View Full Version : Handle material

Carbon Steel
04-14-2010, 08:07 PM
I want to use some waterbuffalo horn for handles on a full tang knife; However the horn has a trist in it that needs to be corrected. I read on line that you have to boil the horn for 2 hours before it is plyable enough to clamp down and then after a while it will remain straight.
Also what is the best way to attach horn to a knife tang.
Any help or any suggestions will be appreciated as I said it will be my first time to use waterbuffalo horn.
Thanks a lot!!

04-14-2010, 08:22 PM
What are the dimensions of your handle? I have a few scales of this stuff that is almost as straight as an arrow that I've had laying around for a while now. If it will work for you I'd gladly send it your way and save you a headache.

Carbon Steel
04-15-2010, 04:39 PM
The handle is 4.3/8" long and at the widest point 1". It will take 4.5" and every bit of an inch to give me any room to play with.

04-18-2010, 09:55 AM
Can you post a picture so we can see the twist?
Sometimes they, the twist, will work well in some applications.

04-18-2010, 09:58 AM
When I get back to Mississippi Monday night I'll check my supply and see what size I have.

Carbon Steel
04-18-2010, 11:58 AM
This piece of horn is 9/32 thick and the gap on the corner pictured is 3/32. Since I would like to keep all the thickness possible I thought it would be better to try and straight it rather than sand it flat. I just don't know how to go about straightening it. I would think boiling anything for 2 hours is a little much. Thanks for the comments.


04-19-2010, 06:54 AM
Is this your first time using horn? I ask because in my opinion, horn is one of the more difficult handle materials to work with....lots of little problems, and tricks to correct those issues. Finishing water buffalo horn is one of the most labor and time intensive operations a knifemaker can attempt.

Even the highest level makers will often shy away from using water buffalo horn because it's so labor and time intensive to get right.

Carbon Steel
04-19-2010, 11:31 AM
Yes, it is the first time I've used horn. I have some good "How To" knife making books; However they only teach the basics, wood or deer, stag horn. I've got the time to learn if I can just find accurate info on using it. I now have come up with more questions such as what is the best way to attach it to the knife. I was planning on using rivets or screws with Loctite 324.

There is so many more knife handle materials out there besides wood like MOP, coral, mammoth, bone, that the books do not deal with. I hate to destroy handle material in a trial and error.
I ran into a problem trying to use a non stabilized light colored wood where the dark sanding dust kept discoloring the wood and no where to find out what to do with it. That's why I'm looking for help up front on the horn.


04-19-2010, 08:26 PM
i am just using wood right now, and for me, the idea of using something like MOP or coral bothers my pocket book. I know I would mess it up.

04-19-2010, 08:47 PM
Okay, I finally made it back to Mississippi just a few minutes ago and actually remembered that I needed to check for this. All of the scales I have are 5"x1.5" x 1/4-3/8". None of the sets are perfectly flat. If you would like, I'd be more than happy to send you the "healthiest" of the sets I have (5"x1.5"x3/8"). That should give you room to play with in getting them true and flat.

Carbon Steel
04-22-2010, 07:51 PM
Murph, Before you go to all that trouble I will just go ahead and see what I can do with what I have now. Maybe I can make them work with a little sanding and clamping them good when I glue them on. I appreciate your time and will let you know how this works out. Thanks, Murph

Carbon Steel
04-29-2010, 07:49 PM
Surely there is someone out there in forum land that knows how to straighten buffalo horn. Please lets hear it.

05-09-2010, 05:27 PM
I had some really curved buffalo horn, and asked the same question on 2 other forums. One forums was full of ideas they have heard of- , steaming them, boiling them, putting them in the oven, then them clamping etc. The other forum basic consensus was- unless you sand them flat they will Always warp back, no matter what method was used to straighten them. Also it didnt matter what glue, epoxy or pins was used to hold them on.

Carbon Steel
05-10-2010, 01:59 PM
Thanks for the info Mxlj. That's going to be my 1st choice to sand it as flat as I can get it.