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Phil D.




Location: Texas
Joined: 23 Sep 2003
Reading list: 56 books

Posts: 590

PostPosted: Fri 28 Jan, 2011 5:16 pm    Post subject: Trying to refinish a polished horn handle...         Reply with quote

...I have an inexpensive bowie knife w/ very polished buffalo horn handle.It looks beautiful but unfortunately the high polish makes it slippery.The horn is riveted with 4 pins to the tang so I cannot remove it.Is there a way that I can "refinish" it a little so that it is not so slick without ruining the handle.I thought about a little steel wool but am not sure.Attached is a generic pic to give you some idea.

Any assistance from those w/experience is greatly appreciated.

"A bottle of wine contains more philosophy than all the books in the world." -- Louis Pasteur

"A gentleman should never leave the house without a sharp knife, a good watch, and great hat."
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Lin Robinson




Location: NC
Joined: 15 Jun 2006
Likes: 6 pages
Reading list: 6 books

Posts: 1,196

PostPosted: Fri 28 Jan, 2011 6:55 pm    Post subject: Re: Trying to refinish a polished horn handle...         Reply with quote

Phil D. wrote:
...I have an inexpensive bowie knife w/ very polished buffalo horn handle.It looks beautiful but unfortunately the high polish makes it slippery.The horn is riveted with 4 pins to the tang so I cannot remove it.Is there a way that I can "refinish" it a little so that it is not so slick without ruining the handle.I thought about a little steel wool but am not sure.Attached is a generic pic to give you some idea.

Any assistance from those w/experience is greatly appreciated.


Try some 0000 steel wool first. If that works, fine, if not then go to a coarser grade. If you don't get what you want there then try some emery paper working with medium grit initially. You will want to tape or otherwise protect the fittings from whatever abrasive stuff you use. Don't use sandpaper.

Somebody spent a little effort to get that finish on there but you are right that having a glass-like appearance sure makes it hard to handle.

Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
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Bryce Felperin




Location: San Jose, CA
Joined: 16 Feb 2006

Posts: 552

PostPosted: Mon 31 Jan, 2011 11:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I had a similar experience with a horn handle knife I bought recently. I scratched it on one side so I used some 3M "micro" sand sponge on it (about 2400 grit) and took the scratch out of the handle. However it took away the smooth polish of the grip too. The good news is I like the dull look and better grip of that side of the handle now too. So I'll probably "dull down" the other side eventually too to match. The sanding sponge took out the gloss and roughed the grip but didn't damage it at all and I did it without taking it off the handle. If you have metal pins or furniture in the way just sand carefully and you should be able to take off the gloss and roughen it up a bit fine.
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