Author Topic: powder horn base sizing  (Read 539 times)

Offline S B Burger

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powder horn base sizing
« on: April 21, 2017, 07:29:38 AM »
Hello,

New to the forum, have my first couple of questions...Do most builders heat and reshape the butt ends of the horns to get an even, round opening, or leave the opening as is if oval or otherwise misshapen and shape the plug to fit? I've searched for some basic wooden resizing plugs but am striking out so far.  Any suggestions on where to pick one up?

I picked up a couple of raw horns recently and am going to try my hand at making a couple of powder horns.  Nothing fancy.  Figured I would replace the one I bought 40 years ago when I built my Thompson Center kit rifle.  I made a couple of possible pouches and a rifle case at the same time I put my rifle together, but bought the powder horn.....getting tired of seeing "made in Mexico" stamped on the bottom! :)  I recently ordered a kit gun from Jim Kibler and figured I could work on a couple of powder horns while waiting on the kit to arrive.

scott

Offline gizamo

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Re: powder horn base sizing
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2017, 11:04:18 AM »
Hi Scott...and welcome to the board. 

I think you'll find that either style is correct. I personally do both but favor following the natural shape of the horn. I collect old horns up here in Maine. Rarely ever see a rounded baseplug. If one pops up for sale...it's generally a lobed horn.

Offline Dale Halterman

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Re: powder horn base sizing
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2017, 04:54:01 PM »
I don't know that anyone sell sizing plugs, I turn my own. Some people use cut off sections of old baseball bats. Ooops, wife is calling me. Gotta go.

Dale H

Offline alyce-james

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Re: powder horn base sizing
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2017, 05:48:12 PM »
Good morning; here is the name of a member on this site who makes a set of (5) five sizing plugs for use in making powder horn end plugs. - Gary Elsenbeck - 315 533 -6093 or "yeoldcraftsman@twcny.rr.com". I use a set alot. Hope this helps. Have a great day. AJ.
Turkeyfooter

Offline S B Burger

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Re: powder horn base sizing
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2017, 07:36:39 PM »
Hi Scott...and welcome to the board. 

I think you'll find that either style is correct. I personally do both but favor following the natural shape of the horn. I collect old horns up here in Maine. Rarely ever see a rounded baseplug. If one pops up for sale...it's generally a lobed horn.

Thanks for your feedback!  I can see doing both ways, hopefully I'll find this something I enjoy doing and try both ways.

I don't know that anyone sell sizing plugs, I turn my own. Some people use cut off sections of old baseball bats. Ooops, wife is calling me. Gotta go.

Dale H

I don't have a lathe, but the baseball bat trick sounds easy enough.  Why didn't I think of that....  ???

Good morning; here is the name of a member on this site who makes a set of (5) five sizing plugs for use in making powder horn end plugs. - Gary Elsenbeck - 315 533 -6093 or "yeoldcraftsman@twcny.rr.com". I use a set alot. Hope this helps. Have a great day. AJ.

Thank you for the information! I'll send an email to see what he has.

Offline Dale Halterman

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Re: powder horn base sizing
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2017, 08:16:18 PM »
Do you have Scott & Cathy Sibley's book "Recreating the 18th Century Powder Horn"? It is a great resource, lots of pictures (I like pictures).

I do determine the size of the butt plug differently, though. I simply mark the sizer with the horn in place, then remove the horn a measure the diameter of the sizer with a pair of calipers at the mark.

Can't take credit for the baseball bat trick. I learned it right here on this board.

Dale H

Offline G. Elsenbeck

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Re: powder horn base sizing
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2017, 08:58:56 PM »
Scott, I appreciate your interest in horn making, it can get addictive.  If you have a lathe, perhaps reviewing this tutorial be of help to you and others.
http://americanlongrifles.org/forum/index.php?topic=3751.0

Happy horning,
Gary
Journeyman in the Honourable Company of Horners (HCH) and a member in the Contemporary Longrifle Association (CLA)

There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."

Offline S B Burger

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Re: powder horn base sizing
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2017, 09:08:37 PM »
Do you have Scott & Cathy Sibley's book "Recreating the 18th Century Powder Horn"? It is a great resource, lots of pictures (I like pictures).

I do determine the size of the butt plug differently, though. I simply mark the sizer with the horn in place, then remove the horn a measure the diameter of the sizer with a pair of calipers at the mark.

Can't take credit for the baseball bat trick. I learned it right here on this board.

Dale H

I do have the book Dale, and like you, I like seeing the pictures of the work in progress and finished pieces.  Some of the finished horns pictured are just amazing!

Scott, I appreciate your interest in horn making, it can get addictive.  If you have a lathe, perhaps reviewing this tutorial be of help to you and others.
http://americanlongrifles.org/forum/index.php?topic=3751.0

Happy horning,
Gary

I don't have a lathe Gary, but I will check out the link you sent.  I like to study as much as possible before tackling a project, hopefully to cut down on the number of mistakes I'm sure I'll make!  ;D  I've been watching as many videos as possible on YouTube and several from links here on the forum since joining.  I'm about ready to dive in on my first one.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2017, 09:10:26 PM by S B Burger »

Offline S.kenton

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Re: powder horn base sizing
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2017, 09:30:32 PM »
I normally trace a line around the bas of the horn, then cut around the inside of the line.  After cutting the base plug out I file on it till it fits my horn. I use a heat gun or boil the base of the horn to make the final fit of the plug.

