Making a deer antler ring is fun, and I will warn you, very addicting! Not to mention pretty easy! So grab an antler and let’s get started. Oh, and Mulletman is going to be helping demonstrate the steps 😉
Step 1. Cut out ring blank.
I use a scroll saw to cut out a cross section of the antler but you can also use a hacksaw or even just a cutting wheel on a Dremel. You will want to choose a section of the antler that is fairly circular and wider than the finger you will be wearing the deer antler ring on.
Antler is a bone so the inside will be less dense than the outer layer. It is this outer layer that will end up being the ring as we will hollow out the center, less dense, material. For larger antlers such as elk, you can use the inner layer of the antler but you will need to stabilize it with a resin or a CA glue first.
If the cross section you cut out is not completely straight or too thick, you can sand it down by running it over a flat piece of sandpaper.
Mark the center of the proposed ring. I will sometimes place my ring over the slice of antler and trace out the outer shape and then use a sanding drum with my Dremel and sand down to the rough shape of the ring.
Step 2. Drill hole in antler and insert rod.
Drill a hole in the very center of the slice and insert a wood or metal rod that is the same size as the drill bit you just used (2-3 inches in length is good for the rod). Now this might sound complicated but it’s not. I happened to have a wood rod that was 3/8ths an inch so I used that with the same size drill bit and it worked great. The idea is that we are creating a mini lathe by mounting the antler slice onto the rod and then putting the rod in a drill!
Step 3. Sand and polish outside of ring.
Now that you have the ring mounted on the drill, use a sanding drum on your Dremel and rotate the drill in the opposite direction of your Dremel. Just take your time sanding down the outside of the ring till it is nice and even/circular.
I then hand sand while the ring is spinning on the drill. I start with 120 grip sandpaper, then 220 grit, 320, 400 and then lastly 2000 grit. By the time you go through hand sanding it will have a pretty high polish. But I usually take and add a bit more shine by holding a piece of leather to the ring as it’s spinning. Trust me, it gets pretty shinny!
Step 4. Carve/sand out the middle of the ring.
Take the ring off of the rod and hold it gently with some pliers while you use a Dremel to carve and sand down the inside of the ring. Just sand down the inside till it fits snug of your finder. I will then take 320 grit sandpaper and hand sand the inside of the ring to get it smooth.
If you do not have an antler to work with an easy place to find some is a local pet store. They sell dog chews of cut up antler that work great for making a deer antler ring!
And there you have it! All natural, handmade, no lathe required, durable, polished deer antler ring! These rings make great gifts and like I said are super fun and addictive to make! I would love to see how your rings turn out so tag me @u.s.skullhunter or shoot me message with some pics! Happy carving! ~ Hunter
You can also watch the how-to video below!