Archive for the ‘Artist of the Month’ Category

Rick Froehlich, Powder Horns and More, Builder of the Month

January 3, 2015

The business, PowderHorns and More, is adding a new feature to their website.  Gerry Messmer is starting off the year with a long time friend and customer, Rick Froehlich.

1976 was a life changing year for many of us who are still in the powder horn making business. Everywhere we turned, people were talking about the 200th birthday of the United States of America.  Muzzleloading shoots and rendezvous were being held all over the West.  Living History and any thing to do with the Revolutionary War received a big boost on the East Coast.

Rick Froehlich, now of Omaha, Nebraska, started making powder horns during this wonderful time. Walt Disney and Fess Parker in the old 50’s TV show, Davey Crockett, first sparked his interest in shooting muzzleloaders.  In the early 70’s, he bought his first real muzzleloading rifle and started to make all of the things needed from shooting to shelter.

Around 1975, he made his first powder horn, and as they say, the rest is history.

Traditional and Contemporary Horns by Rick Froelich

Traditional and Contemporary Horns by Rick Froehlich 

Discription of the these three horns. Top: From art called “Duck hunters”.  With man, son and dog in marsh.  (M) Settler man being attack by bear and this three dogs attacking bear.  (B) Winged Death Skull,  18th century tombstone and accutrement  symbol design.

Today, Rick is a custom powder horn maker who has horns in just about every state and a few other countries.

He enjoys making the engraved horns of the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary War.

Revolutionary War style by Rick

Revolutionary War style by Rick

Interesting horns with copper at the base.

Interesting horns with copper at the base.

Detail of Rick's engraving

Settler man being attack by bear and this three dogs attacking bear.

Eagles are always a popular motif

Eagles are always a popular motif. Look at the scroll work


Hudsons Bay Traders with Indian


Rick loves to make flat horns.

Rick loves to make flat horns.

Horn cup by Rick Froehlich

Horn Mug (commissioned) by Rick Froehlich


Seneca Chief Corn Planter  (18th century)

Learning from other craftsmen in the trade is a big part of his journey.  The best part about our friend, Rick is that he loves to help new craftsmen get started in this fun and interesting hobby of powder horn making.


The horn making craft has come a long way in the last 40 years.  Today we are lucky to have a vast array of supplies and materials available. Also research resources to study so we can accurately learn and practice the craft.

The best way to contact rick is;

Edited by Linda Shorb

Kevin Hart of Oregon, Featured Artist

August 30, 2014

Kevin Hart writes:
As a young boy, I remember two things that interested me most. One was movies or television that had something to do with flintlock rifles and the frontier. The other was listening to my parent’s records. Two of my favorite movies to this day were ones that I saw when very young.Tansel  b
They are “Across the Wide Missouri” staring Clark Gable and “The Big Sky” with a young Kirk Douglas, Dewey Martin & Arthur Hunnicutt as the wise old free trapper. At that time Arthur Hunnicutt was my favorite actor and still is to this day. Of course, spending time in front of the television with my brothers watching “Davy Crockett” and “Daniel Boone” also played a major influence on me later in life as well. Westerns were always a favorite, but the movies that dealt with trappers, Native Americans, flintlocks rifles and black powder were what I always wanted to watch.

Detail on the Hart Ledger Horn

Detail on the Hart Ledger Horn

I grew up smack dab in the middle of Los Angeles which is not very ideal for a young man wanting to explore the outdoors and experience what’s beyond the next mountain range. Following high school, I attended Los Angeles City College for two years, then moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico and finished college with a Communications Degree. My chosen field at the time was Radio and over that time period worked as an announcer for 3 different stations. It just so happened that I walked into a small gun store and was surprised to see that all they sold were black powder rifles and related accoutrements of the fur trade. This greenhorn couldn’t get enough stories and spent many hours sitting around the pot belly stove in that store listening to the many windies those boys could tell. Well, my passion was reborn. I bought my first black powder rifle then and haven’t looked back since. I eventually moved back to the Los Angeles area and went back to school two separate times and got in on the ground floor of the Telecommunications boom in the 1980s.

