Saturday, September 24, 2011

Tagua nuts

Sorry I went AWOL, folks... Been dealing with a lot of intense personal crap and had to sort my head out. I've also been busy making more pendants. As I'm running out of bones, I decided to find a substitute for it. Tagua nut looked like a nice alternative. It can be pyrographed, scrimshawed, carved, and painted.

50mm x 35mm - 2" x 1 3/8"
Tagua nut is also known as "vegetable ivory" and comes mainly from Ecuador in South America. I struggled to find a distributor in Australia, but I did manage to find one in the end. It's easy to purchase it online, but because of our pedantic and anal-retentive custom laws here, no food, animal nor vegetable products can be imported into Australia without a permit. I ordered a small quantity of the nuts (thank God!) I tried my hand at pyrographing a small piece... OMFG!!! This stuff is a pain to work with!! It doesn't burn properly... It more or less melts!!! And I find that it stinks worst than bone. Here's a pic of the "dog breakfast" I tried to burn. Thank God for my Touch markers! At least a bit of colour makes the skid marks less apparent.

40mm x 45mm - 1 3/4" x 1 1/2"
I also made another bird-cameo pendant. This one is a red-backed fairy-wren. The frame is Queensland walnut. I'm quite happy with it, even though it did give me a bit of grief. I guess it's back to the old drawing board for me. Bone is still the best alternative, even though it's a pain to acquire, messy to prepare and stinky to boot. Instead of driving 45 minutes to get to the abattoir down in the Gold Coast, I might just drop in to our wholesale butcher up the road and buy a few cow bones. That might be a simpler alternative.


  1. Love the tiger! (And I didn't spot any imperfections). I guess the melting and sliding might be because of the oil in the nut? They use them a lot here to carve with. The bird is nice too - is it on bone?
    Hope you've gotten all the personal stuff sorted out. (((C)))

  2. Thanks luv! :) Yeah... That's what I reckon. It must be very oily. Apparently, it's even harder to carve than to burn! This stuff is bloody hard! Yup... The cameo is made of bone. I have another one shortly on the way too (a black swan).
    I've sort of sorted it out. LOL! ;) My head is a mess at the mo'.

  3. (((Soulsis))), please call if you need to talk.


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