Tim Reilly Cow Rib Bones
Handcrafted from Happy Free-range Cows
"Guaranteed to play along to sea music"
4 Sizes: Fits All Hands
Small, Medium, Large - and Kid-size!
Can't Decide Which Bones to Choose?Check out this handy guide: Bone FAQs
Tim Reilly Handcrafted Cow Rib Bones
Guaranteed to play well with sea music
Matched pairs of resonant, natural rib bones from free-range animals
Tim Reilly is a real-life sailor and professional ship's rigger who crafts musical bones just one pair at a time.
Using old-world maritime hand tools, the "old salt" transforms raw rib bones into rustic musical instruments.
Beginning with contented free-range farm animals, the bone-making process not only reflects Tim's compassionate nature, but also embraces the true Spirit of the Sea. Always in tune with seafaring customs and traditions, Tim carefully wet sands each musical instrument by hand - and weather permitting, you might see him along the banks of the Mystic River where he dips them into the salty brine to create a nice sanded finish...which is why these matched pairs of musical rib bones, branded in scrimshaw with Tim's very own "TR with anchor" logo are "Guaranteed to play well with sea music!"
Choose from 4 Sizes
You can get Tim Reilly's natural rib bones in 4 convenient sizes:
Kid-Size Bones measure only 4 or 5 inches in length. They are meant for teeny pre-teen hands.
Small Bones are around 6 inches in length. They are relatively narrow and work fine for players with any size hands. These are the first choice for players who prefer smaller, relatively thin, or short bones.
Medium Bones run from around 6-1/2 to 7 inches in length. Their traditional size and shape work great for older kids and grownups with any size hands. Generally a little wider than the Small style, these Medium size bones are favored by players who want bones that pack a little extra power and punch.
Large Bones are bulkier, clunkier and wider than the other styles. Lengths vary. Adventurous players with medium or large hands might find these bones both a joy and a challenge.
Tim produces his musical bones in all the standard shapes (flat; conical; semi-conical; humpy; honeycomb). The shapes available in each size are limited and vary from batch to batch. You can request a specific shape and I will try to accommodate you. But at this time I cannot promise that you will get the shape you want.
Rustic Seafaring Quality
Tim crafts his bones with hand tools only. "No machines," he proudly declares, "Like a whaleman would do."
How...exactly, does Tim produce these seaworthy instruments? First, he sources meatless "dog bones" from a long-time respected local supplier. The bones come from free-range farm animals. "The animals we process have always been free-range," says Salem Prime Cuts owner John Fusaro quoted in a news story published by The Hartford Courant.
Next, Tim lightly boils the ribs in water with salt and dish soap to degrease them. "Not too hot," Tim cautions. "They're done when the meat jacket pops off."
Then he drills tiny holes in the marrow ends so the fluid drains out. That makes them "almost hollow," Tim reveals - and rather resonant, I might add.
After the bones dry for a week or so, Tim wet sands them. He starts with 120 grit sandpaper, then 220, and finally 320. If the weather is good, Tim wet sands them in the Mystic River. "I sit on the dock right next to the river," he tells me. "The salt in the seawater helps dry the bones." Then, looking up slowly, with an old Tar's scowl and a twinkle in this gifted musician's eye Tim adds, "They are guaranteed to play along to sea music."
Honest-to-goodness Natural Products
Tim carefully matches each pair for compatibility. But each individual bone might vary from its mate in length, width and thickness. Not only is this your assurance that these bones are the real deal, but seasoned players know that's part of the charm of handcrafted cottage industry products.
Durable Scrimshaw Artwork
The scrimshaw logo is etched on the striking surface of the instrument. Tim has been making bones this way for many years and says not to worry about damaging the artwork. So don't fret about hurting or spiritually offending the logo. Just enjoy the bones and rattle them like you normally would.
Why Choose these Bones?
If you want a matched pair of rustic, traditionally crafted natural rib bones that deliver a solid resonant tone; and you have small, medium or large hands; and if you are enchanted by the mystical Spirit of the Sea, then Tim Reilly's Cow Rib Bones are for you.
Can't Decide Which Bones to Choose?
Check out this handy guide: Bone FAQs