Antler and bone are a bit more tricky to use, but it sure looks good when done. There are two common ways of attaching it. The first is to split it in two and sand the halves flat. That works well for full tang knives like the two you just finished. The tricky part is not exposing too much of the porous middle when you shape the profile of the handle. Typically that just takes some playing around with different pieces until you find one that will work for that particular knife. You can purchase them though where they have split the antler/bone for you and have stabilized them by impregnating it with some kind of epoxy or resin. It simply costs more for that and you are not using the antler that you harvested. The second way is to drill out the middle and use a partial tang. These are often referred to as "rat tail tangs", "stick tangs", "partial tangs" or "through tangs" if they pass clear through the handle and out the back end. When using these you do not split the antler/bone. You simply drill a hole in one end. The hole only needs to be as big as the tang, but some people drill out the entire center and fill it all with epoxy. I think either way works well. I like to have the stick tang go at least 3/4 of the way through the antler when doing this. If you can get it all to line up perfectly, you can also drill through the antler and through the stick tang. This way you can epoxy in a pin that will aid in holding it all together. This has to be done before the knife is heat treated though.
Antler and bone tend to burn easily. Use sharp belts and don't let it get hot or even warm to the touch. Try not to sand it down too much and expose too much of the porous middle. Use sharp drill bits and don't force them through the material. What I mentioned earlier about under sizing the pins is very important with bone and antler. If you drive in a pin, the material will split or crack. If you use bolt style rivets, be very careful not to over tighten them. I have started sealing the bone and antlers with Lustra wax when done and it has been turning out nicely. You may want to check out jigged buffalo bone. It has had the porous middle part taken out and filled with a bone dust/epoxy mixture. It is called Imistag.*Imistag Scales - $12.88 : USA Knife Maker Supply
Originally Posted by lonehunter
and dont breath the dust!!