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91mm Antler scales - anyone made them? 682

Global Moderator Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 11,188 mmmmm SAKrelicious
91mm Antler scales - anyone made them?
« on: March 20, 2017, 04:40:51 PM »
I'd like to make some antler scales for my Greenwood. Pet shops sell some really nice smooth antlers as dog chews so I'm thinking of sorting out a suitable piece from one. My questions are, does anyone have experience of sawing and shaping it with basic hand tools, and, what's the best way to accomodate the cross (either using glue to stick a metal one on or adding an OC by drilling and chiselling).

Cheers for any advice.  :salute:



'Use the force Harry' - Gandalf

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Re: 91mm Antler scales - anyone made them?
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2017, 04:53:38 PM »
I've never made scales, but do be warned that antler can really smell when drilling and cutting.  I'd love to see what you come up with though. :tu:

Global Moderator Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 11,188 mmmmm SAKrelicious
Re: 91mm Antler scales - anyone made them?
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2017, 04:58:13 PM »
I've never made scales, but do be warned that antler can really smell when drilling and cutting.  I'd love to see what you come up with though. :tu:
Thanks G-Man, I'm prepared for the smell (might have to splash on some extra Hai Karate to mask it a little), it's mainly how easy it is to work with handtools that's my main concern.  :cheers:

'Use the force Harry' - Gandalf

Founder and half-arsed member of the SAKMC
Wielder of the Bow of Banishment. Admin Team Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 29,400 El Presidente del Fan Club Micky D
Re: 91mm Antler scales - anyone made them?
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2017, 05:19:00 PM »
It's been years since I did anything but IIRC it's not much different to woodworking.  Certainly no specialist tools required.

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Re: 91mm Antler scales - anyone made them?
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2017, 05:47:55 PM »
I've never made scales, but do be warned that antler can really smell when drilling and cutting.  I'd love to see what you come up with though. :tu:

Think burning hair and that's about the smell

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Re: 91mm Antler scales - anyone made them?
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2017, 02:05:53 AM »
My knowledge of antlers isn't that great but be aware that there is generally a softer core inside them. Usually under around a quarter inch of the harder outer layer. Because of this you'll want a piece that is as flat as possible to maximise the amount of good horn. I only have small pieces at home right now (too thin for this property to show) so I can't give you any picture but a picture search for "antler cross section" gives good results.

As for tools I would say that it behaves like a really hard wood so chisels and other edged tools are going to have a hard time but saws and files/sand paper works fine.

And as others have stated, unless you like the smell of burnt hair I would suggest working outdoors or with another source of airflow.

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Re: 91mm Antler scales - anyone made them?
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2017, 08:39:04 AM »
The best is to use big diameter antlers to get flat scales. If the antlers are too thin the scales will be rounded and too thick.
If you have to sand the outside you will loose the natural touch of deer antler.


« Last Edit: March 21, 2017, 08:43:52 AM by Michel M. »

Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 10,285
Re: 91mm Antler scales - anyone made them?
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2017, 09:00:36 AM »
^^^ Expert advice  :dd:

All I can add is wood working tools  :tu:  and Bad smell Bad smell Bad smell  :ahhh  :ahhh

 :)
http://forum.multitool.or...sg1232736.html#msg1232736

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Re: 91mm Antler scales - anyone made them?
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2017, 10:06:50 PM »
I don't really mind the smell.  The only thing I would add is, remembering you are working with bone so it may not work like you think.   Also there is a pith so make sure you buy something thick enough to not show at the end.



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Global Moderator Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 11,188 mmmmm SAKrelicious
Re: 91mm Antler scales - anyone made them?
« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2017, 11:01:39 AM »
Thanks for the advice all of you. I'll look for a flat piece with a bit of spare so I can make my mistakes on that before doing the real thing. Looks like it will be an outside task as well  :whistle:

'Use the force Harry' - Gandalf

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Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 10,285
Re: 91mm Antler scales - anyone made them?
« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2017, 02:04:02 PM »

Thinking back on this, the really bad smells come when grinding and drilling,  :ahhh
you might be ok with just hand tools and taking things slow  :tu:

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Global Moderator Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 11,188 mmmmm SAKrelicious
Re: 91mm Antler scales - anyone made them?
« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2017, 02:19:04 PM »

Thinking back on this, the really bad smells come when grinding and drilling,  :ahhh
you might be ok with just hand tools and taking things slow  :tu:

That's good - My cordless drills have all gone kaput and I have a nice little collection of hand drills - Old Skool!

'Use the force Harry' - Gandalf

Founder and half-arsed member of the SAKMC
Wielder of the Bow of Banishment. Admin Team Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 29,400 El Presidente del Fan Club Micky D
Re: 91mm Antler scales - anyone made them?
« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2017, 11:46:25 AM »

Thinking back on this, the really bad smells come when grinding and drilling,  :ahhh
you might be ok with just hand tools and taking things slow  :tu:

That sounds about right.  Don't get it too hot and you might mitigate the smell.  I'd still not do it in my house though, just in case. :D

Global Moderator Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 11,188 mmmmm SAKrelicious
Re: 91mm Antler scales - anyone made them?
« Reply #13 on: March 23, 2017, 12:09:27 PM »

Thinking back on this, the really bad smells come when grinding and drilling,  :ahhh
you might be ok with just hand tools and taking things slow  :tu:

That sounds about right.  Don't get it too hot and you might mitigate the smell.  I'd still not do it in my house though, just in case. :D
Oh, I was hoping to do it round your house. I'll try Kirky or Sparkie instead.

