Ivory from old piano keys

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Forum topic by rance posted 11-22-2011 10:14 PM 2383 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View rance's profile


4271 posts in 3520 days

11-22-2011 10:14 PM

Topic tags/keywords: ivory

Folks, I’ve been contacted about trading some old piano keys that are aparently made from real ivory. First of all, I have no idea what I would use it for, but that wouldn’t keep me from trading for it.

1) What are the legalities for this?
2) What is the advantage of using true Ivory over imitation materials?
3) Is it easy to work with?
4) Can it be verified to be real Ivory?

Any and all help with this would be appreciated. Thanks.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

5 replies so far

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 3343 days

#1 posted 11-22-2011 10:24 PM

1) Its recycled so its legal to reuse, just don’t harvest any elephants or out of season walrus’s. LOL
2)imitation doesn’t age as real ivory does.
3) It can be machined with woodworking tools, its brittle so can break easy.
4) Real ivory will yellow when aged.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View SPalm's profile


5332 posts in 4241 days

#2 posted 11-22-2011 10:34 PM

To authenticate it I think you tickle the ivory. Or so I have heard.

Actually I have no idea. Go for it and let us know.

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View pierce85's profile


508 posts in 2922 days

#3 posted 11-22-2011 11:15 PM

You can use the pin test to authenticate it as not synthetic. Press the tip of a red-hot pin on the surface (hidden area) and if it’s plastic, it will melt the surface leaving a mark/indentation.

View rance's profile


4271 posts in 3520 days

#4 posted 11-22-2011 11:31 PM

Well, it looks like I can’t loose with it. And I won’t have problems with any imitation limitation. If I do get it Steve, I will definitely tickle them.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View KnickKnack's profile


1094 posts in 3926 days

#5 posted 11-23-2011 10:11 AM

I’d be very very careful. I was at an airport recently and they had a “trophy” cabinet of items they’d confiscated. Should you, or the person who ends up with one of your pieces ever try to cross an international border, they may have some serious trouble – is there paperwork that the ivory really is pre-embargo? How will that work if you’ve changed it to look unlike a piano key?
This web site has a little information
Oh, and the “hot pin” test will tell if the keys are plastic, but won’t tell you if they’re ivory or bone.

-- "Do not speak – unless it improves on silence." --- "Following the rules and protecting the regulations is binding oneself without rope."

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