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Buck Hollow Sporting Goods - click or touch to visit their website Midwest Habitat Company

Powder Horn Build


Active Member
Well gang, I guess all this talk of horns and such has me wanting a somewhat fancy powder horn. I'd like to get one that my friend makes but since I haven't worked in a 7 weeks due to a back injury, that isn't happening. And this is something I can do without strain to my back. So, the next best thing is try it myself.
Now remember, I've never done this type of horn before so don't expect a masterpiece. I'll give it my best shot and hope it doesn't end up in the trash before it's all over.
Here's where I'm at so far.......................
I scraped a horn smooth that I had then marked it for the basic pattern I want. Then I rough carved the design in. Here was the first mistake. I carved it too thin in a couple places and now I have some small holes to fill. After the patch is set up. I'll scrape and polish smooth, then color.







Active Member
If anyone is interested, this is where it's at so far..................
Yesterday I repaired the holes, then this morning I stained the carved spout.


After that project, I had to clean excess dye off and then finish sand. Next is scrimshaw and I'm still trying to decide what to put on it. I'm currently leaning toward a nautical theme.



Life Member
Actually I am very interested in this project. One would never know that you had never attempted this before. :)

That black stain looks good on the white horn.

I have made a number of powder horns over the years, but I have never done any carving on them.


Great start! Now comes the fun and hard parts so take you time. Some one said "If you slow down and take your time you will have a much more harmonouis outcome". Nice pictures as well.


New Member
What did you use for the carving, Dremel tool? Looks amazing already!!! I've always been interested in learning about the scrimshaw process, I'll be watching this one!!!!


New Member
I need to find a bucket full of patience before I start one of these, wonder who sells that???lol

Nice work, SB!!


Active Member
Not a whole lot to report currently. I did manage to fit a base plug to it. There was a bad, thin spot in the horn by the base that I had a feeling would give me a bit of trouble and it did just that.
When fitting a plug, I cut it to shape just a little oversize, then heat the horn pretty good and drive the plug in. This makes for a water tight seal when the horn cools and contracts. The bad spot in the horn decided to split at this point of the game. Wasn't any big deal, I just drove the plug in a bit further and cut about 3/16 of an inch off.
It would be secure as is but I'm planning on putting some wood pegs in the side to fasten it. It will get a simple forged staple in the wood for a strap attachment.






Nice craftsmanship there!!!!!

Anybody on this site make any whitetail antler art or carvings?

Lets see them.

I know you guys have a ton of shed antlers piled up over the yrs.!
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Active Member
As a functional powder horn, it's done, although I've now got a long tedious job ahead doing the scrimshaw I want on it.
I forged a square shanked staple and installed it in the base plug to use as a strap attachment. I also installed four hardwood plugs to secure the base plug.


For the spout plug, I used a piece of faux ivory and carved it to shape.


Finished, minus scrimshaw................................


Now the time consuming scrimshaw starts.
As a side note, I went ahead and did all this first instead of scrimshaw because I am going to give the horn an antique finish when done. When doing an antique or artificial patina, everything needs to be done first.
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Active Member
I haven't started scratching yet but after doing a lot of research, I have a rough draft drawn on one side of the horn.


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Active Member
Horn done, the entire story

What a project this has been. Aside from giving it a few coats of paste wax and adding a strap, it's done.
I gave the horn some "Folk Art" scrimshaw and a lightly aged patina. I must admit, the entire project turned out better than expected.
Now for the rest of the story.
This horn not only will be used along side my flintlock fowler, it is also a tribute to a man known from history that is also a relative of mine, Thomas Nickerson.
Thomas was the cabin boy aboard the whaling ship Essex on the ill fated trip in 1820 when a whale rammed the ship, sinking it. Only a few survived the ordeal, Thomas being one of them. It was this story that Moby Dick was based on.
Instead of going on about the epic event, here's a link to the basic story.


The ship I scrimshawed onto the horn is based off a drawing that Thomas Nickerson did in later years.


The other side I decorated with a sperm whale and his initials.

I hope you enjoyed the build along and a bit of history.

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