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.
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