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Old 11-05-2018, 12:14 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default Antler pen question.

I'm about to take my first run at turning deer antlers .

Anything special or magical I need to know ?

Thanks.
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Old 11-05-2018, 02:00 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Just did my first one last weekend. SHARP cutters, light cuts. Hadn't been that long since I rotated the carbide, and I was thinking the antler was rock hard (it was, to be sure). Then, toward the end, I rotated the cutter--made life a LOT easier. What may be sharp for ebony may not be sharp enough for antler.

My novice observation--definitely not an expert!!
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Old 11-05-2018, 02:26 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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I find that cutting and drilling is the trickiest part due to odd shapes. Turning isn't so bad, but it does blunt the tools pretty quick. I use HSS spindle gouge, I use up the whole cutting edge and usually sharpen twice by the time I'm down to size. Depending on the size of the antler, it can be pretty porous. If its looking porous I usually fill with thin CA when I am a few thousands oversize then turn down to fit -- this just speeds up the finishing process for me.

The antler dust is a bit worse for the lungs compared to sawdust, so be sure to use a good DC or respirator (or both).

Last comment -- I would avoid using fresh antler. It holds moisture and can crack like wood during drying. I think typical drying time is 3 to 6 months. Many guys say they use fresh antler all the time without issues, others report cracking -- for me it just isn't worth the risk.
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Old 11-05-2018, 05:57 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Make damn sure you have GOOD ventilation.
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Old 11-06-2018, 11:11 AM   #5 (permalink)
 
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You could start by reading my article in the Library. P.
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Old 11-06-2018, 02:10 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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I''ll make it easy for all of us. Thanks, I ran across a piece of antler I need to use.
http://content.penturners.org/librar...er_on_pens.pdf
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Old 11-06-2018, 04:14 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Selecting the right piece of antler is critical. Some people like tips that will make a nice hard and white surface, I feel that beam pieces make more interesting, and better selling, pens. My choice is always gnarly porous beam pieces. Fill them with CA 2-3 times as you turn them if necessary. I've made several hundreds of antler pens and those from beam stock, exposed bark and unusual coloration are always what sells best.

Drilling is a challenge but turning them round before drilling is not necessary. Mark the desired entrance and exit locations and drill a starter hole for each. I mount a drill bit in the headstock of my lathe, hold the antler piece with a large pliers, and use a live center in the tailstock quill to push the antler into the bit.

Some people claim they smell, if the antler is good and dry it won't smell as much. Definitely use a dust collector.
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Old 11-06-2018, 07:25 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Gerry, that's a nice trick for drilling, thanks for sharing.
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Old 11-06-2018, 07:30 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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These antlers are from a fresh kill. So I need to wait several months before using them ?
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Old 11-06-2018, 08:15 PM   #10 (permalink)
 
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They will have to dry. When antlers are measured, there is a drying time before final measuring.
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