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Horn Care Question

 
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Joshuway
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Joined: 15 Jan 2010
Posts: 94
Location: South of the Falls of the Ohio on Otter Creek
Real Name: Joshua B. Everett, SSG, USA

PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2014 7:34 pm    Post subject: Horn Care Question Reply with quote

Folks;
My primary powder horn was made by my Dad way back in 1995, so, math tells me that it's 19 years old. However, it was still in what I thought was great shape and worked just fine up until a couple of weeks ago. Let me start out by saying that this is an extremely well-constructed horn. However, to my chagrin, after conducting a day long scout in some damp weather (no rain), I found that the next time I needed to pour some powder that almost the entire contents of the horn had turned into one big lump! To get the clumps out, I added a bit of water and poured the resulting liquid out (yes, I know that no matter what I'll have to wait quite a while for this horn to dry properly inside and out before using it again); anyway, after letting the horn dry for a bit I saw that around all the seams (base plug, base plug pins, which are thorns) a crust of what I assume is saltpeter had formed as a result of minute leaks and evaporation. So I guess that after 19 years all the wood components of the horn have shrunk a bit . . . what I'd like advice on is: how does everyone out there do "horn maintenance" (if at all), and what, ultimately, does anyone think my options are? Should I redo the horn, i.e. re-pin and replace the base plug, etc., or is there a period correct way I can "re-seal" the seams on it? Any and all advice will be much appreciated!

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LRB
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Joined: 15 May 2007
Posts: 260

Real Name: WICK ELLERBE

PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2014 10:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe a mix of beeswax and pitch warmed to thin it? Or real spar varnish wiped on, then off before it sets up.
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Steve G
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Joined: 17 May 2007
Posts: 55
Location: outside Nashville, Tn
Real Name: Stephen Gove

PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 11:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've treated horns like wood as far as care goes. A small amount of linseed oil well worked in with my fingers has worked well for me. When you're done rubbing it in there should be only a slight hint that any oil is present.
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Shawnee Mike
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Joined: 28 Nov 2009
Posts: 113
Location: Cortlands Ford, Indiana territory
Real Name: Mike Greenhorse

PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2014 10:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As the others said,
I routinely rub a bees wax compound into my horns.
My problem was the opposite. Where i came from (CA) the weather is dry. But when i moved to IN. with all the dampness, my horn plugs would swell and crack the horn.
The beeswax helps both ways.

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rick tull
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Joined: 22 Dec 2011
Posts: 4
Location: st louis mo
Real Name: rick tull

PostPosted: Sat Jan 24, 2015 11:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

most original horns were assembled and wiped with a half and half mixture of beeswax
and hog lard. something about the hog lard makes the wax seal better and last longer. I have done plugs on install like this, with no glue, and they stay air/water tight.
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Bait
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Joined: 16 Nov 2014
Posts: 3
Location: West Virginia
Real Name: Scott Engel

PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2015 9:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That beeswax/lard concoction works equally well as patch lube, protecting metal, treating mocs, fire starter, Chapstick, and probably cures cancer. Pretty versatile stuff. In my experience it's not a 50/50 mix- it'll be a little more lard (or bear grease, deer lard, etc.) but you need to have enough wax it won't run out of the tin on a hot summer day yet not so much it becomes too hard during a winter trek.
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