Artisan Book Series – Mark Elliott

I have been honored by the publication of a book about my life and work by the Contemporary Longrifle Association.  This book includes a longer  biography than I have included on this website and  high quality glossy color photos of my best work.   If you are a collector of my work, you will want to have this book to accompany your collection.

You can order the book for $20 directly from the Contemporary Longrifle Association at this link; https://store.longrifle.com/shop/cla-publications/artisan-book-series-mark-elliott/.

Embroidered Diary Case/Shot Pouch

I decided to try my hand at the embroidered diary case/shot pouch on pages 34-37 of Jim Webb’s book on shot pouches and powder horns of Southern Appalachia. This is my interpretation of that bag and I made it for myself.

I made a few changes.  I only put one extra layer of leather in the flap instead of the three of the original and only created one front pocket instead of the original two.   This reduced the number of layers of leather I had to sew through to a max of five.   I also used 2 oz veg tan cow hide instead of buckskin.   I used 6 oz veg tan cow hide for the strap.

It took a while to work out the pattern, but the shot pouch actually went together much easier than I expected. I cut out the leather very precisely making sure all the mating edges (and punched holes) lined up exactly. I punched all the holes for the embroidery and used my own design. Once the embroidery was done, I glued the pieces together along the edges using white glue. I think this was the key to being able to easily sew it all together; that and the precise matching of the holes.   In case you were wondering, the glue mostly dissolves away when the bag  was soaked in warm water to turn it.

The bag is stained with vinegar and iron. That was done right after the parts were cut out.  I like vinegar and iron because it is a traditional stain,  It stains through and doesn’t wash out.  I put a lot of Mink oil on the bag once it was all done and dried out.

By the way, the bag finished up a little under about 7″ x 7″.  The original was listed at 6 1/2″.

This bag is not for sale.  However, if you would want me to make you a little shot pouch like this one,  I would charge $550 for it plus $25 shipping and VA sales tax for VA residents.   You would, of course,  get a different embroidery design on the flap.   I would be open to suggestions.

If you like this, perhaps you might be interested in some of my other fraktur such as my Birth/Baptismal/Marriage Certificates or paintings.

Pouch 48 - Embroidered Diary Case/Shot Pouch - Full
Pouch 48 – Embroidered Diary Case/Shot Pouch – Full
Pouch 48 - Embroidered Diary Case/Shot Pouch - Flap
Pouch 48 – Embroidered Diary Case/Shot Pouch – Flap
Pouch 48 - Embroidered Diary Case/Shot Pouch - Inside
Pouch 48 – Embroidered Diary Case/Shot Pouch – Inside
Pouch 48 - Embroidered Diary Case/Shot Pouch - Back
Pouch 48 – Embroidered Diary Case/Shot Pouch – Back

On someone’s recommendation,  I decided to add a little banded southern horn to this pouch.     It is a left hand horn that is fairly straight  and was intended from the beginning to be carried on the right side.  Actually all the horns on my personal outfits are left hand horns carried on the right.   I always thought that worked the best.   It was only later that I learned that, historically, left had horns were carried on the left and right hand horns where carried on the right.

This horn (#56) is approximately 12″ around the outside curve, 10″ tip to tip (not including the stopper), with a base plug about 2.5″ in diameter.   The base plug is Cherry, the tip Axis deer antler, and the stopper Black Walnut.  The base plug is hollowed out about half it’s depth.

Pouch 48/ Horn 56 - Embroidered Diary Case/Shot Pouch with a small southern banded powder horn.
Pouch 48/ Horn 56 – Embroidered Diary Case/Shot Pouch with a small southern banded powder horn.

Late Flint Virginia Shot Pouch & Powder Horn

Late Flint VA Shot Pouch & Powder Horn
Pouch #16, Horn #14 – Late Flint VA Shot Pouch & VA Banded, Screw-tip Powder Horn

I made this shot pouch and powder horn for a Virginian headed south to the Texas fight for independence. It represents late flint pouch from the central Valley of Virginia, and is based on an example from Rockingham Co, VA as documented by Madison Grant in his book on hunting pouches. The horn is my standard Virginia, single banded, screw-tip powder horn.