Hart Tansel 13 05 A

Cup that goes with the Tansel Horn

Cup that goes with the Tansel Horn

I met my wife Debbie during this time period and after a few years living in Santa Monica, CA we were able to purchase a nice mountain home located about an hour north of Valencia, CA. Two great kids came along but unfortunately the two hour drive down from paradise to work each day and back was difficult so after 6 years on the mountain, we moved back down in amongst them again. I had always had the dream of living in Oregon, and was finally able to transfer north in the mid 1990s and in 2003 I retired.

04 Top White

While living in New Mexico I attended local rendezvous and the same was true in California. One of my favorite rendezvous was 1982’s NMLRA/NAPR rendezvous held in the Uinta Mountains of Utah. Daily work and family commitments for many years superseded time at rendezvous so we were limited to smaller weekend events. Since the 2000’s I have had the great pleasure of attending with my brother Allen, many PPR (Pacific Primitive Rendezvous) events in Washington, Utah, Idaho, California and of course my home state of Oregon.

05 Eagle stained

In addition to the fur trade, one of my other passions is antique furniture from the Arts & Crafts period. In my late teens, I restored my first of many tiger oak pieces and eventually I began crafting and selling Arts & Craft recreations such as clocks, framed tiles and small furniture pieces. It seemed that I was always in need of some added accouterments for my persona, which led me to start making cases for black powder firearms, powder horns and other items.

Pistol Box and accessories by Keven Hart

Pistol Box and accessories by Keven Hart

The many great books and videos available today really helped me believe I could make the items I needed instead of purchasing them which helped improve my art greatly. My thanks go out to all the many artists who through personal instruction, books and videos shared their knowledge with me and others so that our American Tradition can continue.

You can reach him at

Keven Hart

Keven Hart

“Freemason Horn, Problems and All” by Kevin Hart

March 13, 2014

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 Keven Hart

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. . .

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

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.

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

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

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

Left side:

In the white

In the white

Left side: All seeing eye over cartouche with inscription, & level

Left side: All seeing eye over cartouche with inscription, & level

Right Side:

Right Side In the White

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.

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

Base plug with an aged turned copper finial

This horn with the owner’s name engraved is available from Kevin Hart.

Scott and Cathy Sibley Featured Artists

May 29, 2013

Scott and Cathy are featured on the Contemporary Makers Blog by Art and Jan Riser.

They were also featured on my email and on my website.

Scott Sibley at his ranch

Scott Sibley at his ranch

Scott writes for the website Kentucky Longrifles:

I had a great interest in History as a youngster. Living on a dairy farm there was the occasional de-horning of cows and bulls. This gave me a few small horns in with to make BB horns and Pellet horns. I carved myself a flintlock rifle out of a pine board and spent many hours entertaining myself with that and a horn to go with it.

Cathy Sibley

Cathy Sibley

In 1969 I met Cathy, we graduated from high school.  In 1971 we married and I joined the service. While in the service I got my hands on a Green River Rifle Works Leman kit. I assembled it and I needed a horn. A trip to a slaughter house in Boise Idaho provided me with several. I made the horn and one day was scratching on it when Cathy said, “that looks like fun” I handed her a horn and said “sand it down and try it” From that day on my partner became my horn engraver. We fooled and fiddled with a few horns and in 1976. We discovered Rendezvous  We went to one and were told “You kids should make those things and sell them” We were on our way.

Early 1998  horn by Scott and Kathy Sibley

Early 1998 horn by Scott and Kathy Sibley

Horns and scrimshawed Jewelry, as well as my hunting skills, put food on the table and helped pay the bills during my 5 years of college. Upon graduation I had a job in a long away, remote Eskimo village on the west coast of Alaska. My partner and I prepared for our departure to the Last frontier. In our “stuff”, there was my limited supply of tools and a box of horns.

Scott Sibley at his work table

Scott Sibley at his work table in Wyoming

“Strange things are done in the Midnight sun” Cathy and I wanted no part of that and so we stayed at home. I worked on horns and Cathy decorated them for me. We sent completed horns to a friend in Kentucky who was heavily involved in muzzleloading and he found new homes for them.

