Introduction: How to Make Barnes Cattle Dehorners

In this instructable I will be showing you how to make barnes cattle dehorners from junk chain link pipe.
Dehorners are used to remove the horns from calves to reduce the risk of injury and bruising to herd mates. And to prevent financial losses from trimming damaged carcasses caused by horned feedlot cattle during transport to slaughter. Let's get started!


Things you will need:
Pipe Cutter.
5ft Of Chain Link Pipe.
3/4" Self Tapping Screws.
Safety Goggles.
Dremel Tool and Grinding Wheels.
Chore Boy Scouring Pads Or Steel Wool.
Leather Gloves
Tin Snips.
Propane Torch.
Red Sharpie.
Homemade Rivets (optional)
Piece Of 2×4 For Drilling Block.
Electrical Tape.
3/16 Drill Bit.
#9 wire if you plan to make your own rivets And 1/2" steel plate.
1 Quart Used Motor Oil.

Step 1: Cutting the Pipe

Start by cutting two 4 1/2" pieces of pipe these will be for making the blades for the dehorners. Next cut two 16" pieces these will be the handles. Next cut one 8 inch piece this piece will be used for shaping later on. Hold on to the remaining pipe you will need it later for the final shaping of the blades.

Step 2: Burning Off the Galvanized Coating

Galvanized coating or zinc coating releases toxic fumes when exposed to extreme heat. Please do this next step outdoors with a respirator or some type of mask covering your mouth and nose

Fire up your torch and start heating up the 4 1/2" pieces of pipe, these are the only pieces that need the coating burned off. The coating will start turning a yellowish color once the whole piece is yellow turn off the heat and let them cool for 15 minutes or so. You could drop them in water to cool them quickly but we don't want to take a chance on the steel hardening at this point, we'll get to that later.

Step 3: Sanding Off the Burnt Coating and Grinding the Sharp Ends

Now you want to get your cool pieces of pipe and start sanding off the burned coating, don't worry about getting it super shiny or smooth.

Next you want to clamp the pieces in a vice and use a dremel tool to grind the sharp ends down flat do this on both ends of each piece of pipe. This again doesn't have to be perfect.

Step 4: Cutting the Pipe Open

You are about to be working with razor sharp steel that will cut you badly if you are not extremely careful. Let the pictures be a warning to you!
Now look inside each piece of pipe you will see that there is a seam. Start by cutting as straight as possible right down that line. Don't worry about getting it perfectly straight. Try to do this where you have lots of light so that the seam is easily scene. You will notice that after cutting about an inch it will be hard to keep cutting straight, all you need to do is take a pair of pliers and bend one of the cut sides out of the way. Once you cut halfway through start cutting from the other end to meet where you left off on the other side.

Step 5: Opening Up the Pipe

In this step you will need two pairs of pliers. Start by grabbing both sides of the pipe and pry it open. The goal here is to bend it until it's U shaped

Step 6: Shaping the Pipe

Now grab the 8" pipe you cut earlier. Lay the pipe on a wooden block or something solid and gently tap on it until it is oval shaped. Now grab your 4 1/2" split pieces and slide the oval pipe inside them (do these one at a time) now start gently tapping on them with your hammer until they take the shape of the oval pipe this will give the pipe an almost perfect U shape.

Step 7: Truing Up the Edges

Now that the pieces are U shaped you will notice that the edges aren't straight. All you need to do is grab your snips and true up the edges. They don't have to be perfectly straight but the straighter the better.

Step 8: Tracing the Pattern Onto the Pipe

I have uploaded a picture of a traced pattern. I got this pattern by taking a picture of some dehorners at the store with my phone. And I was able to trace the design by turning my phone horizontal and zooming the picture until it spreads across the entire screen using a square of toilet paper then tracing that onto some notebook paper. My phone has a 5" display. Hopefully you can to this if not let me know and I will find a better way to upload the pattern.

Start by cutting out your traced pattern with some scissors. Now take the pattern and hold the wide end flush with one end of the pipe and hold the rounded bottom of the pattern flush with the bottom of the pipe. Now begin to trace the pattern with a red sharpie. Repeat this step on the other side and the other piece of pipe. I used a blue sharpie and it's kinda hard to see but you want your pipe to be traced just like in the pictures.

