What is cow horn made of?

Horns are growths that protrude from the skulls of some animals. Horns are made of two components: 1) bone and 2) keratin. The bone is the center, or core, of the horn and is fused to the bone of the skull. The bone core is covered by a resilient sheath (protective covering) made of keratin.


Horns are a permanent part of the animal, which means the horns an animal is born with are the same horns it has its entire life. Horns do not branch out, but instead end in only one point on each side of the animal's head. Depending on the species of animal horns might be found on both males and females, or males only.


What is Basswood?

  • Originally used by Native Americans as a material in rope, basswood trees are among the most commonly available sources of wood in North America. Basswood is characterized by ease of use in woodworking and a uniform texture and grain. The lumber provided by this species of tree is used by both craftsmen for small art projects as well as in the mass production of musical instruments.
  • The basswood tree is a majestic tree that lives for many years. It is not uncommon to see a basswood tree that is over 100 years old. The basswood tree grows in a limited area in the United States; mainly around the Great Lakes in Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The basswood tree also grows in the wetlands of Florida. Basswood is typically used for carpentry and construction purposes.

What is Pyrography?

Pyrography or pyrogravure is the art of decorating wood or other materials with burn marks resulting from the controlled application of a heated object such as a poker. It is also known as pokerwork or wood burning.

The term means "writing with fire", from the Greek pur (fire) and graphos (writing).  It can be practiced using specialized modern pyrography tools, or using a metal implement heated in a fire, or even sunlight concentrated with a magnifying lens.

A large range of tones and shades can be achieved. Varying the type of tip used, the temperature, or the way the iron is applied to the material all create different effects. After the design is burned in, wooden objects are often coloured. Light-coloured hardwoods such as sycamore, basswood, beech and birch are most commonly used, as their fine grain is not obtrusive. However, other woods, such as pine or oak, are also used. Pyrography is also applied to leather items, using the same hot-iron technique. Leather lends itself to bold designs, and also allows very subtle shading to be achieved. Specialist vegetable-tanned leather must be used for pyrography (as modern tanning methods leave chemicals in the leather which are toxic when burned), typically in light colours for good contrast.

Pyrography is also popular among gourd crafters and artists, where designs are burned onto the exterior of a dried hard-shell gourd, usually with dramatic results.

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