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Kudu Horns Splitting

Discussion in 'Deer and Gameheads' started by Westcoast, Nov 15, 2021.

  1. Westcoast

    Westcoast Well-Known Member

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    Received a Kudu in yesterday from a client. Horns are rough and splitting. What is the best way to fix this problem? Thanks in advance, Kurt E7F6AD14-5E6E-4DA1-9547-5C47B66C3725.jpeg C3229157-2A83-4898-AC35-7AF249F63D3A.jpeg 910B85CE-EAB5-4C13-9B5A-3C6502699EA4.jpeg
     
  2. crablover

    crablover Well-Known Member

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    Westcoast, what your pictures show is the outer hair sheath separating from the inner horn sheath. The sheath is keratin and is made from the animals hair. You can heat the curled areas with a heat gun until it becomes soft and pliable. Re shape those areas and wrap until it cools and hardens again. Once those areas cool and harden you can then use gel superglue between the outer and inner horn sheath to stabilize the splitting. Then use a 2 part epoxy to fill any voids and cracks. You can hand detail or make a press to blend your repair into the horn, the color to match. Hope this helps
     
    3bears, John C, ARUsher and 1 other person like this.

  3. 13 point

    13 point Well-Known Member

    Great info given there .
     
  4. Westcoast

    Westcoast Well-Known Member

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    Much appreciated!
     
  5. AZ~Rich

    AZ~Rich " Africa" never fails to satisfy

    Since horn sheaths are removed in Africa as part of the dip & pack service and horn cores are cut down to 5-6”, it appears the curled up portion is a delaminating sheath. Most likely some of this is related to excessive boiling and letting the sheath dry rapidly outside in direct sun. Unfortunately, some of these D/P operations over there don’t take the needed care to avoid crappy results. Heat will work to soften that flap but I would try to also soak (just the flap) first to hydrate and soften it before using heat gun. If you can get a hose clamp large enough to fit over it, tighten the clamp down to keep that flap in place while it dries out. Then as Crablover stated, use two part colored epoxies to recreate textures and fill the debits. (blend brown with a little natural). To further recreate the natural colors and textures of “living”or “fresh” horn, I use various heated applications and hand buffing with beeswax, certain colors from crayons powdered paints. Once the major cracks and debits are filled and sculpted with epoxies the beeswax/crayon (heated) will help to fill the smaller fissures/cracks giving back a smoother look. Sometimes a little paint pigments are needed for which I incorporate mixed paint powders and or (smooth) tile grout pigmented powders. Eventually you can get these kind of A9997850-03BB-4E01-AAB7-D519D6A9A838.jpeg 6D8760D9-7C85-4CBA-BA73-878CD6CDBF11.jpeg results:
     
  6. AZ~Rich

    AZ~Rich " Africa" never fails to satisfy

    Just to be sure, you can remove each horn sheath from the skull/bone cores correct? If not than it was either not processed correctly by the DP or it was likely a pickup skull? That would explain the deterioration of the sheath exposed to the elements while still on the full length cores.
     
  7. Museum Man

    Museum Man Well-Known Member

    I think your right Rich, the first photo looks like the core is not white from boiling. Bet that's the root of the problem
     
  8. Westcoast

    Westcoast Well-Known Member

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    This Kudu project is still a couple of weeks out. I’m going to soak the skull in some soapy water and see if I can get the horns separated. I don’t know the history of this animal, other than the normal pitfalls of dealing with customs and wait times from African. I’ll post my progress as I feel this is a pretty good learning opportunity for myself and others. Thanks to all who have responded, much appreciated!
     
  9. AZ~Rich

    AZ~Rich " Africa" never fails to satisfy

    If those horn sheaths were not removed when it was relatively fresh (ie, at The DP taxidermist) then they dried/bonded to the full length of horn core which makes them near impossible to get off. Same thing as if the dead kudu was left out in elements and scavengers only for the skull to be picked up by someone months later. The dried tissues between sheath and the bone cores might start to smell if you try soaking them. If it was legally imported it had to be at least dipped in the chemicals required by USDA prior to shipping to prevent anthrax over here. Kudu parts that were correctly treated and in much better shape are not hard to find.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2021
  10. AZ~Rich

    AZ~Rich " Africa" never fails to satisfy

    Are you attempting to mount a kudu using that skull/horns or just a euro? If the sheaths are dried to the full length cores and you are comfortable not trying to remove them at this point, you might opt to drill several small holes along the length at non-visible areas and inject some kind of preservative and insecticide solutions. Then you can just grind off those delaminated flaps and use fixit or apoxie clay to rebuild/ repair everything that’s not right, plus fill the drill holes after it’s dried.
     
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  11. Westcoast

    Westcoast Well-Known Member

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    Ultimately this is going to be a shoulder mount. I’ve been soaking the skull cap for past couple of days but so far they won’t budge. They do not smell and I can hear water moving from inside of the horn when I turn it upside down. I’m going to continue to soak and then get a little more aggressive with it in the next few days. I’m thinking of drilling into it just to better understand what’s going on inside, I’ll keep my progress posted.
     
  12. AZ~Rich

    AZ~Rich " Africa" never fails to satisfy

    28927E2F-3B70-4B75-999B-A0FFE97C641B.jpeg I’m not sure how your sheaths will hold up under soaking for any length of time. It appears they have weathered considerably already. You might risk ruining them. The full length bone cores pictured make it very difficult to remove after everything has dried. Most all of those trophies taken in Africa are processed by the D&P taxidermy service within the first 2-4 weeks which probably makes it easier to remove the sheaths. It might work out better in your case if you inject preservative/insecticide along the lengths, let it dry out then seal up the holes with apoxie clay or fixit. Then you can repair/rebuild the sheaths with same. It will be a chore trying to set the complete skull/horns onto your form, being heavy and unwieldy, but with some extra hands it’s doable.
     
  13. Westcoast

    Westcoast Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the insight, I’m going to drill into it today to see what’s what. I’ll post what I see or experience.
     
  14. Westcoast

    Westcoast Well-Known Member

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    Ok, drilled up the length of the back of the horn and unfortunately the cores are still in there. Can I inject some Balmex in the holes? What would be my best course of action?
     
  15. AZ~Rich

    AZ~Rich " Africa" never fails to satisfy

    You can try that or formaldehyde solution. Plug holes after injecting to minimize leakage. Let the inside dry up a bit then follow with long lasting insecticide. Let that dry then start sealing the holes and repair sheath defects.