Step 9: Cutting the Pipe Into Blades

Now that you have your pipe traced it's time to cut. Start by rounding off the corner then cutting out the triangle. Try to leave the full sharpie line by cutting right on the outside of the line. If it starts getting hard to keep a straight line just gently bend the cut piece back and forth with some pliers until it breaks then continue cutting. Once you have both blades cut out put them together they she should make an oval shape at the end. If they don't fit flat on both sides just squeeze them together with pliers. Once you have both blades together properly lay them on a table and you will see a triangle.

Step 10: Final Smoothing of the Edges and Sharpening the Blades

Start by clamping the blades in a vice and start smoothing all the edges leaving a dull smooth edge.

Now flip the blades over and begin sharpening. Sharpen the blades leaving a 1/4" wide edge rotating the blades as needed. You want them sharp but not razor sharp.

Step 11: Making Rivets

To make the rivets you will need a piece of steel plate at least a 1/2" thick or anything steel as long as it's at least a 1/2" thick. Drill a 5/16" deep hole using a 3/16" Drill bit. Now take some #9 wire and cut some 3/8" long pieces you will only need two good rivets. Now put one of the pieces in the hole and begin heating with a torch (have your hammer handy) once the wire turns a bright red start tapping on it with your hammer until it is flat. Once flat grab it with a pair of pliers and wiggle it out of the hole. You might need a chisel to tap them loose with.

Step 12: Aligning the Blades and Drilling the Holes for the Rivets

In this step start by laying the blades on a wooden block or table and take the end of the blades where the handles will go and gently tap each side until they are closed and round.

Now you want to cut a wooden drilling block that will fit tight between the two blades.

Now take the two blades with the cutting edges facing each other slide one inside of the other about 1" making sure they are tightly pressed together you will find that one fits inside better than the other.
Now take your wooden block and push it into the blades where the holes will be. Now mark the center of the rounded piece you will be drilling, once drilled flip over and drill the other side make sure the second hole is in the same spot as the other hole and also make sure that the previously drilled holes are still aligned while the other holes are being drilled. Now grab your rivets and put them in the holes and see how they work. The blades should open and close pretty smoothly.

Step 13: Riveting the Blades Together

If you made your own rivets they will need to be heated in order to flatten them out. Start by putting the rivet through the hole from the inside so the head of the rivet is on the inside of the blades. Now get a thin 3/16" washer put it on the rivet. I got my washers from a junk curtain rod hanger.

You will need a block to put between the blades like you did when drilling the holes, steel would be better but the wooden block will work.
Now begin heating the rivet focusing the torch flame only on the tip of the rivet. Once the rivet is bright cherry red start tapping it with your hammer. You will need to hit it pretty hard. Once the tip of the rivet is flat stop tapping. Repeat these steps for the other rivet.

Step 14: Shaping the Handle End of the Blades

Grab the piece of leftover pipe you had from cutting earlier. Start by prying open the handle end of the blades with a pair of pliers enough to fit the pipe into. Now start heating. once hot start tapping the handle end with a hammer until perfectly round. Do this to both handle ends.

Step 15: Hardening the Blades

To harden the blades first get a tin can big enough for the blades to fit into. Now fill the can with used motor oil just full enough so that the blades can be fully submerged. Don't dip the blades in the oil yet first they must be heated. To heat the blades just grab them with a pair of pliers and heat them until they glow bright red. Once the blades are glowing red completely immediately plung them into the oil for approximately one minute. (Make sure the blades are cool before touching with bare hands) By heating the blades cherry red and dropping them in oil hardens the steel and also gives a nice black, rust free finish. Once cool, wipe the oil off of the blades with a rag.

Step 16: Attaching the Blades to the Handles

To attach the handles get the 16" pieces of pipe you cut earlier and slide them into the blades the handles should be slid in two inches. Now grab your drill and four 3/4" long self taping screws place the screws approximately 1 1/2" apart. Do not over tighten the screws.

Step 17: Wrapping the Handles

To wrap the handles. First get a clean, dry rag or paper towels and wipe both handles clean of oil and dust so that the tape will have a strong bond to the handles. Now start wrapping the handles with electrical tape. I put two layers over each handle on mine.

Step 18: Finished!

Now you have your very own handmade barnes cattle dehorners. They look pretty good for being made out of things that would have otherwise been hauled to the scrap yard. I hope this instructable was helpful and easy to understand. And I hope you had fun making them. If you have any questions I will be glad to answer them. Thanks for reading!

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