I've been wanting to create a deer antler mount out of bicycle parts ever since I first laid eyes on this seat. It was old, weathered and seemed to have an incredible mystique about it. Renditions of these deer mounts interpreted from bicycle parts have sprung up around the internet a fair amount over the past few years. My vision for this piece was centered around the saddle and it's storied past to create a rustic and aged faux deer mount. I also mounted the bars and saddle using original bicycle parts which maintains the theme of the piece and adds an extra level of awesome.
Follow along and I'll describe exactly how I built this specimen. If you like this Instructable, consider voting for it!
Step 1: Find Your Saddle
The saddle was the original inspiration for this piece and subsequently the first piece I acquired for the antler mount. I strongly feel the saddle should be the first piece to obtain for a project like this because the saddle is the focal point and really dictates the theme of the whole ensemble. There are countless varieties of styles and sizes of saddles and your saddle choice should inspire the style and size of both the handlebars and the base you choose.
Step 2: Build the Base Board
Using my saddle as the guide I looked online at wood antler mount bases to see what style of pattern would fit the saddle the best. I ended up using a European style mount as inspiration and modified it slightly to my own liking. I used some scrap paper to draw the shape and had my saddle in hand to figure out how long and wide to draw it up. The European mounting boards online were relatively close in size to the deer skull so I stuck to similar dimensions.
In order to get a near perfect symmetrical design, I only drew the left half of the design, cut out its border and then folded the paper in half, traced the right side and then cut the rest out. With the base shape cut of paper I moved on to deciding what to build it out of. I had some rustic looking pallet wood that I knew would fit in perfectly with the weathered saddle so I sifted through about 20 pieces until I found the right boards that were (mostly) straight, flat and fit together well. A quick run over with the sander removed the unsightly parts of weathering, but still left it looking good.
I wanted the base to compliment the saddle and handlebars without overpowering it so I thought making the base with a small thickness would be the best design, but I also needed to fasten the pallet boards together somehow. That's when I remembered I had some 1/8" scrap MDF plywood that I could use as a backer to glue the pallet boards to.
Glue was applied to the backer, the pallet boards were laid over it, clamped together and compressed with the weight of several large porcelain tiles. I used a lot of weight because the boards had some twist to them and I wanted to eliminate as much as I could. Once the glue was dry I took my paper design, traced it on to the pallet boards and used a jigsaw to cut out the design. I started with a standard wood blade, but the cut wandered a bit and caused some chipping on the face of the boards so I switched to a finer toothed blade which was labeled for metal cutting, but cut much smoother than the wood blade. The finer teeth on the metal blade made cutting slower, but it was worth the higher quality cut.
Step 3: Get Bars
This step is really simple. Get handlebars that go with the style and them of the saddle. I got my bars at the local bicycle junk yard. They were incredibly rusty which fit the theme of my antler mount perfectly. I couldn't have been happier with how rusty they were. They also came with a stem and brake levers. Originally I never imagined adding brake levers to the bars as part of the antlers, but I left them on as I was working on the project and I think they actually look pretty good.
Step 4: Make Mounting Attachments
Before making the mounting brackets I took some time to consider the height of the saddle off the base board as well as height of bars and relation to the saddle.
I went to the bike scrap yard and bought and old style seat post that I could clamp the saddle to. Using a 4" angle grinder I cut three quarters of the way around the post and left a one quarter (circumference) flange on the seat post just over one inch long. A strong set of pliers were used to bend the flange 90 degrees and then I used a hammer and concrete floor to pound the flange flat. As soon as I installed the saddle and set it on the base, I knew it was too high so I repeated the process up the seat post and checked again. It was still too high so I cut it down to where the seat post tapers into the saddle clamp and felt good about the height. The third time was the charm!
Originally I was just going to fasten the handlebars to the base with a generic plumbing clamp, but after seeing how high the saddle rose off the base I knew that wasn't going to look good at all. Thankfully the handlebars still had the stem installed and I had an "Eureka!" moment idea to use the stem to mount the bars. I did this by cutting the stem off so it just barely fit underneath the saddle. This was accomplished by using a real pallet as a work bench and a scrap piece with a hole in it during the construction which allowed me to prop up the stem in between the pallet slats and find the right position in relation to the saddle and height at which to cut the bottom of the stem off.
To secure the seat post and stem to the pallet wood base I set them up on the base in the final position and traced around them lightly with a pencil. Then I drilled a small hole for each from the top and used a forstner bit from the backside to auger a shallow recess to allow a nut to screw on and still sit below the face of the MDF backer.
Step 5: Hanging on the Wall
To conceal the cheap MDF backer behind the pallet boards, I used a router set a the depth of the MDF to cut it away from the edge. That prevented anyone from seeing it while hanging on the wall. I also cut away a triangle near the top of the base to allow for two screws and picture hanging wire to hang it on the wall.
The pallet boards were only about 1/4" thick so I had to grind down two small wood screws so that they wouldn't poke through the front of the base. This also made me worry if the screws were still strong enough to hold up the weight of the entire mount but there was no problem.
Step 6: Enjoy!
The hardest part of this project could have been finding a place to hang my beautiful mount. Thankfully my wife really liked it so I was able to hang it in our sun room with vaulted ceilings which fit in perfectly with the rest of our rustic and bike related decor.
As you might have noticed in the pictures, I changed the angle of the handlebars as well as the brake levers. I think the new location looks better than the original, but I might keep tweaking it until I'm confident. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below. And if you make a bicycle themed antler mount for your own space, post a pic in the comments and let me see it!