How to Moisturize a Horn Handle on a Khukuri

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I regularly am asked about how to moisturize or condition a horn handle.  This is important because if horn shrinks then it will likely split because it can’t shrink uniformly due to all the glue, different moisture levels, etc.  With that said, there is a very easy fix.  You can use hoof conditioner for horses to impart oils back into the horn.  I gently warm the horn slightly and the conditioner and then rub it into the horn by hand.  It’s important to use a bare hand so the warmth of your body is helping keep everything liquid.  I will work the conditioner in for about 5-10 minutes and then let it sit until it looks dry and depending on the temperature that might be 10-15 minutes or even just when I get back around to it.

I then repeat the above 2-4 times depending on how fast the conditioner is being absorbed.  I then buff the horn with a cloth handle and let it sit.  That’s it – mission accomplished.

I would recommend to khukuri owners to do this a couple of times per year if possible – especially in the fall and spring when the temperatures and humidity are changing.

I like Hooflex but just about any will do.  This may just be a personal preference but I was told to use thicker conditioners years ago vs.

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