sheep horn handles

Mar 8, 2000
I have a question regarding sheep horn handles. As I have never handled any, how is the grip? Smooth and slipery? Looks like it. Is it a durable material, or just an exotic item for looks? Any info would be appreciated, as I have seen a custom hunter model on the net that is calling me to be its buyer. Any special care required? Let me hear the good and the bad. Thanks.
Sheep horn is a wonderful handle material.It is not smooth and is extremely durable.It will last a lifetime.Yes, it is somewhat exotic but that makes it more desirable.Care for it as you would any knife,it will hold up.Dave
Sheep horn is very durable stuff, and provides an exellent grip. I use it quite a lot, as it is pretty easy to come by here in Aus., usually with a fairly decomposed ram still attatched. Steer clear of knives where it is pinned on, it will eventually try to grow off the tang. When bolted on however it will withstand a lot of abuse and serve you well under any conditons.
Steve Filicietti
Sheep horn is all Ed Fowler uses on his working knives.

[This message has been edited by Strider (edited 01-23-2001).]
I'm thinking of having an LCC DA rescaled with Ram's Horn. I recently saw a picture of a knife done in this material here on the forums. Gotta have one.

Sheephorn is extremely durable and quite beautiful. With a little luck G2 will post one of his great scans of a Sheephorn knife.

A couple of interesting things:

The horns grow identical on sheep. Matching
scales are possible with a little care.
(Learned from W.D Pease at Chesapeake show)

Sheephorn polishes up great. Almost has a pearl-like tranlucence to it.

I love Stag but Sheephorn is moving in with the inability to get great Stag. Sure beats
Giraffe bone. Ugh!

Win Heger

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Win Heger:
I love Stag but Sheephorn is moving in with the inability to get great Stag. Sure beats Giraffe bone. Ugh!</font>

You don't like giraffe bone? Why? Looks, or durability? I like it, but if it isn't durable, then I would like to know.

I've seen a look in dogs' eyes, a quickly vanishing look of amazed contempt, and I am convinced that basically dogs think humans are nuts. -- John Steinbeck
Dog does not eat dog. - Juvenal

I don't like giraffe bone either. But that is an aesthetic thing. Many examples of giraffe bone that I have seen have been dyed with color to make an otherwise bland substance more appealing. I just don't like the way it looks most of the time.

I have no personal experience with Giraffe bone, but my understanding is that it's a very hard, dense, and durable knife scale material. It is made from the front leg shin bones of the giraffe. Those bones have to support a Lot of weight and tremendous impact stresses when the animal in running (I think about 20 miles an hour). I don't think you need to worry about the material failing because it is not tough enough.

I don't have any sheephorn handled knives. Yet

Win, that was a Sweet knife that Bill Pease was showing off before the show. Matched sheephorn scales are really nice. And the knife wasn't too shabby either.


[This message has been edited by Paracelsus (edited 01-24-2001).]
Thanks Para. I'd have to agree that aesthetically, the giraffe bone isn't that appealing if it has not had some coloring added. But I REALLY like it with a little coloring.

The same pretty much goes for any bone material (like Case chestnut bone, or red jigged bone, etc), I suppose, and I'm starting to build a nice little collection of those.

I like stag, but have found out recently that some (all?) stag can pick up the oils from a leather sheath and get a most unpleasant stain. Not a BIG deal on a user, but it happens, apparently. Meanwhile, the Tim Scholl skinner with giraffe bone that I bought up at the Timonium show (grey and pink/red/fuscia/somethin'
; I know you know the one I'm talking about, your son was eyeing it closely at one point.
) has spent it's entire time since then in the sheath, with no oils staining it.

So anyway... have you heard that about stag staining? Or witnessed it?

I've seen a look in dogs' eyes, a quickly vanishing look of amazed contempt, and I am convinced that basically dogs think humans are nuts. -- John Steinbeck
Dog does not eat dog. - Juvenal


[This message has been edited by rockspyder (edited 01-24-2001).]
Horn is beautiful and I like it more than most of the wooden scales. But be avare that if infested with some insect larvae it could be easily destroyed by them. This is primarily concern of the collectors who do not check regularly their horn scaled knives.
I have find this interesting link on the Bernard Levine knife related links. I hope I do not violate any copyright law by posting it here:

Horn (cattle and sheep) is still widely used for making scales for traditional European slipjoint folders (many Laguioles, other French, Italian and Hungarian ones are made with this material. The grip is not too slippery, however never so firm as with the stag. Horn also is more proven to crack or deform than the stag. Its material is mainly the keratin, the same protein which builds the animal claws, the rhino's horns, our nails, the birds' feathers, the mammals' wool/hair or the reptiles' scales. That is why it burns easily, so you should avoid any exposure to intense heat or fire. On the positive side it is more water resistant than the unstabilized wood, however if you put it for a prolonged time in water, it can damage the smooth surface. Horn could also scratch up easily, so if you are concerned about this, you should avoid to put it together with keys or coins in your pocket. I do not know how chemically resistant it is (organic solvents, rust removers, lubricants?), so you may wish to consult some more knowledgeable people (e.g. Mr. Levine?) about the care it needs.
Thanks for all of your input, and links. Now all I have to do is find that perfect knife. Also a special thanks to Ed Fowler for the informative e-mail
I have a few sheephorn knives.C.H Morris used it quite a bit.Very durable and good looking.


have a"knife"day
Win's right, sheep horn is very beautiful and rugged, here is a scan of two sheep horn knives, one is the W.D. Pease fixed blade, good grip on this one, the other is a folder by Paul LeBatard and it is very smooth and translucent type sheep horn, much different from the Pease knife....

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"The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions!"
Take the time to read your Bible Now, don't be left behind...

[This message has been edited by Gary W. Graley (edited 01-26-2001).]
I have a Russel Easler small hunter. The sheep horn sold me on me photos don't do sheep horn justice

Ebbtide out.