1st and 2nd cut stag question..

Nov 4, 2006
I have seen numerous knives that mention first or second cut stag. This is probably basic knowledge, however I don't know what the difference is and how to tell by looking at it. I have only been collecting traditional style knives for a couple years now and have an awful lot to learn, but I really enjoy it ..... I would really appreciate it if someone could explain this to me.
Hey 33, thought someone oughta comment here! It's a good question. A lot of myths fly around about second cut stag, and I'm not the expert, but I understand that stag that didn't have enough feature was "jigged" to make an attractive handle, as well as material under the "bark", in other words, the second slice or cut, was also used like that. Either has been called "second cut stag". Please if anyone has better info, chime in!!
I have always heard that second cut stag is the antler that is left after the bark is cut off for regular stag handles. It is usually jigged like bone.

It wouldn't surprise me if some of the second cut stag on the market is really just bone after all.
Case has some older patterns in second cut stag. Maybe not that old, I think there were some as late as the early 70's. I have only seen one that I remember and it was quite smooth with smooth long jigging.

I have asked a couple of long time dealers that have more knowledge than I (not hard to find folks like that :)) and their answers were pretty much the same as what lambertina and Waynorth have posted.

Good question by the way.
There a few different kinds of stag out there. Bark is whats normally associated with stag handled pocket knives. Second cut is smooth, usually whats left after the bark scales or slabs are taken. Sometimes its used as is, sometimes its jigged like bone.

Second cut on the left, flame darkened bark on the right

Then there's roll stag, thats the entire piece used as a handle, like on this Randall

Theres also crown stag. Thats the lower part of the antler, either cut off below the base or a natural shed like this one.

Thanks for the help everyone.. This helps me a lot.
Thanks for the excellent pictures too arathol...
Thanks for the link waynorth.. good read and a couple nice pics too.....