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Thread: Care for weathered rack

  1. #1

    Default Care for weathered rack

    Just returned from a sheep hunt, and while I didn't fill my tag, I did bring down a set of weathered 3/4 curl horns for my budding naturalist daughter. Problem is that they're pretty weathered (some moderate splintering on the ends, some rust colored stains) and smell pretty bad inside (both separated from the skull plate). I cleaned most of them up relatively well with a nylon brush, but would still like to 1) clean the insides of the horns well 2) remove the discoloration, if possible and 3) seal them to bind the splintering and protect them in the future. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Chris

  2. #2
    Member
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    My wife's dad used to make yard art with moose antlers. While coating a carving, I gave the antlers on one of his works a coat of the spar varathane I was using. It looks awesome. A few more coats and it filled in most of the cracks. I believe if you want to restore them, you would want to fill the cracks, then coat. If you're going to keep them inside, I believe that they'll last forever the way they are. A light wash with spray bleach cleaner will take most discoloration off. Let us know how it turns out so that we can learn with you!

  3. #3

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    Thanks for the advice, Sir. I was thinking varathane would be a good choice for binding and giving it some gloss. Will try the bleach this weekend followed by varathane and let you know the outcome.

  4. #4

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    I thought I'd report back on what I learned trying to restore this old horn. The first picture is before any work. As you can see it was quite dirty and showed some evidence of splintering. I took what I thought was a soft nylon brush and water to it, which cleaned it up quite a bit but also took away a significant amount of the outermost layer of the rack's organic material. This left it looking very dry and much more splintered. I then applied a diluted bleach solution to try to lighted the rust colored stains. This helped a little. I also glued one significantly splintered section back down with cyanoactylate (strong, quick cure glue similar to "crazy glue"). The third picture is after a few coats of varathane, which helped a lot with the dry look and also served to bind the splintering. In all, the horn was much more weathered than I originally realized, but my daughter's happy to add it to her collection of various animal parts.

    IMG_7229.jpgIMG_7226.jpg

    Oops, guess I can't load more than two pictures at a time. I'll post again with the third.

  5. #5

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    Third picture ... hard to tell in this picture, but the outcome is much improved over the non-varathaned stage.

    IMG_7228.jpg

  6. #6
    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    That looks great! Can someone with computer skills put arrows on the rings that would get counted for proper aging of this horn?

  7. #7
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    Glad it helped! It looks great. I have noticed that varathane will keep a long long time indoors, not so much in the weather, only a few years.

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