This approximately 8″ x 8″ pouch is a three piece design of 3-4 oz vegetable tan cowhide consisting of a back, front, and flap. The back and flap are connected by a separate panel that is perforated at the top for the straps which are sewn inside. The pouch is not lined, as most original pouches were not, but it does include a small hanging pocket suitable for balls or other small items.  The bag is gusseted to increase the capacity; and all seams are welted which improves longevity. The flap and inside edge of the front panel are bound in goat or calf skin.  All my leather work is hand sewn with a saddle stitch using waxed linen thread.  The 6 oz  leather strap is 1″ wide and is adjusted with a plain forged iron buckle. There is also a leather keeper to keep the strap end neat. The pouch is stained with a vinegar and iron solution which results in a dark brown to blue/black color through the leather. This is a chemical stain; not a pigment. It will not wash out. The outside and part of the interior of the pouch is rubbed with Mink Oil and then brushed to protect the leather.

During the construction process, the leather and the finished pouch was distressed giving it a well broken in appearance. Almost all my work is slightly aged. Hopefully, those of you who are re-enactors will not be accused of being farb on my account.

Click and drag your mouse cursor horizontally across the image to spin the powder horn below. You can use you mouse wheel (scroll) to zoom in and out. You must zoom all the way out in order to spin the horn.
Shown below is a slightly larger version (approximately 9″x 9″) of the bag above made for a fowler paired with a plain southern powder horn.

Pouch 44/Horn 48 - Late Flint Virginia Shot Pouch with a Plain Southern Powder Horn.- Front
Pouch 44/Horn 48 – Late Flint Virginia Shot Pouch with a Plain Southern Powder Horn.- Front
Pouch 44/Horn 48 - Late Flint Virginia Shot Pouch with a Plain Southern Powder Horn.- Back
Pouch 44/Horn 48 – Late Flint Virginia Shot Pouch with a Plain Southern Powder Horn.- Back

You can obtain your very own pouch and horn outfit like the ones shown above for the following prices:

  • Late Flint Virginia Shot Pouch (as shown above) – $500 plus $25 shipping/insurance.
  • Powder Horn Hangers for Late Flint Virginia Shot Pouch – $15 (Option with a pouch order)
  • Add Decorative Tooling on the flap and front panel – $20 (Option with a pouch order)
  • A leather knife sheath added to the back or strap – $45 (Option with a pouch order – client must provide the knife)
  • Virginia Single Banded Screw-tip Powder Horn – $275plus shipping
  • Plain Southern Horn – $150 plus shipping

Shipping on a single item is $15. Shipping on an outfit is $25. I will collect VA Sales Tax for items shipping to VA residents.

To order a pouch or horn like the ones shown above, or to discuss a different project, use the Contact form to send me an e-mail. See FAQ for more information on purchasing custom work.

Fur Trade Era Hunting Pouch with Fraktur Embroidery Insert

The Face of God Fraktur

I decided that I wanted to combine my fraktur (18th & 19th Century German-American folk art) work with my leather work in some way.   Some sort of embroidery seemed the most sensible way to do it.   So, I decided to create an original fraktur design hand embroidered on a canvas insert in the flap of a Fur Trade era hunting pouch.   This hunting pouch (#36) is the result of that idea.   This is not a strictly historically correct pouch.   I have taken some creative license to pursue my artistic interests in fraktur.

The fraktur is titled the Face of God; representative of Jesus Christ (in the form of the peacock) as the human face of the trinity  (in the form of three tulips on each branch of the tree of life stemming from the heart of God) and the model for our lives.   It is stitched on natural cotton duck canvas using cotton embroidery floss.   About half the time to complete this pouch is in the  execution of the fraktur.  More pouches with different original hand embroidered fraktur are to follow.  That art work will be featured here.

The pouch itself is the best that I know how to make.   It is hand stitched using waxed linen thread out of 2-3 oz (new pouches will have 6 oz leather straps) vegetable tan cowhide, fully lined with a period red print, and incorporating rolled welts, rolled bindings, and a flap lining of calfskin.   The pouch is 8 1/2″ x 9″ overall with a main storage area that is about 5″ x 8″.   There is an internal pocket for small items.  The strap passes through the top of the apron and is stitched inside the pouch for the cleanest possible appearance.  The strap can be adjusted via a brass buckle to a maximum of 57″ top of bag to top of bag.   I will make the strap accommodate any buyer.

As with all my leather work, the leather is stained with the period correct vinegar and iron for a blue-black to dark brown finish.   Mink oil is put on top of that.   I have not aged this pouch in any way.  The wrinkles in the leather are just from turning it.

This pouch is sold, but the bespoke price for a similar pouch with a one of a kind embroidered insert is $950 plus $25 shipping/insurance and the applicable Virginia sales tax if shipped to a Virginia resident.

If you like this, perhaps you might be interested in some of my other fraktur such as my Birth/Baptismal/Marriage Certificates or paintings.

Bag #36 - Fur Trade Era Hunting Pouch with embroidered fraktur insert.
Bag #36 – Fur Trade Era Hunting Pouch with embroidered fraktur insert – The Face of God.
Bag #36 - Fur Trade Era Hunting Pouch with embroidered fraktur insert - Front
Bag #36 – Fur Trade Era Hunting Pouch with embroidered fraktur insert – The Face of God.- Front
Bag #36 - Fur Trade Era Hunting Pouch with embroidered fraktur insert - Back
Bag #36 – Fur Trade Era Hunting Pouch with embroidered fraktur insert – The Face of God.- Back
Bag #36 - Fur Trade Era Hunting Pouch with embroidered fraktur insert - Inside
Bag #36 – Fur Trade Era Hunting Pouch with embroidered fraktur insert – The Face of God.- Inside
Bag #36 - Fur Trade Era Hunting Pouch with embroidered fraktur insert - Inside
Bag #36 – Fur Trade Era Hunting Pouch with embroidered fraktur insert – The Face of God.- Inside

The God of Peace and Love

This pouch (#38) is identical to the one above (#36) in all ways except for the fraktur insert.   The insert is hand embroidered on natural cotton duck canvas using French made cotton embroidery floss.   The design is entitled “The God of Peace and Love.”

Photos of Pouch #38 are shown below.

Bag #38- Fur Trade Era Hunting Pouch with embroidered fraktur insert – The God of Peace and Love – Front
Bag #38- Fur Trade Era Hunting Pouch with embroidered fraktur insert – The God of Peace and Love – Back
Bag #38- Fur Trade Era Hunting Pouch with embroidered fraktur insert – The God of Peace and Love – Front
Bag #38- Fur Trade Era Hunting Pouch with embroidered fraktur insert – The God of Peace and Love – Inside
Bag #38- Fur Trade Era Hunting Pouch with embroidered fraktur insert – The God of Peace and Love – Inside

A Pouch for My Brother

This hunting pouch (#40) was created just for my brother.   He wanted the first bag I created above (#36), but spoke up a little too late.  That bag went fast.  The followup fraktur embroidery that I did wasn’t all that appealing to him.  So,  I created this one.   It has a similar symbology to the first pouch with a single peacock, front and center,  representing Christ as the human face of God.  The three tulips represent the Trinity.  I have just included a photo of the flap.   The rest is pretty much the same as the bags above.

Bag #40- Fur Trade Era Hunting Pouch with embroidered fraktur insert – Front

Fur Trade Era Shot or Hunting Pouches

Golden Age of Hunting Pouches

Fur Trade Era Hunting Pouch - Pouch #29 - Full Front
Fur Trade Era Hunting Pouch – Pouch #29 – Full Front

For many years I have concentrated on 18th century shot pouches and simple mountain shot pouches.   These are generally small and of simple construction.   Some may have been made by harness makers but most were home made.    When we get to the 19th century,   the shot pouch or hunting pouch became a larger and more sophisticated affair more likely to have been professionally made.  The golden age of the hunting pouch coincides with the American Fur Trade era of about 1816 to 1850.

