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Taking care of natural horn

franz

Moderator Emeritus
Hello gentlemen -

I'm interested in hearing what you do to take care of a natural horn handled brush.

I've heard some folks apply neatsfoot oil, or other types of oils/wax (e.g. mineral oil), to prevent the material from drying out and cracking. That's about all I know.

Thanks for your help. :001_smile
 
Mine came with instructions to occasionally oil it with vegetable oil. That's what i do and the handle seems to be holding up fine.

Rudy Vey says that Neatsfoot oil is the proper material. It makes sense and if I had some that is what I would use.
 
I should add that the various faux horn handles (I have three) look so authentic that I'm not sure that I would have another natural horn handle. They look great and require no maintenance.
 

Rudy Vey

Contributor
Vendor
Would a food safe mineral oil work? The kind you would use on butcher block?
No, you should use a natural oil. Neatsfoot oil is pressed from shin bones and feet of cattle and a natural moisturized and nourishment for horn. Vegetable and mineral oils are not good for horn. Veggie oil will get rancid, and this is also the reason to use mineral oil on ivory (the real stuff).
 

franz

Moderator Emeritus
Thanks, all. I'll go with neatsfoot.

Rudy, have you seen any darkening over time with the use of neatsfoot oil? I read something about it darkening leather.
 

Rudy Vey

Contributor
Vendor
Thanks, all. I'll go with neatsfoot.

Rudy, have you seen any darkening over time with the use of neatsfoot oil? I read something about it darkening leather.
No, I have not, but the horn brushes I have made (and the one I own) are made from Black Buffalo horn, so I would not see a darkening ...:001_smile
Leather is a different thing, I can imagine this will darken and this would be visible, but then, any oil would make leather a bit darker, or?
 

franz

Moderator Emeritus
No, I have not, but the horn brushes I have made (and the one I own) are made from Black Buffalo horn, so I would not see a darkening ...:001_smile
Leather is a different thing, I can imagine this will darken and this would be visible, but then, any oil would make leather a bit darker, or?
That's what I was thinking. I had read something about neatsfoot accelerating the natural oxidation of leather. Apples and oranges as compared to horn, probably.
 
I have the horn brush and bowl Rudy made for a group buy a couple of years ago, and I use neatsfoot oil for those as well as my other horn brushes.
The horn bowl is the one who have the hardest time, as it is exposed to soap/cream at every use. I give the bowl neatsfoot oil every 2-3 month and it is not showing any sign of cracking, it looks as great as the day I got it.

The brushes I just give a treatment when they start to look a little matt.
 

franz

Moderator Emeritus
I have the horn brush and bowl Rudy made for a group buy a couple of years ago, and I use neatsfoot oil for those as well as my other horn brushes.
The horn bowl is the one who have the hardest time, as it is exposed to soap/cream at every use. I give the bowl neatsfoot oil every 2-3 month and it is not showing any sign of cracking, it looks as great as the day I got it.

The brushes I just give a treatment when they start to look a little matt.
That's good to hear Søren.

I guess I will not have to baby the thing as much as I thought I needed to.
 
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