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First time working with antler


Jeremy Vaught
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Hola people!

 

When I do hidden tang knifes, I usually drill them out rough, heat the tang up and burn them on. Having never done that with antler (and this being the only piece I currently have), I'm a little hesitant to try it.

 

Anyone have any advice they can offer before I screw this up?

 

Thanks,

JV

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That method will work, but it will smell awful when you burn the tang in. I've done it that way once....once mind you. I decided to never dothat again. Now, I drill an approximaty hole and then use a scraper/saw type of tool to slowly scrape away and make the hole bigger.

Have you ever thought about the life of steel? It's interesting to think that you can control the fate of a piece of metal.

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Put the antler in boiling water for about 45 minutes. The porous core will then be soft and squishy and you can press down the tang. Hit the back of the hilt with a few wacks with a piece of wood, and it's in place. After the antler dries, the bone-glue present in the antler will also glue the tang in place. Unless you use the knife like a chisel, only a relatively small tang is enough to keep the blade firmly locked in place. Mind that the tang has to be more narrow then the core of the antler, as the porous bit of the core is generally somewhat smaller then the usually brown area in the cross-section. If the tang is too wide, you'll split the antler (or it just gets stuck with the tang still partially sticking out).

Edited by Jeroen Zuiderwijk

Jeroen Zuiderwijk

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/barbarianmetalworking

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That method will work, but it will smell awful when you burn the tang in. I've done it that way once....once mind you. I decided to never dothat again. Now, I drill an approximaty hole and then use a scraper/saw type of tool to slowly scrape away and make the hole bigger.

 

 

You aint kidding brother! Smells like burning hair.

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As a related question. Does boiling the antler allow it to be straightened and to what degree?

 

Doug Lester

Nope, at least not unless you may make very thin plates out of it, then it might work. But I have no experience with that.

Jeroen Zuiderwijk

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/barbarianmetalworking

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name='Jeroen Zuiderwijk' date='02 October 2009 - 05:53 AM' timestamp='1254484412' post='139095']<BR>Nope, at least not unless you may make very thin plates out of it, then it might work. But I have no experience with that.<BR>
<BR>

With all due respect yes you can in fact boil antler rounds and straighten them - those who have done it found that pre-drilling the tang hole at least part way and adding vinegar to the water aids in the straightening.

It must be done quickly - that is moving it from the boiling water to the clamps and it helps to have two people - one to hold the piece steady so it won't twist while the other tightens down the vise..

I know the process has been discussed on two other forums - Primal Fires and American Long Rifles so you might look there for more info.

Heating the antler in hot oil at 275-325°F may also be of help as the antler will stay hot longer.

 

How straight you get it will depend on how curved the piece is. In aall cases I've read about the straightening once done did not revert tto a curve.

 

 

Chuck Burrows

Wild Rose Trading Co

chuck@wrtcleather.com

www.wrtcleather.com

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My first attempt at boiling to straighten an antler was not real successful. I did not boil long enough and did not clamp it down tight enough!

The second was a success. The key seems to be to bring to a boil and hold at a boil for 30+ min. or so. I uusally try to hold for about 45+ or - minutes. That means a large pot of water, or boiling another pot of water to keep adding to the pot with the antler. I would not recommend doing the boiling in the house, as Mama ain't going to appreciate the new fragrance it develops. :rolleyes: Don't ask!

Have your vice ready with a couple of pieces of wood duck taped to the jaws and move quickly from the water to vice. Once placed in the vice and tightening begins it's Break, Bust, or Bleed time. In other words you crank as tight as you can pull! <_< Don't expect a cylindrical object to come out flat, as it will imbed itself into the wood some. However it will come out a lot straighter than it went in. I like to keep it clamped for 48hrs. This allows for it to dry and no I have not had one that I done in this manner try to rewrap. The keys are the long soak (boil) and patience about taking from the clamp!

 

I have not tryed adding vinegar to the mix but knowing Chuck's expertise in this matter I would be willing to bet it will work!

Edited by C Craft

C Craft Customs ~~~ With every custom knife I build I try to accomplish three things. I want that knife to look so good you just have to pick it up, feel so good in your hand you can't wait to try it, and once you use it, you never want to put it down ! If I capture those three factors in each knife I build, I am assured the knife will become a piece that is used and treasured by its owner! ~~~ C Craft

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With all due respect I don't detect much odor when I do it and I always do it in the house but do it where ever you like. Another method that I have heard about ,if you are really patient is to soak the antler in rain/creek water for about a month. I'm not that patient so I like to go with boiling it.

Edited by Isaiah Lake

The extraordinary has never been achieved without the sacrifice of security. Take your chances thin, and take them often.

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Here's my plan. I'm forging a Hudson Bay trade knife. What I want to do is to get some moose antler palm pieces and flatten them to make the scales for the handle. That was behind my question if boiling could soften antler enough for straightening.

 

Doug Lester

HELP...I'm a twenty year old trapped in the body of an old man!!!

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