PROPERTIES OF RAM’S HORN
Let’s look first at ram’s horn walking sticks UK. In the rough, ram’s horn appears to be a solid, rigid, bone-like substance for walking sticks making, nor dissimilar to antler. But in reality the two are quite different. Whereas antler is bone, ram’s horn has more in common with a fingernail. When making the walking sticks the horn contains a central core or quick, which may extend in a taper for up to one-third of the internal length of the horn. Whilst this quick is easily removed in one piece by drying the horn for a month or so and then giving it a sharp tap against the edge of a work bench, it leaves behind a substantial cavity not good for making walking sticks. Much of the horn shell, which is left, will have to be discarded, particularly if it has come from a young ram, when the thickness of the shell at its base may be less than 1/8in (3mm), which cannot be used for making walking sticks. In older rams the shell may be three times as thick and, ideally, this is the quality of horn we are looking for to make walking sticks — particularly full-size crooks.
Another distinguishing property of UK ram’s horn walking sticks is that it is relatively easy to bend and shape after it has been heated, while antler walking sticks, because it is bone, cannot be bent and can only be shaped by filing or cutting. To bring this to a more workable shape for making walking sticks the horn needs to be squeezed, after heating, into a more circular cross section.
This process, known as ‘bulking’ the horn for walking sticks, also helps to close the diameter of the cavity at the base of the horn, which in most cases is the end, which will provide the point of attachment to the shank. However, the first walking sticks we are going to make will be shank at the other end (i.e. close to its tip).
CARDIGAN WALKING STICKS IN RAM’S HORN
The shape of these walking sticks will already be familiar in last posts. To produce it we require the use of two different pairs of moulds or formers. These must be made or bought before work on these Cardigan walking sticks begins.
The first pair of formers will be used to bring the horn close to the walking sticks handle shape we are seeking. They can be made from UK hard wood or metal to the dimensions. If you decide to make these, it is important to note that in the bottom former the rounded corners are not exactly the same shape. One has had less of the corner removed to accommodate the neck (or walking sticks shank) end of the horn; the other, which is much more rounded, will take the nose end.
The second pair of formers, which will be used to squeeze (i.e. bulk) the horn to make the neck of the walking sticks handle, can be made from a 3m (76mm) length of 11/4in (32mm) diameter metal pipe, sawn lengthways into two equal pieces (see Fig 5.3). To reinforce these pieces, I have welded a short section of steel sheet to the back of each; whilst this is not critical it does make them easier to walking sticks handle in the vice and also helps to prevent the pieces of pipe from splaying outwards when under pressure.
In both cases, the moulds I have described are not difficult or costly to make for walking sticks rams horn, but if you prefer to purchase something ready-made and more sophisticated, will be able to help. In addition to these moulds, you will also need an engineers’ vice, a 7 x 7in (178 x 178mm) metal plate, 1/4in (6mm) thick, a 7in (178mm) G-cramp and two Sin (127mm) G-cramps in order to exert and sustain the pressure needed to shape the horn until it has set. The sizes for the G-cramps are minimum sizes and are not critical.