Author Topic: Softening horn with vinager?  (Read 895 times)

Offline Dutch Blacky

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Softening horn with vinager?
« on: May 27, 2023, 12:34:17 PM »
There are actually offers of some very interesting powder flasks in eBay. Among these flasks there is one manufactured in Austria.  (https://www.ebay.de/itm/266266425976?hash=item3dfeb73a78:g:d8cAAOSwbFxkanRZ)

Powderflaskhunter, a collector from the Netherlands, is writing:
"...... typical Austrian made powder flask - or horn.
It has been manufactured around the 1840`s most likely in Vienna (Wien).
The body consists of 2 halves of pressed lanthorn.
Did you know they manufacturers used vinegar to soften the horn?!"

Does anybody among you know some more about this old technique?

Offline Tim Crosby

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Re: Softening horn with vinager?
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2023, 03:29:43 PM »
 Never heard of that. If cold that would be one thing but if the vinegar had to be heated I would think it would work like water. Worth a try.
 I did straighten a piece of Whitetail antler once by soaking it in vinegar but that took 3 months.

    Tim 
« Last Edit: May 27, 2023, 03:33:23 PM by Tim Crosby »

Offline Dutch Blacky

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Re: Softening horn with vinager?
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2023, 09:13:41 AM »

Maybe @feltwad would know more about  the method of softening horn using vinager?

Offline TDM

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Re: Softening horn with vinager?
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2023, 07:32:35 AM »
Always heard and read that hot oil was used in colonial times. But I suppose hot vinegar would work. But it would be more about the temperature working the horn. I donít remember the exact temperature, but horn has to be heated above a certain point for it to forget itís previous form. Above the boiling temperature of oil would do that.

Offline Robert Wolfe

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Re: Softening horn with vinager?
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2023, 03:37:34 PM »
I don't know about horn, but vinegar can be used to soften antler so that it can be straightened (or bent).
Robert Wolfe
Northern Indiana

Offline rich pierce

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Re: Softening horn with vinager?
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2023, 03:54:53 PM »
I don't know about horn, but vinegar can be used to soften antler so that it can be straightened (or bent).

Good point. Antler had collagen which is denatured by acid. Horn is keratin and I think less affected by acid. 
Andover, Vermont

Offline bigsmoke

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Re: Softening horn with vinager?
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2023, 06:49:38 PM »
I don't know about vinegar, but I sure do like to use a heat gun to soften horn.  Thousands done and no cracks yet.
'Nuff said.
John (Bigsmoke)

Offline Cory Joe Stewart

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Re: Softening horn with vinager?
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2023, 01:12:07 AM »
The ancient greeks used vinegar to soften ivory and then would form it into shapes for altars. 

Cory Joe