They do sell stems which I think is all I'd need. I can't see a need for buying a whole side. I wanted enough antler to make two nuts and a probably a spare and maybe enough to mess one up - so altogether probably 4 nuts. I also wanted to have enough material left over to create small blocks to glue in for reinforcement of the sockets - fore and aft as I've seen in some photos Lightly posted in her flickr account. Do you guys/gals have experience with this supplier or another where I could reasonably purchase a long enough and large enough diameter stem to get what I need out it? I'm thinking the stem would need to be 2" in diameter and probably about 8" long. This stuff seems inordinately pricey as well, but the only cheaper site I found makes me suspicious because there was no contact info available so I figure there - no contact - no buy. Just seems a little ridiculous to pay $60+ for a hunk of antler 8" long, especially when they're being simply picked up off the ground somewhere. Finally, in buying antler have you been able to purchase something you thought would be the right size and have it be consistent enough diameter to be useful?
Also, I've been looking around for a source for bone for the overlays/inlays that I'll be applying to the bows I'm making. In all the pictures I've seen it's tough to see any joints on most bows which leads me to believe large pieces were used. If I had to guess I'd say they were mostly ivory and actually coming from a tusk would mean that the pieces could be much longer. Perhaps coming from bone they would need to be pieced together from smaller sections of bone. Most of what would be available would be cow bone and you're not going to be able to get pieces probably much longer than 8" or so out a single long leg bone. I've found a few retailers of "bone scales" for knife making and other such stuff. These pieces mostly seem to be only about 4 -6" long and no wider than about 1 1/2". Making my inlays out of a patchwork of pieces is, I think, going to look sloppy and not period, judging by the examples of bows I've seen, in particular the two bows I'm actually trying to duplicate. I'd almost rather use some sort of plastic if I could find something that would give the look of bone/ivory and allow me to use long pieces in order to preserve the look seen on the actual real historic bows. Any thoughts or suggestions?