podcast to listen to

(Keith, thanks for the advice. The cooked bone worked fine, but I'll try and get a raw bone for comparison.)
 
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