View Full Version : Moose antlers?!?!?

Lisa Walter
11-04-2008, 11:56 AM
Hello all! I just got a call wondering if I could engrave moose antlers. Apparently they'd like some kind of picture or whatever in the shovel part of the antler. I told them because of the odd shape of the antler I'd have trouble getting it in the bed, etc. The customer asked if I had any ideas (besides painting) on how to get a picture on the shovel part of the antler. I told him maybe someone could draw a photo with pencil and engrave by hand with a hand engraver (the old fashioned kind from way back....you know what I mean). I told him I'd put my feelers out for some ideas. Any ideas where to direct him?

Thanks :)


Michael Kowalczyk
11-04-2008, 12:11 PM
Hey Lisa,
How are you? We have done a few Elk and Deer antlers but it is usually at the base where they make the cut. So it is a large semi circle area and relatively flat. Antlers look kinda like a mini sponge, once you have lasered it. Right now we are doing just plain initials for a guy that makes knife handles out of them. Make sure you have GOOD evacuation because it does SMELL. So if the area is smoothed out relatively flat you could do it. Positioning and maintaining that position without interfering with the movement of your laser is also challenging. I am looking for my mini vise that has a suction cup on the bottom to use next time but for now we just make a jig using blocks of wood and approximate the plumb of the antler with a level at 90 degree and then at 180 degree. So far it has worked because they keep coming back.

Ted Calver
11-04-2008, 12:12 PM
Back when i lived in Alaska...pre-pipeline and before Sarah was born....there were artists who did wonderful pen and ink drawings on the shovel. Also saw pyrography used to create drawings that were equally impressive.

Lisa Walter
11-04-2008, 12:55 PM
Thank you Mike for the helpful information! He didn't say the size of the antlers, just that they were "large" and weighed about 10 pounds a piece. Once you get them positioned in the laser, do you over ride the door magnets so it will run with the lid open? Maybe you don't have door magnets (I am not sure what a Trogec looks like)......and I do have a great exhaust fan so it should take much of the smell out if I decide to try it. It sure depletes the heat in my building I know that hahahaha! I figured once I lasered through the antlers they'd kind of look like bone marrow inside (that sponge you mentioned). I have only seen the inside of deer antlers so I figured moose couldn't be too much different (how many times will someone ever say that in their life??)


Lisa Walter
11-04-2008, 12:57 PM
Thanks I will mention this to him......I bet people with that talent are way more common in Alaska than here in Pennsylvania :( Once in a blue moon there is a moose that makes it this far down, but it's pretty rare. One time, many years ago, Elk was common here though.

Kim Vellore
11-04-2008, 1:02 PM
You can cut a stencil with the laser and either paint or sand balst with it and paint fill... just a thought...

Lisa Walter
11-04-2008, 1:14 PM
Thanks Kim! The first thing I asked him is if he wanted text or something else.......I figured text (or a basic clip art type item) would be much easier than a photo. I don't like to mess with sand blasting but I have two neighbors who do it so maybe I'll give them a call and see what they think.


Michael Kowalczyk
11-04-2008, 1:44 PM
Not sure how you would do it with open doors. Moose antlers can be huge from what I have heard and what I have seen from a distance in Yellowstone or on TV. And I suspect everyone of them will be different. Ask them to send you a picture of it and dimensions to give us a better idea of what we are up against. If detail is not a major issue you may want to get a 4" lens to have better "Z" clearance.

The ones I did were only 6-10" in length, about 1.5" diameter and we had to prop them on about a 45 degree angle. So not sure if this will help but I hope it does somehow and ...

Scott Shepherd
11-04-2008, 2:07 PM
How do you get the moose in your laser?

Michael Kowalczyk
11-04-2008, 2:31 PM
OOh OOh I know. One antler at a time.:D

Gary and Jessica Houghton
11-04-2008, 2:47 PM
Lisa, have you thought of contacting your art class? Just a shot in the dark.

Ray Mighells
11-05-2008, 12:22 AM
Many woodcarvers also carve antler, generally with rotary tools. Lots of carving clubs in PA. You might try a search for a club near you.

Pete Simmons
11-05-2008, 7:05 AM
There is a member here Luke Phillips (http://sawmillcreek.org/member.php?u=9452)

who does beautiful rotary hand tool engraving - as in scrimshaw.

I am sure he can do this type of work.

Have not heard from him in awhile but maybe you could contact him.