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Old 06-01-2023, 07:01 AM
designed2fail designed2fail is offline
Join Date: May 2023
Posts: 1
Question about using buffalo horn

Hello first off thank you for adding me.

I am planning on using buffalo horn for a ferrule for a knife I am about to make and have never actually used it. Now will the sides with ever be as polished as the face? I test cut a sliver off to see how well it can be machined and that left a pretty reasonable face to start with, as shown in the pictures.

I read slow and steady wins the race with horn as heat will warp it. I have no qualms with hand sanding as I am going to be doing a Kijiro Urushi lacquer finish on the wood part of the handle and saya(sheath)

Now should I leave the back a bit rough or smoother the better when epoxying it to the wood components? If possible I am going to hollow it out with a down cut spiral router bit so I can make a cap for the ferrule and opening for the sheath.

also if this is the wrong section I apologize in advance. Any and all info will be very much appreciated. I thank you for your time
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Old 06-01-2023, 08:27 AM
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Ray Rogers Ray Rogers is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Wauconda, WA
Posts: 9,844
Slow and steady AND fresh, sharp belts if you use your belt grinder. If you smell burning hair your belt is too fast or you're using too much pressure.

Buffalo horn seems to polish just fine on all sides and face but leaving it a little rough where epoxy will be applied seems a good idea . . .


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Old 06-01-2023, 02:12 PM
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M&J M&J is offline
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: So. Cal
Posts: 921

As Ray mentions. Slow is preferred as horn is soft so going slower gives you time to work it. When I epoxy surfaces up I tend to leave them at a 100 grit finish. Buffalo horn polishes nicely and a light touch on the buffer is sufficient as it is fairly soft.

With a dark horn or similar dark materials adding in a black colorant to approximate the handle color helps fill any unintentional voids. This results in a near matching color to appear seamless.

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Old 06-01-2023, 11:30 PM
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TexasJack TexasJack is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Southeast Texas
Posts: 2,921
Be sure to open a window or otherwise have lots of fresh air. Buffalo horn smells like 10,000 buffaloes just took a dump in the room. It even smells when you hand sand it.

God bless Texas! Now let's secede!!
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Old 06-03-2023, 05:26 AM
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Crex Crex is offline
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Acworth, GA and/or Hanging Dog, NC
Posts: 3,591
Heat and humidity are it's mortal enemies and side pressure is their friend. Make sure there is no tension or pressure against the grain or it will eventually split or crack. Stuff moves constantly since it is just compressed hair so joints rarely stay smooth and clean over time.
Don't get me wrong I like it and use it quite a bit, but mostly for spacers these days. Good luck with it.

Carl Rechsteiner, Bladesmith
Georgia Custom Knifemakers Guild, Charter Member
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C Rex Custom Knives

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