ANTLER SLINGSHOT BUILD ALONG
Aug 26, 2013
On occasion, I feel compelled to build a slingshot that is non-traditional from random materials. Recently , while at the pet food store, I found a perfect piece of mule deer antler being sold as a dog chew. That would have been a tremendous waste of material...
It was nearly a slingshot already, but where is the fun in that? To make a truly custom slingshot, it has to display characteristics not found naturally. So, with a bit of cutting and sanding, the antler was ready to be mated to new materials.
I chose a chunk of Osage Orange, which had been buried under water for over 25 years as the base material. Normally, Osage is deeply orange to brown in color, but the anaerobic environment of being buried beneath water turned the wood a green color and also removed the chemicals from the wood that cause it to be photosensitive. This was followed by accent spacers of G10 and Vulcanized Fiber followed by Macassar Ebony.
Finally, it was clamped up with massive chunks of linen micarta on both sides using West System GFlex Epoxy. Next came the long process of drawing the handle shape from the massive chunk of laminated material. This step took several hours of sanding, rasping, and shaping until the final shape began to emerge.
Finally, the fork tips required additional laminations in order to create uniform and balanced platforms for band attachment. Again, the green Osage was used in addition to Curly Cherry then through pinned with mosaic pins for a touch of bling and to insure long term durability and safety.
Now all that was left was to blend and shape the materials so that the form could arise from the jumbled combination of materials. Again, this took several hours of sanding, rasping and shaping through the grits. Once completely shaped, I applied a tung oil finish before moving beyond 220 grit. Once dry, the sanding continued through 800 grit and finally on to several passes through a series of buffing compounds. The final result is elegant, beautiful, and highly functional. The antler lives yet again!