On Sat, 11 Sep 2004 21:15:14 +0100, Andy Dingley
More weirdness with the buffalo horn.
Sawed just a couple of square inches of the stuff on the bandsaw.
Then sawed some timber. Opened the bandsaw's lower door it was full
of sawdust - clearly the dust extract wasn't working any more.
Some cleaning and I found the problem - a "dust buffalo" of white
fibrous swarf, big and tough enough to block a 4" dust collector hose!
It's the weirdest stuff - it's like the stuff that comes out of
chainsaw boots if you accidentally cut into them - deliberately
fibrous and capable of blocking a saw.
It's generally from an Asian water buffalo; a carabao.
'Buffalo Horn' is from an American Bison, and is expensive and hard to get.
Carabao horn can be a couple of feet long- you can take plates and strips
from it that are quite large.
Bison horn is much shorter, very curved, smaller solid areas.
Buffalo horn comes from the buffalo. It cuts more like a plastic than a
wood. It's pure protein. Most closely related to your fingernails in
terms of everyday experience (or your hair).
_Really_ advanced bowmaking, if you do it right - it's a laminated
AFAIK, this is from European water buffalo, kept for milk production
to make mozarella cheese. I think these are local Somerset buffalo (I
eat their cheese), many are Italian.
You could use Gruffalo horn instead - although Gruffalo are harder to
I don't know where you are, so it's hard to make recommendations. Mine
came from a bowyer and fletcher at a medieval re-enactment event ("ren
faire" in the USA). I believe that bow tips and arrow nocks use it,
as it's harder than wood.
Pretty cheap to buy - a buffalo horn is about half the price of a
hollow cow horn.
Sure is the step up-
A lot of the reason I work multi-media is that one can't make any material
do all things. I come out of that weird 50's Cowboy Chic era; silver
mounted, hand-carved, full raised, puffed and padded, double fitted-
yaddayadda. You have to work a little wood (or a lot), some leather, some
silver; maybe some lapidary,......
The best 'utilitarian' sheathes are probably in wood; leather is a
compromise. The surface of wood is vulnerable, and if it splits, your sheath
falls apart- so you cover it with leather. The edges of wood/leather are
vulnerable, as are 'wear points', so you cover them with metal.
Composite sheathes combine the attributes of the materials soas to produce
the best sheath possible.
Then you can cover the whole thing with pictures......
Amen Brother Chas!
I like the wood 'cause it shapes so much better. But then I'll probably
never do anything in wood as nice as you've done in leather ;-) Hadn't
really thought how to go about doing the metal caps and stuff. Have to work
Sure- and remember that you're probably *better off* using a soft, light
wood for your sheathes, as opposed to a heavy exotic, or hardwood.
I collect SEAsian- most of them sheathed in wood, sometimes horn. Often,
they're covered in braided strips of 'bamboo' (who knows what it actually
is), and become a wicker framework construction.
The techniques translate to 'our' kind of usage pretty readily- good stuff.
Most of the SEA examples in my collection are sheathed in soft, light
woods of various sorts. One, a Philippine barong, has a sheath that is
Handles are usually a very dense wood, however.
"You Know Things Are Weird When Arnold Schwartznegger
Is Governor of California, Ronald Reagan Is One Of Our
Most Beloved Ex-Presidents, And John Kerry Is Running
For President On His Vietnam War Record"
The draw of some of the weapons split the sheath- they were, or could be,
very consumable. Some weapons were never drawn except for mortal combat, or
the first move defending attack from surprise was a strike with the sheathed
weapon that opened it bare.
Court weapons are often sheathed in decorative woods- or stuff that belonged
to rich guys.
Oh yeah- and lots of use of other rare and precious materials; ivories,
coral and stone, nuts; wonderful stuff.
Ok, gotta ask. Why soft wood? I wouldn't think your average hard wood would
be all that offensive to the blade edge though I suppose some of the stuff
out there could be. I did this last one in Black Walnut that was on the
verge on dry rot. Did kind of wonder about problems with some wood oils.
I've heard there can be but not sure which ones.
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