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Subject: Horn


From: Richard O. Byrne <robyrne<-a>
Date: Sunday, November 20, 2005
Jason Clancy <g00067963 [at] gmit__ie> writes

>I am a furniture conservation student and am doing a research paper
>into horn, both as a veneer and as used in lanterns. For this paper
>I have to process the horn the traditional way; this is were i get
>stuck. I am having trouble flattening the horn. I am trying the many
>different ways that some of the old books say but they don't seem to
>work. I wonder is it because I am using Irish cows horn? If anyone
>out there has worked with horn before, your help will be very
>appreciated. I also need some help on staining the horn to imitate
>tortoise shell.

A place you might find some help with working horn would be to
contact the International Ivory Society whose members are interested
in not only ivory but all the related horn type materials. Contact
the president Robert Weisblut <weisblut<-a t->bellsouth< . >net> and he'll
make a note to members in the frequent email newsletters they send
out. You may wish to become a member yourself as it is free and
supports itself by members input.

Military reenactors: I'm not sure just who to contact in this bunch,
but there are many military reenactor groups in the United States,
many whom are into making all of their own equipment. Perhaps
looking at <URL:> and then emailing them
asking for advice as to who is working horn here will give you some
leads. Also, have you looked in Diderot? There must be a section in
there on working horn.

Also, do you have Jacque Andre Roubo's massive work L'Art du
Menuisier, 1764? There should be something in there on horn under
his section on veneers. Take a look. Appleton's Dictionary probably
has some information. Another source would be the Early American
Industries Association (known as the EAIA) whose member's are into
every trade and tool known to the 18th century. They have a society
library at the Mercer Museum in Pennsylvania of some 5,000 volumes
on trades. Contact them at <URL:>.

As to staining horn may I suggest the English translation of D.H.
Soxhlet's The Art of Dyeing and Staining Marble, Artificial Stone,
Bone, Horn, Ivory and Wood, London 1902, pp 168. It has a section on
bleaching and whitening, dyeing horn black, gray, brown, blue,
green, red and yellow, and an account of dyeing horn buttons. It is
impossible to find this title in the used book market, so I got my
hands on one and made a clean master copy from which I have made a
few very clean photocopy reproductions that have gone out to several
conservation labs here in North America. They are $25 a copy to
cover the cost of printing plus shipping if you can't find a copy in

You may also gain some insight into horn's structure in a paper by
Sonia O'Connor, "The Identification of Osseous and Keratinaceous
Materials at York," from Archaeological Bone, Antler and Ivory,
UKIC, 1987 (Occasional Papers; No. 5) You probably can get a copy
from ICCROM's library in Rome.

                  Conservation DistList Instance 19:28
                Distributed: Tuesday, November 29, 2005
                       Message Id: cdl-19-28-009
Received on Sunday, 20 November, 2005

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