Offline gizamo

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Re: powder horn base sizing
« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2017, 11:14:46 PM »
To get the inside line of a baseplug....press the horn into a flat piece of egg carton foam from the top. Cut out that inside line and you will have a perfect pattern.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2017, 02:31:07 AM by gizamo »

Offline S.kenton

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Re: powder horn base sizing
« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2017, 11:32:38 PM »
Ill use that idea on the next horn I make...

Offline Tim Crosby

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Re: powder horn base sizing
« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2017, 11:37:06 PM »
 This is going to sound kind of rambling because there is a lot to say. Round or Raw base depends on the type of horn you are making. Round plugs are usually found on Factory and shop made horns. Most good horns can be rounded using a sizer, I would recommend, drilling and shaping your horn before you work the butt. Even if you have no lathe you can still round the base using a sizer and fit the base.  Flat base is easier but a domed one, even a Beehive style can also be made,  a second piece of wood can be carved as the strap holder. Once you cut the base and make sure it is Square trace around the horn, this can be done Raw or Rounded, make a witness mark on the base and horn, cut just to the line. If you have a disk sander it will help greatly, set the table to about 10 degs and start sanding that taper on the base, don't loose your Witness mark, once the base starts to fit take a soft pencil, like an HB, and color the inside the horn for about 1/2", press the base in, remove and cut, file, or sand off the pencil marks, it is slow work but works. No disk sander, Rasps, Files will work or if you have a Band Saw the table can be tilted to the 10deg or so mark and the base cut, then the pencil work starts. Speaking of Baseball bats, once you use it to round the base you could just cut it off and use it for the Butt plug, Bowling pins are another option but they take a bit of work to get the finish off. Also look for Branches, Apple Trees, Black Cherry all work well, maybe some in the firewood pile. This horn uses a branch, the entire horn was made with a knife, the base was carved to fit, not real pretty but functional.
 

  Tim C.
 




Offline Smoketown

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Re: powder horn base sizing
« Reply #12 on: April 22, 2017, 04:03:43 PM »

Looks like you could also use it as a 'war club' ...   ;D

I like it Tim!

Cheers,
Smoketown
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Offline conquerordie

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Re: powder horn base sizing
« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2017, 07:56:17 PM »
I found the last sizer I purchased on ebay of all places. A guy in Texas made it. Works great. I think his username was Captgreenlee. Made all sorts of muzzleloading stuff.
Greg

Offline Dave Patterson

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Re: powder horn base sizing
« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2017, 09:21:27 PM »
...This horn uses a branch, the entire horn was made with a knife, the base was carved to fit, not real pretty but functional...

Looks like something my Granddad would have made... and used for the next 40-50 years.

I like that, a LOT!

Offline J I

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Re: powder horn base sizing
« Reply #15 on: April 23, 2017, 12:20:18 AM »
Scott,
Powder Horns and More sells sizers as far as I know.
I trace the outside of the horn and then sand or file to the pencil line. Once this is done heat the horn and press the plug in. Be careful or you can split the horn. When it cools it should be airtight. I thinks it has already be mentioned but you also need to make sure you have drilled the hole in the other end first.

Jeremiah

Online Elnathan

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Re: powder horn base sizing
« Reply #16 on: April 23, 2017, 12:26:12 AM »
It is also quite possible to make sizers from a piece of 2x4 without a lathe. Get a cup or something round just larger - maybe 1/8-1/4" larger -  than the horn base and trace around it. Cut around the line with a coping saw or something similar, then use a rasp take it right down to the line even and square to the face all the way around. Take your brand new disk and on the other side make a series of marks 1/4" in from the edge. Then file the sides to meet these new smaller marks - I tend to do it by flats and then round over. Presto! Tapered, round sizer.

Mine tend to be a little imperfect, but close enough that the eye cannot tell without the benefit of a measuring device.

You can also make plugs the same way, except varying the angle of the edge to match the contour of the horn. If done carefully the horn shrinks down airtight without needing to be sealed further.
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Offline Tim Crosby

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Re: powder horn base sizing
« Reply #17 on: April 23, 2017, 12:54:27 AM »
  Small clay flower pots also work, they are cheap enough that if it gets stuck in the horn you can just break it out.

  Tim C.

Offline rogerpjr

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Re: powder horn base sizing
« Reply #18 on: April 23, 2017, 04:28:01 AM »
If a person was going to turn their own sizers, what would a good taper angle be to use?
Roger Petrella
CO Springs, CO

Offline G. Elsenbeck

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Re: powder horn base sizing
« Reply #19 on: April 23, 2017, 05:27:43 AM »
If a person was going to turn their own sizers, what would a good taper angle be to use?
[/quote

Roger, on 'average', a ten degree taper should be sufficient.  However, every horn can be different not to mention 'how and where' the square cut on the base end is done affecting the amount of taper needed.  I've made sizers with as little of 5 or 8 degrees up to 12 degrees because that was the horn I was working on at the moment.  How many sizers do I have: around 25 of them, lol.  If you really get bit by the horn making hobby you'll find that having a lathe will be handy especially long ones for future bands for a Southern Banded Horn. 

Also, you might peruse (and join?) the Honourable Company of Horners, http://www.hornguild.org/
A great place to learn and meet some of us. 

Gary
« Last Edit: April 23, 2017, 05:28:31 AM by G. Elsenbeck »
Journeyman in the Honourable Company of Horners (HCH) and a member in the Contemporary Longrifle Association (CLA)

There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."