'Use the force Harry' - Gandalf

Founder and half-arsed member of the SAKMC
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 10,285
Re: 91mm Antler scales - anyone made them?
« Reply #14 on: March 23, 2017, 07:23:25 PM »

My garage is always available, I might have to tidy a bit to get us both in  :think:

PS, bring Jaffa cakes  :D

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Global Moderator Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 11,188 mmmmm SAKrelicious
Re: 91mm Antler scales - anyone made them?
« Reply #15 on: March 23, 2017, 07:51:32 PM »

My garage is always available, I might have to tidy a bit to get us both in  :think:

PS, bring Jaffa cakes  :D
And a tribute of rust for the rust Gods.

'Use the force Harry' - Gandalf

Founder and half-arsed member of the SAKMC
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 10,285
Re: 91mm Antler scales - anyone made them?
« Reply #16 on: March 23, 2017, 08:01:45 PM »
Don't you think I have enough rust?  :D  or were you thinking Vinegar?   

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Global Moderator Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 11,188 mmmmm SAKrelicious
Re: 91mm Antler scales - anyone made them?
« Reply #17 on: March 23, 2017, 08:48:09 PM »
Don't you think I have enough rust?  :D  or were you thinking Vinegar?
Is there such a thing as enough rust?

'Use the force Harry' - Gandalf

Founder and half-arsed member of the SAKMC
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 10,285
Re: 91mm Antler scales - anyone made them?
« Reply #18 on: March 23, 2017, 09:42:12 PM »
 ;) :D

Heres another little tip for you Mags,
Use hot melt glue to stick the scales to a block of wood (middle left) to hold while you are sanding them flat  :tu:




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Re: 91mm Antler scales - anyone made them?
« Reply #19 on: April 28, 2017, 07:42:00 AM »
Have you already got your antler material?  I found a cool site today "Masecraft Supply Co" selling knife maker supplies.  They have fake antler that looks pretty good for around $10 a pair.  Stag-A-LIKE. Shipping will probably double that but to avoid the STINK it's worth it. 

I live in Mexico in an area with a lot of subsistence ranches and I get cow horn from the local guys.  It comes "in the rough" with skull/brains/hair/maggots still  attached but the price is right at a buck apiece. It's also really stinky to work with but after the first effort you let 'em dry out and it's not so bad. The geometry of a horn or an antler means you  have to straighten them to get any pieces big enough for knife scales. I'm still working on that.... still.
Cheers -Yager
« Last Edit: April 28, 2017, 07:45:41 AM by WDY »

-Yager
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 10,285
Re: 91mm Antler scales - anyone made them?
« Reply #20 on: April 28, 2017, 07:49:21 AM »

If you find a good way of making cow horn flat please share,  :salute:
I have tried boiling water but had no success    ::)

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Re: 91mm Antler scales - anyone made them?
« Reply #21 on: May 28, 2017, 03:43:34 AM »
OK, have read a lot about this and done some experiments and have come up with the following for FLATTENING out the cow horn. It's a multi-step process.
1) Using a 1" vert. belt sander I clean up the outside of a likely subject to see if it's OK or not.
2) Cut off a bit of the rough end (large diameter).  I have a carbide blade chop saw which does good on horns up to 4" diameter.
3) Measure for the first cut, about 5 inches in from large end.  This works well for 91mm scales or smaller. As you move toward the tip of the horn it becomes thicker and finally solid about 3" from the end. I'm stashing the solid tips for later use.
4) Boil the heck out of your "first cutting", still in the round or ripped in half. We have an outside wood stove so it's easy to boil stuff in a thrift store pot with a top.
5) After boiling for an hour or so the material becomes  somewhat plastic.  Take it out and smash between two boards and "C" clamps.  This will not get it totally flat, but closer.. Allow to dry overnight. That's the boil and smash stage.
6) Remove from clamps and pencil out blanks for individual scales.   Cut these on the bandsaw giving yourself about half an inch play.  (I use a dedicated 1/2" bandsaw blade for horn) From a good horn you will get 6-8 roughed out scales. No guarantee, but that's 3-4 horn handled SAKS.
7) Pre-shape the BACKS only on 1" vert sander.  The idea is to get these prepped for another flattening.
8) Heat and smash again because boiled horn has a memory and will eventually bend back toward its original form.  Having read some other forums I found that you must COOK the material at around 300 degrees to make it lose its memory. Water boils at 212...do the math.
9) Once cooked I again clamp these but this time in two pieces of nested 2" angle iron, using two "C" clamps on each piece. 300 degrees is hot so I use a putty knife for spatula and flip 'em onto the awaiting angle, then jam on the pressure with the clamps. These cool quickly, like, half an hour or less.
10) Finally (almost) I check 'em again for flatness on the back, sanding 'em flat on the vert. sander as needed.  Would love to have a 6X48 belt sander for this but...soon.

What I end up with is a piece of horn with a flat back, slightly radius'd top ready for tracing, cutting, drilling,  sanding, polishing and <sigh> mounting on a cool SAK to sell for pennies if you count your time.

CAVEATS -
A) Do this work outside. I am fortunate to have an open-air palapa for a shop and would never attempt even light sanding of this stinky material indoors. 
B) Ditch the handle tools because horn is often transparent and to my way of thinking it looks tacky to see those big slots beneath the surface. You could include them (toothpick, tweezers) if the scales are bit thicker or very dark.
C) I'm doubly fortunate to have a pretty well equipped woodworking shop so there's powered equipment to help with a lot of this.  Not sure I'd try this without them.
D) All of this will change when I figure out a faster way to do it.  Pix to follow.

Cheers -Yager

-Yager
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 10,285
Re: 91mm Antler scales - anyone made them?
« Reply #22 on: May 28, 2017, 07:02:37 AM »
Yager,
That's excellent advice  :salute: I can see now I wasn't heating it long/hot enough,
pictures would be good thanks  :cheers:

(I'm thinking about a pressure cooker now   :think: :think: )

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