Staining rebuilt antlers

Submitted by mrdux on 4/24/05 at 1:39 PM. ( )

I am currently working on 2 seperate racks that had points missing. One had a brow tine and was very easy to color match due to the exteremly rough texture and reddish-brown coloration. The other had both G2 points broken, one of them even with the main beam. This rack is extremely smooth and the coloration is more light burnt umber. I used Magic Sculpt to reproduce the points and they are very close to being a perfect match---structurally. I use Knoblach's antler stain (waterbased) in reddish brown and chocolate brown.I try to get a base coat(Polytranspar WA or Wildlife Colors) colored very close before I start staining. I was going back and forth with my colors and wasn't getting any closer to being where I wanted it. I decided to check some supplies I had bought some time ago from a retiring taxidermist and found a glass bottle of Van Dyke's "Horn Stain". The product numbers are not readable but it is an oil based stain. I took a small amount and checked it on the repairs and it is almost a perfect color match. I did the rack repairs completely in this stain and blended it down onto the main beams. When I checked on the repairs about 12 hours later, the Van Dyke's stain is not any drier than when I put it on. Is there an easy solution or am I going to have to go completely down to horn and epoxy and start over? The stain on the antler where it was blended is no drier than the epoxy. The bottle was shaken very well and the product seemed consistant. Any help or advice will be most appreciated. Thanks, Doug

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Give it some more time....

This response submitted by tlc on 4/24/05 at 3:59 PM. ( )

I have had the same problem many times with stain on rebuilt antlers. I have often wondered if it was a compatibility issue with the apoxie scuplt. But given some patience...things did dry nicely. If you used an oil based stain, drying time will probably be longer. I've also tried spraying just a flash coat of matte finish...and that did seem to increase the cure time.
Hope this helps and good luck.

Knobloch's sucks...

This response submitted by Drew on 4/24/05 at 6:46 PM. ( )

I have used Knoblochs before and it is awful. The stain is not only water based, but it will strip away with water in the future long after it has dried. If you handle the rack and your hands are sweaty, it will strip off the finish! The only solution is to clear coat it with a matte finish, but that does not look quite right either.

I have found you either have to try a bunch of different wood stains, or for simple touch ups, you cannot beat Old English scratch remover in dark walnut. That stuff is awesome for restoring color in faded racks that still have some base color.

It sounds like

This response submitted by - on 4/24/05 at 6:55 PM. ( )

Patience is the supply you need the most of.
12 hours for an oil-based stain to dry?
Give it 3 weeks with a fan on it.

Try This

This response submitted by Jay on 4/24/05 at 8:13 PM. ( )

I use flat white latex paint for the base color on the antler. [let it dry]. If the tips are a whitish color I will then use bass belly white on the tips, water base with an airbrush.

Then I use an oil base stain, but! don't shake up the can. Dig down to the bottom of the can, with a screwdriver or something, and get the stain sediment from the bottom [just alittle]. Use this with a rag, dabbing it, not rubbing. I usually start with english oak, and then do darker colors on top of that usually a walnut, blending as you go. If you mess up, just put some more white latex paint on it or more english oak, and do it again. Epoxy sculpt will not except stain, but the latex paint will.

After stain is dry, you can rub some steel wool on it to blend colors, even with wet stain on the wool.

The sediment from the bottom or the can will dry fairly fast.

Hope this helps!


This response submitted by Jim B on 4/25/05 at 12:46 AM. ( )

Wipe that garbage off there,throw the bottle away and get a tube of artist's acrylic paint-raw umber.It will dry and won't rehydrate.You have to play with it a little to find the technique that works best.Thin with water,wipe on,blot it,texture with Scott Brite pad,whatever works to give you the color-texture you need.Once you get the hang of using it I don't believe there's anything better.

Another idea...

This response submitted by Mike on 4/25/05 at 10:06 AM. ( )

I made an antler to match a shed from Apoxie Sculpt on a threaded rod/wire armature. I also had to match the shed with the color, so I started out with a white base, then added subsequent colors starting with light to dark. I made a straw color with white, yellow ochre and burnt umber and experimented over and over to get it right. After whiting out the antler for about the 4th time and starting from scratch, I called a friend for some ideas and used isopropyl alcohol mixed with the Wildlife Colors acrylics. Most of the paint I put on with a fine brush, but I did go back and touch up some places with the airbrush. The key I found was to go very light with the color and build it up over time. The alcohol really thinned out the pigment and made this easier. Good Luck. I also talked to a repro. antler guy at our show and he uses oil based paints thinned with Naptha.


This response submitted by mrdux on 4/25/05 at 11:23 PM. ( )

Thanks for the replies. All the ideas add up to a Hobby Lobby run in the AM. I used to hate those stores till I started taxidermy. Now my wife hates me to get near one! Michaels, AC Moore, and Hobby Lobby are to me what Toys R Us is to a kid. I can always depend on new ideas here, esp. after first checking the archives!

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