Facts about coloring

1.) What is Dyed Stag?   Amber, Antique, Sunset, and Mahogany are some of the more common colors that we use on stag and bone.   These pieces have been put through our extensive coloring process. Our process is particularly useful for taking stag pieces that have good quality and pattern but perhaps are lacking for 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 $50.00 per lb. weight after processing. (Generally, the weight will not vary by more than 5%).   Secondly, customers can purchase amber stag that we have already colored from our inventory.  Third, customers can purchase natural pieces from our inventory and we will color them at a rate of $35/lb.   All coloring is done by weight with a 1 lb. minimum.


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 1,000-4,000 pieces depending on size.   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 pieces and 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.   Please do not mark/engrave your pieces in the pith areas as this will not work.  If there are extensive marking requirements, there may be a surcharge associated with this service so please try to mark your pieces before they are sent. Additionally, if for whatever reason, we deem your markings to be insufficient, we will make additional marks to insure that your pieces are kept separate from other inventory in the color run.


6.) Will Culpepper mark my stag for me? Yes, but we will only indicate your pieces with one mark.   Ie. Any pairs, will have to re-paired by you upon return. If there are extensive marking requirements, there may be a surcharge associated with this service so please try to mark your pieces before they are sent.


7.) 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.


8.) 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.


9.) Why is my stag oily or not very oily?   Our process involves oil and depending on multiple factors it is not unusual for pieces to have an "oily" finish.   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.  Additionally, because a typical dye run includes thousands of pieces of various origins, you may experience a more dry finish on your stag.  We do take steps during the process to "dry" the pieces to minimize the oily finish, so it is not unusual for the pieces to be a little more dry occasionally.   Despite our utilizing the same process for each run, the range of oily vs. dry is somewhat fluid from dye run to dye run.   This is due to many factors but is common.   If you prefer the oily type of finish, you can simply soak the pieces in a clear and undyed hydraulic fluid or clear oil.   This process will "re-moisturize" the pieces somewhat.  


10.) 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.   As far as your hands go, you might consider rubber gloves during the heavier stock removal.   If not, it will likely give your hands an orange tint that will wear off in a day or so.


11.) 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.


12.) 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 and may even destroy heavy 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 good 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.


13.) 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.  


14.) If I send in my stag, what is the turnaround time?    It varies, but normally we do the process at least once every two months.   If you have material that you wish to send in, call ahead and we can give you more accurate estimates.


15.) 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, oily, dryness, etc..   However, we would not offer this process if we did not have overwhelming success. We recommend sanding the backs of your pairs to ensure that the color match is suitable prior to use. If you are buying our stag and are unhappy with the color match, we will gladly exchange any uncut pieces. (Uncut includes drilling, cutting, shaping, or surface sanding. )


16.) Do we make different colors?  The short answer is yes, however they are limited, please inquire directly and we can go into further detail. Other common colors that we offer include Bourbon, Mahogany, Sunset, Hunter Green, Ruby Red and a handful of others.


17.) 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 stag.  


18.) Additional Fees: If you don’t engrave your pairs, but wish to have them marked in order to remain paired, we will do for an additional fee of $ 5.00/pair.


19.) Discount stag may or may not adhere to all criteria above, but may still be returned or exchanged in its original condition. Please call if you have any questions.


20.) 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 do not inform or indicate a value of your material prior to our return shipping to you, it will ship with the minimal insurance that the carrier automatically provides if any.   We will not be responsible for lost/damaged parcels regardless of their "true" value.    If you have additional questions please do not hesitate to ask by calling our offices 828-524-6842 or by email at info@culpepperco.com