If you don’t have the extra money to spend on an expensive taxidermist antler mount, or you are a DIY’er looking for something different for your mount, this post will demonstrate the easy steps you can take to mount your new antlers.
I began with a 3/4” piece of scrap oak that I had lying around from a previous job. I do suggest using a hardwood like oak, maple, ash, etc. Antler mounts are usually a show piece in your home or cabin. Choosing a cheap softwood would cheapen the entire mount and diminish the glory of the antlers.
If your board is not long enough you may have to glue two pieces together and clamp them with wood clamps for a couple of hours. When doing this be sure to apply wood glue on both ends of the boards, and wipe off any additional glue with a wet rag.
After the wood glue has cured you are ready to sketch the outline of your mount onto the wood. I considered a variety of options for this after scouring google images, but in the end i settled on a traditional shield mount.
In order to assure that the mount was perfectly symmetrical I folded a piece of office paper in half vertically and cut half of the mounts outline out. Then I opened the piece of paper, and traced the silhouette onto the oak board.
Next I used a skill saw to cut along my traced line until I had the rough outline of the mount. It’s important to take your time cutting the outline. Use a fine wood blade on the most controlled setting. This will help keep you in control of the cut, and prevent the blade from wandering.
After clamping the mount to my workbench I used a 1/2” radius router to route a smooth edge around the perimeter of the mount. I strongly suggest practicing this cut on a scrap piece of wood to ensure that you have the cutting tool positioned correctly before routing the edge of your mount.
Before staining be sure to sand the entire mount with sandpaper or a soft sanding block.
Next I applied wood conditioner to the mount. Wood conditioner is mainly used to prep soft woods for staining so that the stain takes evenly to the wood, but I’ve found that it does make a difference on hardwoods as well.
After allowing the conditioner to dry for an hour I applied vertical painters tape lines on the mount and stained just the exposed area. After 24 hours I removed the tape and applied new tape to a different area, stained, and repeated until the entire mount had been stained with different color stains.
Because it was important to have a clean line, I spent the extra money and purchased Frog Tape for the project. I can't say how much better this tape performed over regular blue painters tape, but I can say I was happy with the performance of the Frog Tape.
Once the entire mount was stained I applied 3 coats of semi-gloss polyurethane, lightly sanding in between each coat.
Now it was time to apply the horns.
Using a drill bit that was the same outside diameter as my mounting screws, I drilled three holes through the skull portion of the mount. Then I placed the antlers onto the mount and screwed them into place.
Depending on what type of screw you are using you may want to pre-drill a hole into the mounting surface to ensure you do not crack the wood with your screw.
Now it was time to cover the mount with fabric and tack it down. I’ve seen many different options for the this fabric. If you are on a budget for this project, I’ve found that an old flannel provides a nice look.
I chose a navy blue leather that I found at my local fabric store.
Cut the fabric into a 1’x1’ piece and place it over the skull portion of the antler.
You may want to add extra padding overtop of the skull to provide a uniform surface to place the fabric onto.
With the fabric in place I pulled the material as close to the skull as possible and hammered a brass tack into the mounting surface. I found that it helped to pre-drill a hole into the mounting surface before hammering down the tack. Hardwoods can be difficult to nail into without a predrilled hole.
Once I had the fabric nailed down around the entire skull area I carefully removed the excess fabric with a utility blade.
After applying a picture frame type hanger to the back of the mount I was ready to hand the antlers on my wall.
I hope this post helps you with your project.
If you have any questions, please feel free to email me!
I hope this article helps you with your project.
For help with your project, please feel free to call or email me from the contact page.
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