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MMD > Archives > May 1996 > 1996.05.06 > 03Prev  Next

RE: Ivory Bleach
By Craig Brougher

Recently, Les Smith mentioned both that bone keys are available, and that ivory may be bleached. Could we get an address for bone keys? Aren't they more porous than ivory, and wouldn't they discolor faster? Or are they perhaps treated with a polymer that might prevent the absorption of oils which eventually discolor it? Perhaps someone know more about this subject.

On the subject of ivory bleach, I have tried everything, once having wet sanded the old ivory, and have lightened it perhaps a shade or two, but nothing like it was when it was new. I have used every kind of wood bleach including oxalic acid, combinations and single strengths of bleaching hydrogen peroxide, sodium hypochlorite, you name it. And I have kept these solutions on the ivory literally for days. None of it works. So if anybody knows a better way to do it, other than using whiting which is temporary and does a poor job anyway, I would sure appreciate it.

By the way, I used to have an old photograph taken somewhere around the Alaska range where the Mastadons were buried. They had what looked like over a hundred men posing on heaps of ivory tusks with steam equipment running in the background. The picture was used as proof that the majority of the ivory used in our pianos today was actually over 50,000 years old. Does anybody have any more information on this? I'm sure there were more sources competing in the ivory market.

Craig B.

(Message sent Mon 6 May 1996, 14:32:52 GMT, from time zone GMT.)

Key Words in Subject:  Bleach, Ivory

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