Knife handle making: Working with deer antler questions.


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Seancass
August 7, 2009, 05:00 PM
A friend got me a new blade to make a handle for. I got some walnut and deer antler for inlays. My problem is that the antler is tacky (sticky) when worked. The result is shown in the pictures. The sawdust from the walnut and my fingers sticks to it. What can i do to help avoid this? Do i have to work them separately? I'm currently keeping them together for a perfect, flush finish. The pieces where quickly sanded to 400 in the pictures. This piece is just my proof-of-concept to see how it will look and to test finishes. Also, what finish do you recommend for a high-gloss look?

In these pictures you can see a slight gap on the edge of the inlay. It's a tight fit, but open at the top edge. It's easy to see when comparing the left and right edges. Any ideas how to make this less noticeable? I'm working on the actual handle now and probably won't get it perfect.

http://i519.photobucket.com/albums/u358/Schwan427/1-1.jpg?t=1249503173
http://i519.photobucket.com/albums/u358/Schwan427/2.jpg

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rcmodel
August 7, 2009, 05:43 PM
Deer antler isn't sticky.
It's porous in the middle, or the pulpy part you appear to be working on. That picks up the sander dust.
What happened to the hard outside pretty part?

Anyway, the only "cure" I know is to fill the pores or grain with thin Hot Stuff CYA glue before sanding.

As for inlay fit?

It either fits exactly, or you will have an unsightly gap. I know of no way to fill a gap in an inlay that can't be seen.

Make sure your saw is set to exactly 90 degrees when you cut the slot or joint.
Cut the inlay slightly oversize and use a belt sander for final fitting.

rc

Black Toe Knives
August 7, 2009, 06:38 PM
Rcmodel is right. But there are tricks of the trade. It is ancient Chinese secret pass to me by my mentors. To fill a a gap or crack in wood. Use the grinder dust from the wood and some super glue. You fill the gap with Super Glue then put the dust in the Super Glue to fill the gap. You pack the dust in till the glue dries. You can use this with just about any handle material.
Knife scale is usually treated by soaking it in polyurethane using a vacuum pump to pull the chemical through the wood so when you polish it becomes shiney. They antler has me confused there is nothing sticky in bone or antler. If it is stabilized it should dry as a bone LOL.
I hope this helps. Remember it is secret. So pass it on

rcmodel
August 7, 2009, 06:45 PM
It should be dry as a bone even if it is not stabilized.

I have used shed whitetail antlers for many years for knife handles.

Unless you just chopped them off a fresh deer kill, there is nothing sticky about them, atall.

Still looks to me like the OP is using the pulp center of an antler and not the pretty & hard outer surface.

As for CYA & sander dust inlay filler?
Yea! I've done that for many years too.
But you can still see the filled crack if the inlay doesn't fit properly.

rc

Black Toe Knives
August 7, 2009, 11:41 PM
Rcmodel you are so right.

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