A couple of fully restored mammoth tusks

Mark Knapp

Dealer - Purveyor
Lots of people ask me what mammoth tusks look like when I get them. Most of the ivory I buy is in small pieces of bark or tusk sections. Those get made into scales for knife making or sold as scrap to jewelry makers. A small percentage of it is in good enough shape to restore the tusks into specimens. Here's what those look like when I get them fresh from the ground.


Here's what one looks like fully restored.



Here's another one.

You can see that it would be very hard to mistake a mammoth tusk for an elephant tusk either in it's rough form or restored.
 

KenH

Well-Known Member
Thanks for showing that Mark - Your work is so VERY impressive on those restorations.... just like your knife work is impressive.

Plum silly to think mammoth could be mistaken for elephant ivory - even the inside that you "might" find that is white still has a bit different look - and those rays are totally different to anyone who knows anything.
 

C Craft

Well-Known Member
Mark now don't take this the wrong way, as I am 60 yrs young myself. But I somehow had the impression you were just a young whippersnapper however, I am looking at this thread and reading up on restored mammoth and it suddenly hits me. Who is this guy, I am looking at in the pics. So I run back up to the top of the page and I see, Mark KnappDealer - Purveyor. That is when it hit me!! Mark is closer to my age, than a young whippersnapper! :eek::D I remember seeing an avatar you were using, from another forum, you were probably in your late 20's or early 30's I would have guessed!

Mark that is some beautiful stuff when you get it restored. I would be willing to bet you got many an hour in restoring one of those! I watched a program here a while back where they were using water cannons to blast them out of the permafrost over in Russia. Evidently an area of heavy concentration of the beasts! The area wasn't regulated and the tunnels they were blasting in the permafrost were prone to cave in. However it was driven by the money they were getting for the raw ones!!




It is hard to imagine the beast that would have totted this one! Really beautiful work!

That one I am guessing is close to 8' plus, the angle of the shot may be deceiving!! How in the world did you ever get into this kind of stuff?? I can't imagine the amount of work to get it from the shot of how it looks when you get it to, the piece you have your hand on!!

Really nice to see and please don't take the revelation the wrong way. When I saw your picture standing next to the tusk it just hit me!!! :rolleyes:
 

Gliden07

Well-Known Member
This is amazing to say the least!! How do you restore these artifacts? I think this is unbelievable!
 

Mark Knapp

Dealer - Purveyor
Mark now don't take this the wrong way, as I am 60 yrs young myself. But I somehow had the impression you were just a young whippersnapper however, I am looking at this thread and reading up on restored mammoth and it suddenly hits me. Who is this guy, I am looking at in the pics. So I run back up to the top of the page and I see, Mark KnappDealer - Purveyor. That is when it hit me!! Mark is closer to my age, than a young whippersnapper! :eek::D I remember seeing an avatar you were using, from another forum, you were probably in your late 20's or early 30's I would have guessed!

Mark that is some beautiful stuff when you get it restored. I would be willing to bet you got many an hour in restoring one of those! I watched a program here a while back where they were using water cannons to blast them out of the permafrost over in Russia. Evidently an area of heavy concentration of the beasts! The area wasn't regulated and the tunnels they were blasting in the permafrost were prone to cave in. However it was driven by the money they were getting for the raw ones!!




It is hard to imagine the beast that would have totted this one! Really beautiful work!

That one I am guessing is close to 8' plus, the angle of the shot may be deceiving!! How in the world did you ever get into this kind of stuff?? I can't imagine the amount of work to get it from the shot of how it looks when you get it to, the piece you have your hand on!!

Really nice to see and please don't take the revelation the wrong way. When I saw your picture standing next to the tusk it just hit me!!! :rolleyes:
No offense taken. The big one is 11 1/2 feet long and weighs 195 lbs. The smaller one is 8 feet long and weighs about 70 lbs. I buy them from native people mostly, who find them on their journeys throughout Alaska.
 

Mark Knapp

Dealer - Purveyor
This is amazing to say the least!! How do you restore these artifacts? I think this is unbelievable!
First, they need to dry for about a year, then I begin sanding them, I stabilize them with Cyano-Acrylate and fill any cracks with epoxy mixed with ivory dust, blending in the colors. I sand them down through all the grits and finish them with paste wax
 

Gliden07

Well-Known Member
First, they need to dry for about a year, then I begin sanding them, I stabilize them with Cyano-Acrylate and fill any cracks with epoxy mixed with ivory dust, blending in the colors. I sand them down through all the grits and finish them with paste wax
Awesome!! How do you get started doing something like that. The reason I ask is it's not an everyday hobby/job?? This fascinates me!!
 

