Cuttlefish Bone Casting

Cuttlefish

Cuttlefish bone casting is an ancient technique that is fairly simple, but it is often difficult to get the desired results. The bone in the body of the cuttlefish is slightly flat and oblong. A piece of this bone is cut in half and sanded so the two pieces fit together smoothly to create the mold. The design is then carved into one side of the soft cuttlefish bone to create a negative space. A paintbrush is used to sweep away any debris left in the carved area. This also helps to emphasize the texture created by the cuttlefish bone. The two pieces of bone are then bound together with wire to hold them together taut.

Next the metal is melted and poured into the cuttlefish mold. During the pouring process the heat of the metal destroys the mold, providing only one chance to have a successful pour. If the metal does not travel all the way through the mold one must start again from the beginning with a new piece of bone. Depending on the complexity of the design, cuttlefish bone casting can be a difficult process filled with trial and error. With the current options available there are easier and more effective ways of casting. But the amazing textures created by the variations in the cuttlefish are hard to duplicate with any other process.