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Damien

Hair As Horn Substitute?

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Hi all, i've been trying to find a decent material to approximate the look of rhino horn for carving and have been wondering as of late whether using either human hair or horse hair compressed and bound with hide glue or a synthetic resin of some sort might work?

 

I've given a great deal of thought to using Watusi cow horns for the job, but alas, the walls of them are annoyingly thin for most of their length at around 1-5mm, and the horn i'm trying to reproduce has walls around 1cm thick at its thinnest point.

 

I'm intending to use it to more or less copy this Chinese rhinoceros horn libation cup in the collection of my local gallery/the National Gallery of Victoria.

Although it features a lot of detailed carvings, they're not particularly fine or small, with the second detailed picture being about half life size.

 

Buffalo horn could also be used, but to my eye, the thickness of its walls aren't sufficient to be able to give the same sort of look that rhino horn has. I've included an example of a carved buffalo horn 'libation cup' to show what i mean (third picture)

 

I was just wondering what others thought of my idea and whether there might be any potential for it to work, or alternatively, whether anyone could suggest a better option?

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Hi Damien,

 

Have you explored goat or ram horn? On a web search for images, there seem to be some of a size that might suit your needs. They would not be the color or rhino horn, but would be carvable never-the-less.

 

Have you explored longhorn horns from the USA? (the term longhorn steer from the old West cattle drive days comes to mind)

 

Good luck on your quest,

 

Janel

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Hi Damien,

 

Have you explored goat or ram horn? On a web search for images, there seem to be some of a size that might suit your needs. They would not be the color or rhino horn, but would be carvable never-the-less.

 

Have you explored longhorn horns from the USA? (the term longhorn steer from the old West cattle drive days comes to mind)

 

Good luck on your quest,

 

Janel

 

Hey Janel,

 

I've looked into both goat and rams horns, as well as a few species of antelope and buffalo, but unfortunately all of them are a bit too thin for what i'm after, and likewise for the most part from what i've found, american long horns seem to have walls even thinner than watusi/african long horns.

 

The one potential method i've considered as a way of avoiding a partially synthetic material was to do some sort of lamination by seperating the horns into strips and then fusing or gluing them together, but alas, thus far i've not been able to find the magic heat + pressure conditions at which horn fuses to itself, nor have i found a really good glue for tight long lasting joins (though, it has to be said, i've not experimented much with glues so far )

 

It could possibly be made up as a vast 3d puzzle by carving individual sections of the design from thicker sections of horns before being pinned together though?

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Hi Damien,

 

Are you focusing your quest for material that has the horn-growing opening only, or would you consider using the solid horn and excavating the cup area and hollowing the design through the openings of the design as the top rhino horn might have been done? I believe that the rhino horn was solid to begin with, but that is only a guess.

 

I believe that ram horn is solid beyond the growth are near the head. They need to be heavy and solid to withstand the combat they undergo between rams.

 

Janel

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I have a couple of buffalo horns I am using, and I wouldn't call them thin-walled. In fact, for about the length of a rhino horn they are just about solid, with perhaps a small hollow at where the rhino horn would start... But maybe I am thinking of a small rhino, they come in different sizes, too.

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Hi,

 

Wen I mentioned ram horn, I was thinking big horn sheep which are far bigger than sheep from wool and meat industry.

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If you are avoiding using a synthetic glue when laminating horn, try hide glue. All natural. The Mongols made their laminated horn bows using a glue made from the swim bladders of fish. Supposed be tough as heck. probably stinks like a fish too. LOL

Here is a link to a paper on natural glue www.wpatrickedwarrd.com/gluearticle.html

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