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Working with horn - sanding and polishing


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Does one work with horn the same way one works with ebony? I have a frog made of horn that I am fitting to a bow and will need to clean it up, polish, etc. Is the approach the same, sanding and polishing, as for ebony?

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First you have to know what horn you have and from which animal. Ox, deer, imitation etc. 

You can polish it nice if you have a rotary tool (dremel like) and attach polishing bit. With light sanding  (1500-2000) and some rouge (very fine) you can make it shinny. Avoid oils. If it is imitation decolored shellac will help the result. 

 

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Horn and antler are very different in composition.

Antlers are bone, and grow and are shed annually.

Horn is an outside keratin layer. Horns on animals are permanent (they have a bone core).

Horn is malleable and can be heated and shaped, and laminated. Same with tortoisehell. Whalebone too (...not sure about lamination though).

I have a bow with a horn frog. Pretty.

 

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I concur with Bill, treat it as you would bone or ivory, shape it with files and sandpaper as needed, polish with fine grits , padded micromesh pads work good for final polish . 

wear a mask, don't breath the dust 

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I decided to start micro meshing the button because the silver rings were slightly higher than the horn enough that it catches the hand. Not sure the image is worth posting. The horn part came out a little cloudy. Maybe it now needs a sealant such as a wax???

New Button.jpg

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On 6/15/2021 at 8:39 AM, Jeff Krieger said:

I decided to start micro meshing the button because the silver rings were slightly higher than the horn enough that it catches the hand. Not sure the image is worth posting. The horn part came out a little cloudy. Maybe it now needs a sealant such as a wax???

 

I'd try applying tung oil, giving some time to penetrate any porosity, then wiping it off, and giving what has penetrated enough time to dry thoroughly. Then polishing again if needed.

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When I made buffalo horn picks I polished them just like plastic, I used progressively finer sandpapers (wet sanding, up to 2000-3000 grit) and finished with car polish (grey 3M paste I used to polish up some fine scratches on my car, it contains no wax, just fine abrasive, or I would suggest using Novus or similar lacquer polish).

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On 6/20/2021 at 1:39 PM, David Burgess said:

I'd try applying tung oil, giving some time to penetrate any porosity, then wiping it off, and giving what has penetrated enough time to dry thoroughly. Then polishing again if needed.

David, What would you use for the final polishing? As I said top of the page I have never worked with horn but have seen more than a few bows which have horn frogs which are quite transparent and very shiny. I am thinking Jeff needs to go to finer abrasives to remove the cloudiness and allow light to penetrate the surface.

Jeff, What level of abrasive are you finishing with?  Are you going down in order without skipping grits?

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5 hours ago, Jeff Krieger said:

Please see earlier post.

Sorry Jeff I don’t know what the “full set” means I am still using the micro mesh which I bought in the 1980s and the finest I have is 6000. I do use various tripolis and rouges which I suspect are finer grit than that.

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