I am doing some skull mounts on deer using the boiling
method with sal soda. A few inches of the antlers were
in the water and the bases turned white. What can I do
to get them dark again? thanks.
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It's called Potasium Permanganate Crystals...to stain the Antlers. No need to worry...WASCO carries it in their catalog under Antler Stain.
I've used paint and walnut stain with success, also. You can mist on the paint with an airbrush, then rub off the outer surface of the burr, etc., and leave the paint down in the crevices. Use a color that is as close to the natural color as you can get.
With the walnut stain, I brushed it down into the crevices, then wiped off the 'bumps' etc. A customer brought in two elk skulls with antlers attached that looked awful. He'd let them 'rot' in a pond! I used a wire brush and sandpaper to get the grime off, then used the walnut stain on them. They looked great, and he was very happy!
I have not tried this, but Erich Carter has an article in the last Taxidermy Today issue and he uses chalk mixed with alcohol to stain antlers. If you want to try this and want more information, post here again and I'll dig out the article.
I use peat moss and leave it in a container over night with some water make it like a paste and rub , let it dry and keep rubbing so more paste until you get the desired color ,this is a natural stain the same as what the deer gets out in the woods rubbing trees.
Turn the lights off in the room.
you know why!no that was old school !
if in Canada, AAA supply in Calgary has 2 colours (you should get both). I suspect Research also has them. For deer, I find that if I use the brown as a base. Brush on a good coat (be sure to mask off your skull first because no matter how careful you are...you will get stain on it!) and let it sit until it starts to set up, then rub the antler with a rag. This removes the stain from the burrs and knobs, keeping them a cream colour while your deeper grooves are kept dark. Then, depending upon the animal and antler colour, I then lightly apply some red/brown stain and do the same process, but this coat you will want to blend into the rest of the antler as well (if the antlers are brown to begin with [i.e., no red tones], then the second coat should be the brown stain). Once dry, I put some armour all on a rag and wipe down the entire antler. This deepens the colours and antler's natural tones, and blends the stained areas nicely.
If you have a really dark set of antlers, then permanganate is the only way, as suggested above. I have had Mule Deer that inhabit old burns, and so following the potasium, I 'touch' the anlters with some charcoal and blend it with a rag. This then 'dirties up' the antler.
Whichever method you choose, make sure when you start you have a good idea of what you want to achieve, as going with the flow rarely delivers teh best results. Use small brushes, even Q-tips to make fine shading detail, or dampened rags to blend colours. THis all effects how well your final result will look. Good luck.