Buffalo horn for saddles and nuts

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Jim Ashby
Posts: 33
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 1:26 pm
Location: Coventry UK

Buffalo horn for saddles and nuts

Post by Jim Ashby »

Hi all. I was at a game fair a couple of days ago and I came across some buffalo horn blanks that were squared-up at about 3/4" and about 5" long. As I'm always looking for useful material, I gave them a tap and they were really resonant with a nice 'ping' so I bought a few.
Question is, do any of my fellow MIMFers use this material for saddles and nuts? If so, any pointers or tips?
Any and all advice gratefully received.
Jim

Clay Schaeffer
Posts: 1525
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 12:04 pm

Re: Buffalo horn for saddles and nuts

Post by Clay Schaeffer »

One thing I have found with horn material is that if it is allowed to dry out too much it becomes brittle. If used for bridge pins they could be soaked in water during string changes. Nuts and saddles might be a bit more problematic. Perhaps someone knows of a way to keep horn from drying out?

Edit: After searching the web I found a comb making company that suggested wiping it down with body lotion periodically to maintain the horn, and a discussion on a knife making forum that mentioned stabilizing it with an acrylic process. Polished horn is a very pretty material.

Steve Senseney
Posts: 673
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 2:45 pm

Re: Buffalo horn for saddles and nuts

Post by Steve Senseney »

Is this a material that could cause problems if it ran into some of the restrictions on transport across international (or even state) borders?

I am not against using horn, but I suspect we have adequate or better materials available.

Clay Schaeffer
Posts: 1525
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 12:04 pm

Re: Buffalo horn for saddles and nuts

Post by Clay Schaeffer »

I think most of the "horn" comes from domesticated water buffalo and other cattle. There shouldn't be a lot of trade restrictions on it.

Jason Rodgers
Posts: 1554
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 4:05 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: Buffalo horn for saddles and nuts

Post by Jason Rodgers »

Maybe the Duke will be along to fill us in on the letter of the law, but I'm guessing that any animal-based material needs to have some documentation. Some horn has great streaks and stripes and can really draw the eye.

As far as horn care: Clay, did you see any mention of lotion brands? Seems like there are some lotion ingredients that you'd want to avoid on finished surfaces.
-Ruining perfectly good wood, one day at a time.

David King
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Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 10:01 pm
Location: Portland, OR
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Re: Buffalo horn for saddles and nuts

Post by David King »

Domesticated water buffalo horn is perfectly legal and widely available. The remaining 4000 or so wild water buffalo are highly endangered and a protected species. If you are engaged in importing or exporting "wildlife" (either domesticated or wild) you would need the appropriate license from the appropriate authorities.

Clay Schaeffer
Posts: 1525
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 12:04 pm

Re: Buffalo horn for saddles and nuts

Post by Clay Schaeffer »

Hi Jason,
No mention of brands, but if a lotion contained things harmful to horn I'm not sure I'd want to use it on my body either! Other things mentioned were lanolin and oils (olive, coconut,almond, jojoba, sunflower ,etc.) For the right person horn could make a lovely nut or saddle. for most of us it might seem "high maintenance".

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