Tips and Tricks

Making Antler Knife Handles

 

Native Americans made their knife blades mostly of stone.  And usually, they made their knife handles of deer, elk or moose antlers.  Yes, they made handle out of other materials including wood, bone and sometimes with no handle at all.  Here I'm only going to deal with antler types which were the most common.  I've also included some examples of handles that I make which are stylized and not typical of what they made.   I'll be adding more pics and perhaps videos later.

White Tail deer antler tine

White Tail deer antler tine

Knife handles can be any shape or size. Curved tines provide a nice, flowing look. Handles with an antler crown add character and a more rustic look.

Curved antler tine

Curved antler tine

This a curved Elk antler tine. It has a 1" slot cut in the front end for mounting the blade.

Antler Crown handle

Antler Crown handle

This rustic knife has a white tail deer antler handle with the crown as the butt.

IMG_0022

IMG_0022

Usually, the first step in making a antler handle is find a blade that matches the handle for a good, proportional look.

Large Knife

Large Knife

This 13" knife is a good example of blade/handle proportional look.

Obsidian blade and antler handle

Obsidian blade and antler handle

Matching handle to blade.

Antler slotted for blade

Antler slotted for blade

After selecting the handle, I use a band saw to rough cut a slot in the handle to mount the blade.

Elk antler tine knife

Elk antler tine knife

This is a sample of a Elk antler tine handle with Obsidian blade glued and wrapped with sinew.

Antler/Wood handle

Antler/Wood handle

Example of laminating wood with antler for a unique looking handle!

Buffalo Horn Bolster

Buffalo Horn Bolster

Another example dressing up an antler handle. This handle has a 5/16" slice of Buffalo horn as the bolster.

Elk tine Handle

Elk tine Handle

This Elk tine handle has a small slice of 'Purpleheart' wood laminated with tine.

Large Knife

Large Knife

Good example of mixing materials. This is a 13" knife with a Whitetail deer leg bone as a handle. Bolster is a piece of Purpleheart wood.