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How to Make a Knife Handle Out of an Antler Shed

It was a hunt to remember, but the antlers weren’t big enough to justify a mount. So you’ve hung them from the workshop rafters, where soon they’ll be forgotten. Why not make a memento before the mice start nibbling? That way you not only have a keepsake that recalls a special day, but an heirloom you can pass down to the next generation. I’m talking about crafting a knife. All you need is a steady hand and a few tools, plus a stick-tang blade and a brass guard that you can order from a knife supply outlet such as Ragweed Forge (www.ragweedforge.com).

Select a straight or gently curved antler section that comfortably fills the hand and cut to length with a hacksaw (some knife makers like to use the antler button for the butt). Fit the guard over the tang of the knife, fine-tuning the slot opening with files until it fits snugly just behind the edge of the blade.

Place the blade-and-guard assembly against the antler handle to see where you need to drill the hole. Clamp the handle in a padded vise and, using a small bit, drill the hole for the tang. Enlarge the hole, using progressively larger bits, then finish excavating the slot with files until the tang and assembly fit into the hole. Don’t worry if the tang fit is a little sloppy (it leaves more room for the glue), but make sure the blade-to-guard fit, and the guard-to-handle fit, are exact before proceeding further. Cement the tang in the slot using two-part 30-minute epoxy.

Clamp overnight.

That’s all there is to it, except for finishing with fine sandpaper and polishing up the blade and guard on a buffing wheel. Use carnauba-based furniture wax to polish the handle to a soft sheen.

Now you’re ready to skin next year’s deer.

 

Comments (23)

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from jimbo1307 wrote 5 years 13 weeks ago

The link to ragweed forge does not work.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Blacktail Shadow wrote 5 years 13 weeks ago

Here are a couple of sites to order a blade and guard.
http://www.knifekits.com/vcom/index.php , http://www.knifeandgun.com/

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Michael Reilly wrote 5 years 13 weeks ago

It would have been nice to see a step by step picture of the process. It sounds simple, but a picture is worth a thousand words!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from wydra knives wrote 5 years 13 weeks ago

from Wydra Knives. The antler material should dry completely before use or it will shrink. Then send it to knifeandgun to have it stabalized.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from tigerjdbullrider wrote 5 years 13 weeks ago

ive made many of knives and this is an excelent technique for those who want to make their first knife.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from belgrademitch wrote 5 years 12 weeks ago

Wow talk about a let down on that article. How about some step by step pictures.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jeff Fell wrote 5 years 12 weeks ago

I'm going to try this so all help is appreciated.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from mjwatson wrote 5 years 12 weeks ago

I hope the Ragweed forge site comes back soon. There are helpful instructions on that site as well as a wide selection of blades to choose from. There are other sites that offer instructions for mounting a handle on a blade. Check out:
http://www.primitiveways.com/pt-antlerhandleknife.html
http://www.knives.com/engnath_handles.html
http://www4.gvsu.edu/triert/cache/articles/gl1/knifemaking1.htm

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from 4trx300 wrote 5 years 12 weeks ago

if you have ever made a knife youll know its not that simple if you want one your unashamed to show you friends.but we all start somewhere.good luck to those who try it.by the way if you need to buy a gaurd you will probobly have to buy a blade also.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ChadSH wrote 5 years 12 weeks ago

Where on the ragweedforge site can you order knife parts?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from HillbillyDeluxe wrote 5 years 12 weeks ago

The idea of this article is great and in fact very cool. However, this is a terrible article. The process is very vague and I don't have experience with this, so I have no clue how this is actually supposed to work. Can someone provide a link that would provide step-by-step instructions?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from mjwatson wrote 5 years 12 weeks ago

Move down in the site to an area called "knife blades and kits"

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from pdbarber wrote 5 years 12 weeks ago

Does anyone know who makes the blade in the article in Feb. '09 issue? I could not find that style at ragweedforge.com site. It looks like a very unique drop point style.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from DustinW wrote 5 years 7 weeks ago

This looks very fun to do in my free time. The directions are very good but I would like to see pictures though.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Alex Williams wrote 5 years 6 weeks ago

I've always wanted to make a knife out of a shed i found, but never knew how. This helps, but i a picture gallery showing the process step-by-step sure would make it a lot easier.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from mdhager115 wrote 5 years 6 weeks ago

Ive always wondered how to do this. It seems pretty straightforward and simple. Im gonna try this. Hopefully ill have something to brag about.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dean Persinger wrote 5 years 4 weeks ago

Imade a knife in the past using a sears pry-bar for the blade and an antler handle. Shaped the blade in a small forge and created a tang on it then sharpened it. Holds an edge good. When I drilled out the antler I saved the residue and mixed it in with the epoxy. It may never come loose.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jake5 wrote 4 years 42 weeks ago

awsome

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from bigjake wrote 4 years 31 weeks ago

if your going to make your own knives take the extra time and put brass pins through the handle.Makes a more secure handle

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dodo42 wrote 4 years 11 weeks ago

If you boil the piece of antler long enough, you can push the knife tang right in and you don't have to worry about glue or rivet. I would suggest drilling into the antler where you intend on pushing in the tang so that the water can soften as much as possible.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bob Compton wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

I am building an antler-handled knife now, and have prepared the tang for insertion into the pith. If I boil the antler, I know I need to boil it at least until the pith is easily dented by my fingernail. How long is that? An hour, a day

