Guest Artist Kevin Hart is a good friend of ours from Oregon. He plans to attend The West Coast Horn Fair this coming April.
Free Mason Horn by Kevin Hart
Kevin Hart writes: “Have you ever made a horn that from the very beginning and all the way to completion it went smoothly?
You know, from the moment you pick up the raw cow horn, it tells you what it wants to become, from design, to shaping, scrimshawing and staining.
You and the horn form a single creative instrument!
For many of my horns this is what happens. . .
EXCEPT IN THIS CASE!
For this horn, from the very beginning, it was a match of wills, wits, and staying the course.
In the end, who would emerge victorious?
I’m still not sure who won, perhaps it was a split decision?
The battle began after purchasing another fine raw horn on eBay from our friends at Powderhornsandmore.
eBay horn 1260
It all began innocently at first, the symbiotic forces were flowing between the horn and me.
I started with an initial design layout and since the horn was thick, I decided on a lobed horn.
Raw horn cut and wing (lobe) installed.
The horn was very oval with a noticeable sharp bend along the bottom butt.
It was also very thick from the tip to the butt.
Having worked oval horns in the past, I have a couple of oval forming blocks to allow for some conformity, with the goal of smoothly out the crease along the bottom.
The trouble began when trying to install the forming block.
After a minute in the hot oil bath (Mr. Fry Daddy), the horn was soft enough and I inserted the block.
After a few stern taps, the block was seated nicely and I set it down to dry and cool.
After an appropriate waiting period, I picked up the horn to view its progress.
That’s when I noticed the 1 ½ inch crack along the bottom.
#@&*^$#$#@ Strike 1
Well, there goes my lobed horn and about 1 ½ inches of nice white scrimshaw palate from the butt area.
I tend to appreciate horns that present longer throats. Since this horn was going to reflect symbols associated with the Freemasons, in particular the two-headed eagle, I decided to add a double layer of eagle feathers on the throat right after the engrailing, followed by octagonal flats all the way up to the small rounded tip, interrupted by two small wedding bands.
Throat with eagle feathers, engrailing, octagonal flats rounded tip, and two small wedding bands
While doing some final scraping on the bottom edge of the octagon throat, I noticed a small 1/8 inch speck appear.
What in the world??? Can it be that I have scraped and sanding through a 3/16 inch thick horn to the cavity?
@#@$%$$*#@ Strike 2
Quick. . . . Fire up the Mustang, put the top down, and blow away the cobwebs.
So, after half a tank of gas and a few layers of epoxy blended with horn shavings, the small hole was repaired.
At this point I’m pleased to say, the horn and I came to an understanding.
If it wouldn’t present any more challenges, I wouldn’t leave it in the fry daddy overnight.
On the positive side, the horn had lots of soft white surface area allowing me to scrim to my heart’s delight.
In the White
Titled: The Freemason Horn
Time period: Revolutionary War 1777
Horn length: 14 ½ inches
Throat: 6 inches stained black/dark brown (beginning at the engrailing area, the throat has two sections of what I call eagle tail feathers, then transitions to octagonal to the rounded tip interrupted by two small wedding bands.
Worn: Left side
Body: Stained light/medium yellow with brown undertones
Inscriptions: Within cartouche. Blank area for owner’s name, His horn at Fort Trumbull, January ye 30th AD 1777
“Live upon the level, park upon the square”
Butt plug: Tiger maple (Oval in shape)
Tip: Antique fiddle peg (black)
Finial: Turned & aged copper
Carvings: Freemason Symbols
Top: Sun, Moon with 7 stars, compass & square, parked cannon with 1st American flag (coiled snake) and 13 Stars & Stripes with various standards, trumpets, cannon balls and helmet.
Top: Sun, Moon with 7 stars, compass & square, with parked cannon
In the white
Left side: All seeing eye over cartouche with inscription, & level
Right Side In the White
Hour glass, two headed Eagle with Freemasons banner, Masonic handshake, checker board with sprig of Acacia plant and Maker’s Mark.
Detail of the Base plug:
Base plug with an aged turned copper finial
This horn with the owner’s name engraved is available from Kevin Hart.