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Deer Antler Query


Baz

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Hi all

Hi have a couple of questions regarding these antlers.

I was given them today and have forgotten what type of deer I was told they are from (a case of old-timers disease my wife tells me)- can anyone enlighten me please?

Secondly, I would very much appreciate any hints and tips on how to work in this medium.

I have no problem working in cow bone but have no experience with antlers.

Like - is there any special preparation required? - what (if required) is the best way to remove the dark outer coating?

In general is there any special thing I should be doing? (Apart from the usual mask etc precautions of course)

Thanks in advance

Barry

 

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Hi!

I am working on some same antler. I think the upper one is from a "Fallow Deer" (Dama dama) and the other one looks like an antler from a "red deer" (Cervus elaphus).

I am working in cow bone to and I think antler is a little softer - so be careful! The other thing is the "dry spongy" part in the middle - You can’t do much with it. (There the blood runs, during the antler buildup). Most of the material is quite thin.

The antler also contains a good amount of fat, so I advice to remove it as good as you can, because it generates an unpleasant smell (I soak them first in Hydrogen peroxide) this also bleaches some of the parts, but will not make it real white. The dark parts will stay brown during bleaching and this color is almost like a coating but some shades gets as deep as 0,1 - 0,3mm so you can remove most of it using sandpaper. Sometimes you can find some cracks where the color gets a little deeper into the bone! After bleaching you have a creamy white color.

Generally it is a fine material to work with but gives me some design limitations which I compensate with other materials (horn, lapis lazuli, ebony, etc...) Some good glue will do the job.

 

 

Hope this helps a little bit.

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One can learn to incorporate the color and inner core as part of the composition as well.

 

The tools that I use for wood also work for antler and ivory. Keep them sharp and smooth-edged.

 

Janel

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Hey Baz. Antler's great to work. Holds detail brilliantly. I do no prep whatsoever. I simple remove the outer layer with a belt sander, then sand with 120 then 320 and start designing. Be careful no to go too deep and it does have the poros centre. But I have used that part and incorporated it into my design. Please don't bleach it. It has a wonderful natural colouring and buffs up beautifully. The crown at the bottom of the antler can be quite solid and off some alternative design opportunities, but I have had some success carving the antler for years.

 

Good luck, Billy.

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HI, Baz ...

 

Prep all depends on what you want to make. The large round-ish 'crown' (button, peticle, etc) at the end is often sliced off, and used to do 3-D carving .. belt buckles, lapel decorations on Bavarian and Austrian 'traditional' folk costumes, snuff containers ... on and on. The dark outer covering is very often a keen detail on many of these carvings, being natural, rustic, etc. The antler can be cut lengthwise with or without the 'bark' on the outside, for knife and gun handle scales, etc. As Michiel indicated, the porous, often pumice like material on the inside can be problematic, if you can't find a way to incorporate it in your design. I made some sheep carvings out of that rough material, and came out pretty life-like, actually. The flat 'paddle' parts of the antler can be used to carve scenery, etc. Not all antler carving needs to be done on 'clean white bone'... although it is certainly nice when you have it! As usual ... one mans waste, is another's 'gotta-have'! :-)

 

Best of luck!

Dennis

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Just one more point.

Rotary cutters tend to clog up very fast indeed. They sort of melt some of the stuff in the actual antler, that's how it happens. (that's collagene and fats) You will need to keep cleaning them out, if that's the tools you use. A small wire brush will do it.

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Thanks everybody - will post my first effort soon (I hope)

Won't rush in to it though - will have to think on it for a while

Might just keep it in my pocket for a while and see what it tells me

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These look as though they are from a young animal?

Maybe a 2nd shed = 2 year old Buck.

The top one with the deform looks like a rouge moose gene? Not the norm?

Some train of thought is that deer are a hybrid of moose? to what end who knows?

They are a good score, but think very carefully before you cut them?

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Moose and other deers are of course closely related, but not closely enough to interbreed.

Here in NZ they have imported a bunch of moose sometimes in the 1890-es. Unfortunately for us, carvers, none survived in the long run. At present there aren't any here. (though periodically someone emerges from the bush, claiming that they definitely saw a moose. Since just as periodically the same goes for the Moa (a huge, extinct running bird, related to the ostrich)), you can discount the claims.

The above antler is definitely fallow deer. Unless it's one of those Indonesian ones, like Sika, I never saw those, so cannot comment.

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