These are the tools and materials.The cabinet maker's rasps are expensive but sure pay for themselves if have a lot of rasping to do.They cut fast and smooth.You can do without those,though as well as the Dremel.Beyond those,you can see that this stuff is pretty low tech.I did the majority of the painting of the elk with that crumpled up paper towel,dabbing the paint on.I used softer artist brushes to apply thin washes to the sheep and bush bucks.
The coarser,bristle brushes and Scotch Brite pad can be used for stippling.Sometimes I trim a brush shorter to make it stiffer and coarser.These brushes and tools can also be used to texture epoxy.Just experiment with what you have till you get a match.If one technique doesn't work,wipe it off and try something different.Wiping and smearing stain across the repair,will almost never get it.
Look closely at your rack and see what the color looks like.Is it stippled? Is the dark in the bottom of grooves or on the high spots? Or is it random? Replicate what you see.Start with lighter tones and progress to dark.I buy the cheapest acrylics I can get.The Basics come in large tubes.I think Dick Blick may have them on sale for $3.11.Acrylics work better than anything I have tried in over 40 years and are non toxic,water thinning and clean up and easy to apply and even remove,while wet.Permanent when dry.I also use them to make lichens on rocks,last minute finish touch ups,blending in scars or small slips and a miriad of other things.
The most used color is Raw Umber.It is a good idea to also have burnt umber,raw sienna,black,white and yellow ochre or oxide.Raw umber will handle 90 % of it-antlers and horns.The rack is your reference.If it isn't,you need to first get your repair the same as the lightest,background color of your rack.Most antlers would be bone or ivory.Some elk and mule deer may be a little more grayish.Anyway,match your repair to the lightest background color of the rack.You can airbrush or hand paint that.I hand painted these.I would only ever use an airbrush to blend that background color.That's it.
When you start applying color,you have to experiment a little to see which "applicator" and what thickness or thinness of paint gives you the right look.It is that simple.You see how low-tech the tools are.You do have to use your brain and if one technique doesn't work,wipe it off and try the next.Look at the tools on the table.How long would it take to make a little experimental "dab" with a few or even each"applicator" there? Minutes.
You do have to learn a little about color mixing and I can't teach you that but the information is out there.Is your umber not reddish enough? Switch to burnt umber or add a little sienna.Is the umber too brown and you need to tone it down? Add a little gray or a little black and white which equal gray.Again,raw umber will do most things but you may have to tweek it slightly to match the individual rack.
As daunting as this sounds to someone trying it the first time,keep in mind,when I paint some of these,I have no idea what tool or painting technique will work for that repair till I experiment and find out.I haven't repaired a Marco Polo in many years and had no idea what would work till I experimented a little-just like a newbee.The advantage I did have,was that I knew it could be done and I knew I had the tools and materials that would work and I also knew I HAD to do it.
Where most people fail is,they listen to some advice about wiping some magic stain across the repair .That may work in rare case but almost never.When it doesn't work,they give up.Use the acrylics.Experiment with the right consistency of paint and the right tool to apply it.If one thing doesn't work,wipe it off and try the next.It is just that simple.
I painted that elk above,almost entirely with the crumpled paper towel in the picture here.Just dabbed the paint on.At first the paint was thinned with water.When I got to the darker speckles on the surface,less water and tbarely any paint on the paper towel.High-tech stuff.Look at the real rack and tell me how you would replicate that blotchy,stippled,flecked coloring by wiping a stain across the rack? You have to match what is there.It can be done and it is easier than you think.You can't get there by mindlessly spraying or wiping paint.You have to use your brain a little but you have all the reference you need in the rack itself and the acrylics will get you there.Just be willing to spend a little time working out the technique.
On the Marco Polo,I applied thin washes with soft artist brushes-mainly.Same thing on the two bush buck horns.I dabbed paint on the elk with the paper towel and followed that up with a little detail stippling with the bristle artist brushes.Similar technique on the whitetail.
I hope you noticed that there were 4 distinctly different types of racks here but the same materials were used to build each and the same paints used to match the color.Just varying the techniques slightly to match the individual rack.You can practice the techniques by sculpting a tine or section of horn.You don't even need a real rack.Figure out the techniques and they will carry over into many other aspects of your work.
I didn't put this stuff up here to fish for compliments though I do appreciate the nice words.I just thought it was a good time to photograph a variety of projects and show how the same techniques could work for different things and to try to convince people they can do this stuff if they are willing to put forth a little effort.I also did a couple tutorials that are in that section and I went over much of this.Texture pads were covered in those as well.
I hope someone gets something from these though I sometimes wonder.I keep reading where someone read the tutorials,but when they WIPED their OIL PAINT or STAIN on it didn't work!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Maybe on their computer,only the pictures come up and the written word is blocked.LOL I don't know.Just have fun with it guys and don't tell yourself you can't do something.