How Do You Make a Powder Horn?

How Do You Make a Powder Horn?


A powder horn is a container from the 19th century used to hold gunpowder. It consists of a hollowed out horn with a stopper at both ends. Making the horn, which takes approximately three hours, requires the following materials: a cow or buffalo horn, rasp, files, drill, saws, sandpaper and two stoppers.

  1. Trim the base

    Remove the lowest part of the base using a fine-toothed saw. Use a file to smooth the edge.

  2. File away the scale

    The lower part of the horn is covered in a hard, brittle coating, which is the scale. Use the rasp to file this away. If the scale is particularly thick, soak it for two hours in water first.

  3. Drill a hole for the spout

    The spout hole is the hole at the tip of the powder horn. Cut off the very tip of the horn. Drill a hole, aiming for the center of the horn where the cavity begins. Make sure 1/8 to 3/16 inches of wall thickness remains around the hole.

  4. Form the base

    When heated, horn material becomes pliable. The most effective method for heating the horn is oil heated to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the base of the horn in the hot oil until it becomes pliable. Then insert a cone-shaped form into the base, allowing it to cool.

  5. Fit the plug

    Use a circle of pine cut to the inner diameter of the horn. For a tighter fit, apply epoxy to the inside of the horn, and allow it to dry. Follow the same technique for the horn tip.