I am mounting my first set of antlers and need to know if I should finish them with a varnish or similar product or just leave them natural. Also, does it ruin the color to boil the skin and hair off the antlers? Thanks
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There's no need to boil the skin and hair off. You simply take the skin off first. The reason you boil is to help get the meat and remaining flesh off. If you going to boil it just cover the skull caponly, not the whole antlers. It would be wise to do this outside if you can. In the water add some arm and hammer detergent. This will help get the meat off.
Now as for finishing them you can use a matte finish on them. If you leave them all natural coat them with lemon oil, WD-40.
I've always boiled my skull caps and then knife the remaining tissue from under the antler burrs and crevices to get them squeeky clean so that bugs will not even be tempted, then hang them up to wait for mounting time. Is this a waste of my time and not really necessary? Even if it is I will probably continue to do so (anal habit?) Also, it goes quick enough that antler color won't change. And on the other note, I don't coat my antlers with anything I like them ala natural. I do wash the blood off but leave any treebark rubs left in. And the antler polishing is yet another diversified topic, right Frank?!
But I am curious as to wether or not I am wasting time boiling and scraping my skull caps....Frank?
Personally, I have never boiled deer antlers.After caping the head, I pare off all the flesh and membrane from the skull plate,cover with borax. hang up and let dry. Any remaining flesh can be peeled away
easily when its time to mount. I think the residual borax on the
skull plate deters amy bugs. I have mounts that are 40 years old, and ae still in good shape.
This is my opinion.
I do exactly as Leon stated and have never had any problems. Another thing I look for is to remove the membrane that reamins under the skull cap. I believe that little piece of "skin" is a major source of smell.
Unless you like the smell......why boil. Joe and Leon do as I. I do use DP after skinning and fleshing the skull cap. It really dries them well and is a good bug proofer.
But I guess I'll try NOT boiling my skull caps for the next ones. Yikes this is a big change. LOL
I just clean them off, put on the borax and then let then dry. However, before I mount, I take my dremmel tool and grind off the cartilidge under the antler burr. This cleans them up real nice and no boiling.