Author Topic: Lehigh powder horn spots  (Read 4423 times)

Offline RockLock92

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 78
Lehigh powder horn spots
« on: June 20, 2017, 05:44:19 AM »
My Father is working on a Lehigh style powder horn, and we were trying to figure out how they applied the spots to the horns. From what we've read it sounds like historically they used a paste that had lead oxide in it, but we can't find any info on how the paste was made and how to get the excess paste off the horn after it has been stained. Are the contemporarily made horns spotted in this same manner or is there a more contemporary solution we could try?

Offline David Rase

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4112
  • If we need it here, make it here. Charlie Daniels
Re: Lehigh powder horn spots
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2017, 07:13:20 AM »
The following recipe was first shared by Roland Cadle, but then was found in an 1876 chemical recipe manual by Charlie Kaufmann, who is a chemical engineer.
 
Mix one part lead oxide powder, with two parts powdered quick lime.  This is done dry,  stir the powders together so they are fairly uniformly blended.  Next, mix 1-1/2 to 2 teaspoons of commercial lye powder (such as Red Devil brand, or any other brand sold for cleaning drains) with one cup of warm water.  The warm water helps the lye to go into full saturation.  Do this part in a well ventilated area, as fumes will be formed when the lye is added to the water.  Do not breathe the fumes directly, as it is a "breathtaking experience".
 
Once the lye is in solution, then take a very small amount of the lye water and mix it into the powdered lead oxide/quick lime mixture to form a paste.  This paste can then be applied to the surface of the horn in the area that you wish to color.  Allow the paste to dry and crust over on the horn. (10 - 15 minutes)  At this point, depending on the strength of the lye solution, your color reaction should be well along.  You may find that you need to "re-charge" the reaction slightly by adding a little of the lye solution to the already applied paste.  This sometimes seems to drive the reaction along and make the color darker and more vivid.
 
At this point you can wash the crusted paste off the surface of the horn to see what you have colorwize.  If you like it, you are done, if not, re-do the process to get the level of color you want.   The intensity of the color on the horn does tend to darken over the next few hours, and will especially darken if you heat the horn during the dyeing of the horn body. 
 
This is not an exact science.  You can vary the amount of lye in the water solution, and you can vary the ratio of the two powders. 

Offline Tim Crosby

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 15528
  • AKA TimBuckII
Re: Lehigh powder horn spots
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2017, 03:12:02 PM »
 You Really need to try this on scrap horn first and get the Paste/consistency right. I have been playing with it on and off for years and still have not gotten the effect I am looking for. Have also tried Many other ways to get spots on with no success.

  Tim C.
 

Offline smokinbuck

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2905
Re: Lehigh powder horn spots
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2017, 01:44:30 AM »
How about a branding iron?
Mark
Mark

Offline Cory Joe Stewart

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1687
    • My etsy shop
Re: Lehigh powder horn spots
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2017, 04:59:45 PM »
Branding can be used to decorate a horn certainly, but not the look that the process described above would give.

Cory Joe Stewart

Offline RockLock92

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 78
Re: Lehigh powder horn spots
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2017, 06:55:01 AM »
Well we wound up using a leather dye. It bled a little when we rinsed it off, but we were able to get it to a nice aged appearance. Here is the horn with my bag.

« Last Edit: October 20, 2021, 01:44:08 PM by Dennis Glazener »

Offline Tim Crosby

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 15528
  • AKA TimBuckII
Re: Lehigh powder horn spots
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2017, 02:25:10 PM »
  So tell us about the horn, what are the tip and collar made from, butt material. Looks well done.

    Tim C.   

Offline skillman

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 995
  • The Usual Suspect
Re: Lehigh powder horn spots
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2017, 06:00:53 PM »
Interesting timing. I just recently did this one.






I have been wanting to try making a spotted horn. This was done with hair dye. My experience tells me it will be around after me. This horn is nowhere near a correct Berks horn, but it was a good place to experiment. I had to do it twice because I didn't wash it well enough the first time. I got kind of sloppy the second go around and it shows. I do think it is a very good starting point.

This is done with Just for Men beard and mustache dye. It is a paste and as such stays where you put it. I used a Q-tip but will in the future use a brush. My first go round I didn't wash the horn well enough and it didn't come out dark enough. I scrubbed the $#*! out of it with hot water and detergent and while still damp, re-applied the dye. Let it sit overnight. The spots will dry completely. Rub/wash the dye off and this is what you'll get. This also works well on the throats of horns. This dye comes in many colors. This was medium brown. You can use regular hair dye but it is best to use the strongest "developer". 55. I have been playing with this for around 20 years now and the only time I have not gotten good results was when I used to gentle of a developer or when the surface was not clean. Let it sit for 24 hours if you can. This one sat for maybe 10 hours but it was completely dried.

Steve
« Last Edit: October 20, 2021, 01:46:17 PM by Dennis Glazener »
Steve Skillman

Offline vtmtnman

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 79
Re: Lehigh powder horn spots
« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2017, 02:07:49 AM »
Well we wound up using a leather dye. It bled a little when we rinsed it off, but we were able to get it to a nice aged appearance. Here is the horn with my bag.

That's a sharp looking set!
« Last Edit: October 20, 2021, 01:48:45 PM by Dennis Glazener »

Offline RockLock92

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 78
Re: Lehigh powder horn spots
« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2017, 02:31:52 AM »
  So tell us about the horn, what are the tip and collar made from, butt material. Looks well done.

    Tim C.
Sorry this is the first time I've been back on this thread since I posted the photo. The tip, collar and butt are all maple. My Dad and I didn't realize that most horns of this style if not all have antler, bone or horn tips at the time. I believe we used aqua fortis and tung oil but I'll have to double check.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2017, 02:33:05 AM by RockLock92 »

Offline RockLock92

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 78
Re: Lehigh powder horn spots
« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2017, 02:36:25 AM »




Here are some better images of both the tip, collar and butt
« Last Edit: October 20, 2021, 01:50:20 PM by Dennis Glazener »