cleaning caribou antlers

Submitted by eric on 3/11/02. ( )

got a set of caribou antlers that the customer wants mounted well they are from early season and are almost black in color im asuming from the dried blood of velvet shedding, the guy wants them cleaned to a natural antler color....the customer was told (a couple years ago) to just rub a liberal amount of vasaline on the antlers and the color would lighten up as he did to no avail....well just wondering if anyone has any techniques for cleaning them up aside from good ol elbow grease wich is going to take hours as these are a huge set of double shovels

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Tell him, "Sorry."

This response submitted by George on 3/11/02. ( )

I was about to send you to the archives for getting them clean till you hit the vaseline part. Usually a bath of a few weeks will clean the old blood off the HARDENED part of the antlers, but most tend to have corky tips that never clean. His putting the Vaseline on them only sealed the fate. The vaseline dissolved the blood and the petroleum then leeched into the antler itself. Caribou antlers are rather pithy anyway compared to moose, elk, and whitetail. I think this is a done deal on them being brown. Though I think painting antlers of any kind for any reason is dumb, this may be your only hope here. Check the archives to see how some folks do that procedure.

Use White lightning

This response submitted by Bill M on 3/11/02. ( )

which is available in most art stores. Some just use white latex paint but the white lighning seals also. Paint completely let dry and then use tube oils sparingly on a cloth. I just did a set using raw umber and by using sparingly and rubbing out you can get a pretty natural color. (My customer was very happy) After the oils dry a few days you can spray with a matt fixative (used by artists to seal their oils and charcoals) Good luck.

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