Scrimshaw Powder Horns: with my links to "How To Build Your Own Powder Horn", and "How to Scrimshaw"

  • Advertise with us
Project by Mark A. DeCou posted 05-04-2006 06:08 PM 47631 views 12 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch


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


Finished Powder Horns for Sale:

Visit this link to see the any new Powder Horns that are FOR SALE in my Store I have some new Very Detailed and Finely Crafted Horns that are finished and ready for Scrimshaw Art. I don’t build quick and cheap horns, but if you want something that is as nice as yourexpensive custom rifle, maybe my work will fit your needs.

Scrimshaw Powder Horn 16 - SOLD -
Scrimshaw Powder Horn 21 - SOLD -

If you would like more information about them, please email me at [email protected]

To build your own powder Horn, I’ve blogged about the steps, click here

To Scrimshaw your own Powder Horn, I’ve blogged about those steps, click here

You can see more of my Powder Horn and Scrimshaw artwork at my Website

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

Project Story:

I enjoy woodworking, & combining wood with other materials is a lot of fun. I also enjoy making functional-art items, especially historical crafts.

Several years ago, I decided to try blackpowder shooting, and I needed a horn to carry the powder. I built myself a horn from a rough steer horn that a friend gave me, and I spent about an hour scratching some artwork on it the night before a competition shooting event. The next day, I got so many positive comments, that I started building more and more of them, gathering books and articles on the historical techniques, and hundreds of hours of research and reading to understand the old techniques.

I taught myself some techniques in an artform called Scrimshaw, (often used to decorate the functional powder horns during the years of our history when black powder rifles ruled the battlegrounds and forests).

I found some people that liked my work enough to buy it and collect them. I realize that this is not truly a work of wood only, but a combination of wood and steer horn, I hope that other woodworkers won’t be too offended by this submittal of a mixed-media form.

Each of the horns have a unique Scrimshaw art motif. If you aren’t familiar with Scrimshaw, you can go to my website
where I have some articles and more information about this important historical form of American Folk Art.

If you are interested in seeing the basic steps to Building Your Own Powder Horn, please see my blog on that subject:

If you would like to learn more about Scrimshaw as an Artform, including How to Do It, please see my blog on that subject:

Mark DeCou

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

9 comments so far

View Roger's profile


98 posts in 5620 days

#1 posted 05-04-2006 07:18 PM

Awesome, love mixed media bring it on.

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2009 posts in 5620 days

#2 posted 05-04-2006 09:09 PM

I’ve got another set of odd mixed-media things coming, but my time to work on the computer more today is gone, so I’ll get some posted another time. Thanks for your encouragement

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 5461 days

#3 posted 10-14-2006 09:02 PM

To me, this and some of your other work has an asian slant to it, it’s beautiful. Of course I’m a piker. Can you let me in on your secret of the joints on your Maloof chair? I can understand if you don’t want to share that.

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

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2009 posts in 5620 days

#4 posted 10-16-2006 06:13 AM

Hey Jockmike2: I answered your question on the chair joints in the project posting, comments section,

here is the quick link to it.

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2009 posts in 5620 days

#5 posted 04-23-2007 06:11 PM

I had the audacity to enter one of my borrowed-back powder horns in the “Mixed Media Sculpture” category this past weekend at the Great Plains Woodcarving & Fine Arts Show and Sale in Wichita, KS.

I actually won 3rd place in this category, and had a lot of fun explaining the heritage of powder horns and scrimshaw artwork.

What I am seeing from the public, is that there have been enough high-dollar scrimshaw pieces on the Antique Roadshow tv show, that people are actually looking at it now. Several years ago, nobody seemed to recognize the artform, and few would pause to even consider what it was. At this show in Wichita, everyone stopped and looked intently at the four powder horns I was showing, and showed interest in the artform. A few asked about pricing, but now buyers. Once I surpassed the “under $100” range in my powder horn work several years ago, the number of interested buyers dropped off significantly. Still, they are enjoyable to build and engrave.

There is a new “How-To” book being written by a fellow scrimshander from Colorado. He is getting his book ready for publication. He also sells an online version, and a “kit” of things a person needs to start their own scrimshaw work. His website is and his name is Jim Stevens. I’m working with him to provide some photos of my work that he might be able to use in his published book. I hope I have something that will work for him to use.


-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

View Karson's profile


35278 posts in 5615 days

#6 posted 04-23-2007 06:27 PM

Congratulations again. Sounds like a busy weekend for you.

-- 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 JeffStarr's profile


90 posts in 4550 days

#7 posted 04-14-2009 08:58 AM

Nice work. I am impressed with the fine detail scrimshaw affords, it is evident you put a lot of time into the research and historical value of your work.

-- "When was the last time you did something special for your gun?"

View mbulla's profile


156 posts in 4724 days

#8 posted 11-06-2011 12:20 PM

Very nice!

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

26653 posts in 4320 days

#9 posted 10-12-2014 09:22 PM

WOW, those are very nice, Mark!!!!!!!!!!!!!................Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

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