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Antler Stain

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by godogs57, Jan 30, 2005.

  1. godogs57


    Apr 16, 2004
    What is everyone using to stain their antlers? I have seen some nice work lately using deer antlers that, after working the knife handle up to final shape, use some sort of stain to make everything a nice medium dark brown...I have tried it using Oil based leather stain (medium brown) from Tandys and it just does not work on Elk antler or deer....after buffing all I get is some crappy mottled color with green tint, so I suspect I am not using what everyone else is...

    Any help is appreciated!
  2. Frank Eaton

    Frank Eaton

    Sep 10, 2004
    Do a search on Potassium Permagnate? (SP), you should see plenty on techniques. I bought some on ebay cheap. Frank
  3. Trick


    Mar 3, 2001
  4. Dan Gray

    Dan Gray

    Jun 25, 2001
    Just a Thought here
    tea can be used but also remember you want the antler dry when you use it
    so how long were you willing to wait to use it?
  5. Raymond Richard

    Raymond Richard

    Jun 17, 2001
    I've been known to color my stag. If you plan on buffing it do it after it has been stained. I use the non oil stains. I start with black on the back, dark brown or chocolate in the middle and a tan on the front and then try to blend everything together working from front to back. The pp works fine but the color fades in time.
  6. jhiggins


    Jul 11, 2003
    Will Fiebings work?
  7. Steve Hayden

    Steve Hayden

    Mar 7, 2003
    I use Fiebling's light brown oil based dye when I do anything other than the natural color.

    I am kind of partial to the natural antler and usually only dye the older stuff that I have to stabilize.
  8. Wild Rose

    Wild Rose

    Aug 23, 2002
    Yep their Spirit Dye is what I use - works better than oil dye. Like Ray I use different colors to get the color(s) I want and it lasts longer and doesn't get fade or get ratty looking like PP. YOu can buff first but then rub down with alcohol and/or 4/0 steel wool to break the surface glaze or it won't soak in properly. After dying seal with a good wood finish of your choice.

    If you do use PP be sure and neutralize it with something like baking soda and water or soda water (aka club soda) or about best Ballistol. PP is an oxidizer and will keep working if not neutralized. It not only fades but also tends to turn green on you, especially if not properly neutralized.
  9. godogs57


    Apr 16, 2004
    Fiebings Oil based dye was what I was using...I don't know, something is just not working out right. Will try the potassium permangenate and see what happens. Thanks for the suggestions!
  10. Wild Rose

    Wild Rose

    Aug 23, 2002
    Try their spirit dye NOT the Oil dye...They offer it in 4 0z bottles - you don't need much.

    Oh and each piece of antler is different - I've had some that went mottled - whatever material you use this can/will happen since antler has spots of differing porosity along the length, elk especially.

    The "bolster" on this knife is made of mule deer antler and the grip is of deer leg bone - both fairly "mottled" it's always a bit of a crap shoot when working with natural materials but the effort is worth it IMO.

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