The coloured Varity is easier and softer to work with than the black horn. It certainly offers more interesting colour combinations of suffused greens, greys and browns. A shepherds crook walking sticks that i have made before remembered me of a wild duck colour when it was completed. Coloured buffalo horn in not as easy to come across as the black horn and you can expect to pay more for the coloured horn.
Both varieties are dense and therefore heavy, when you come to shape the buffalo horn for your walking sticks you will need to use the concentrated heat of a hot air gun. When you purchase you buffalo horn in the UK for walking sticks the horn has no core and comes in a solid piece with no inner core. This makes easier with no need to bulk the shape or fill the cavities. There is a natural bend in the horn, which works in our favour when making our walking sticks, unlike rams horn the bend has one plane and does not present the challenge of removing any curl.
Choosing you material -
Buffalo horn come in many different sizes and shapes, don't be fooled by larger horns, you could end up paying a lot more for a larger horn and end up with a lot of waste of material when making your walking sticks. Buffalo horn is oval in section. For making walking sticks an area of 57 x 32mm is needed. The length of the horn required will vary depending on what type of handle you intend to make, the length if material needed for a market walking sticks is 14 inch will be ok, but for a full size shepherds crook walking sticks you will need about 15 - 16 inch.
Alternatively you can purchase some buffalo horn already made or the outline shape cut out and all you have to do is to shape the handle out of the material.
Shaping the handle for your walking sticks -
To shape the buffalo not only needs concentrated heat but also a means of pushing it into a desired shape and holding it there. When I started bending the horns i used a simple template of a block of timber cut in the shape of the handle and sash cramp, this still is a perfect method there is also easy ways of doing this for you walking sticks handle. There are many jigs out there that are made just for the job of shaping the handles for your walking sticks, but can be expensive to buy but last a lifetime. One is a jig make with a backing plate, a former, a bearer and a adjustable stay. Its very versatile and can be used to make any type of walking sticks like market and crook walking sticks. It is important to have some means of bending the walking sticks handle before you purchase any buffalo horn.