markh

Gluing deer antlers to forged steel

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Adding good advice based on experience should always be welcome; the original poster is not the only one reading this after all.

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You are correct, of course, Thomas.  I just keep forgetting that aspect.  I'll try and keep my lip buttoned the next time that arises.

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Well then. In some cases when using the butt of the antler, where it attached to the animals skull it may be very porous to combat this and add stability when inserting tangs it can be beneficial to drill a very over sized hole to remove most of the core porosity. Then insert a sleeve of either metal or hardwood to fill the gap between the tang and the antler. This helps to prevent the lamellar bone and marrow space from collapsing. I usually use Devcon 5 minute epoxy for this. Give the sleeve some tooth with course sandpaper to help it hold. This technique also works for horns which are hollow. 

Do not bleach animal bones to whiten them, bleach breaks down the bone and makes it brittle. Instead use peroxide. I use water filtration system peroxide as it is stronger.  It whitens them without the damage. Make sure to apply some sort of oil back to the bone to help prevent it drying out as it will have a tenancy to crack as it shrinks. I generally use a few coats of mineral oil though it tends to make the bones look a little yellow instead of bright white. If you are using the bone for handle material wait to oil it until after it has been glue on as it oil penetration can effect the strength of the epoxy bond. 

Have a good one,

W

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Do you thicken your epoxy on occasion, Steven? Can bone be stabilized like wood? 

I think TSP will bleach bone and horn without removing the collagen but I may be misremembering. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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No need to thicken good epoxy, Frosty.  (think Acraglas) Yes, absolutely, you can and should stabilize bone and antler.  The best bleach for bone is Hydrogen Peroxide.  TSP will break down the structure of bone.

Chris

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TSP will break it down if it's too strong or goes too long, the artificial stuff they're selling as a replacement at the paint stores seems to work fairly well.  I wasn't using it on horn though, it was cow femur, and really, I was trying to get the grease out of the middle where the marrow was, rather than bleach it.

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