It Ain’t Done Until the Antlers are On

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Note: No deer were harmed in the making of this project. These antlers were shed by a buck and retrieved from the woods by a so-called “shed collector.”

Getting the antlers fastened to the chair was straightforward in the end. But I’ve spent many nights pondering the possibilities. Rejected ideas:

  • Bore a hole for the irregular antler and pack epoxy and maple shavings around the antler.
  • Use a staked furniture joint: Use a tapered tenon cutter to shape the antler. Ream a matching hole in the chair.
  • Build a mounting board – like a taxidermist would – that would be fastened to the chair.

In the end, I decided to use hanger bolts. One end is threaded like a machine screw – that goes into the antler side. The other end is a wood screw and goes into the chair.

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We also decided to cut a shallow counterbore in the chair to obscure the joint between the antler and the chair. This worked brilliantly.

Because you’ll never see a project such as this in a woodworking (or deerworking) magazine, here are a couple tips.

  • If you don’t own a tap for the machine screw, the hanger bolt is strong enough to form threads in the hole in the antler.
  • A dab of quick-set epoxy on the machine threads is a good idea.
  • Have a spotter (or two) help you drill the holes in the irregular chair and antler. It’s more difficult to do alone and make it look right.

After we installed the antlers, most of our customers that day asked to sit in the chair and have their picture taken with it. So either the project is a success, or I’ve created something so ugly that people want a photo to warn others not to do this.

— Christopher Schwarz, editor, Lost Art Press
Personal site: christophermschwarz.com

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About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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41 Responses to It Ain’t Done Until the Antlers are On

  1. You are scaring me with this chair Chris. 😆 >

  2. Four options?!
    Sounds like you were on the horns of a dilemma.

  3. frpaulas says:

    I vote ugly – but in that bulldog-puppy-ugly sort of way. Wife is unconvinced.

  4. xxxmike says:

    That is just hilarious. But I must ask….what is the purpose of the stake down through the base at the left side of the chair (picture with the two children reading). Is it for vampires? A barcalounger control? Inquiring minds want to know.

  5. steverennells says:

    You may now qualify as roadside attraction.

  6. GravelRoad says:

    I actually kind of liked the chair . . . before the antlers.

  7. KeithM says:

    You should get this line into Restoration Hardware. Would fit right in.

  8. jayedcoins says:

    Hahaha, the last sentence is great. I honestly both love this project as a project but — while I wouldn’t call it ugly — don’t find it, uh, terribly attractive. But I’m glad you made this because it seems like an awesome exploration of the past, of design technique, and of ingenuity. I’ve bookmarked a few of the posts on this build for how clearly they illustrated something, such as ticking stick usage.

  9. Joe Barry says:

    They call him…..Tim!
    See Monty Python’s Holy Grail if you don’t get it)

  10. Erik Hinkston says:

    I’m gonna build mine with Moose antlers, go big!

  11. rons54 says:

    Without the antlers it would have been a fine chair and no one would have noticed their absence, but the addition gives it that extra kick that makes it memorable. Or traumatic perhaps. For what it is worth, I loved it and both my daughters did as well.

    I did think that you were going to have to back off the second antler and adjust the angle to clear the side of the chair as you screwed it in.

  12. nrhiller says:

    I love it! You have no doubt launched a new craze.

  13. toolnut says:

    Is it safe to say that, unlike other chairs, this one goes to 11?

  14. Greg Merritt says:

    Awesome!…but…a #8 or a large slick rested across the antlers would really round out the look and make a statement. 😉

  15. Maurice says:

    It’s a magic chair to read the stories of Pépère … With such a seat, the dragons can do nothing!

  16. rkooch says:

    This chair turned out better then I could have ever expected. Love the antlers.

  17. It’s awesome and ugly at the same time, way to go!

  18. Josh says:

    I declare it the Winston Churchill of chairs!

  19. leeboyz86 says:

    Touchdown!

  20. Joe says:

    Way cool. I like the chair with the antlers. Not that you need to justify, is there historical evidence for these type of chairs having antlers on them?

  21. So long as you don’t cut out a hole in the backrest for people to get their picture in I’d say we’re good.

  22. IMHO, the antlers propelled the chair from experiment grounds to a proper centerpiece. Very very funny, the kind of things you expect to find only in Asterix comics.

  23. Richard Mahler says:

    Often hanger bolts are the solution – and they come in sizes from miniature to massive.

  24. Richard Mahler says:

    I am trying to decide if this is the throne for the Norse God Odin or the Anglo-Saxon God Woden – really the same god but with different emphases, the axe or the hunt?

  25. jpassacantando says:

    The antler chair is beautiful in so many ways.

    It is fun and playful and it was useful in teaching us some scribing techniques too. But what we have here, and I am writing here to readers, not to Chris, is the mark of a truly great teacher. Yeah, Chris is a great writer and a helluva woodworker and woodworker’s archeologist, re-discoverer of ancient techniques that still work fine today and revealer of basic design concepts. But Chris is also a great teacher. Think of a ski teacher who falls in the first five minutes of the lesson. He’s saying, “It’s OK to fall dude – you don’t have to be perfect – this is gonna be fun.” Chris is living with a wonderful irony.

    As he mocks elite furniture styles in favor of basic peasant stuff, his skill are going through the roof. In other words, Schwarz could do Chippendale if he wanted to. [Oh god no, not as a dancer, I mean the ornate furniture style. Apologies, now we have to suffer with that image in our brains poor readers.] So to stay connected to some of us slower students, those he know spend our days toiling in other fields, but wanting us to keep trying, wanting us to not tense up, wanting us to just try stuff, Chris does things like throw out this antler hollow tree chair. He’s saying, “Try something, anything. What’s the worst that could happen?”

    Every morning when I wake up, the first thing I try to remember to do is to give thanks. For my wife, my children, parents and siblings, my friends, and my teachers. Thanks buddy.

    John

  26. burroborracho13 says:

    This is one of those chairs where I can’t explain why I like it. I like it!

  27. Mr Linn says:

    This is not ugly at all. This is a sculpture which has now taken on a presence.

    The picture with the children makes it seem like an ancient sentinel who’s duty is to guard and protect all who dare to sit.

    Well done. Bold and eccentric. Anarchic.

  28. meanmna says:

    Where’s the cup holder?

  29. tpier says:

    The antlers need a string of lights, perhaps ones that blink.

  30. Bob Jones says:

    You should submit your antler attachment to a magazine as a tip or trick 🙂

  31. Okay, now that it’s done, when was the last time you had a checkup from the neck-up?

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