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Eamon Burke
07-26-2012, 12:23 PM
I was thinking the other day, after looking inside a broken wa handle--why is there a horn ferrule on wa handles?


I mean, everything else about these knives screams functional beauty--but if the handle is meant to shrink over time, and get nasty, knocked off and replaced a few times in the knife's life, why bother with the horn? Whats the function?


Can't believe I didn't have a solid answer for this, so I am hoping you will. I really hope it's not "because they are pretty".

El Pescador
07-26-2012, 12:27 PM
because they are pretty

Pensacola Tiger
07-26-2012, 12:29 PM
Isn't the purpose of a ferrule to keep the handle from splitting when the tang is driven into it?

JohnnyChance
07-26-2012, 12:59 PM
Isn't the purpose of a ferrule to keep the handle from splitting when the tang is driven into it?

Yup. And before there was plastic and stabilized woods there was....horn.

kalaeb
07-26-2012, 01:59 PM
Probably tradition. Like Pensacola Tiger said, to keep the wood from splitting and it may have been the only readily available material they had.

Of course that would be pure speculation on my part.

Eamon Burke
07-26-2012, 03:03 PM
Cant imagine it is just for installation, there are much cheaper and easier low tech ways around that.

Andrew H
07-26-2012, 03:06 PM
Cant imagine it is just for installation, there are much cheaper and easier low tech ways around that.

Old habits die hard. I think Kalaeb, JC and PT are on the right track.

Pensacola Tiger
07-26-2012, 03:12 PM
Cant imagine it is just for installation, there are much cheaper and easier low tech ways around that.

Eamon, it's not just for installing the handle, it's to keep the handle from splitting during use as well. European knives have metal ferrules, but I'd imagine that Japanese knives have horn ferrules from either tradition, or just because it was available.

kalaeb
07-26-2012, 03:12 PM
Cant imagine it is just for installation, there are much cheaper and easier low tech ways around that.

Now, yes, a hundred years ago, maybe not, short of a metal band to keep it from splitting.

Eamon Burke
07-26-2012, 07:04 PM
But isn't that why they used Ho wood? Because it doesn't split?

I mean, not to be argumentative, just trying to make sense of it. Like the hollow backside doesn't just make it sharper or cut better, but it reduces drag. It seems that extra insurance against splitting in a wood that is chosen to basically never split, and be knocked off and trashed if it does seems a bit unworth dealing with the horn. I mean, a brick of ho wood is cheaper than adding a horn ferrule to a handle, so it's not really resource-effective, whether it is money or goods. And it is a serious hassle with hand tools compared to just making a wood handle.

JBroida
07-26-2012, 07:15 PM
ho wood doesnt split over time or when it dries out too much... however, it still can split when you put a hot tang inside of it. The horn makes installation and removal possible without breaking the handle and helps strengthen that area during use.

Eamon Burke
07-26-2012, 08:37 PM
Hmm. Well, I assume that if anyone knew of another reason it'd be you.

That does seem to be a bit excessive to me. You'd think they'd just put a metal collar/jacket around the wood to support it while they are burning the tang in, and then re-use it for the rest of them.

It is pretty though.

JBroida
07-26-2012, 09:05 PM
no... the wood doesnt heal after blade installation.... the horn needs to stay on. Also, the wood can become loose after a while. The horn keeps the fit tight.