I’ve been playing with bone again, making props for 5K REM.
At Northwind, a weekend 5k REM event a while ago, my character helped kill a nasty critter and took some of his teeth for trophies. He looked like this;
(Photo nicked from the REM Facebook page)
I wanted to try and get phys reps for the teeth, but couldn’t find anything suitable at a reasonable price, or with reasonable morals. So I figured I’d make my own. I did a bit of research, looking at various human and animal teeth. I figured shark was the way to go, with a nice fat root and long pointy bit.
Working with bone bone is smelly. Really smelly. Bone dust gets everywhere, and makes things smell like burning hair. It’s best done outside. I wear a headscarf when I remember to, to keep it out of my hair. Goggles and a dust mask are a goo. d plan too.
I used a hacksaw and my trusty Dremel to cut some blanks. I use dog bones, they’re cooked so a bit greasy, but that helps keep the dust down.
I didnt take take any pictures of the actual shaping. I meant to, but got a bit carried away! You can use a Dremel, but i have a bench grinder I use for simple shapes like this. I eyeballed the edge between the root and the tooth section, rounding down while leaving the root as big as possible. I tried to get some vertical curve into the tooth when the blank was wide enough to let me. Real teeth have a slight curve on the back and a deeper one at the front. I flattened the back to start with, rounded out the general shape and got the front in order before adding a bit of curve at the back. The roots I tried to work as little as possible, jamming them against the edge of the wheel to get pits and sharp bits (don’t you do that though, it’s not really safe). I should have really worked some more detail on them with Dremel bits, but I was fed up of bone dust by then!
Sanding is the next step, lots of sanding.
I stated at 120 to get rid of the tool marks from grinding, then worked up on the tooth section. The root I went over in circular motions at 120 and left it at that to keep it rough looking. I used a fine wire wool for the last polish on the tooth to get it really smooth and shiny.
Looking good, but a bit too nice and clean for the gribbly monster they are supported to be from. I made a horrid cup of boiling brown from several tea bags torn open and a handful of coffee, then left my lovely shiny teeth to sit in the mess till it cooled.
Poor teeth, all brown and stained. I went back over them with the wire wool to lighten the tooth section and put some highlights on the roots.
For the final touch, I used a dark brown permanent marker pen to darken some of the dips in the roots. I also used it to define the line between tooth and root, and smeared some down the back of the tooth with my finger to get some nice grubby stains.
Pretty damn pleased with these. They look the part, and being made from bone really feel like teeth. They even make the right noises when you drop them. The roots aren’t perfect, I might experiment with polymer clay to get a different texture from the tooth itself if I do teeth again.