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Making buttons from sheep horns

Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 7:20 pm
by Normandie
First of all: hello, long-time lurker and now finally a newbie, here with a slightly odd first post. :icon_smile: Has anyone used their own cow / sheep / goat horns to make buttons? Or other things.

A couple of our rams went to the abbatoir today and they have (had) rather nice horns. I've requested that the abbatoir let me have the horns because I make "stuff" and often buy horn buttons. In my self-sufficient way, it occurred to me that I'd get rather a lot of buttons, toggles, and possibly other items from these horns.

But what do I do to prepare the horns? I've Googled but not so far found any definitive processing recommendations. Has anyone here recycled animal horns successfully?

Re: Making buttons from sheep horns

Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 7:26 pm
by Green Aura
Sorry, I've no idea. But I'm sure someone will.

In the meantime, welcome to Ish :wave:

Re: Making buttons from sheep horns

Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 7:44 pm
by Normandie
Thank you very much. :iconbiggrin:

Re: Making buttons from sheep horns

Posted: Fri Jan 13, 2012 6:01 am
by safronsue
don't know either but your quest is interesting. welcome here and make sure you let us know what you come up with!

Re: Making buttons from sheep horns

Posted: Fri Jan 13, 2012 8:11 am
by Davie Crockett
I don't know much about sheep horn. is it hollow or solid like antlers? If it's hollow, it will probably have a marrow like core which will need cleaning out before working it. Horn is composed of keratin and other proteins (like your fingernails) and can be worked by softening it by boiling: http://www.personal.utulsa.edu/~marc-carlson/horn/horng.html

The gist of it is....Clean out the core, boil for one and a half hours. Cut the tip off and then open the horn to gain the most useful area. This can be either a straight cut from top to bottom or a spiral cut which will give you a strip to take your buttons/toggles from.

on the subject of buttons....
I frequent a bodgers forum (green woodworkers) and the subject of making wooden round buttons came up recently. The consensus of opinion for small round wood (3/4 inch or less) is to pre drill your holes and then using a fine saw, slice your buttons off รก la carrot. Or for larger buttons and using a pole lathe, rounding quartered logs and proceeding as before. Very basic but efficient.

By The Way...Welcome to the forum.

Re: Making buttons from sheep horns

Posted: Sat May 21, 2016 8:55 am
by beans
My grannie's a crofter from the west coast of Scotland. she showed me how to make sheep horn buttons.

It's really easy.

Just boil the horn til its soft and you can cut it to shape with a vegetable knife.
punch holes while its still semi-soft.

I use horn buttons as lace-bobbin weights because they're the perfect rough texture to sit on a pillow without slipping, especially if you cross hatch both flat sides.

Re: Making buttons from sheep horns

Posted: Sat May 21, 2016 3:14 pm
by Green Aura
Hmmm, now where to get sheep horns from. Our local sheep don't have any.

Re: Making buttons from sheep horns

Posted: Mon May 23, 2016 12:20 pm
by ina
Green Aura wrote:Hmmm, now where to get sheep horns from. Our local sheep don't have any.
What? No blackies in your area??? :shock:

Re: Making buttons from sheep horns

Posted: Tue May 24, 2016 11:05 am
by Green Aura
Almost entirely Cheviots, ina. The fleeces are pretty useless too. Apparently they're only of use to the carpet industry.

Re: Making buttons from sheep horns

Posted: Tue May 24, 2016 4:23 pm
by ina
The blackie fleeces aren't any better, either - but at least they have "handles"!

Pity, my friend has merino, and although the males have impressive horns, they don't tend to drop off occasionally, as used to happen with the blackies... Well, if I find one somewhere, I'll make sure I'll keep it for you.

Re: Making buttons from sheep horns

Posted: Tue May 24, 2016 9:05 pm
by Green Aura
:thumbright: