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powder horn stopper

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Getting some gear together and have a horn that needs a stopper plug. Pretty sure any old wood will do as a stopper but is there anything that was traditionally used for a stopper?

I have seen everything from a whittled wooden peg to what look like turned masterpieces.  I have found that a piano tuning peg works really well and will usually be too large so it is easy to sand it down and get a good fit.

The stoppers of higher quality horns usually were the same wood as the other end.  My reproduction horn was made by Jack Brooks and is a copy of a 18th Century horn.  It is curly maple.  I did see one original that was made from the tip of a deer antler and very well shaped in the same style as the ones in my photo.  I think the easiest thing to do is find a dowel you can fit to the horns opening and then glue a handle like those in the photo to the dowel.

The top stopper is an old violin tuning peg and the lower one is from my reproduction horn.  I have one other horn that has the same style stopper as well.  It is 19th Century we think and came from an Indian Reservation. 


thanks for teh info, are the stoppers usually lashed on with a lanyard?

Most originals I have seen are not lashed to the horn but it isn't a bad idea. 

It ain't a good idea, either.....main reason being, that if it's tied to the horn, you may forget to re-stopper the horn before firing the piece.  If that happens, especially with a flintlock & all the fireworks present when the lock fires....well, you can imagine the result if a stray spark sneaks into the open horn.  If you yank the untethered plug from the horn with your teeth and you forget to replace it....it will become readily apparent when you hoist the piece into the firing position and the plug gets in the way.  Don't believe it can happen?....I've seen it! :shocked:

The only bad part of this method is, that if you wear a beard you have to be careful not to get a stray whisker caught between the plug and the hole in the horn tip when you reinstall the plug.  I can tell you from personal experience that you will be more attentive to the possibility next time!  :lol:


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