Gone Outdoors

How to Make a Knife Handle Out of Deer Bones

by Eric Cedric

After the hunt and the deer has been quartered and butchered, don't discard the bones. Deer bones, including the antlers, are useful for a variety of purposes. Native Americans used deer antler-bones to make knife handles. Make your own custom deer bone knife handle from your deer, giving you a piece of field gear with a history. Clean the bine properly and prep the bone for the cuts and design of the knife handle.

Bring a pot of water to a boil and place the deer bone into the water. Boil it to sterilize the bone and to remove as much gristle, sinew and meat as possible. Remove the bone with tongs and let it cool and dry. Cut off any remaining sinew and meat.

Place the bone into the bucket with water and one tablespoon of bleach. Let the bone soak for an hour. Remove and rinse.

Place the bone into a bench vise. Cut down the bone to your desired length. Keep the cut longer than the handle end of the knife blade. For example; if the knife blade handle end is 4 inches, make the bone handle length 6 inches.

Turn the bone in the vise so the knife end of the bone faces up, lengthwise. Use a jigsaw to cut the knife blade slit in the bone. Sand and buff the sawed cuts. Push the knife blade down and into the slit. Squirt a generous amount of the liquid super adhesive into both sides of the slit. Wipe away excess glue immediately. Let the knife blade glue dry.

Remove the knife from the vise. Wrap the rawhide straps around the handle for decoration if you wish.

Items you will need
  • Pot with boiling water
  • Tongs
  • Bucket with warm water and bleach
  • Jigsaw
  • Liquid clear super adhesive
  • Knife blade
  • Rawhide strips
  • Buffer
  • Sandpaper
  • Bench vise

About the Author

A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.

Photo Credits

  • deer antler image by CraterValley Photo from Fotolia.com