General discussion > Contemporary Accoutrements

Need advice regarding a bison horn


I just got my bison horn today. It's 15" along the largest curve and about 3" in diameter. It weighs 11.2 ounces (318 grams). Its the first bison horn I've handled.I was surprised how thin the walls were. I won't be able to do as much carving as planed. The cow horns I've use are alot thicker.

The horn has a large gauge on each side. This one I think I can sand out.

This one, I'm think is to deep. If I try, the wall thickness will be around 1/32" .

Would it be possible to glue a scrap of horn to the inside of the horn under the defect to strengthen the wall? If so, what glue would you suggest?

Best regards


G. Elsenbeck:
Rolfkt, you may want to cut about a 1/4 inch off from the end before you do anything.  You may be surprised to find that the horn isn't quite as thin as you may suspect.  It is not unusual to find 'gouges' in the horn.  You may want to get a farrier's rasp/file combination to work your horn smooth.  All that 'scale' or hard surface area with cracks will need to come off until you get the 'smooth' surface area.  Bison horns are a tad different than regular cow horns.

Randy Hedden:

You will need to cut enough off the big end of the horn to get rid of the big flair. You may have to cut off more than 1/2" to get rid of the flair. It is not uncommon to have to take an inch or more off the end of a buffalo horn. Gary is right about buffalo horn being thicker than you might expect. It looks like the only option you have is to clean up the outside of the horn to find out if you can get rid of the gouges. If you wanted to strengthen the area under the large gouge, I would just put a layer of epoxy glue inside the horn under the gouge and not try to glue a piece of horn in that position.

Buffalo horns often come with large gouges in them, but you are usually able to take the gouges out and still have enough horn thickness to make the horn into a useable horn. I think I would just clean up the outside of the horn with a rasp to find out just how much thickness you have left after all the roughness is taken off.  I use the same half round Nicholson #49 or #50 cabinet makers rasps that I use on gun stocks to rough the horn down.

Starting with a 15 inch buffalo horn you should expect to have maybe a 12" to 13" horn when finished. Buffalo horn powder horns were generally shorter than powder horns made from cow horns, but they still had a large capacity for powder because they are very large in diameter.

Randy Hedden


Randy Hedden:

Check your mailbox, I just sent you a PM.

Randy Hedden

elk killer:
you said sand it out,,,,filing or scraping might be a better option..has been said ,,sanded horn dust isnt good for your insides,maybe a mask for sanding is in order,,and its appears it just may be thicker than you believe........


[0] Message Index

Go to full version