Making a Powder Horn

A powder horn is a specific sort of container used for holding gunpowder. There are a number of articles available that detail decorating a powder horn, so this will simply describe the basic item.

A powder horn can be made by taking a horn, cutting it to the size you want, then cut a round plug roughly the size of the large end. Beveling the edges of the plug where it will go into the horn helps. Soften the horn and insert the plug. Let the horn cool. If you cut the plug closely enough it will be water-tight. Sand the edges of the plug to match the side of the horn.

Again their are a variety of options here, including making the stoppers plugs or screw-in, making the main plug flush or shaped, putting a filling hole in the main plug or not, making the main "spout" removable or not, and so on.

Some designs call for softening the horn and either flattening it in a press, or stretching it flat on a wooden mold.
It is possible that some of the old powder flasks known as the "twelve apostles" may have been made from horn, in which case, they would have been turned and carved into a simple form such as this:
Brass remains of a nautical charging horn found in wreckage of the Mary Rose, and a possible idea of its appearance?


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Using and working with Horn - Making a Powder Horn. Copyright 1996, 2001 I. Marc Carlson
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