How to polish deer antlers

Written by jeremiah blanchard
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How to polish deer antlers
A properly mounted set of antlers can be a pretty addition to your home or hunting cabin. (Antlers image by Charles Kaye from

Many hunters not only enjoy the pursuit of wild game animals for food, but also for sport. Those who perform sport hunting often like to mount the antlers from deer, elk or even moose. Over time, the antlers can dry out and start to look ragged or worn. All you need to bring the lustre back to the antlers is a bit of polish. You can polish antlers using many products -- including shoe polish.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Wood polish or brown shoe polish
  • Rags
  • 400-grit sandpaper

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  1. 1

    Choose a polishing product that will give you the desired colour you're looking for. Brown shoe polish will help to darken and shine up the colour. Furniture polish or any wood polish also works well for providing a rich colour, especially after applying a stain or polyurethane coat.

  2. 2

    Clean off the antlers by wiping them with a damp rag or sand the antlers by hand using fine, 400-grit sandpaper. Sand or wipe just enough to take away the chalky feel. Do not penetrate or alter the natural grain.

  3. 3

    Apply a thin coat of the polishing product that you chose onto the antlers. Rub the polish in and apply additional coats until the desired colour richness is achieved.

  4. 4

    Buff the antlers with a dry cloth until your desired level of shine is achieved.

Tips and warnings

  • Hang your antlers out of the way of sunlight. Sunlight bleaches the antlers over time and causes the chalky, deteriorated appearance.
  • Keep the antlers in a room that is smoke free. Cigarette smoke will tarnish the antlers and turn them a dingy yellow colour.
  • Do not use abrasive products or coarse sandpaper on the antlers. This can ruin the antlers and take away the natural look.

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