How to Make a Deer Antler Handle Knife

Written by curtis fease
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How to Make a Deer Antler Handle Knife
Use an antler tine to make a natural knife handle. (www.primitiveways.com)

Hunters admire the majesty of the deer. Many would like to have a deer-antler handle knife, if not for their prohibitive cost. However, using a few household items along with a deer antler, anyone can make their own deer-antler handle knife.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Antler tine
  • Knife blade
  • Bucket of rain or creek water
  • Hacksaw
  • Duct tape
  • Steel clamp

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Ensure that your antler tine is the right size for the knife blade you have. Also ensure that your knife has a tang, which is an extension at the bottom of the blade that holds the blade inside its handle. The inside of your antler tine has a pithy, slightly porous, core. This does not continue all the way through the antler. The pithy core will narrow as you get closer to the tip of the antler. Eventually there will be no pithy core, as the tip of the antler is solid. Ensure that your antler is long enough to take in all of the tang of the knife.

  2. 2

    Place your antler tine into the bucket of rain or creek water. This brings you to the hard part -- waiting. The antler may have to soak for a month before it is ready. Every few days you can take the antler out of the water and test the pithy core by pressing your fingernail against it. If your fingernail indents the core, it is probably ready. It is a good idea to leave the antler in the water a few extra days to ensure the entire pithy core is as soft as where you initially pressed.

  3. 3

    Wrap the blade of your knife, not the tang, with duct tape. Use the clamp to hold the blade in place with the tang sticking up. Now use a hacksaw to make the tang the appropriate size. Remember that the pithy core ends near the end of the antler, so your tang should not be longer than that. Also, cut the tang into a wedge shape. This will help when inserting the tang into the antler.

  4. 4

    Make sure the clamp covers the entire length of the blade, only stopping at the tang. This will ensure you don't bend your blade while adding the handle.

  5. 5

    Remove your antler tine from the water. The antler may smell terrible because of bacteria forming on it in the water. This doesn't mean the antler tine is no good. The smell will go away.

  6. 6

    Position the antler tine over the tang of the blade. Press the pithy core down onto the tang. Use your body weight to get leverage and slowly push the antler tine onto the tang. This may take a bit of effort, but do not rush it. You may mess up if you rush, and there really is no fixing a mistake with a pithy core.

  7. 7

    Continue pressing the antler tine until it reaches the hilt of the blade. Check the blade every now and again to make sure it isn't moving around in the clamps.

  8. 8

    Leave the antler out to dry once you have pushed the tang into it. You will know the antler is dry when the smell is gone.

Tips and warnings

  • You can also use cloth to wrap the blade before putting it into the clamp. This will prevent scratching the blade.
  • Boil the antler tine to save time. Do not boil it too long. Boil the antler just long enough for the pithy core to become soft, and no longer.
  • If you mount the heads of deer you kill and do not want to ruin the mount, no need to worry. Keep an eye out for antlers in the woods. Deer will often shed pieces of their antlers.
  • Be careful while working with the blade of the knife. Wear leather work gloves if you have them, as this decreases your chance of injury.

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