Things You'll Need
Sandpaper, medium and fine grits
Soft shop rag
2 boards, 1-by-2 inchs, 12 inches long
Acrylic stain or clear finish
Brush, 1 to 2 inches wide
The look of mounted deer heads and antlers is improved by mounting them on a finished plaque. A wide variety of woods are available for plaques. Light-colored woods such as pine, ash and oak can be stained in any color desired. Darker woods, which include walnut and mahogany take on a lustrous shine when finished and waxed. Exotic imported woods can be made into a one-of-a-kind plaque, giving a distinctive look. Wood can be purchased from stores catering to woodworkers.
Put the template on the board and trace the design. The size of the plaque depends on the size of the antlers or deer head to be mounted. A reliable visual estimate is to make sure the amount of plaque showing around the mount, balances with the head or antlers and is not over or undersized.
Use a hand or table jig saw to cut out the design. Cut carefully, following the exact line drawn from the template.
Sand the surface and edges all around the plaque, using medium-grit sandpaper, until they are smooth. Sand over it again with fine-grit sandpaper to bring out the grain and give the board a slick look. Wipe the sanding dust off the board with a clean towel.
Lay the plaque face-up on two pieces of 1-by-2 boards so there is space under it. Paint a thin coat of finish or stain over the face and edges of the plaque. Allow to dry 24 hours.
Paint a second coat of finish over the first dry coat, and let it dry 24 hours. Turn the dry plaque over and paint one coat of finish on the back side, and allow 24 hours to dry. The plaque now can be used as is or coated with wood wax to give it a shiny finish.
Use a precut plaque or design your own template to use as a pattern to cut the plaque.
A router can be used to cut beveled or unique edges on the plaque prior to sanding.
Always sand with the grain of the wood and not across it. Sanding across the grain will scar the surface.
Semi- and high-gloss clear finishes bring out the distinctive grains in the wood.
Use acrylic finish as it dries quickly, oil-based stains can take days to dry.
Use caution when cutting with a jig saw, as the blade is thin and moves rapidly. There is always a possibility of danger when using a saw.