Detachable Antlers
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Taxidermy.Net Forum  |  Beginners, Training & Tutorials  |  Tutorials  |  Topic: Detachable Antlers « previous next »
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Big John
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« on: May 23, 2008, 07:04:46 AM »

I have had so many inquiries about how we do our detachable antlers here on Elk, Moose, etc. that I thought that is was time to put it on the Taxidermy Net so if anyone has a question about detachable antlers they might want to try this method.

Personally, I have found out through trial and error that none of those detachable antler kits works for me.  They are junk because you have too many things that can go wrong, like excessive drilling to make adjustments and the use of unnecessary apoxies or bondo which creates another mess.  My method alleviates all this unnecessary work and mis-alignments.



I have done many detachable antlers and the simplest way that I have found out is to turn the antlers upside down and just drill two holes from underneath the skull plate upward into each antler.  The first hole will be drilled with a 1/2 inch extended drill bit and the second hole using a 3/8 inch extended drill bit.  Drill up into the antler as far as you can without exiting the antler, like six to eight inches if possible. Make sure you take your time and get the correct angle downward into the antler.
Once you have the holes drilled, make alignment markers with a magic marker all the way around underneath the burr of each antler. Now, I drill what I call a key hole using a 1/8" bit starting at the top of the crown in the back portion of the antler.  Drill down about 2" or so into the back of the antler.  Using a small nail or rod to put into this hole will take out any wiggle that may come into play when you re-attach the antlers.  Then cut the antlers off just under the crown of the antlers.
Now, you know they have to align up properly because they were solid before you cut them off.  Now use stainless steel rods, one 1/2" and the other 3/8" and re-attach or pre-fit the antlers back to their original position.  The benefit of using stainless steel rods is paramount because they don't rust.  Those other types of square steel stock will rust over time and you can't pull the antlers off and sometimes bleed out with rust and run down onto the mount and create a real mess. Of course, this all depends on where the customer places the mount in his home, like in a damp basement etc.   

On the under side now you will cut those stainless steel rods off or you can cut out a place in the head board to accommodate the extra length in the rods.  That's usually softer because most supplier's use plywood for their headboard.  I then score those rods on the underside with a sander so that they will be rough and for something to hold to.  I use fiberglass on my under head area because it seems to hold much better than bondo.

I've found out that if you take you're time this will be an easy way to do detachable antlers.  Your second job will be easier than the first and your third job will be a breeze because now you have confidence in what you're doing. 
The last thing you will need to do is to put that key hole rod back in it's proper place.  I leave it protruding out about 1/8 inch or so because I might want to take a pair of pliers later on and grab it so that I can pull it out.  Don't forget to paint it a similar color as you antlers and it will never be noticed by anyone.

Good Luck

John Griffith
Stearns, Kentucky
606-376-4380

www.griffithtaxidermy.com
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John Griffith
532 HWY 1567
Stearns, Ky 42647
606-376-4380
www.griffithtaxidermy.com
Big John
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« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2008, 07:07:06 AM »

Continuation of the process of our detachable antler system.

Good Luck

John Griffith
www.griffithtaxidermy.conm
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John Griffith
532 HWY 1567
Stearns, Ky 42647
606-376-4380
www.griffithtaxidermy.com
tazzymoto
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« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2008, 08:32:38 PM »

Nice John, good to know
thanks
steve
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deerstuffer
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« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2008, 12:15:46 PM »

Is there a reason for using 2 different size rods or would 2 of the same size be ok?
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Big John
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« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2008, 12:54:58 PM »

I find that it's easier to work with when using the smaller rod underneath the skull plate area.  But, if you have a large enough skull plate and the horns will accommodate two 1/2 " rods then go for it.  Thanks.

John Griffith
www.griffithtaxidermy.com
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John Griffith
532 HWY 1567
Stearns, Ky 42647
606-376-4380
www.griffithtaxidermy.com
deerstuffer
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« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2008, 09:32:57 PM »

Between the time I ask why 2 different sizes and now, I went ahead and tried your method but I drilled two 3/8" holes and used two 6 inch 3/8" rods in each side.  One side worked really well but the other was difficult because I didn't have the holes parallel.  After reaming the holes a little in the right direction, I finally got the antlers to fit really well. I had measured the back points of the elk rack before I cut the antlers off and they only spread 1 inch with the play in the rods. I did one a month ago with square stock like you order from taxidermy suppliers and the back tips were almost 8" too wide with the play.  I think with a little more experience, Big John's method will prove to be the way to go. By the way, this elk  was a heavy 360" and the 3/8" rods worked fine in holding the weight. The one I did a month ago was over 400" but I am confident that the 3/8" rods would have worked fine. Thanks for sharing your tip.
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Meyer Wildlife
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« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2008, 06:02:03 PM »

Could you post a pic of the key hole? I have an elk to do with removable antlers.
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Bill Meyer
Meyer Wildlife Creations
2314 Oxford rd.
Redding, Ca. 96002
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Hoytman
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« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2008, 06:36:40 AM »

Could you post a pic of the key hole? I have an elk to do with removable antlers.


I posted a toutorial a while back on detachable sheds for a caribou using Key stock (square) instead of the 2 rods. Some pretty close up pics.
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Big John
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« Reply #8 on: July 04, 2008, 06:15:35 AM »

I know that this isn't the best photo but if you look at the last photo posted here at the bottom you will see where I have drilled a key hole.  Look closely at the top right rear antler burr and you will see the area where I have drilled.  This method is very effective and simple to do.  The hardest part is drilling the holes properly (straight).  Just take you time and watch what you are doing.  Good Luck.

John Griffith
www.griffithtaxidermy.com
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John Griffith
532 HWY 1567
Stearns, Ky 42647
606-376-4380
www.griffithtaxidermy.com
Hoytman
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« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2008, 05:55:55 AM »

Here is another link:

http://www.taxidermy.net/forum/index.php/topic,75949.0.html
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Heck
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« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2008, 02:19:32 AM »

I would leave the 1/2" bit in the hole I drilled to serve as a guide to drill the smaller hole parallel to the first.
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Mecham
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« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2010, 07:59:36 PM »

I love this idea of detachable antlers. I have a question though how exactly does the key hole work?
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