Conservation DistList Archives [Date] [Subject] [Author] [SEARCH]

Subject: Horn


From: Hugh Glover <hglover<-a>
Date: Sunday, November 20, 2005
Jason Clancy <g00067963 [at] gmit__ie> writes

>... 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.

I learned the following during Furniture in France -2, a Wooden
Artifact Group and AIC sponsored study trip in 2004.  Horn as a
substitute for tortoiseshell was researched by E. Grall (Etude et
restoration d'une epinette de Lowe, 1678, du Musee de la Musique.
Recherche d'un materiau de substitution a l'ecaille de tortue) in a
2000 final paper at INP (Institut National du Patrimoine, a national
conservation training program, <URL:>).

Apparently Madagascar horn is now depleted and other sources are
used (e.g.Texas).  After removal of the tip it is opened and pressed
flat using water, heat, and pressure.  Then it is thicknessed with a
bandsaw and polished; the interior face gives clearer veneers.  An
old recipe for coloring horn to resemble tortoise/turtle is being
investigated at INP, involving a caustic paste of lime, urine, and
rice, applied to both sides to achieve depth of color.

Hugh Glover
Conservator of Furniture and Wood Objects
Williamstown Art Conservation Center
Massachusetts USA

                  Conservation DistList Instance 19:28
                Distributed: Tuesday, November 29, 2005
                       Message Id: cdl-19-28-010
Received on Sunday, 20 November, 2005

[Search all CoOL documents]