As for working with ivory, I've an expert to consult. Don't over heat it when grinding or it will crack and always drill the holes from the front, very slowly. The ivory may chip a little on the back side. Mine didn't but some of the bark ivory is much more fragile than the inner core pieces so one must be extra careful. Some of you may be wondering where does the color come from n the mammoth? The dirt where the tusk laid buried for centuries impregnates into the tusk. Some only a little ways and others pretty deep. The interesting thing is that Kirk is getting only scraps too. Most all the mammoth ivory tusks found on the tundra has broken down into pieces.
As for grinding, well, it was a bit scary putting my fingers so close to the whirling belt. It not only takes off horn and ivory, but hide just as easily. The variable speed control endears me to this particular grinder. Kirk has a Burr King with one speed only, VERY FAST. I won't touch it. These few buttons taught me quite a lot about how I want to go about making the next ones. Some things I'll repeat and others, I'm changing my methods on and trying something new. As with all new things the learning curve is steep.
But one thing is for sure, there will be more button making in my future.