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Kerri Duncan

Antler Stabilization due to Death by Acura

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So the first thought was this should go in "Fit and Finish" But those topics were about finished items... This- is not a finished item. It is fresh.

Co-worker is late coming in one morning... finally gets there (I'm the night shift he gets to relieve)...hands me a set of nice deer antlers with skull material and fur bits clinging on to them- fairly fresh by the looks of it (still reddish tint and wet)... Cause of death- Acura @70mph. He lost his car, and wants me to make a knife handle with the antlers. (Tow truck was nice enough to drop him off at work)

I have read that wood needs to be less than 10% humidity and dry. My moisture-meter wont give me a reading on the antler surface- but I know the pithy center is probably still porus/moist near the button/base.

I want to "Cactus Juice" these for a better finish in the end.

All my reading has pointed to older antlers being stabilized- nothing on how to dry or prep fresh antlers...

So do I just let them hang out in the rafters for a year then try to do something with them or can I speed up the process by some other means?

Thanks in advance and I appreciate your time- hope the holidays are good to you folks!

Kerri

 

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Just let them dry.  You can salt the skull to speed that process, but it's not necessary.  This time of year the pith should be fairly dry already, the velvet has been gone for a few months.

And what a great back story for a knife!

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to get something useable sooner, I would try and find a suitable handle piece some distance from the crown/skull area and saw out a slightly oversized length, drill out most of the pith, and let that piece dry for a month or so. You could also bury it in loose dirt and let the bugs, worms and microbes do their thing, but that probably won't work in a Virginia winter...

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Thanks folks- The 'Beards give sage advice again...

Jake- Think I will take a tine end near the tip for some quick pickle forks (drill, fit a ferrule with cap to cover the pith and pop a silver 2 tine fork body without a crank into it and epoxy set it in place.

@Alan- understood about salting them- the skull bits I have removed down to the button- and the pith has an almost marrow like paste in it along with a sponge-ish bony matrix. Smells a treat- Im sure the vagabond cats outside the shop are curious- Think Ill just put it in the air vent to the outside and run the fan for a week- see if that speeds the process. 

The Cactus Juice "Pro user" near me says I can vacuum and harden at any stage AFTER the smell is gone- but the juice is no good to infuse any other material after treating a fresh(ish) or moist item like antler. Heard from him this morning-

Pics on the way- as soon as the shop is permitted and the City has their final say... 

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