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Materials

Runes can be made from many things such as, bone, antler, wood, clay, stone, crystals, leather etc... I will only be covering wood and bone at this time.

Click here to see the miniature bear bone rune set.

Bone

Some people frown on using bone for runes for numerous resons, but personally I see no reason not to use bone if you want to. I have made a couple of sets of bone runes and the people who use them love them.

There are many kinds of bone that can be used. It is best to use bone that is hard and not brittle. I recently made a miniature set of runes from the leg bone of a bear cub that had been hit and killed by a car. I figured I could honor the bear this way which happens to be a totem animal of mine. For all that these are a small set of runes, they are very powerful.

I prefer to use beef leg bones as it is a hard bone and pretty easy to obtain. You can buy beef bone from butcher or at the grocery store, they are sold as soup or dog bones and are pretty inexpensive. You will need several leg bones depending on the length and quality of the bone.

When you bring the bones home you will need to prepare them to get them ready for cutting as there will be flesh, fat and marrow on the bones. The best method I have found is to cut off the knuckles, this is the ends of the bones that connect the joints, using a hacksaw. Then boil them until the fat, flesh and marrow comes off. Remove them from the water and let them cool.

After the bones has cooled then cut them in half lengthwise and make sure that all the marrow is gone from the inside. It is best to then let the bone dry for a day or so.

After the bone has dried follow the same intsructions for working with wood. Just remember to wear a filter mask while cutting and sanding. Also, do not use too much pressure when sanding as too much friction will burn the bone. When using a woodburner watch the heat as too much heat could cause the bone to crack or break. Practice first on a bit of bone.

Wood

Wood is probably the most popular material to use for making runes. It's easy to work with and there are so many different kinds of wood you can work with.

The type of wood you use is a matter of personal preference. I have used pine, oak, poplar and alder. I have some peach wood that came from a branch that broke off of a peach tree in our garden that I am planning to use. By the way I am a tree hugger and do not like to cut up trees unless I get the tree's permission to remove a branch and leave a gift behind. I prefer to get wood from branches that have fallen off but I understand that not everyone can get wood this way. I have bought moulding from lumber stores and used those also.

However you acquire the wood, make sure that there are no knots, splits or cracks in the wood, the smoother the better. Also, most lumber stores sell moulding strips by the foot and will cut it to what ever size you need and it isn't very expensive. You can purchase the strips in many thicknesses and widths. I have used widths of 3/4"-1" and thicknesses of 1/4"-1/2" it depends on what size you want your runes to be.

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