Phalangeal Re-Creation -OR- The Day I Made Bones


My partner, Micah, and I happen upon odd things in our business. Sometimes that oddness appears in the form of human bones.

Yeah, I know, some folks find that creepy. I’m totally okay with that, because a lot of other folks find it phenomenal. In fact, we have a list of clients who are mainly interested in the uber-weird: plastinated organs, death memorabilia, human bones, taxidermy, preserved specimens, etc.

This past week, we turned down a collection of, to quote the seller, “Indian bones”. In his personal archaeological quest for Native American artifacts, he has amassed a barn-full of remains. Now, we have a personal aversion to this idea. Buying and selling bones which were once used for scientific study & education (and therefore, hopefully, gifted by the donor for that purpose) is a far different thing than trafficking remains which were once ceremoniously interred.

For us, this is a moral issue.

To the U.S. government, it is also a federal offense. (SEE: Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act)

How to know the difference? Well, the educational items are cleaned & prepared–usually with mounting wires, hinges, springs & screws. A while back, we purchased a group of these specimens. Basically, pieces and parts from educational models—all in varying stages of disrepair.

That’s where I come in.

These past couple days I have been hand-carving replacement phalanges for a sad, little skeletal arm who had lost the majority of his digits. And because some of you may find this intriguing (and maybe just a *little* bit creepy…) here’s a slide show of the progression from busted to re-bonified.

So, there you go. No bones about it. [ahem…] From busted & sad to (I think) a much revived version.

And for my next trick– Well, actually, Micah is working on the next project. Documentary pics shall follow. Yes, it involves more bones. A skull, in fact. One which was cut into 7+ vertical slices… Mounting fixtures and a gorgeous base are being fabricated, a glass dome awaits.

In the meantime, to keep me busy, there are a few vertebra columns which need some TLC.

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