The Peace Treaty of Westphalia which marked the end of Thirty Years' War was signed after eight years of negotiations. The agreement was signed between the Holy Roman Emperor on one side and France and Sweden with their allies on the other. The... Read more ...
The Peace Treaty of Westphalia
The Peace Treaty of Westphalia which marked the end of Thirty Years' War was signed after eight years of negotiations. The agreement was signed between the Holy Roman Emperor on one side and France and Sweden with their allies on the other.
The treaty was the beginning of a new political era in Europe, known as the Westphalian system. The Peace of Westphalia also made to end the Eighty Years' War.
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A special year for Norway, 2014 both marks the bicentenary of the Norwegian constitution and – perhaps slightly less celebrated – the beginning of the union with Sweden. This article presents the military black powder small-arms that were used in the 91 year long Norwegian-Swedish union 1814–1905.
Published: 15 November 2008 by Øyvind Flatnes.
Edited: 15 November 2008.
Making a powder horn is not difficult. To make a powder horn you need these tools: a cow horn, some files, a drill, a saw or hack saw, a piece of wood and glue.
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You can learn more about powder horns and black powder shooting in the brand new book From Musket to Metallic Cartridge: A Practical History of Black Powder Firearms.
Preparing the horn
The core will let go after a while. After boiling the horn must be hung away for 'de-smelling' since they will be smelling quite rotten for the next couple of weeks. Hang them high, because dogs seem to fancy the smell and consider the horns as a delicacy that is made to be chewn.
Making the powder horn
After the hole is drilled you can cut the horn to desired length. There is always superfluous material on a horn. To make the rear opening as round as possible you can boil the horn and place it on a coned piece of wood. I have turned a wooden cone on a lathe that I use for this purpose. After the horn is boiled it is soft and is easily formed by the cone. You should leave the horn on the cone for at least 24 hours. It needs to dry and if you remove it before it is properly dried it may go back to its original shape.
Before you insert a plug you may file, shape and polish the horn as you desire. I use files and sand paper. Electrical tools such as Dremel tools is not recommended when working with horns. It is said that the horn may crack from the vibrations of the tools.
The first powder horns I made had plugs which were hand filed to the shape of the horn. This is a time consuming process, and now I use a lathe to turn the plugs. This allows for perfectly round plugs that fits in a horn that has been rounded on a cone. Most tree species can be used. I have good experience with birch, oak, pine, maple, goat willow and European mountain ash.
It is smart to make the plug a little bit oversize. When you insert the plug you boil the horn first and when the horn is soft you force the plug into the horn. Secure it with nails. The old horns were made water tight by applying molten bee's wax between the horn and the plug. I usually use a good wood glue for this.
As a last finish I use fine grit sand paper. Wash the horn with hot water a couple of times between sanding for best finish. After I'm finished sanding I oil the horn with a thin layer of boiled linseed oil that is rubbed well into the horn. Vegetable oils such as olive and soybean oil may also be used. The wooden plug may be oiled with an appropriate wood finish.
Making a flat powder horn
Before I flatten the horns I give them arough finish. As the horn is going to be boiled soft it is an advantage that the walls of the horn are as thin as possible. Then you have to look for a proper press that can flatten the horn. A vise does the job if you have access to one. Betwen the jaws you must have two hard boards. Inside the horn you must have a piece of wood that is shaped like the internals of the flat horn. The thickness of this piece of wood becomes the thickness of the finished horn.
Before you flatten the horn it must be boiled to soften it. How long it should boil depends on the thickness of the horn. Thin walled horns require less boiling compared to thick. It does not take many minutes for the horn to start drying after it is taken up from the water, so you must act quickly. Insert the plug into the rear of the horn and with one board on each side of the horn, start to slowly close the vise jaws. Stop when the walls of the horn is touching the inner and outer wood pieces. Leave the horn in the press for at least 24 hours, or perhaps even more to be on the safe side. When you remove it from the press you trim it to desired length and drill a hole for the spout. After that you may even the sides of the horn with a flat file. Some prefer to wait with the finishing until the plug in the rear of the horn is inserted.
The wooden plug in the rear of the horn must be filed into shape. It is important that you don't boil the horn when you insert the plug on flat horns, because a consequence of boiling is that the horn returns to its natural shape.
Finish the horn by sanding it as described above.