tsterling Posted January 8, 2007 Report Share Posted January 8, 2007 Carving another basket lid, this time in moose antler and ziricote (blackish exotic wood). Finally found a good source for potassium permanganate, ordered some and am giving it a try. Potassium Permanganate Source Clive Hallam originally told me about this stuff a number of years back, but I've never had a chance to try it until now. His antler carvings treated with it were nothing short of spectacular. Here's the partially carved moose antler face about 2.5 inches in diameter (6.4 cm). Very white, and solid on the face side. I mixed about half a teaspoon of the potasssium permanganate in about a cup and a half of distilled water. It mixes up into a deep royal purple liquid - looks awful to drop your carving in, but I girded up my courage and did it anyway. Soaked the carving for about 5 minutes, so not a very deep penetration. Should be able to polish some of the coloration away. That's the plan, anyway... Here's the result: Comes out a golden brown, with the purple liquid sitting in the low spots. I dried it off with a paper towel and all the purple liquid disappeared. Sigh of relief... I remember some characteristics of potassium permanganate from my chemistry days - it's a very strong oxidizer, there were some interesting fires and smoke when adding a drop or two of glycerin to a (small!) pile of the powder. Obviously the sterols/glycerols, proteins, carbohydrates and organics like calcium phosphate in the antler are being severely oxidized, which probably accounts for the brownish color rather than the purple. The potassium permanganate is being reduced by those aforementioned, so the garish purple color goes away. I'll keep carving, sanding, smoothing etc, along with periodic applications of more potassium permanganate and see where it all goes. Will keep you posted. The most interesting things are happening on the back side, where the antler is a little bit porous. The more porous the surface, the deeper the brown coloration. That's sort of how Clive's carvings were done, with areas of light and dark depending on the local antler density. The white streak is a little residual super glue left from the lathe turning, so one should be able to mask off areas to not absorb as much potassium permanganate. Have to remember that one for future use... Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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