FAQ's About Amber Stag
1.) What is Amber Stag? Amber Stag is stag horn that has been put through our extensive coloring process. Our process is particularly useful for taking stag pieces that have good quality and pattern but lack good color.
2.) How is it sold? We offer three options for our customers? First, customers can send in their stag pieces to be colored. The price is $ 25.00 per lb. weight after processing. (Generally, the weight will not vary by more than 5%). Secondly, customers can purchase amber stag from our extensive inventory for the same rate as our natural stag. Third, customers can purchase natural pieces from our inventory and we will color them at no charge.
3.) Can I purchase the color or the process from Culpepper & Co.? Unfortunately, this process is proprietary and exclusive to Culpepper & Co.. It has taken many years to develop and is our exclusive property.
4.) Does the color go all the way through the stag? Yes, however, this particular color is designed to be nearly black on the exterior and gently fade to brown, umber, amber, orange and finally yellow.
5.) How do you separate my stag from that of others? In order for our coloring process to be successful, we need very large quantities of usually 1,000 + pieces. We understand that most customers aren’t able to send this many at a time, so we must color our inventory, factory orders and custom orders all at once. We have a system of marking the pieces that is minimally intrusive. However, we suggest that makers mark their stag with an engraver and numbering system to ensure they are able to successfully keep their pairs in order. Example SJ1, SJ2, etc… Please note that simply marking the pieces with a permanent marker won’t work as it will not be visible after coloring.
6.) Does the process stabilize the stag? Not in the traditional sense as it isn’t impregnated with any type of polyester resin. However, stag that has been colored is more stable than in its natural state because most of the water is removed in the process.
7.) Why is my stag black? It is just the residue on the exterior. Once you sand into the high spots, you will see the amber color revealed.
8.) How do I remove the residue from the coloring process? Obviously, one of the negatives about Amber Stag enhancement is the residue that each piece will have after processing. This is common and to be expected. You might also notice that pieces will leach oil from the pith/marrow areas. This is usually fixed during the sanding phase. If you have a piece that is particularly oily, as is common with sticks, carvers or crowns, then a few hours in the oven at 100 degrees should do the trick. As far as your hands go, you might consider rubber gloves during the heavier stock removal. If not, you can use "Fast Orange Hand Cleaner especially with pumice, it cleans off the dye very well and quickly" (courtesy of S. R. Johnson)
9.) What do I do once the piece is finished and I can still rub some of the amber color from the black areas? Take a toothbrush with light soap and warm water and rub it into the grooves thoroughly. Then dry. After drying, take the toothbrush and wax and rub the black grooves thoroughly. We recommend Butchers bowling alley wax but any wood wax will work fine.
10.) What type of stag makes for a good candidate for coloring? Any species of stag will work. Pieces need to be fairly solid and have minimal pith. Pith areas won’t matter if you are planning to sand most of it away. The coloring process definitely weakens the pith areas. Pieces of stag with fractures/cracks in the surface are at more risk to split during the process, but this doesn’t occur with every piece. Pieces that have been colored prior or have been put through any kind of stabilizing process generally don’t yield as good of results. Also, pairs need to be similar in color, density and marrow to ensure the best chance of coloring the same way. This color process is like any other in that pieces that are more dense will absorb less color. So be sure that your intended pairs are similar looking.
11.) What type of additional care do I need as opposed to natural stag? The process adds color to stag. Hence cutlers should take care not to get the stag too hot during the manufacturing process. It can cause an ugly burn that will lighten the color if too hot.
12.) If I send in my stag, what is the turnaround time? It varies, but normally we do the process at least once per month, often two or three times per month. If you have material that you wish to send in, call ahead and we can give you more accurate estimates.
13.) Do you guarantee color results? Unfortunately, as we have no direct control of the animals during their life cycle and don’t have control of all of the vendors of stag, we will not be held responsible for variances in color. However, we would not offer this process if we did not have overwhelming success.
14.) Do we make different colors? The short answer is yes, however they are limited, please inquire directly and we can go into further detail.
15.) Can Culpepper and Co. dye other materials? Yes, we can and do color many different types of bone in a multitude of different colors. Cost is usually similar to the $25/lb. we charge for stag.
One other important reminder…. because stag is so difficult to find, be sure to insure your parcel en-route to us and be sure to indicate in your package the amount you wish for us to insure your return parcel for. If you have additional questions please do not hesitate to ask by calling our offices 828-524-6842 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org