Scrimshaw Powder Horn 21; Black Powder Container for Muzzleloading Era Firearms

  • Advertise with us
Project by Mark A. DeCou posted 12-08-2008 06:11 PM 16536 views 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This powder horn Number 21 has been SOLD (12-19-2008)

To view other Powder Horns that are FOR SALE visit my Store


UPDATE 5-5-2011:
I have agreed to teach a Powder Horn Building and Scrimshaw Decoration Class at the John Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC. The date will be mid-July in 2012, a five day class. We’ll discuss the history, techniques, and build a horn in class with a display stand, and decorate it with your own scrimshaw artwork. So, this class will be a combination of two classes, teaching both parts of historical and contemporary powder horn crafting.

This class size will be small, so if you have interest in this class, contact the school and put your name on a waiting list, as their catalog to the public will be released in early 2012.

Mark DeCou


Visit here, for another horn that is still for sale

Click here For more information about how Scrimshaw Artwork is accomplished

click here For more information about how a Powder Horn is constructed

for more information email me at:
[email protected]

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - -

Photo 1:

Photo 2:

Photo 3:

Photo 4:

Photo 5:

Photo 6:

Photo 7:

Photo 8:

Photo 9:

Project Story:

This is a powder horn that is (was) commonly used to carry black powder for using in a muzzle loading firearm. I have several muzzle loading guns, and enjoy shooting black powder. Powder horns were used (are) to carry the powder. This requires that the horn be sealed air-tight, and able to be carried with a strap slung over the shoulder.

I started building powder horns about 10 years ago, and have built several of them over the years. They start out as a Bovine Horn, that has been cut off of for de-horning, or at the processing plant. These horns are then dried out to remove the inner core, and then boiled to clean the hair, blood, and dirt. The outer layers of the horn are then removed with either sandpaper, or with a scraping action by a knife, or a broken glass shard.

A wooden plug is constructed and fit to the rear of the horn, to seal the end. Small dowels are inserted around the edge to hold the wood in place. Sealant is used in the process, either a mix of lard and bees wax, 2-part epoxy glue, or PVA wood glue.

the tip of the horn is drilled out, and small wooden plug is fitted to the tapered hole for sealing the tip. I used an antique Ebony Wood violin key on this horn for the tip plug. I have also turned tips on my lathe, but violin keys are historically accurate for use.

The shaping of the tip of the horn is done with hand files.

Typically, people haven’t really used my powder horns for actual shooting in the field, so several years ago I started making display stands for setting on a Mantle, shelf, credenza, or other display area. However, by simply attaching the carrying strap, this powder horn is ready for actual use in the field.

The Artwork on the Front of this horn is inspired by Psalms 135:6-7. ”The LORD does whatever pleases him, in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths. He makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth; he sends lightning with the rain and brings out the wind from his storehouses.”

There is also a Sand Piper bird, American Bald Eagle, Tall Mast Sailing Ship, Bull Moose, and other details.

Here is what the Powder Horn looked like before the Scrimshaw Artwork:

Photo 10:

Photo 11:

Photo 12:

My work has been included in the “Contemporary Artist Gallery” section of Jim Stevens’ new book called “Scrimshaw Techniques” published by Schiffer Publishing and available in most book stores.

Here are the Jacket Photos of Mr. Stevens’ Book:

Photo 13:

Photo 14:

Here is a blog about the book I've written

Here is a blog “Lumberjocks’ Review” of the book: “coming soon, please check back”

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

5 comments so far

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 5324 days

#1 posted 12-08-2008 06:26 PM

Another wonderful project. My thought is that these could really be personalized. What a great way to celebrate a hunters or history buffs life. They tell a great story.

View mtnwild's profile


3717 posts in 4536 days

#2 posted 12-08-2008 07:29 PM

Amazing! Really nice. So much work in detail. I know how hard that is just to do the art work. Plus all the other stages you go through to make it complete. Fantastic.

-- mtnwild (Jack), It's not what you see, it's how you see it.

View Karson's profile


35270 posts in 5410 days

#3 posted 12-09-2008 12:16 AM

Mark: A very nice design. The link for the “boot I’ve written” is incorrect.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 5256 days

#4 posted 12-09-2008 12:51 AM

Way cool Mark. Being published is fantastic. I can finally say I know someone famous besides Ted Nugent.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View patalac's profile


16 posts in 2944 days

#5 posted 02-23-2013 08:49 PM

would you happen to know anyone near Illinois who would be willing to teach a group of youth about powder horns, salt horn and scrimshaw?

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics