PP Time Machine Post:

Tim Baker
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Tim Baker
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Joined: May 23rd, 2005, 6:22 am

June 11th, 2018, 8:39 am #1

 
Recently someone here asked about flattening Gemsbok horn. Here's an answer from the archives, September, 2007:
 
 
Tim, at one point you mentioned to me about flattening the horn to remove the cupped shape and help with the stresses. If one did that, could a sinew backing be applied, without using a wood core? What would be the advantages and disadvantages?

Ken
 
Ken: The first horn bow I ever made was horn/sinew, no wood core. It was the closest thing I've ever seen to free will in an inanimate object. Simply bracing it turned into an I.Q contest. Once braced, with no apparent provocation, tiller would run from one limb to the other unless held firmly in place like a struggling eel. With no wood core it was like an animal with its backbone removed. I slipped once while bracing or unbracing, so it took that opportunity to escape. It, no exaggeration, bounced around the room, ricocheting off walls and ceiling so fast I couldn't track it. Finally it found a place to hide. It wasn't under the couch, or behind the piano, or concealed by curtains. After several Twilight-Zone minutes it was found lodged behind a small Britinnica bookcase covering an old coal fireplace, its curved limbs forming an insolent smile. So, being a thoroughly rational being I ripped it apart and remade it with a wood core. 

All told, it's easier to use water buffalo horn than to flatten Gemsbok horn. But it can be flattened considerably. Lots of prep scraping needed though, to get the solid and near solid portions scraped down to the same shape as the hollow portion. And the walls thinned to desired thickness. Then boiling is best done with a mixture of water and radiator fluid, for higher boiling temp. This is preferably done while the horn is being pressed by clamps between two plates, the horn pre shaped to slide flat when pressed. Clamp pressure is slowly applied over time. What a pain. I never got perfect results, always at least some mild cracking as the inside stretched sideways. I believe Jeff Schmidt of TBB-3's Korean Bow chapter had better luck. He's more patient than me.

But, get large diameter horn and forget straightening. If reduced to desired width the horn will be flat enough for a crowned-belly composite. Tim
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toxophileken
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toxophileken
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Joined: January 15th, 2006, 4:55 am

June 13th, 2018, 9:11 pm #2

I remember that!  Thanks for bringing it to the top, Tim.

Back then I had a couple lines on Gemsbok horns, but unfortunately none of them ever panned out.

Ken
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