In a previous posts I showed tools
I have that have handles made of corncobs, antler, and other
minimally-modified natural materials.
At the Midwest Tool Collectors
Association meeting last year I found and acquired yet another
such tool. It is a large handforged drawknife with cow horns for
The horns are vertical with the
pointed ends up when the tool is in use. It measures slightly
over 20 inches in length including the horn handles. An old tool
friend asked me what kind of drawknife it is and I replied that
it is Viking in origin.
I explained that in times of war,
the horns were worn on a helmet and in times of peace they were
used as drawknife handles. Seriously, I do not know it's ethnic
origin. It came from the Dekalb area of Illinois and probably
dates to the first half of the 19th Century.
This is a view of the drawknife in the posture
in which it would be used.
Both horns appear to have come from the same cow.
This is a view of the drawknife showing the
hollow cow horn handles.
The end of the iron passes through the horn. A
washer was put on
the tapered iron end which was peened to tightly secure the horn
The iron was hot when it was pushed through
the horn since there is some discoloration of the horn around
the iron tang. I can almost smell
the smoke that resulted from installing such a handle.
James E. Price