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Thread: Staining antlers after removing velvet

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    Member barrowdave's Avatar
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    Default Staining antlers after removing velvet

    Do any of you guys have a method to stain a caribou rack after the velvet has been removed? Thought I would rather do it myself than try to ship it out of Barrow. Thanks, Dave

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    Default Van Dykes

    Dave, You can go to Van Dykes Taxidermy supply and purchase whatever shade of antler stain that you desire. My only concern would be with the velvet and how much if any are left on the antlers.... However, you could take some light grit sand paper and clean the antlers to ensure you get a consistant stain.. Doug

  3. #3

    Default Staining horns

    If they are good and dry just use wood stain. Go with a couple coats of golden oak and then use a final coat of dark walnut. I cant rember the brand of stain but I get it at spenards in wasilla. Hope this helps.

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    Member barrowdave's Avatar
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    Default

    Goody and Akfisher1 thanks for the guidance, greatly appreciated.
    Dave

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    New member fishnhuntr's Avatar
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    Default stain or..

    Dave,
    Another option, find or make you a good mudhole and cake it up real good, let it dry then clean it off. I purposefully put my rack on top of my meat wagon this year coming out on a very muddy atv trail for that reason and actually like how it looks just from doing that, better than the stain I put on one last year. Regular wood stain will work just fine though, the "mud technique" as I'm calling it just looks more natural to me. Hey you can always try it and still stain it if you don't like it. Just an idea. Luck
    Cody

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    Member Berto's Avatar
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    Default

    ditto what akfisher1 said, but personally i would go easy on the dark walnut.

    in the end it all depends on what color you want the antlers to be when you are finished. once the stain is dry you can lightly sand the tips if you want them to be a bit lighter than the beams.

  7. #7

    Default

    dilute your stain on the first coat. Some antlers can soak up the stain like a sponge and turn very dark. Try a little spot somewhere on the antlers thats not to noticable to test first. If you sand the antlers first to remove the remaining velvet, you will probly get a bunch of little fuzzys on the antlers. Take a small torch and go over them and whip clean with a rag. Cleans the antlers up real nice.

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    Member dieNqvrs's Avatar
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    Default Potassium permanganate

    Potassium permanganate is a photo chemical that many antler chandelier makers use to color white sheds up to look new again. It is very inexpensive.$8 (125g)worth will do a few, 15-20$(500g) will get you plenty for quite a few antlers. Mix with water and apply with a sponge wearing gloves. The water mixture is purple when it goes on but dries to a perfect pitch color brown when it dries. If you want white tips like on an elk you have to fade it out and stop before the tip and put it on thicker down by the base like a normal antler thats gets rubbed alot. Great product for elk, deer, caribou, moose and others. works really well!! I have tried wood stain but does not look as good as this does.

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    Member dieNqvrs's Avatar
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    Default few pics

    Here are a few pics of an elk antler that is not done but you can see the color you get from potassium permanganate.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Member ollie's Avatar
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    Default

    Potassium permanganate is by far the best way to stain antlers and it's permanent. It won't chip off if scratched and you don't get that painted look. Add a liilte bit of it to hot water or rubbing alcohol and brush it on in light coats until you get the color you want. I buff mine with light steel wool in between coats to get rid of any streaks that may be there. Don't be alarmed when you mix it because it will be a purple color but will turn brown as it dries. Also make sure that you wear gloves because this stuff really stains. You can get this stuff anywhere they sell water softener products. I have found it at Sears. Good luck and have fun!

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    Default

    I've tried almost every method there is. That being said, I've never done any caribou, and they seem to have a more uniform coloring to their antlers from what I have seen. I mostly do elk and deer. The best stuff I have used is Mini Wax Gel stain. I'll wipe it all over the antlers, then take a handful of mud and rub it all over the antlers, then wash it off with a hose. Repeat the steps until you have the desired color. You can take some steal wool and polish up the tips and bumps in the antlers (may not need to do that for caribou). Anyway, that's my two cents. Here is an elk I mounted several years ago and used that method on these antlers.
    Also, if you are just stripping off the velvet, I would definately rub them down with steel wool before applying the stains. That will smooth them out so they are not so porous. It will stain much better that way.


  12. #12

    Default

    In the hundreds i have done, you will find that each rack will take stain differant then the others, the key is to get all that thin layer off of the antlers, it can be a pain in the ***** most of the time, after i strip the velvet then i soak mine in a solution that a made for a week and then pressure wash the thin layer off with LOW pressure, then you are ready to stain. do a stain test on the back side of the antlers about 3 inches up from the bur.
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    Default Min Wax

    Dave:

    I had the same problem:

    I was contacted by a great guy in Texas who sent me a kit of stains for my racks. They included a Min-wax pre stain to prevent too much stain from penetrating the rack. The 2nd stem we selecting the stain color to use and I blended a walnut with a beech and put it on with a clean cotton rag heavy, 2 coats letting each dry about 24 hours between each. I finished up with a satin polly spray and again 2 coats.

    I was very impressed with the results and both racks are so good looking and the price was right!

    Walt
    Northwest Alaska Back Country Rentals
    Kotzebue AK
    www.northwestalaska.com
    Rafts and camp Rentals for NW Alaaska

  14. #14
    Member barrowdave's Avatar
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    Default Great Info

    Thanks to everyone for all of the great information. Those racks you guys posted pictures of are really well done. Merry Christmas, Dave.

  15. #15
    Member OKElkHunter's Avatar
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    Default wood stain bad

    don't use wood stain, go to VanDykes and order antler stain.
    “Don't expect to build up the weak by pulling down the strong." ~Calvin Coolidge~

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    Member BAR300's Avatar
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    Default old time way

    I mix a sludge like instant coffee mix, then apply with a brush to the rack, it's cheap and permenant, gives it a very real look.

  17. #17

    Default OKElkhunter

    Why not use wood stain? I have used Minwax wood stain on tons of elk and deer antlers over the last 25 years and they all still look great. I sent the stain to Walt and he said it worked great? Not trying to be rude, would just curious why you would not use wood stain.

    Randy

  18. #18
    Member OKElkHunter's Avatar
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    Default

    Wood stain seals the antlers so that other stains will not permeate. If wood stain is too dark it can't be removed and basically ruins the ability to get the proper color on later. The stain sold in Van Dykes is not that expensive, and is worth the wait on shipping so that the antlers are done right. I have been mounting and staining antlers for many years and used wood stain when I first started, bad decision. The Potassium permanganate stain is by far the best method and comes in 3 different shades and can be applied several times lightly to achieve the results wanted, whereas wood stain is kind of a one time and get it right the first time method. Many taxidermist don't want to try to fix the color of antlers stained with wood stain. Also, using chlorine bleach on antlers is a no-no as well. Chlorine hardens the antlers and makes them difficult to accept stain. That is why you should only use hydrogen peroxide to bleach skulls and bones.

    Quote Originally Posted by txguide View Post
    Why not use wood stain? I have used Minwax wood stain on tons of elk and deer antlers over the last 25 years and they all still look great. I sent the stain to Walt and he said it worked great? Not trying to be rude, would just curious why you would not use wood stain.

    Randy
    “Don't expect to build up the weak by pulling down the strong." ~Calvin Coolidge~

  19. #19
    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Default

    ever use a poly urethane to cover? would it help?
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

    meet on face book here

  20. #20
    Member BAR300's Avatar
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    Default yes use poly

    my experience is use the semi-gloss, too glossy they look wierd. the poly seals everything in and somewhat protects it from the sun.

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