Kathy Sibley at her work table

Kathy Sibley at her work table in Wyoming

Life in an Eskimo village was unlike anything either of us had experienced. It brought us face to face into the pages of “National Geographics LIVE” We adapted and thrived. Living in our semi truck trailer stacked on 55 gallon oil barrels we made horns, carved fossilized Ivory and I found a new hobby, Selling furs to the Eskimos. I became “The White Whale fur man” “Ithpuk Gusiak”  While walking down the frozen tundra one day I had a revelation, Here in 1979, I was living as close as I could to the 18th century without leaving the country for Asia or Africa.. After that living there, surviving and prospering became a badge of honor for both of us.

Nathan Perry (ancestor) and his discharge papers. Auctioned at the CLA Show 2012

Nathan Perry (ancestor) and his discharge papers. Auctioned at the CLA Show 2012

We stayed for 10 years, leaving in the summers to briefly attend a rendezvous along the way to visit our families in Michigan. All this time our interested in history never ceased and I got into genealogy  I discovered my Great Grand father had been at Gettysburg on Little Round Top and was wounded. I found his Grand Father, Nathan Perry, had served for 8 years in the Continental Army. I found that just under 100 Sibley men had fought for freedom and Liberty during the American Revolution. My horn making took on new dimensions and a new meaning to me. With every one I was making a “tribute” to those who served. To me ,being a DAV, this is especially meaningful.

Wyoming sunset

Wyoming sunset

After the Civil War, my great grandfather didn’t go home, he sat off on a journey of the American West that went on till he died in 1915. His son and his ex wife had went on their separate ways several years earlier. “The old Captain was a hard and bitter man” My Great Grand Mother died, and then my grandfather died in 1917. The only 2 boys to be heirs to this history became step children with no idea of their real family name. I am glad to have dug it up and in finding my Grand fathers grave in central Wyoming I myself have found a home.

I look at my horn making and can rationalize that I am involved in it for a reason.

For the 2013 West Coast Horn Fair, Scott donated an “antiqued” Southern Banded Horn.

Southern Banded Horn by Scott Sibley

Southern Banded Horn by Scott Sibley

Scott and Cathy are the authors of two Best Sellers. The were one of the first to publish a book on building powder horns. Their second book is Building The Southern Banded Horn.

Building the Southern Banded Horn

Building the Southern Banded Horn

Recreating the 18th Century Powder Horn

Recreating the 18th Century Powder Horn

Featured Artist – Craig Cox – Wye Mountain Trading Company

August 4, 2012

Craig is a native to Arkansas where he lives with his wife Shy and two sons, Mason (16) and Conner (13).

Craig Cox and Sons

Craig Cox and Sons

The outdoors, history and two sons soon led to the first Rendezvous. The first powder horn was a primitive map scrimshawed with a knife of the first Rendezvous for his oldest son Mason. From there the horns began to progress a little more each time.

Craig set up at an event

These have been gifts to family and friends.

Regaining history through these horns has become a passion for Craig. Craig tries to pay respect to history and creates his horns based on history or artifacts. A journey, event, place or person’s story in history is retold in each horn. A map to a Rendezvous, Benjamin Franklin’s Join or Die, the battle of Yorktown,

Port Royal horn

and the loss of the pirates’ haven at Port Royal have been retold in horns by Craig.

Craig and his sons also work with leather and have begun blacksmithing. Craig has made hunting pouches, a purse for his wife and recently a purse for Ms. Katey Sagal of “Sons of Anarchy”. Mason is the oldest son and the most artistic of the family with his drawings.

Franklin Join or Die Horn

Franklin Join or Die Horn

Mason has begun making powder horns and has the ability to make a name for himself with his artwork. Conner has taken a fearless liking to blacksmithing. Conner’s first project was making a blade from a railroad spike. Not wanting to start small, he relentlessly beat the metal into his first blade.

