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Thread: How deep to drill?

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    Bondservant of Jesus coachschaller's Avatar
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    Default How deep to drill?

    Looking at finally making a brush from moose antler that I bought. I will be initially using a 26mm mixed boar/badger from Maggard's as the knot. How far down should I initially drill for the knot. I do not have the equipment at home, but am making a special trip to a buddies place who has all the woodworking equipment. Would it be better to drill too deep and then just shim, or should I drill, do a test lather, and then drill deeper if needed?

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    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    It depends on the knot, and how stiff you want it and what it will look like. Be sure to have the knot in hand before you drill. You can slightly file the epoxy on the knot to fit to a tight hole, but it is better to have the hole slightly larger than the plug.

    Since you don’t have the drill to go deeper if needed, drill a bit deeper and shim if needed you can use coins or washers for added weight or plaster or cork.

    Antler is tough, so go slow and be sure to clamp the work in a machinist vice or wooden hand clamp and clamp or bolt to the table. It is worth the time to make a pair of V blocks to securely grip the antler. It can go wrong quickly and the edges of antler are sharp.

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    Senior Member blabbermouth RezDog's Avatar
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    If you have a similar knot if a brush that you are happy with how it feels and lathers, you can copy the loft, of similarly if you have one you wish was more stiff or less adjust the knot accordingly. That will do the same with shimming as well. The other thing with antler is the center is quite porous and is best sealed. I have done this fairly simply by taping the bottom and adding thin CA and it will soak to the bottom, let it dry and apply some more. I have gotten them sealed with three applications. Peel the tape and use wet dry to polish the end. That is presuming you are not capping the end. I have done a couple capped ends too, but dressing the bone and horn caps to exactly the shape of the antler is a bit of a pain. I’d love to see what you come up with so keep us updated please.
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    Bondservant of Jesus coachschaller's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=RezDog;1882335 The other thing with antler is the center is quite porous and is best sealed. I have done this fairly simply by taping the bottom and adding thin CA and it will soak to the bottom, let it dry and apply some more. I have gotten them sealed with three applications. Peel the tape and use wet dry to polish the end. [/QUOTE]

    Do you tape the sides? Or are you taping the bottom with leaving the center (porous) part to absorb the CA? I plan on sealing both the bottom and the inside where the know will go.
    I might do a couple just for fun.

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    Bondservant of Jesus coachschaller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Euclid440 View Post
    It is worth the time to make a pair of V blocks to securely grip the antler. It can go wrong quickly and the edges of antler are sharp.
    Thanks a ton! what is a v block?

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    Senior Member blabbermouth RezDog's Avatar
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    If you tape the bottom to get it sealed temporarily and then fill it from the top you will essentially fill all of the air space in the porous center. The sides are not porous and the CA will not bleed though the outside. You can use good masking tape or the aluminum duct sealing tape. I try to avoid cheap masking tape.
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    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    A V block is just a couple blocks of wood with a large V cut in them. The V secures the cylindrical or round object so it can be clamped or placed in a vice. You can make a pair from a couple of blocks on a band saw, table saw or with a hand saw in a couple of minutes.

    If you donít use one, the work can spin in a vise or clamp if the work catches. And there is a good chance of the bit catching because the center of the antler is softer than the outside.

    You may want to drill a shallow hole in the bottom so you can make a small tenon on the plug to make fitting easier and more secure. Any good tape, even duct tape will seal the bottom and it is not a big deal if a bit soaks out, it will sand off. Antler sands and polishes nicely, you can get it to a very high gloss if you want or a satin finish.

    If you want to seal it completely, put some thin CA on the bottom and hit it with CA kicker so it dries quickly, then tape the bottom and seal the other end from the top. The glue on the bottom will seal it and should not leak out, the tape is just insurance to keep from making a mess and insure you donít glue your handle to the bench.

    Another way to adjust the hole, if you need it a bit larger is to use a Dremel with a sanding drum, wear a mask, you donít want to breath that dust.

    Do post pics, Antler is a beautiful material and can finish well, it will often change color if sanded and polish, the final color will depend on what the animal had been eating just prior to harvesting. The colors can range from brown to pink, and green to yellow.


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    Senior Member blabbermouth bluesman7's Avatar
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    When I had this question. I made a mock handle out of a piece of fir 2x4. I drilled it extra deep but the bore was tight enough that I could experiment and complete shaves with it without glue. When I had a depth that I liked I just made my permanent handle to that and glued it. The diameter effects the backbone also.
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    Bondservant of Jesus coachschaller's Avatar
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    Hoping to get started today. Going to a friend's place. I have a trick or two up my sleeve for this project
    My biggest decision is how to finish the bottom: I might cap it with a piece of antler, or I might just sand down to some type of metal cap.

    I have a 26mm Maggard mixed knot (70:30 badger/boar) I will try to drill down to about 18 mm and then shim if needed.
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    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    Find a Silver or copper coin a bit larger than the antler piece, then trim to match with small files and glue to the base.
    It will also add a bit of weight and flat surface so it stands nicely.
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