Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Unconventional allets or Hammers


#1

Hello et. all, I am a Jewelry student in Texas and I am quite sure
that I have run across an article, during my studies, about making a
mallet or hammer using animal horn. To date I have found that using
water buffalo horn is preferable. Are there any other species of
horn bearing “critters” out there that may also prove to be useful?
Also, are there, in fact, any articles outlineing the fabrication of
the afore mentioned tool? I have been searching every night for the
past two weeks trying to find this article that I swear I have seen,
probably even on Orchid. Any help would be greatly appreciated, as I
intend to share this with one of my instructors.

Sincerely,
Michael Gaebler
Third Semester Jewelry Student (T.I.J.T.)


#2

The best sources are probably known be members of Society of
Creative Anachronism In particular see: http://www.florilegium.org/

Go to crafts then look down for stuff on horn craft – particularly
the one on spoon making

The biggest cattle horns seem to come from African cattle. These are
probably the source or most projects. At one time It was common to
see mounted (African) Horns for sale on the roadside in Texas. They
were huge not from Texas longhorns… haven’t seen these for a while
but I don’t drive the same roads I did then.

jesse


#3
    Also, are there, in fact, any articles outlineing the
fabrication of the afore mentioned tool? I have been searching
every night for the past two weeks trying to find this article that
I swear I have seen, probably even on Orchid. Any help would be
greatly appreciated, as I intend to share this with one of my
instructors. 

Michael,

Ironically there was a great article in an OLD Lapidary Journal
(back when they had more interesting and useful articles for
metalsmiths and lapidaries) - I think you can find it on their
archives online. If not, I’d be happy to dig up the issue from my
piles if someone else does not have it at their fingertips now. It
was simply made from a cow horn found at a bargain or antique store,
as I recall.

Roseann


#4

Michael,

You must have seen this in the July 2001 Lapidary Journal. Do a
search at their web site for this.

Rodney
RC Gems


#5

Hi Michael,

try http://www.ganoksin.com/borisat/nenam/hammer.htm

Knife magazines will have adds in the back for horns, quite cheap.
They are sawn and drilled with normal wood working tools, sanded and
polished a syou would wood. The polish, with tripoli or fabuluster
is excellent. For a small one a duffle coat horn button works well.
Note that nylon, delrin and some other plastics are very similar to
horn in use.

best
Charles


#6
   Are there any other species of horn bearing "critters" out there
that may also prove to be useful? Also, are there, in fact, any
articles outlineing the fabrication of the afore mentioned tool? 

There’s also antler, which is structurally different from bovine
horn, and will provide different qualities. Take a look at the
assembly of a rawhide mallet. Similar assembly methods will work for
antler and horn.

Ron Charlotte – Gainesville, FL
@Ron_Charlotte1 OR afn03234@afn.org


#7

Michael,

Interesting question! I would think that your current choice of
water buffalo horn is probably the best, as it’s relatively easy to
come by and furnishes large chunks of solid horn. Most other sources
of horn that are readily available, to my knowledge (sheep, cow,
bison, etc.) have more hollow horns that will not yield as much
solid material.

I’m curious - what are the advantages of horn over materials such as
wood, HDPE, or rawhide? I would think that a horn mallet would be
a pain to maintain, as horn can split over time and will also fall
prey to dermestid beetles if not kept in some bugproof container.
If you can track down the article you mentioned, I’d be keen to see
it.

Cheers,
Jessee Smith
www.silverspotstudio.com


#8
I'm curious - what are the advantages of horn over materials such
as wood, HDPE, or rawhide?

I also wondered what advantage horn would have over say water
buffalo hide. The mallet I use is made of water buffalo hide and it
seems to be durable enough and does not cause any untoward results
when used properly. Anyone else remember seeing any articles on horn
mallets?


#9

beatles??? hmmm you are sterilizing the horn or buying sterilized
horn right?