Map Horn

Purse for Ms. Katey Sagal of “Sons of Anarchy”

Wye Mountain Trading Company was established for the Rendezvous and in hopes of a future brick and mortar store on the mountain. You can reach Craig and the boys at

Rick Froehlich Horn Maker

January 11, 2012
Rick was one of the many people that helped us organize The West

Rick Froehlich

Coast Horn Fair. 

The Contemporary Makers Blog featured Rick in March 2011. 

My name’s Rick Froehlich and I have been making powder horns and related horn items since about 1975, when I started attending and participating in many local and national muzzleloading events with my wife and four sons. 

I have always been pretty good in making about anything that I put my mind to and always have enjoyed studying and researching many of the early American skills and arms. 

Rum Horn

Rum Horn Buffalo

I decided to start researching and seeking out examples in museums and a few private antique arms collections, as well as having the opportunity to sit down and talk with experts on the subject of powder horns while attending national rendezvous and other events. 

West Coast Horn Fair Prize 2011

I am a member in THE HONOURABLE COMPANY OF HORNERS and a moderator on the HORNERS BENCH website forum. Today, there are many new folks starting out making horns and we always enjoy seeing new people!

Froehlich Ye Hunter Horn

I have always felt that, “Getting something from a friend …is getting a part of that person’s life!”

Scott Morrison Featured Artist

January 7, 2012

Scott is a good friend and has been a great help in getting the first annual West Coast Horn Fair up and running.  I deeply appreciate all the help Scott unselfishly gave to make it the success it was.  Here is a little about this talented horner.  The rest of his story can be found on our website.

Scott Morrison of the Willamette Valley Oregon

I (Scott Morrison) am 55 years old and live in the mid Willamette Valley of Western Oregon.

I’m a relative newcomer to the sport of black powder shooting, having started in 2006 when I purchased a Lyman Great Plains rifle kit to assemble. My “first” horn was one I assembled from a kit, which was basically installing the mahogany base plug and securing it with brass pins. I did customize the horn, carefully filing four flats on the tip, afraid the whole time that I would break through. In May, 2007, I took a one day workshop on making French and Indian War period powder horns, taught by California horner Steve Vance. This one day class was a turning point in my life as I fell in love with making powder horns. My first horns were made for my two children to use when at our black powder club. Once you’ve made one though you cannot stop and I started making horns for family and friends, trying different techniques and improving my art.

What I enjoy most about working with horn is discovering and bringing forth the shape that is hidden within. I like to tell people that a horn will let me know what it wants to be and my job is to make that happen. Sometimes I’m successful and achieve what I strive for, bringing out the beauty in a horn.

Northwest Coastal Indian theme

One of the most inspired horns I have done was for a customer in Alaska. He wanted the horn to be a Chinook salmon, and after some discussion we settled on a Northwest Coastal Indian theme. I used a rather extremely oval horn with a lot of curve and fitted it with a cherry base plug. No attempt was made to round the horn and the oval cross-section was kept. The base plug was carved into the head of a fish with Inuit design. Native designs also were engraved on the horn body and the spout plug was a fish tail, also carved from cherry. In 2009 I took the horn to Dixon’s Muzzleloading Fair in Pennsylvania, entering it into competition. The horn was quite a sensation at the fair and it came away with three ribbons.

I continue to improve my craft and explore new ways and styles with my focus currently being the Southern banded horns of Virginia and North Carolina. I don’t like to recreate any particular original horn, but instead take inspiration from a variety of originals to incorporate into my design. I look for the unusual, some aspect of a horn that one doesn’t normally find, yet still retains the character of the style.

An example is an engraved North Carolina banded horn I recently completed. Engraving is not something normally found on the banded Southern horns, yet the 1803 original was engraved with a floral design. I replicated that engraving on my horn along with a scallop design from another Southern horn.

I am a member of the Honourable Company of Horners, having joined after finding an application to the guild in an order of horns I received from John and Linda. At Dixon’s, in 2009 and again in 2010, I spent most of my time there at the HCH table, meeting a lot of new and old friends.

I’m also a member of the Horner’s Bench, an internet forum dedicated specifically to horn work. This is one of (if not the) best online forums available. The members all share a unity of purpose: to freely promote working with horn and sharing their knowledge. It definitely is a worthwhile forum to be a part of.

