Stag, Bone and Horn Grips
The use of organic handle materials such as stag antler, bone and horn dates back to pre-history. Still in use today these materials can be very durable as well as attractive.
We only deal with legally obtained and inspected material (where applicable), and only materials of the highest quality. Our stag antler is farm raised European Red Deer antler from ranchers in Maine. This material rivals the Indian Sambar and Sitka stag that is, alas, no longer readily available at a reasonable price, and what is available is simply not up to my standards in terms of colour and quality.
Our stag may or may not be treated with potassium permangangate (KMnO3) as we have no control over that as this treatment is done at the farm by the ranchers as needed to maintain the health of the animals and the herd. Potassium permanganate is a anti-fungul treatment and using it results in a vast array of golden browns, reds, purples and amber colours to the antler's surface due to the reaction of the treatment. It is no way harmful or hazardous. I am mentioning this simply because I feel you should know. We do stabilze this material as needed with cyanoacrylate under a vacuum and only when needed. This process is usually done to stabilze any suface checking (small age cracks) in what is commonly known as "bark material" (the outter surface of the antler that is very attractive when properly worked). However this process is seldomly needed as the quality of the stag we are getting from the ranchers is quite high.
Even though we have a rather large supply of this wonderful material it is not always available. Please inquire as to availability.
European Red Deer antler is a very attractive material, quite dense, hard and durable, but since it is a organic material some care must be taken. Use comon sense and these grips will last for a very, very long time.
Below are a few examples of what we have done in the past with stag grips. I love using this material.
Centre Section Stag with Bronze Mounts
This is a center cut section of the stag "beam" with bronze mounts on a dagger.
Stag Branch Section
Here is a grip using the "branch" or "forked' section on the antler,with a bronze bolster plate. The "tines" were bobbed back as they were way too long for a grp like this. All in all a very attractive treatment.
Stag Branch section
Here is another "branch" section with "bobbed" tines. When possible we will also use the tine ends for grips on smaller pieces. Bronze bolster plate on this dagger grip.
Tine Tip Grip
This grip is made from a tine/tip section.. It does look a little "uncomfortable" to hold onto but it really isn't. Actually for smaller pieces, these tips are ideal. As with any stag, these are one of a kind pieces and the stag's shape and size will more or less dictate what kind of blade I will put it on. Shown with bronze bolster plate.
Crown Stag Grip Sections:
This is the "Classic" stag grip, the "crown" section next to the skull.. There are three different "types" of crowns that are available, depending upon how the antler was "obtained".. These are the "rose" crown, where the end is knarled and coloued, this is from a "drop off" antler, one that was shed by the animal naturally.
There is also what is called a "Killed" crown, where the antler is obtained after the animal is harvested. These are characterised by a smooth bone surface of the animal's skull on the end of the grip. We usually do not get many of these.
The last crown is called a "Cut Off", where the antler is actually harvested while the animal is still alive, in other words it is cut off. This is done to prevent the stags from injuring each other during Rut, and it doesn't harm the animal. This is the bulk of the stag material we get from the ranchers. While it technically isn't a "true crown" as it doesn't have the flaring base of the other two types, it is still from the same basic area and has the same basic curved grip shape.
All in all these are a great grip.
Crown Stag Grip
This is one of the few Killed crowns that we have done. These killed crowns are from animals harvested for market, and are by products of that harvesting. Shown with bronze mounts.
Crown Stag Grip
This grip is a "Drop off" crown, one from a rack that was naturally shed by the animal annually after Rut is over. The majority of the materail we have is either cutt offs or dropped racks. This is a particularly nice piece with a lot of colour and character.
Bone has been used for miliennia for both blades and grips, but in today's world, it is seldom seen in anything other than the grip scales on folding knives or on a few "low end imported blades" used to replace the higher priced stag. Why this is, well, is beyond me. It is a truly wonderful material that when properly worked, processed and finished results in a grip of surprising beauty.
All the bone we use is obtained from rendering firms and are by-products of the meat industry. Most of the material is beef bone but on occasion we do get some lamb or deer bone as well. We obtain this material by the hundredweight, sort, grade and process it ourselves.
Each piece we use is inspected, cleaned, washed, bleached and finished as we need it one at a time. This insures that each bone grip is the best we can get.
The bones that we use are mainly leg bones from slaughtered cattle. This material is available in one, two or three piece grips. It is also available in dyed bone in black, red or brown as well as the natural "bone creamy/white" colour. Please note that the stark and visually striking "bleached white" bone results from the total removal of the natural oils present in the bone structure. While this is what most folks think of when you mention bone, it is not the best way to treat it for a durable grip. When we process this material we are careful to leave just the right amount of these natural oils in the bone to allow it to be as durable as it can, yet we remove just enough to allow us to dye or otherwise finish it to a high degree. Regardless if the bone is dyed or the natural creamy white, each piece is the best we can get.
Note on dyed bone:
Bone is a natural skeletal material, its properties vary from not only bone to bone but within the same bone. Some sections will readily accept dyes, others will not and some areas will only colour to a certain degree. This can and often does result in a bone that is "marbled" with varying hues of the base colour. A black dyed bone may be have areas of black to midnight blue to charcoal grey to dove grey to stark white, all in the same piece of bone in random areas. A red dyed piece could easily have reds of different shades to light salmon to pink to white. Here again it can be in a marbled pattern or just random patches of colour. Each bone dyes and reacts differently and we have yet to find a dyestuff that will reliably dye and penetrate evenly.
Last Updated (Sunday, 03 August 2014 06:19)