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Horn Handle Maintenance

Discussion in 'Himalayan Imports' started by Mateos, Jul 16, 2016.

  1. Mateos


    Dec 2, 2015
    Hello Folks,

    I'm sure this gets asked all the time. Most of my HI collection is of the wood handled variety. I do have a couple horn handled knives though - it's just so hard to resist the DOTD! I just did a little reworking of a horn handle and but cap on my Kumar karda and it looks very thirsty to me. If it was wood I would just dunk it in mineral oil for a couple days - should I do this for the horn too? I have heard that hooflex is supposed to be good, but I don't have any on hand at this time. Is the mineral oil OK or should I buck up and order some hooflex to hydrate the karda? Thoughts?
  2. cul4u01

    cul4u01 Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 5, 2012
    I've used Mineral oil on my horn (when I had no hooflex), it takes several days, and put it in a very warm place, like outside in the sun, or in a hot garage.

    Hooflex is great, I get that on Amazon.
  3. Ballistol


    Oct 7, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2016
  4. cul4u01

    cul4u01 Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 5, 2012
  5. Ballistol


    Oct 7, 2015
    Great! I order that one..
  6. Steely_Gunz

    Steely_Gunz Got the Khukuri fevah Moderator

    May 9, 2002
    I have a can of hooflex that I bought at a feed store across from my office about 6 years ago. It's a paste, but a lil dab'll do ya;)
  7. cul4u01

    cul4u01 Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 5, 2012
    Oh yeah, forgot to say that it lasts almost forever, and a little goes a long way.
  8. kokoek9


    Aug 29, 2014
    Hi, did I screw up. I cleaned a horn handle, didn't have mineral oil so used household 3 in 1 oil, then used a beeswax and silicone leather treatment called snowseal
  9. davidf99

    davidf99 Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Sep 27, 2011
    As Hippocrates advised physicians 2,500 years ago, "First, do no harm." Apparently he didn't use exactly that phrase (it was in Greek, after all), but that's the gist of it in the Hippocratic Oath, which is still widely used today by medical schools, though there are many modern variations.

    The stuff you used probably won't harm your handle. Wait a few days and see if the handle dissolves. :) However, it's possible that one of those coatings might prevent a later coating from adhering or being absorbed. Not many things cling to wax.

    As an aside, I saw an online video recently where a knifemaker did a seriously controlled experiment to see which of several coatings was best at preventing rust on knife blades. He used identical blade blanks and subjected the blades to identical wet conditions for a period of time (I think it was a week). Interestingly, the best rust preventer in his test was 3 in 1 oil. That doesn't mean it will be best for horn, and I'm not sure if all 3 in 1 oil is the same, but it's good to know. I went to my local hardware store planning to buy a container of 3 in 1, but all they had were those very small metal cans with a pop-up dispenser tube. Likewise, that's all I could find online.
  10. Mateos


    Dec 2, 2015
    Thanks for the info. Looks like it's hooflex time![emoji237]
  11. kronckew


    Aug 17, 2003
    3-in-1 oil is poisonous. i use a variety of hooflex from the local country store. had to buy a 1 kilo tub. will bequeath it to hand down thru the generations as it will last a few centuries, a little goes a LONG way. used pure lanolin in a tube from the pharmacy till they stopped selling it.
  12. snowwolf

    snowwolf Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 11, 2013
    But whatever you do with horn, do something. I didn't an 2/3 of my horn handles has developed cracks over a period of 3 years.
  13. ndoghouse

    ndoghouse Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 26, 2010
    Its easy to forget sometimes. I use Hooflex as well. Im using the sloppy wet stuff with the brush tho. Yes its kinda messy and it will outlast Kronck and I and maybe sno? You could add some bees wax and nuke it for a minute or so if you want paste I suppose. Hmmm... I might have to try that.
  14. MrMike


    Jan 22, 2006
    Mateos: It's been a long time since I've been on this forum. I've learned so much from the best, including Steely Gunz... I have always had EXCELLENT luck with plain old Neatsfoot oil.... think about it - it's a natural animal product — and if it's good enough to keep your best leather in top condition, it will work wonders on Nepali buffalo horn. Plus, it's readily available in most hardware stores. I've used it since 2006 on my CAK from the great Sher Tiger, and it has yet to show any damage on the handle or the karda/chakmak... hope this helps and good luck!
  15. Bigbore577


    Jun 15, 2006
    Same here MrMike. It works on leather, wood and horn equally as well.
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2016
  16. Ballistol


    Oct 7, 2015
    I just put some of the brownish hooflex stuff on my horn handles. Just asking how long it should be applied before wiping the excess of. I don't think it will dry, or will it? And how often should this procedure be done. 2-3 times a year or so?
  17. Loosearrow


    Apr 14, 2008
    I just rub oil from my face on a ram horn handled knife. I am fairly oily. It is a natural oil. I would think lanolin may work as well. It is sheep oil from the wool.
  18. cul4u01

    cul4u01 Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 5, 2012
    I wipe the excess off, right after application, if there's any. I apply once/twice a year, but I live in an area where the temp doesn't fluctuate much, nor is it too humid, or dry.
  19. Ballistol


    Oct 7, 2015
    Thanks for the answer.
  20. kronckew


    Aug 17, 2003
    i use it once a year (fall), slather it on, wait overnite, wipe it off. new toys get the treatment on arrival, then every fall.

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