Most of the horn pictures featured here are all custom horns made for someone. Scott sometimes has both the plainer and a few fancier engraved horns available for sale!

Contact Scott at

Artist of the Month Tammy Woods Moon

May 3, 2011
Tammy Woods

Tammy Woods, artist of the month

We are introducing Tammy Woods, our first female featured artist and horn maker.

She writes: I am 36 years year old. I’ve only been doing horn work for ‘lil over two years. I had found myself out of a job due to health problems (broke my back at 17) and needed funds. My ex-boyfriend introduced me to making horns. He had made a few powder horns and was able to

Tammy at work

educate me. My first was just a little rum horn. Carole at Track Of The Wolf offered me $80 for it and I was tickled. I have just been learning a little more as I go.

Due to my health it takes me a little while to do one, but I think they turn out really pretty (well most times anyway). I have been to a few rendezvous to talk with other Horners, and I

Engraved Cannons

really enjoy it. Now, that I have a new wood lathe (that I got for Christmas) it will help with my production. I have my chair set just for comfort.

The more events I go to, and the more originals I get to look at (and sometimes hold), the more I am learning how to get the feel for aging the horns I make. I have met many

Paneled Horn by Tammy Woods

great individuals willing to answer questions, or offer advice in my studies.

You can reach me at

Tammy also did a MicMac horn.  The MicMac were one of 6 of the Algonquin tribes in New

Mic Mac style horn by Tammy Woods

England and Canada. The designs on the “MicMac” horns were used by all of the 6 tribes, but for some reason these horns are known as MicMac horns. The designs are ancient.

There is an original horn with a MicMac design pictured in Jim Dresslar’s book, “The Engraved Powder Horn”.

Featured Artist of the month – Ed McDilda

February 9, 2011

My interest in shooting blackpowder rifles and history began as a child. If someone told me back then I would be making powder horns I would have laughed at them.

Ed McDilda Featured Artist of the Month December

Due to an injury three years ago, I was no longer able to continue with the job I was doing, which brought my love of history back to surface.

I started small at first, just dabbling here and there working on numerous things from quillwork to guns. It wasnt until I came across Scott Sibleys book on horn making that I discovered my love in making horns. After my first few attempts and some greatly appreciated guidance from a few great guys I met on line through some history forums I began to see how everything comes together to make a nice horn.

An unique horn project, a bottle made from horn. The bottom is a piece of flattened cow horn attached without any glue.

Without them and the support of a very special friend I dont believe I would be as far along in my horn making as I am which let me discover I truly love making Southern Style Horns and the occasional engraved horn.

A nice flattened powder horn with a screw tip


A nice little horn cup made with a piece of flattened horn for the bottom. No glue used in the construction of this cup.

So my thanks go out to John Shorb, Gary Elsenbeck, Jeff Bibb, Tim Crosby, Andrea Hudson, Scott Morrison and all the wonderful people I have met and talked with the past year in the Honorable Company of Horners, and The Horners Bench If you want you can contact me at

Featured Artist of the month – Dirty Hand

February 15, 2010

Flint and Steel Horns



Every newsletter has a featured artist of the month. We are posting the  artists on this blog for future access. (Our website will not hold all the previous artists)
One of the established horn artists on the west coast is none other than Dirty Hand. I am proud to call this fellow friend. Here is what he has to say about things.

I started seriously doing horn work about 10 or 11 years ago. I do the horns so that I can scrimshaw on them and am surely not one of the best horn smiths around. I found out that I enjoy making miscellaneous horn containers more than I do just making powder horns, and that these items sell more quickly than do powder horns.

Rum Horn

Rum horns and a side by side salt and pepper container are something I really enjoy making. I learned only recently, how to flatten horns and these work particularly well for salt and peppers and for spice horns as well. Another item I specialize in is flint and steel horns
using the example of one pictured in Madison Grant’s book on powder horns. I try to use only historically correct subjects but I sometimes “dress them up” from an artistic standpoint.

If you want to contact Dirty Hand, his email is

Spice Horn

Belt Horn