I have never had any bugs on my horn tools from ancient days when I
played at medieval armor making :))

Just wondered…
Teri
America’s Only cameo Artist
www.cameoartist.com


#10

Yes David, There definitely was a thread on horn mallets. Not all
that long ago, perhaps 6 months. I remember discussing it in school
afterwards.

Having been a city girl all my life, I have no clue about animal
horns. Actually, I’d love to have one tool junkie that I am.

Terrie


#11
I'm curious - what are the advantages of horn over materials such
as wood, HDPE, or rawhide?

Some older publications like Herbert Maryon’s book talk about such
mallets, and some of us who do historical re-enactment
demonstrations have a use for them. They do have the advantage over
wood in that they have a natural shape that is useful in and of
itself, and it is a bit tougher than the wood. Some people that do
raising and other forming like them. It’s harder to get a rawhide
mallet with as small a striking surface as a horn tip that will keep
that shape.

Mostly, it’s a personal preference thing, or old-fashioned tastes.
I still wouldn’t trade my plastic ones for any number of jobs.

Ron Charlotte – Gainesville, FL
@Ron_Charlotte1 OR afn03234@afn.org


#12

Teri,

It actually wouldn’t matter whether the horn was sterlized or not -
the beetles in question aren’t a result of bad horn hygiene, but are
commonly found in low numbers in most households, where they can
thrive on woolen fabrics, book bindings, hide glues, and such. They
belong to the family Dermestidae, also known as skin or carpet
beetles, and their job in life is to eat horn, hair, wool, feathers,
other dead insects, etc. They’re the bane of insect collections and
will destroy specimens at an astonishing rate. The buffalo carpet
beetle is the one usually seen; it’s about 2-3 mm long, oval, and
dark brown with lighter patches. The larvae are roughly the same
size but look like tiny bristly caterpillars.

Dermestid damage on horn usually shows itself as small round pits or
channels in the surface. (For some reason, you hardly ever catch the
little critters in the act.) In retrospect, it probably wouldn’t be
a big problem in a horn mallet if it was used frequently (they’d be
unlikely to put up with the daily pounding :slight_smile: Maybe this is the case
with your tools as well.

Out of curiosity, what kind of tools were they? I have more than a
passing interest in medieval armor myself, though I’ve done only
chainmail (maille) Never tried my hand at plate.

Cheers,
Jessee Smith
www.silverspotstudio.com


#13

HI ,

I used the hip ball joint of a calf and a sheep the most and
experimented with all horns. Depending on what was comfortable for
the user.

Nothing beats a true hammer for plate mail however the bone and horn
tools were beautifully adaptable to making fine silver and gold
accrudiments such as bowls and spoons and jewelry.

For most medieval shaping of such is done in well frankly hardwood
stumps The joke was sure you have anvils but nothing shapes nicer than
a concave hollow in a hardwood stump. Makes the process a lot easier.

Chainmail working is popular because well anyone can do it armoring
takes heat and is more dangerous a pursuit.

My joy of late is that in hammering the wire jewelry I found I could
weild a 2.5 pound blacksmith hammer again and that with a few hours
of doing it could control it’s direction to strike as I wished
without thinking about it…I guess it is like riding a bike. Some
skills never leave they just get a little forgotten and rusty.

I did post a few poor pictures (my camera died) of the jewelry I
made for the gallery show that is tomorrow. I am reworking my site
and it can be seen at the Style Krazy link at www.cameoartist.com
after all I did promise pictures. :slight_smile:

Base wire coated in plasti-dip I used some colors to drizzle
straight and mixed others to my liking for fab 60’s and 70’s retro
colors. Total cost for producing

50 pair earrings (with gemstone chip adornment) 48 bracelet sized
pieces and 12 necklaces and 6 belts and a few armbands costed out to
$1 a piece(that includes labor and ink and paper for the tags!)

pretty cool for not having anything to work with but a spool of base
metal dead soft I believe floral wire and an idea.

take heart creation is indeed a part desperation and perspiration
LOL

Teri