Antler finishing?

Jason Fry

Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider
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Jun 5, 2008
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I've just about got a knife finished, the third one I've made, and my first hidden tang. The guy I'm making it for had a shed antler that he wanted me to use. It was plenty solid, but a bit bleached. I have a couple of questions as I finish it off. One, is there a way to bring it back to brown? Two, what do I need to (or do I need to) finish it with to seal it?

The knife is kind of unique, with all the metal coming from a victor long spring trap, except for a nail for the pin. The blade is made from the long spring forged flat, the guard from a piece of the base plate, and the guy wanted the ring from the spring put on the pommel end of the handle. He's got huge hands, and wanted the handle extra long. The proportions look kind of funny to me, but he's getting exactly what he ordered and has been thrilled to see each step in the process.
 

jdm61

itinerant metal pounder
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Aug 12, 2005
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Fiebings spirit based leather dye. I learned that trick from Russ Andrews.
 

Jason Fry

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how about shoe polish, or wood stain, or strong tea/coffee? Just thinking about what I have at the house....
 

v-6

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Nov 24, 2007
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952
here is the way i do bleached antlers.
i brush on minwax ebony stain sort-of fast and wipe it right off and it will
give it a real soft gray/ black look.
let it dry and then i mix i teaspoon of Potassium permanganate (about $25 at menards) we mix it in a fruit jar with 3oz of rubbing alcohol and paint it on and let dry. it will look purple at first but will turn brown. we only give it one coat.
try it on a small peace of antler to see what it does, I have done about 30 butt ends of antlers. they all look super great.
when all done installing and calling it done we use Horse hoof polish, one coat keeping it off the steel.
ps we first wipe the antler off with denatured alcohol to get it clean of dirt. (first step)
we leave all tree rubbing evidents on it. the start the other process.
vern

this one was way gray when i start
http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c264/vern-vicki/dyeantler002.jpg
 
Last edited:
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Oct 23, 2006
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I use potassium permanganate too.
If you have trouble finding it, like I did at first, try this source.
I usually get it from a taxidermy source and haven't tried the above place, but I can't think of the name right now. I want to say Jonas. Can't remember if that right or not.
 
Joined
Aug 6, 2007
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I use potassium permanganate too.
If you have trouble finding it, like I did at first, try this source.
I usually get it from a taxidermy source and haven't tried the above place, but I can't think of the name right now. I want to say Jonas. Can't remember if that right or not.

probably Jones brothers out west try McKenzee taxidermy supply they have places everywhere
 
Joined
Dec 27, 2007
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I use potassium permanganate too.
If you have trouble finding it, like I did at first, try this source.
I usually get it from a taxidermy source and haven't tried the above place, but I can't think of the name right now. I want to say Jonas. Can't remember if that right or not.


This is what Moran used. Will stain your hand like crazy also.
 
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the source says it cant ship it no more because of new regulations.... what now? mark
 

Fiddleback

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how about shoe polish, or wood stain, or strong tea/coffee? Just thinking about what I have at the house....

The pigment particles in stain are much bigger than the ones in dyes. This is why they say to use dyes for tight grained woods like maple or cherry.

That fleabings leather dye isn't very expensive stuff. Thats what Raymond Richard does too. ;)
 
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Mar 5, 2006
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Try looking for potassium permanganate at Sears dept. stores back in the water softeners. I've seen it back in there.

Steve
 
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Aug 6, 2003
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Ditto what the other fellas said about where to get pot. perm. It is used in the automatic cleaning/backwash system of a filter that is designed to remove iron from water. It will stain your skin purplish brown if you get it on you, and it won't wash off. Does a bang up job on bleached out antlers, like the other foloks said. I just mix mine with distilled water. Try it on some scrap so you can see how much you want to use.

Todd
 
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Apr 14, 2008
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I have used the permanganate to age powderhorns but it seems to rub off. Does it do the same with antler? Maybe the horn is too smooth. I had mixed it with water. Loosearrow
 
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