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July's Seminar-How to make a drinking horn.

Posted: 02 Jul 2010, 22:26
by honor_your_life
How To Make A Drinking Horn

Step 1: Find a suitable horn.

-Find a horn that you think you would like, either buy one of the internet or find a raw horn from another source. I found my 3 pairs of horns at a butcher shop that I used to work with. I killed the animals myself and figured using their horns would be a good "offering" of sorts for them. To honor their lives in a way.

Step 2: Clean out the horn.

-If you are using a raw horn like I have, then you must clean out the horn and core it out. The easiest way to do this is boil over a fire, a stove, etc. I used a fire and boiled the horns for a few hours. Make sure you don't boil them too long or they will turn to jelly! Once the horns are properly boiled, the inside should slip out reasonably easy.

Step 3: Clean the horn.

-Ok, now that you have the raw horn prepared, it's time to clean it. Sterilize in the inside/outside with a strong mixture of bleach/water. Let it soak overnight outside or in a well ventilated area. Now, the next step is to soak the horn with vinegar. This will neautrilize the bleach. Now after that has been done, wash the inside/outside of the horn with warm, soapy water. Make sure to get as far as you can into the horn.

Step 4: Sanding the horn.

-Be careful when sanding the horn, you don't want to sand too much of it away and possibly ruin it by having leaks/holes, etc. Just be sure to sand away the blemishes, if the blemishes are deep use a file or a sharp knife. When you start off the sanding, use a course grain, and then work up to the ultra fine grit. The final sanding should be done with an ultra fine grit, or a polishing cloth.

Step 5: Cutting the top.

-If you used a raw horn straight from the source, you can skip this step. It won't be necessary. But if you do this step, make sure your cut is level as possible. After the cut, sand the raw edge smooth with the ultra fine grit and then finally the polishing cloth.

Step 6: Cutting the design.

-If you wish for your horn to have a design, trace/draw the design on to the horn first. I think drawing is the best way, the horn is curved so you have to remember to compensate for that. I would forget that rule if I was tracing a design, so I drew mine on.

-Use a nail or strong pin to scratch your design onto the horn, a carving knife or dremel can be used to make deeper images. But be careful because you can go right through the horn!

Step 7: Pigmenting the Design.

-Use pigmenting wax, or water based ink to fill in the design.

Step 8: Waxing.

-Ok, now that you have your horn pretty much at it's end, it's time to wax it. So here's how you do that. Warm the horn a little bit, it will take the wax a little easier. Smear the wax across the surface of the horn. Beeswax/shoe polish will work great. I used beeswax for mine, shoe polish will work if spred VERY thinly. After coating the horn, use a rage to buff it out a little bit.

Step 9: Treat the inside.

-Ok, you can use beeswax for this. But if you do, you cannot drink hot liquids with the horn, just cold ones. You can use a salad bowl finish and that apparently works very well. I've only used beeswax for mine, because I only drink cool drinks from my horns. But apply with either substance with a brush or a rag. Be sure to coat the entire inside quite well. Dump out any excess. Next, hang the horn upside down and have a fan blowing up into the horn for at least 24 hours. The finish will take about 72 or so hours to finish curing completely.

And then you are done and your horn is ready to drink from!

EDIT: Picture will come later, sorry it's late.

-Ryan,

Re: July's Seminar-How to make a drinking horn.

Posted: 02 Jul 2010, 22:59
by Dathi
Ahaa, another project to try out. Now to find me a horn to work with. I dunno much about cattle horns but I did find something out about antlers. Hard as nails and blunted both a pocket knife saw and a hand saw blade!

Thanks for this.

CFN,

Dathi

Re: July's Seminar-How to make a drinking horn.

Posted: 03 Jul 2010, 00:18
by Bracken
Ryan! Joy! Brilliant. And thank you. [Don't worry about it being a day late, love. I'm thrilled you did it, and it's great!]

A fabulous addition to the Speakers' Corner. :D

Re: July's Seminar-How to make a drinking horn.

Posted: 04 Jul 2010, 23:02
by honor_your_life
Dathi: yes, it's a great project to do and it takes about a week or so to complete. Etching the design and making it perfect is the hardest and most time consuming part of the whole thing. But very worth the wait! Deer antlers are very hard and way too small for drinking horns, but are great for knife handles, etc.

I figured making drinking horns from animals that I have taken their lives and used their meat in some way would be a great way to honor them and always remember them in a way. I learned a lot of how we get our meat. It was a great learning experience.

Baobab: thanks darling! I now realized I can go on the boards on my cell phone! That's what I am typing this out on right now! Very handy indeed! :)

I hope a lot of people get something out of my little seminar. I would like to be put down for another month, whenever one is available and no one else would like a go.

Does anyone have any questions?

Oh! And 4 of the horns are going to laura and dean for their wedding present. I wasn't able to get my passport on time, but hopefully they will enjoy my gifts. :)

Re: July's Seminar-How to make a drinking horn.

Posted: 05 Jul 2010, 00:55
by Corwen
Dathi wrote:Ahaa, another project to try out. Now to find me a horn to work with. I dunno much about cattle horns but I did find something out about antlers. Hard as nails and blunted both a pocket knife saw and a hand saw blade!

Thanks for this.

CFN,

Dathi
Antler is bone whilst horn is compressed keratin, ie like hair or fingernails, much softer.

Re: July's Seminar-How to make a drinking horn.

Posted: 08 Jul 2010, 12:34
by Kat Lady
Now I know how to make a horn to hold all that mead! :)

Re: July's Seminar-How to make a drinking horn.

Posted: 08 Jul 2010, 16:58
by mwyalchen
Thanks for the guidelines!

Could I just add (though Corwen is really the expert on this):

Cut the tip off where it's about an inch diameter and hollow the hole out into a cup, and you have an end-blown horn (think, prehistoric vuvuzela!)

Or, bore into the centre hole from the side where the horn is about 2 inches wide, and hollow it out into an oval cup, and you have a side-blown horn, like the bronze horns found in Ireland - and probably the original for them. Or further down the horn if you want a bigger hole.

I've done it with horns that have already been prepared. I got my first one ready-made from Corwen, and then modified it further, and I've since done a couple more from scratch - it's not that hard, and you can experiment with what size and shape hole suits you. Now I also know how to prepare my own. Thanks, Ryan.

Re: July's Seminar-How to make a drinking horn.

Posted: 09 Jul 2010, 04:41
by Aurora
This was really interesting, I've always wondered how it was done and now i know :D

Thanks Ryan!