Antler finish?

Jun 9, 1999
Need some advice from some of our more experienced guys. I'm going to be putting antler handles on DannyinJapan's seax (and posting plenty of pics of course :D) and I wondered what type of finish you all would use. I've never worked with antler before so I don't have any good ideas, besides maybe some mineral oil or maybe lanolin? What do you use on your antler handles?
Mineral oil, lanolin or the hooflex would all be alright.
Charles Clements a well known leatherworker, knife collector, Silat M. Artist recommends glycerin. Glycerin can be bought cheap at most any drug store.
How do you recommend using the glycerin Yvsa?

Do you bring the antler slabs up to heat immersed in the glycerin (using a double boiler) until they bubble and then let them steep? I've heard of that technique for ivory using mineral oil. The idea being that the oil will replace the moisture in the ivory. I have also heard of using that method with bone(letting it bubble in the oil for 8 hours or so), but I'm not sure how well it works.

I assume the glycerin finish must be similar...??
Charles recommends letting antler, ivory, or bone set in the glycerin for several days if it has minor cracking. Nothing was said about heating it up. Methinks that heat could be dangerous in many ways unless it was very mild heat. If the natural materials are in good shape just a rub down or a short soak, maybe eight hours, every six months or so is the norm.
Glycerin is 'oily',
but I think one of the reasons it's used is that it's hydroscopic.
Don't know the limit of how much water it can pull in from the air;
or how much it can lose by evaporation---if any.

Something else I need to research.

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bismark77 said:
My boo-boo.

You prompted a good English lesson for me.

"Main Entry: hy·gro·scop·ic
Pronunciation: "hI-gr&-'skäp-ik
Function: adjective: readily taking up and retaining moisture
<glycerol is hygroscopic>
Source: Merriam-Webster Medical Dictionary, © 2002 Merriam-Webster, Inc. "

"As far as I am aware and can find in dictionaries, there is no word
"hydroscopic." "Hygroscopic", on the other hand, is a respectable word,
meaning the tendency of some materials to absorb moisture from humid air.

My dictionary offers the following definitions:

hy.gro.scop.ic ..........
1 : readily taking up and retaining moisture
2 : taken up and retained under some conditions of humidity and temperature

"hydroscopic": <=== Dictionary has no entry for hydroscopic"



"hy·dro·scope ( P ) Pronunciation Key (hdr-skp) n.
An optical device used for viewing objects far below the surface of water. "

"hydroscopic.......commonly, erroneously used in place of hygroscopic"

Interestingly, there seems (from scanning some articles)
to be no distinction in "hygroscopic" between
absorbent (integrating)
["To take in; assimilate"]
["To take up by cohesive, chemical, or any molecular action"]
adsorbent (holding)
["to accumulate on a surface"]
["one material attracting and holding molecules of another substance to the surface of its molecules"]

So 'absorb' can incorporate (absorb :D) 'adsorb'.
(btw - The respective actions of these words is absorption & adsorption.)

Thus doth my lesson end.


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