General discussion > Contemporary Accoutrements

Shaping Cones Revisited


Randy Hedden:
In the previous thread about shaping cones many options were given for makeshift shaping cones. Most horn makers seem to use a "standard" taper on their shaping cones. I make a few horns and have found that the "standard" tapered shaping cone doesn't work very good on many horns. The object of using shaping cones is to round the butt end for a round lathe turned butt plug. However, when doing so the rounded butt end should still conform to the overall shape of the rest of the horn. Often times, when using a standard tapered shaping cone, you will produce a sort of bulging area at the butt end of the horn. This bulged out area at the butt end of the horn is not desired as it deviates from the shape of the rest of the horn. The length of a shaping cone can also cause problems when rounding the end of the horn. A long tapered shaping cone can end up making a "ridge" that protrudes from the body of the horn on the inside curve where the small end of the shaping cone contacts the horn body. If your shaping cone is to short for a given horn, like when shaping a horn with a lip on it for attaching a strap, the large end of the shaping horn can produce a similar ridge that shows on the outside of the lip extension of the horn.

For these reasons, I find that I make a lot of "custom" shaping cones for rounding the end of the horns. In other words, I make a shaping cone that fits a particular horn and not force the horn to fit a standard  shaping cone. I want to round the butt end of the horn while still trying to maintain the the overall shape of the horn. I make shaping cones that have different included angles or tapers and adjust the length of the shaping cones to fit the size of the horn. Most of the shaping cones I use are rather short and therefore only suitable for a very small range of diameters. I have tried using the long shaping cones that will cover a variety of different diameters, but have found them to be more trouble than they are worth.

Randy Hedden

rich pierce:
Good tips, Randy.  I hate it when I raise an edge or ledge on the inside curve because of using a cone with too much taper.

G. Elsenbeck:
I concur with Randy.  Often I will make a 'special' sizer for a particular horn.  I try to make my sizers about 2 inches in length as they will cover most horns.  However, shorter ones will be made as the need arises.
I recall at least 2 occasions where I had nice looking horns, but they were a tad too oval.  The solution for both were the same.  I measure the inside diameter of where I wanted to make the horn round and made 2 small sizers about 1 1/2 inches in lenght, drilled a hole down through the center and inserted a stainless eye bolt with a nut on the other end.  After sufficient time in boiling water to ensure the last 5 or so inches were pliable enough I inserted the small sizer then followed up with a slightly larger sizer made to complete the rounding operation.  Fortunately I didn't end up with any bulges.  Now, I didn't really force fit the small sizer, just set it in the horn in a snug postion.  At the end of two days I removed the sizers and all seemed well.  I grabbed my little hook tool and was able to retrieve the small sizer without incident.  By then I was ready to turn the base plug and install. 
I want to say I didn't invent this solution.  If memory serves me correctly I believe I read about this procedure somewhere.  Memory ain't that good so I couldn't say in what publication or just jawing around a camp fire someplace. 


[0] Message Index

Go to full version