How To Make A Flag Boot Out Of A Horn - Page 2 of 2
This page covers sanding the horn, sealing it, cutting slots, and adding it to your saddle to use as a flag boot.
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Sand The Horn
After you've cut slots into your horn you'll probably want to sand it. Sanding your horn will remove any burrs or rough spots that might snag hands or clothing, and greatly boost the horn's natural shine.
Below: A steer horn with coarse, medium, and fine sandpaper.
To sand your horn use regular sandpaper, the type you would use to sand wood, and sand your horn until it is smooth. Horn sands easily, so don't apply a lot of force or you could sand off more than you intended or scratch the horn. To do the best job sanding, treat your horn the way you would a piece of wood: Start with coarse sandpaper then graduate down to finer grits, then steel wool. Each step will go quickly. Be careful not to over sand or scratch the horn.
Don't forget to sand the inside of the horn where you cut the slots. This will help remove any snags that might make it difficult to slide a strap through them later.
If your horn flag boot is going to be used by a rodeo queen or princess, you will probably want to make it extra-smooth. Queens and princess' often wear slacks made of material more delicate than denim jeans, and you don't want a coarse horn flag boot to snag their pants.
When you are done sanding, your horn will probably have a white appearance due to all the horn "sawdust." Rinse it off under the hose and allow it to air dry.
Seal and Protect
To protect your horn from the elements you will want to treat it with polyurethane, lacquer, or a similar protective finish. You can use these finishes in spray form or apply them with a brush. A good protective finish will seal the porous horn and help to prevent any future breaking or splintering. Be sure to coat the horn not only on the outside but as far as you can reach into the inside, too. Pay special attention to coat the top of the horn and the slots, both inside and out.
Below: A steer horn protected with polyurethane.
You can decorate your horn by using a wood burning tool to burn patterns into it before you seal it. Horn burns very easily, so if you haven't wood-burned on horn before you should practice on a piece of scrap horn before you burn your flag boot. You can burn any pattern you like into your flag boot, including your brand.
You can also paint your horn. Painted horn flag boots can be very pretty. You can choose to paint it with muted or natural tones, or you can go wild with bright colors. For saddle and round-up clubs, painting horn flag boots in matching colors can make a beautiful accent to parade dress.
Attach The Strap And You're Done
After the sealant or paint on your horn has dried attach the strap you'll use to buckle the flag boot to your saddle. Small size nylon dog collars work well for this and come in a wide variety of colors. Leather straps also work well. Slide the strap though the two slots you cut into your horn in an earlier step.
If you have trouble sliding your strap through the slots, a piece of tape can often help. Put a small piece of tape over the end of the strap. Allow about 1/4" of tape to overlap the end of the strap, and crease this part down hard. The overlap should be easier to poke thought the slots in the horn than the thicker strap. When you're done simply remove the tape.
The blue arrow is pointing to the end of the nylon strap underneath the tape. The tape to the right of the arrow has been creased down hard. This creased part of the tape is nice and thin and easier to stick through the slots of the horn than the thicker nylon strap.
The tape on the end of the strap was very helpful in feeding the strap through the slots in the horn. Now that the strap is through the slots the tape can be removed.
Your Horn Flag Boot Is Finished!
Your horn flag boot is finished! Strap it to your stirrup fender and you are ready to carry a flag.
Below: A finished horn flag boot.
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