Introduction to Working Antler and Bone


Instructor: Chase Hensel

Students will work on one of three projects, an antler hairpin, an antler/bone creaser, or an antler spoon. Antler and bone are tough, durable and beautiful materials which were widely used in historic contexts by both Alaska Native and non-Natives, but are now underutilized. They can be sanded to a smooth and lustrous surface.

Antler and bone are generally worked more like soft metal than wood, principally by sawing, filing, drilling, and grinding. Students will learn the basics of these techniques, depending upon which project they choose (the spoon will require the use of the Dremal tool, while the other projects probably will not.)

They will also learn about dealing with different densities within the material, so that the material is used appropriately. For example, hairpins require the elimination of core/spongy bone, because given its sponge-like texture in cross section, it cannot be sanded smooth and will always catch hair. Similarly, in spoon making, students will need to both preserve hard bone in wear positions, and fill the spongy bone with a food safe filler (paraffin works great for salad servers, which are never heated.)

Students may have time to rough out a second project, finishing it on their own time.

Pre-registration required.

Introduction to Working Antler and Bone
  • to
  • The Folk School
  • $35 (members); $50 (non-members)