Taxidermy question: oiled vs not oiled horns?

375er

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Do any of you have experience with not having horns oiled vs oiling which I understand darkens them? Does the oil provide extra preservation or is it done purely as a "look"?

Thanks!
 

Scott CWO

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Natural for me if indoors. Don’t like the oiled look.
 

buck wild

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Oh please don't oil. I'm not sure how this started but after the over boiling and drying process that occurs in most African shops, I presume they were trying to find a way to make the horns seem less "dried out". The oil considerably darkens most horns and it will never come out.
While it does take longer, there are methods to restore the natural luster and color on African horns. Insist on that or at worse, leave them as they are without oil. My .02 cents !
 

Bob Nelson 35Whelen

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My taxidermist advocate using a 50-50 mix of linseed oil and turpentine once a year to stop them drying out and cracking so I will go with his suggestion as he knows more than me. That's how I got mine so I will keep doing it.
Just my way doest mean it's right or wrong but I will listen to him.
Bob
 

Vintageguy

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Natural for me. I have a ram mount, no oil, that is 36 years old and the horns still look great with no additional cracking that wasn’t there the day I took it.
I specifically asked the taxidermist in South Africa about it to make sure mine weren’t to be oiled and they stated they never did it and all the mounts there reinforced that.
 

SABENA1

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My taxidermist advocate using a 50-50 mix of linseed oil and turpentine once a year to stop them drying out and cracking so I will go with his suggestion as he knows more than me. That's how I got mine so I will keep doing it.
Just my way doest mean it's right or wrong but I will listen to him.
Bob
Hello fellows AHR,
Just my opinion...
My first heads came back from my taxidermist, horns were coated with something like black
shoe-polish. I didn't like it at all.(Springbock, Gemsbok, Blue wildebeest...)
Next heads I did myself (horns).
Linseed oil on Eland and Kudu worked great on these horns showing nice black and brown shades.
Much more natural looks.
The horns of the Gemsbok just turned out pitchblack.
May be a different structure/density of the horns...,?
Marc
 

MarkB

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This is a common question spoken about lots. @375er there are a few threads on here that speak in detail of your question. As a hobby taxidermist with many mounts in my memory room I ensure all my mounts are as natural as they were when alive. I look at my pics of the animal when shot and copy that look. African antelope horns have not been jet black in any of my pics. Customer dictates outcomes on their work as some people must have perfect "painted" horns, wounds removed and sewn up, bigger than life paws and so on on their mounts. Its up to the owner who will be looking at mount for many years. What do you prefer, there are lots of pics done both ways posted on here. In my experience dip and pack with animals sitting in god knows what salt for very long times then the "always" over boiled, skulls, bones and horns forces any trace of moisture out. I followed the advice of @buck wild, he has an awesome tutorial on here of how he does it and it works. Takes some time but end product is natural, good looking and lasting/preserving.

That's my 2c.

MB
 

C.W. Richter

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I've used furniture polish to clean them and lessen the typical, dried-out look. It makes them appear more uniform in color and a tad darker (while protecting against dust-build up-i believe furniture polishes are essentially sprayable wax.)
 

K-man

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I prefer the natural look, however I have been in trophy rooms with waterbuck and pronghorn mounts that were peeling and disintegrating. I am sure some form of preservative is necessary, just not black.
 

buck wild

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I had an inquiry or two about treating horns other than oil.
 

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