Antler

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Nathan Sturgess

Forager
Mar 11, 2006
132
0
Various due to work
I found two antlers last weekend whilst on a Land Rover weekend and am thinking about using some of it for a knife handle on my homemade knife and my woodlore as well. Can any body telll me how to split the antler into good sized chunks. Should I use a saw or are there better ways? Does anybody else have any ideas about what I could do with these?
 

Grooveski

Native
Aug 9, 2005
1,707
10
51
Glasgow
A hacksaw does a pretty good job.

Spent last night hacking and filing down a new knapping kit, going to have a play with some of the offcuts making needles and hooks.

The whopping great red deer shed I got has made for a monster bopper, gonna hurt like hell when I miss the flint and catch my leg. :rolleyes:
 

gregorach

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Sep 15, 2005
3,723
26
48
Edinburgh
Yeah, a hacksaw is the best tool I've found for working antler. Must've been really bloody hard work before their invention...
 

dave k

Nomad
Jun 14, 2006
449
0
45
Blonay, Switzerland
I've been looking round a load for antler in the new forest, but I'm still yet to find any. anyone got any tips on where /when to search? I've spent ages looking round the usual deer haunts where there are lots of deer sign's but still nothing yet..
 

Grooveski

Native
Aug 9, 2005
1,707
10
51
Glasgow
When is now, where is a tougher one....

Woodland edges are apparently a good spot, so I've been told. I only ever seem to find them beside bedding areas.

gregorach said:
Must've been really bloody hard work before their invention...
Heating it to make it brittle then snapping it works ok. Tried that with the last set a couple of years ago.
Left such a ragged edge though that grinding it on sandstone to clean it up was going to take ages. Ended up using a course file, which kind of defeated the point of the exercise :rolleyes:.

Was blethering to Wayland about a method for making needles. Use a burin blade to scrape slots lengthways in an antler segment(through the outer). Do the same over and over until the whole piece is surrounded by slots then sit it on end and hammer a tine into the soft inner. The whole thing should split open into a nice array of needle blanks.
 

gregorach

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Sep 15, 2005
3,723
26
48
Edinburgh
Yeah, I know you can break it down into lengths by heating, but it's the splitting lengthwise that's the real problem. I once tried cutting a needle blank by scraping with the tip of a blade, and gave up pretty quickly - sure, it's doable, but it's a lot of work. Not quite up there with moving a sand dune with a pair of tweezers, but not that far off... ;) Perhaps I just don't have enough patience.

I do like the idea of marking out blanks all the way around and then splitting it though - that's a good 'un!
 

Grooveski

Native
Aug 9, 2005
1,707
10
51
Glasgow
A burin is likely more efficient than a knife tip.
Good picture here, down the bottom.
Scraping slots does take a while but it's one of those jobs you can disengage your brain from and think about other things.

Another problem with using heat is that for needles, hooks and the likes brittle is the last thing you want.
 

gregorach

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Sep 15, 2005
3,723
26
48
Edinburgh
Ah, I see! We're going to have to have a chat about this knapping business sometime... ;)
 

Exbomz

Full Member
Oct 19, 2004
198
0
East Sussex
Bandsaw! Not very 'authentic' but then neither are knife handle slabs :)

What type (species) of antler is it? Some have more spongy 'pith' than others and to get a slab big enough for a handle, the antler has to be quite large. Nearest the crown is the densest (and the bit that is used as an antler hammer when knapping).
 

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