Horn of sheep
Horn of sheep is one of the many Icelandic materials I use in my knife handles. When the Vikings set foot in Iceland over 1,100 years ago, their unique breed of sheep kicked and jumped past them into Iceland’s rich green pastures. That was the beginning of Iceland’s sheep-farming tradition, which is as old as the Icelandic people themselves.
It is part of our tradition to try and use every single part of the sheep after slaughter. One of the few parts thrown out are the sheep’s horns. I seek out slaughterhouses willing to repurpose them as part of my knifehandles, resulting in micro-sustainability. Recycling and waste minimization is very important to me, using sustainable and discarded material is an indispendable part of my work. I only use horns of adult rams and sheep in my knife handles since they are sturdier and bigger than the lamb horns. To be able to use horns they need to be processed delicately first.
I start with boiling the horns at 100 degrees for about 10 hours. While they are still hot after boiling I immediately remove the bone from inside the horn. After the horns cool down I clean them out, some also need to be flattened out or cut into the correct size before using. Finally they need to dry for 18 months before they can be used as knife handle material.