Author Topic: Rocky mtn fur trade Era trapper made buff horn  (Read 3797 times)

Offline longcruise

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Rocky mtn fur trade Era trapper made buff horn
« on: September 01, 2023, 03:00:44 AM »
Sorry for the long drawn out title.  I'd like to see pictures of the type powder horn described in the title.   I have a rough buff horn that I'd like to finish out in a way that a mountain man might have done when his horn needed to be replaced.
Mike Lee

Offline bigsmoke

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Re: Rocky mtn fur trade Era trapper made buff horn
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2023, 03:15:05 AM »
Go to Bing.com, click on images then input buffalo (or bison) powder horn and you will get about a zillion images pop up.
From you description, I would guess the horn would be pretty simple, something that could be carved out with a knife and not have an elaborate base plug.
Could it have flats at the tip?  Sure, that is doable with a knife.
Could it be engrailed?  Yep, that is also doable with a knife.
I doubt if a snowbound mountain man would take the time and trouble to scrape out all the hairline cracks that are inherent in a buff horn, so it probably would appear a bit rough.
But, what do I know, I have only made a couple of dozen buff horns, and those were all nicely finished, but had few fancy touches.  I stuck mainly with cow horns.
John (Bigsmoke)

Offline jdm

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Re: Rocky mtn fur trade Era trapper made buff horn
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2023, 04:17:35 PM »
Maybe something along these lines. Quick picture this morning.





JIM

Offline Clark Badgett

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Re: Rocky mtn fur trade Era trapper made buff horn
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2023, 11:34:25 PM »
Pick out any plain horn that was made for the trade and make that. Most trappers had multiple horns and were too busy doing trapping stuff to try to make a horn from an animal that he would have to take the time to locate, stalk, kill and then process all while trying to have his crew cover his 6 against hostiles.
Psalms 144

Offline RAT

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Re: Rocky mtn fur trade Era trapper made buff horn
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2023, 07:08:39 AM »
Powder horns were common trade items. The American Fur Company bought large numbers from professional makers in Pennsylvania. I've closely studied many paintings by Alfred Jacob Miller and I'm convinced that he depicted many screw tip powder horns. Not everything was made in the field by trappers themselves. I made a buffalo powder horn about 30 years ago. It eventually cracked at both ends. Two books that have photos of buffalo horns with western provenance are "Powder Horns and Their Architecture" and "The Kentucky Rifle Hunting Pouch". Both books were written by Madison Grant.
Bob

Offline Notchy Bob

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Re: Rocky mtn fur trade Era trapper made buff horn
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2023, 03:00:41 AM »
Professionally-made powderhorns from domestic cattle and oxen were in fact traded to natives and plainsmen, but buffalo powder horns were also known.  I don't know, but I suspect a lot of these were made "in the country."  We know people were restocking rifles at the posts and forts of the far west, and I think we can infer that cobbling together a powderhorn would not be a great feat.

Alfred Jacob Miller showed people wearing buffalo powderhorns in several of his paintings and drawings.  This one, "Hunting Elk in the Black Hills," shows one on the man in the foreground:



There is a dandy buffalo powder horn neatly illustrated on page 23 of The Mountain Man's Sketchbook, Volume 2.  It has an octagon-faceted tip, and a simple base plug with a rounded staple for the carry strap.  This horn from western Canada (now in the national Museums of Scotland) also has an octagonal spout, but the facets are also seen on the body of the horn:



That flathed wood screw in the base is ugly as $#*!, but it is functional and it was surprisingly common on 19th century horns.  I recently finished this buffalo powder horn, and used a wood screw.  Ugly, but authentic:



Mine is a copy of an original I found pictured online.  I tried to copy it as closely as possible.  I used cherry for the base and finished it with walnut Danish oil.  I also used old-timey square brads to secure the base:



I have found buffalo horns are more fibrous in texture than cowhorns, and they generally have less solid material at the tip.  My horn is smooth to the touch, but it would have taken forever to scrape and polish out the surface imperfections.  You can see some of the toolmarks, also, as on the original.

This horn (image from the web) is from Taos:



I don't know where this one was collected, but I found it listed on the Ambrose Antiques website:



There are a number of them out there.  I would recommend if you search for images, put in "antique buffalo powder horn."  Without the "antique" qualifier, you'll get a lot of reenactor-type fantasy horns showing up.  I think it's best to go directly to the originals for inspiration.

Good luck!

Notchy Bob
"Should have kept the old ways just as much as I could, and the tradition that guarded us.  Should have rode horses.  Kept dogs."

from The Antelope Wife

Offline Jeff Murray

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Re: Rocky mtn fur trade Era trapper made buff horn
« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2023, 04:14:09 AM »
The Buffalo Bill Museum has a buffalo horn that is pretty crude.  Slightly rounded base, simple groove at the spout.  The spout plug looks like it might have been carved out of a stick and is very short.  It shows much wear and tear.

Offline JSMOSBY

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Re: Rocky mtn fur trade Era trapper made buff horn
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2023, 05:01:08 AM »
This bison horn is in the lobby display case of the Boulder County Sheriff's Department, Colorado.














Offline JSMOSBY

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Re: Rocky mtn fur trade Era trapper made buff horn
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2023, 05:16:58 AM »
Here is a large bison horn I made for use at the range.  It measures 12" from tip to base.  The pine base plug is 3-3/4".  Staple is mild steel peened and formed to look hand forge.  Brass brads retain the base.  The priming horn is a small shed from a pronghorn antelope.











Online Tanselman

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Re: Rocky mtn fur trade Era trapper made buff horn
« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2023, 05:47:04 AM »
The Boulder County Sheriff's Department horn looks a lot more like a cow horn in surface color, less severe curve, and smooth surface texture [no striations] than a bison horn.

Shelby Gallien

Offline jdm

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Re: Rocky mtn fur trade Era trapper made buff horn
« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2023, 03:09:55 PM »

The Boulder County Sheriff's Department horn looks a lot more like a cow horn in surface color, less severe curve, and smooth surface texture [no striations] than a bison horn.

Shelby Gallien
[/quote]

It doesn't look like bison to me either.   Jim
JIM

Offline Monty59

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Re: Rocky mtn fur trade Era trapper made buff horn
« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2023, 11:40:41 AM »
Hello, here two Buffalo Horns I had made one with a antler tip and a so called St.Louis horn.

Monty





Offline rich pierce

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Re: Rocky mtn fur trade Era trapper made buff horn
« Reply #12 on: November 06, 2023, 03:15:21 PM »
Hello, here two Buffalo Horns I had made one with a antler tip and a so called St.Louis horn.

Monty





Monty, those are very fine work indeed!
Andover, Vermont