I am building an antler-handled knife now, and am at the point of attaching the blade to the handle. I have cut the tang and have affixed a guard to the blade with epoxy. If I boil the antler, how long does it need to boil to get the pith soft enough to insert the tang- an hour, a day? I don't want to be standing "at the ready", watching so it doesn't boil too long, and then find that I'm standing there for 14 hours. Too, I know that I need to epoxy the guard to the antler, but if I do, how will the antler dry out? Any help will be appreciated.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from irakzhao wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

if you have ever made a knife youll know its not that simple if you want one your unashamed to show you friends.but we all start somewhere.good luck to those who try it.by the way if you need to buy a gaurd you will probobly have to buy a blade also.http://www.cancer-c.com/mesothelioma/asbestos-attorney.html

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from BIGBUCKKILLER16 wrote 2 years 21 weeks ago

Hi guys

+1 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from mjwatson wrote 5 years 12 weeks ago

I hope the Ragweed forge site comes back soon. There are helpful instructions on that site as well as a wide selection of blades to choose from. There are other sites that offer instructions for mounting a handle on a blade. Check out:
http://www.primitiveways.com/pt-antlerhandleknife.html
http://www.knives.com/engnath_handles.html
http://www4.gvsu.edu/triert/cache/articles/gl1/knifemaking1.htm

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Blacktail Shadow wrote 5 years 13 weeks ago

Here are a couple of sites to order a blade and guard.
http://www.knifekits.com/vcom/index.php , http://www.knifeandgun.com/

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from bigjake wrote 4 years 31 weeks ago

if your going to make your own knives take the extra time and put brass pins through the handle.Makes a more secure handle

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Michael Reilly wrote 5 years 13 weeks ago

It would have been nice to see a step by step picture of the process. It sounds simple, but a picture is worth a thousand words!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from BIGBUCKKILLER16 wrote 2 years 21 weeks ago

Hi guys

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jimbo1307 wrote 5 years 13 weeks ago

The link to ragweed forge does not work.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from wydra knives wrote 5 years 13 weeks ago

from Wydra Knives. The antler material should dry completely before use or it will shrink. Then send it to knifeandgun to have it stabalized.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from tigerjdbullrider wrote 5 years 13 weeks ago

ive made many of knives and this is an excelent technique for those who want to make their first knife.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from belgrademitch wrote 5 years 12 weeks ago

Wow talk about a let down on that article. How about some step by step pictures.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jeff Fell wrote 5 years 12 weeks ago

I'm going to try this so all help is appreciated.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from 4trx300 wrote 5 years 12 weeks ago

if you have ever made a knife youll know its not that simple if you want one your unashamed to show you friends.but we all start somewhere.good luck to those who try it.by the way if you need to buy a gaurd you will probobly have to buy a blade also.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ChadSH wrote 5 years 12 weeks ago

Where on the ragweedforge site can you order knife parts?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from HillbillyDeluxe wrote 5 years 12 weeks ago

The idea of this article is great and in fact very cool. However, this is a terrible article. The process is very vague and I don't have experience with this, so I have no clue how this is actually supposed to work. Can someone provide a link that would provide step-by-step instructions?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from mjwatson wrote 5 years 12 weeks ago

Move down in the site to an area called "knife blades and kits"

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from pdbarber wrote 5 years 12 weeks ago

Does anyone know who makes the blade in the article in Feb. '09 issue? I could not find that style at ragweedforge.com site. It looks like a very unique drop point style.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from DustinW wrote 5 years 7 weeks ago

This looks very fun to do in my free time. The directions are very good but I would like to see pictures though.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Alex Williams wrote 5 years 6 weeks ago

I've always wanted to make a knife out of a shed i found, but never knew how. This helps, but i a picture gallery showing the process step-by-step sure would make it a lot easier.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from mdhager115 wrote 5 years 6 weeks ago

Ive always wondered how to do this. It seems pretty straightforward and simple. Im gonna try this. Hopefully ill have something to brag about.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dean Persinger wrote 5 years 4 weeks ago

Imade a knife in the past using a sears pry-bar for the blade and an antler handle. Shaped the blade in a small forge and created a tang on it then sharpened it. Holds an edge good. When I drilled out the antler I saved the residue and mixed it in with the epoxy. It may never come loose.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jake5 wrote 4 years 42 weeks ago

awsome

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dodo42 wrote 4 years 11 weeks ago

If you boil the piece of antler long enough, you can push the knife tang right in and you don't have to worry about glue or rivet. I would suggest drilling into the antler where you intend on pushing in the tang so that the water can soften as much as possible.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bob Compton wrote 2 years 46 weeks ago

I am building an antler-handled knife now, and have prepared the tang for insertion into the pith. If I boil the antler, I know I need to boil it at least until the pith is easily dented by my fingernail. How long is that? An hour, a day

I am building an antler-handled knife now, and am at the point of attaching the blade to the handle. I have cut the tang and have affixed a guard to the blade with epoxy. If I boil the antler, how long does it need to boil to get the pith soft enough to insert the tang- an hour, a day? I don't want to be standing "at the ready", watching so it doesn't boil too long, and then find that I'm standing there for 14 hours. Too, I know that I need to epoxy the guard to the antler, but if I do, how will the antler dry out? Any help will be appreciated.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from irakzhao wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

if you have ever made a knife youll know its not that simple if you want one your unashamed to show you friends.but we all start somewhere.good luck to those who try it.by the way if you need to buy a gaurd you will probobly have to buy a blade also.http://www.cancer-c.com/mesothelioma/asbestos-attorney.html

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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