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Forum topic by coachmancuso posted 11-24-2013 01:13 PM 699 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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coachmancuso

259 posts in 584 days


11-24-2013 01:13 PM

Has anyone turned deer antler before. I want to make a pen or 2 from the antlers that my Dad got when he shot a deer this year in Washington. He is shipping me them this week. Do the tools need to be very sharp, do you use regular sandpaper to sand , and what type of finish if any do you use? Any other info will be helpful Thanks

-- Coach Mancuso


8 replies so far

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BigFoot Products Canada

620 posts in 2046 days


#1 posted 11-24-2013 01:30 PM

Hi,
I’ve turned and carved a lot of deer moose and elk antler over the years.
As long as your tools are sharp it turns great.
Regular sandpaper works good on it.
It smells a bit but other than that I really like working with it.
Here’s a few things of mine to look at.
http://lumberjocks.com/projects/53767
http://lumberjocks.com/projects/14018
http://lumberjocks.com/projects/39140
Paste Wax at high speed leaves a nice finish on turned pieces.

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William

9022 posts in 1495 days


#2 posted 11-24-2013 01:41 PM

I turn deer antler all the time.
It turns pretty easily. It’s along the lines of turning Corian if you’ve ever done so.
A few things to look for:
Be extra careful when cutting and drilling your blanks. Get the straightest parts you can. Then drill slowly and back out often, stop the drill, and clean up the built up gunk on the bit. If you don’t blowouts are a common thing on antler.
Be prepared for a fouls odor. Calcium that makes up antler stinks while being worked, especially when it gets hot or you turn into a soft spot.
Use sharp tools. If it doubt, resharpen.
Stop the lathe often. Take your fingernail and feel for soft spots. Look for yellowish or off color areas. If you can press your nail into it, soak some water thin CA glue into that are and let it dry before continuing.
Sand it like you do any hard wood. Start with 80 grit, get any grooves out from the turning process, then work up through the grits without skipping any. I go all the way up to 2000 grit with antler, then wet polish using micro mesh up to 12000 grit.
CA glue makes a nice finish on antler. I personally don’t like other finishes on antler.
If you get enough practice at antler, working some outer bark into some of your pens make them more interesting.
Good luck and I hope it turns out nice.

-- http://wddsrfinewoodworks.blogspot.com/

View JADobson's profile

JADobson

301 posts in 764 days


#3 posted 11-24-2013 01:55 PM

Do you use the thicker main stem of the antler or the thinner tines? Or does it matter?

-- James

View William's profile

William

9022 posts in 1495 days


#4 posted 11-24-2013 02:02 PM

Thicker the better if you’re new to antler. The thinner it is, the more likely you’ll blow it out on the drill press or hit a soft spot and blow it out on the lathe.
After you’ve turned enough though, you get used to it and can know what to expect more. Then you can start playing around with the thinner parts.
Also, I used thinner parts first before turning a pen for the first time. I mouted some thin parts between centers and practiced on it. I feel this helped prepare me and allowed my first pen attempt be successful.

-- http://wddsrfinewoodworks.blogspot.com/

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coachmancuso

259 posts in 584 days


#5 posted 11-24-2013 04:17 PM

This sounds like what I expected when you find a soft spot is that mostly while you are turning it or before you start?

-- Coach Mancuso

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Jimbo4

1133 posts in 1416 days


#6 posted 11-24-2013 05:26 PM

If you want the smell of unusable compost in your shop . . . ok. ;o)

-- BELT SANDER: Used for making rectangular gouges in wood.

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coachmancuso

259 posts in 584 days


#7 posted 11-24-2013 05:40 PM

How long do the antlers need to be off the animal in order to use them

-- Coach Mancuso

View William's profile

William

9022 posts in 1495 days


#8 posted 11-24-2013 08:49 PM

You can use antler anytime as long as it hasn’t been outside and bleached by the sun. If that happens, it turns too brittle to turn. I’ve turned antler the day after the deer was shot.

I’ve never found soft spots until I had turned down into the antler. The outer bark is hard.

This is antler and the .45-70 she’ll casing from the bullet my son used to take down the deer.

-- http://wddsrfinewoodworks.blogspot.com/

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