Mark Knapp

Dealer - Purveyor
Awesome!! How do you get started doing something like that. The reason I ask is it's not an everyday hobby/job?? This fascinates me!!
Well, I've been working up to this point for 17 years. I first got into buying ivory for my knives. Soon enough people started asking me to buy ivory for them for their knives. Every once in a while someone would come up with an ivory tusk that was just too good to be cut up into pieces for scales so I learned (taught myself) how to restore them for specimens. Life just kind of brought me here. Of course, I live in Alaska so that makes it easier.
 

C Craft

Well-Known Member
First of all, glad you weren't mad! :D I remember you from another forum and when you came to this one, I still had that image in my mind!! When I was about 22 I was doing pre-fab construction. Heavy, work and you got to move fast to make a profit and yet turn out a good product! Anyway at 22 I was considered the old man on the job. I had a kid who had went to work for me right out of high school and I had never seen the kid without his hat. One day hes is going to help me lift a heavy box containing many cases of nails. As we bent over I bumped his head with mine and his hat falls off! The kid is 17 years old and he has only fuzz on his head! Without thinking I looked at him and proudly said, damn Sam did you know you were bald. .........................Well of course he did I just had not imagined a young kid of 17 being bald. Turned out his whole family was like that. Sometimes the stupid things we say make us a friend for life. Especially if you apologize and mean it!!

How long does it take to re-finish/stabilize one of those like the 8 foot-er. I am gonna guess you have many hours in the stabilization of those pieces. I am gonna guess when you factor in filing sanding,blending and sanding, and drying time. You are looking more like weeks and maybe more.

It still just boggles the mind when you try to visualize the beast that proudly carried that one! It fascinates me when I see artifacts such as those!
 

Mark Knapp

Dealer - Purveyor
First of all, glad you weren't mad! :D I remember you from another forum and when you came to this one, I still had that image in my mind!! When I was about 22 I was doing pre-fab construction. Heavy, work and you got to move fast to make a profit and yet turn out a good product! Anyway at 22 I was considered the old man on the job. I had a kid who had went to work for me right out of high school and I had never seen the kid without his hat. One day hes is going to help me lift a heavy box containing many cases of nails. As we bent over I bumped his head with mine and his hat falls off! The kid is 17 years old and he has only fuzz on his head! Without thinking I looked at him and proudly said, damn Sam did you know you were bald. .........................Well of course he did I just had not imagined a young kid of 17 being bald. Turned out his whole family was like that. Sometimes the stupid things we say make us a friend for life. Especially if you apologize and mean it!!

How long does it take to re-finish/stabilize one of those like the 8 foot-er. I am gonna guess you have many hours in the stabilization of those pieces. I am gonna guess when you factor in filing sanding,blending and sanding, and drying time. You are looking more like weeks and maybe more.

It still just boggles the mind when you try to visualize the beast that proudly carried that one! It fascinates me when I see artifacts such as those!
All told, there could be 100 hours in a tusk. That's really not a lot considering some of my knives take me 100 hours to build.
 

C Craft

Well-Known Member
Your work has always been on my radar since I saw the first piece, of yours a few years ago! I can see where your knives may have that many hours in them. I do have a new found appreciation for your work with the tusks!!! Absolutely beautiful!!
 

KenH

Well-Known Member
A couple folks asked about price of something like those tusks - no clue, but they are expensive!!!! One of those "if you have to ask, you can't afford it" type of things. I saw a pair of mammoth tusks on another side that were smaller (around 7 to 8 ft) and still in the raw as they came from ground...... price? $29,000 for the pair, and "Sold pending funds" sticker on them. Just imagine after 100 man hours in each tusk.
 

Mark Knapp

Dealer - Purveyor
Thanks everybody. These pieces are sold, but when I get some more done I will post them in the "For Sale" forum
 

AkWildman

Well-Known Member
Awesome work Mark,Its nice to see fellow Alaskans ! Your ivory is top notch and your blade work is outstanding !
 
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