Skunkboy - Yep, back to horns.
So, may I assume that the branches you are harvesting are relatively dry when they are cut
(or fall)? Seems that is an issue, since most species of wood will shrink more in cross section than in length as they dry. Clearly, this could effect the fit over time.
On the flush ("flat") plugs... The horns I have made so far all involve the "lobe" shape to create an attachment point for the strap at the rear. Thus, the plug does have to be reasonably flat - however, I found that creating a very slight "dome" shape does improve the appearance
some. Once cut to fit the natural shape of the horn, I use a file to dome it, then sand smooth before installation. Looks pretty nice.
So far I have used some very highly figured Redwood that I have on hand - looks like totally nuts tiger strip Maple - but I do have some real tiger stripe here and want to use that for the next couple to see how it comes off. Looks like it will be quite nice.
Yes, Col., the branches that I use have been drying in my garage for a couple of years. I'll pick up some newly fallen branched after a storm that are about the right size...3"-6"...cut into about 12" lengths and save them. I use this wood for other projects as well. I have made a couple of slate turkey calls and used these same branches for the base.
I too have a lobed horn and it does have a flat plug. I'm still trying to think og something that I could carve on the wood. I was thinking a smiling sun or a crested moon maybe...still thinking.
One of my horns is domed slightly as well. Maybe 1/8" or 1/4" of dome at the center. They all look good and are functional...that's what matters.
Curly maple would be pretty cool too. I like the curly maple a lot. I have a ball board made in the shape of a turtle shell that is curly maple and it really pops.
Good luck in your next adventure.
I wii be needing ideas for a ball board in the future. I am not much on the design side, so photos helps me alot.
Keep your powder dry.
A lot of good information here. I've done horns both ways, by forming and fitting a plug to the horn and forming the horn on a sizer. The later is my preferred method. I use a set of oak sizers with about a 10 degree taper. When heating the horn, you want to get the horn to 325 - 350 degrees F. This softens the fibers and allows you to reshape it. When cooled the horn will take a "set" of the new shape. If you heat the horn hotter than 350 degrees you take the chance of scorching the horn. Lower than 325 degrees and the horn will not take a set. I use mostly a hot air gun to heat my horns. This works very well and is quick. I also have used lard in a deep fryer to heat the horn. This is probably the best method, but is not as easy as a hot air gun. When using oil or lard, use a deep fryer with a thermostat so you can heat it to that 325 - 350 degree range. I calibrated mine fryer with a candy thermometer. Dip the horn in the hot oil until you see a steady stream of bubbles coming out the end. This should be under 1 minute. Tap in your sizer and let it cool. You can dunk the horn in a bucket of water to cool right away. Some people have had horns crack, but I haven't had that problem. Experiment, find the best method that works for you and have fun!
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