Crafting Bone Tools

The underlying philosophy of WETCC Extension Service is to reconnect people with nature. In an effort to understand and appreciate the gifts of Mother Earth, we explore the traditions of our ancestors. One of the traditions that seems to be very clear and universal to all Indigenous Peoples is to use what you have and let nothing go to waste.

With that in mind, it is hunting season in this part of the world. The meat and bones from a variety of animals give us much needed protein. So many times the bones are discarded after the soup is gone. With a little bit of creativity and a couple of saws and files, beautiful ornaments and functional tools can be made. A few of the items made at Extensions recent workshop are, knives, fish hooks, needles, tooth picks, lamp base, awls, and pendants.

Simple steps to creating bone tools.

Step one: Gather bones. Use bones from a hunt, local meat processor or from a finished meal.

Step two: Remove skin, hooves and as much meat and tendons as possible. Be sure to cut the bones so that the marrow can be removed from the bone (remove at least one joint)

Step three: Boil the bones until all of the marrow can be removed from the bone. This may take several hours. Do not put the bones in the oven as the dry heat will make the bones brittle.

Step four: Let the bones air dry.

Step five: Draw a pattern on the air dried bone. Cut the bone with a saw to shape the tool. Use files to finish shaping the tool.

Step six: Polish finished tool with sand paper and steel wool. Option- soak the tool in peroixide to whiten.






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