Handle project

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Seagull

Settler
Jul 16, 2004
810
29
Gåskrikki North Lincs
I've been given a 'crown-end' of an antler and it seems to be shouting, "Nessmuk".
Having never worked with this material, I would be most glad of some pointers to bear in mind and any pitfalls to be avoided. The section came via a stick maker up in Mull, though I don't know what beastie type it came from...it has a very dark exterior and the usual Aero gunk core, (which I presume must be removed somehow????)

I have an unused Old Hickory which looks ripe for reshaping into that classic form...not that the finished item will be put to hard use.....it's the doing-of that really matters to me.

Happy New Year to All
Regards and Thanks
Ceeg
 
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Janne

Guest
Feb 10, 2016
12,368
2,257
Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
The antler - I personally like to work with rough shaping by hand ( files and sand paper) as I find it overheats and burns very easily. And smells.
I assume it is well dried?

I have immersed pieces of antler in H2O2, 3%, but do not know how much good that did.

deer antler I assume you have, I have Reindeer and Moose/Elk.
Same stuff, different size.

The porous areas I infuse and build up using super glue.

Good Luck with your project!
 

Nativewood

Full Member
Feb 9, 2015
102
27
Caledonia
I have a nice antler crown which I am making into a walking stick handle. Thus far I have carved and rasped out the vast majority of the seemingly very week porous inner and intend filling it with epoxy putty to strengthen.
 

Janne

Guest
Feb 10, 2016
12,368
2,257
Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
Together with the outside layer, it is a form of Composite. Makes it strong and flexible when the males show how macho they are during the rut.

Scooping out works too, but not really needed. Use a very slowsetting Epoxy, and cool it outside with ice. The heat produced by some epoxies can crack the outside.

( I did exactly the same you did, a knife handle, and it cracked from the heat. I used a 5 min Epoxy.)
 

Seagull

Settler
Jul 16, 2004
810
29
Gåskrikki North Lincs
Job done.
I reasoned that antler handles had been around for much longer than modern adhesives and I sought to try out the method of boiling the crown, knowing that you get just one shot at it.
Another thought, was that I couldn't see First Nations successfully winkling-out all that core material either...so I gave it a go with just the boil-up.
I learned quite a bit during the process.

'Twas a Old Hickory 7.7 that I used as stock material, I was quite surprised by the steel under the original handle, in grinding down it seemed as if the whole blank had been tempered, same texture and appearance throughout.

The antler piece was about four and three eighths long, with a D-shaped cut off end of hard exterior varying tween 3 and 4 and a bit mill. The core material was around 22 mm and there was a slight bend all along the length of the handle.

I was not very accurate in grinding the depth and alignment of the shoulders of what was to become the inner tang and in retrospect I should've added a wood or leather collar so that there was no direct contact between the shoulder and the outer core.....

All in all, I ground the tang to around the width of two of those parallel ridges from the plate rolling process, diverging toward the shoulders. This left me to decide the length of tang.
Having absolutely no idea of the alignment and dimensions of the porous core I just chopped the tang at about 4 finger widths and then boiled up the antler.

No smell during the boil-up, but an hour was not enough to soften up sufficiently to insert the tang to its full extent....I got the tang only a half inch inserted and then stalled.
Back on the boil for another 70 minutes and, while waiting, I cut the end of the tang into a point, hoping to make things easier,

This time, it did push on but needed a couple of gentle taps with a mallet. You could feel the tang taking its own alignment to suit the dimensions of the porous core.
I ended up with the blade slightly skewed off the markings I had made....but still very useable.

Pity I don't know about posting photo's, but the result of this afternoons work has left me with a passable looking Nessmuk.
I used the outboard end of the blade, clipping the point off and progressively grinding down the spine behind the hump, to meet the shoulder part. So, due to my initial blunder in cutting the shoulders,
the blade is now 3 and seven eighths long and 36 mm across the hump.
The plate rolling indents are arranged as per the original stock blade and I've cut a couple of mill on the depth of inner blade, in way of the handle, rather than keeping the original sharpening line.

A great experience, more luck than skill, but the job is just 90 mins from coming off the stove and the handle has cooled and the blade rock solid.

If ever I do this again, I'll not forget about the chock of wood or leather, as previously mentioned.

Cheers all
regards
Ceeg
 
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skog

Forager
Aug 9, 2011
151
0
wicken
Put antler in boiling water for a few minutes until inner porous section goes squishy then push onto tang of knife. As it dries it re hardens around the tang for a nice fit. Done a couple of simple stick tangs this way