Fur Trade Era Hunting Pouch - Pouch #29 - Full Back
Fur Trade Era Hunting Pouch – Pouch #29 – Full Back

This page features two similar Fur Trade Era hunting pouches with some sophisticated features.   Both  pouches feature a fringed welt and rolled bindings. The rolled bindings are along the edge of the flap and along the inside of the opening at the top of the front of the pouch.   The welts go where the front and back of the pouch attach to the gusset.    Both pouches have a  small internal pocket and a period printed fabric lining.   Additionally,  the straps pass through the apron at the top of the bag and attach to the inside of the pouch.  Both bags are made of 2-3 oz vegetable tanned cowhide or calfskin and 3-4 oz  (new pouches have 6 oz straps)  leather straps.

A Medium Single Hunting Pouch

This medium size single (one compartment)  pouch is about 8″ x 10″ overall, including the fringe.    The working part of the pouch is about 7″ x 7″.   The strap can usually be made up to at least 60″ and is adjusted with a brass buckle.    The flap has a little tooling on it.   I just couldn’t help but add a little decoration of a few diagonal lines.  I hope you agree that the whole bag has a very neat and professional appearance.

As are all my leather products, this pouch is hand stitched with waxed linen thread.    This bag is stitched at 8 stitches per inch.    I have used my standard vinegar and iron stain for a dark brown to black finish.   The bag is slightly aged and distressed.

Fur Trade Era Hunting Pouch - Pouch #29 - Back
Fur Trade Era Hunting Pouch – Pouch #29 – Back
Fur Trade Era Hunting Pouch - Pouch #29 - Front
Fur Trade Era Hunting Pouch – Pouch #29 – Front

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fur Trade Era Hunting Pouch - Pouch #29
Fur Trade Era Hunting Pouch – Pouch #29
Fur Trade Era Hunting Pouch - Pouch #29 - Inside
Fur Trade Era Hunting Pouch – Pouch #29 – Inside
Fur Trade Era Hunting Pouch - Pouch #29 - Inside Pocket
Fur Trade Era Hunting Pouch – Pouch #29 – Inside Pocket

A Small Single Hunting Pouch

Pouch #30 - A small Fur Trade Era hunting pouch - Front
Pouch #30 – A small Fur Trade Era hunting pouch – Front

Shown here is a slightly smaller version of the bag above.  I actually like the shape a little better.

Pouch #30 - A small Fur Trade Era hunting pouch - Back
Pouch #30 – A small Fur Trade Era hunting pouch – Back

This small single (one compartment)  pouch is about 7.5″ x 8″ overall, including the fringe.    The working part of the pouch is roughly  6″ x 4.5″.   The main compartment is just a little bigger than my hand.  The strap is up to about 55″ top of bag to top of bag and is adjusted with a brass buckle.   The strap can be shortened, if necessary,  for the eventual owner.

As are all my leather products, this pouch is hand stitched with waxed linen thread.    This bag is stitched at 8 stitches per inch.    I have used my standard vinegar and iron stain for a dark brown to black finish.   The bag is slightly aged and distressed.

Pouch #30 - A small Fur Trade Era hunting pouch
Pouch #30 – A small Fur Trade Era hunting pouch
Pouch #30 - A small Fur Trade Era hunting pouch - Inside
Pouch #30 – A small Fur Trade Era hunting pouch – Inside
Pouch #30 - A small Fur Trade Era hunting pouch - Inside Pocket
Pouch #30 – A small Fur Trade Era hunting pouch – Inside Pocket

Bespoke Pricing for Similar Fur Trade Pouches

  • Single Fur Trade Pouch (like #29 or #30)- $550 plus $25 shipping/insurance
  • Leather Powder Horn Hangers – $15 (Option with a pouch order)
  • Leather knife sheath attached to back of pouch – $35 (Option with a pouch order – client must provide knife)

Use the Contact Form to let me know if you would like to have a pouch made like #29 or #30.

Southern Mountain Shot Pouches & Powder Horns

Southern Heart Shaped Shot Pouch

Heart shaped southern mountain shot pouch and powder horn
Bag #11, Horn #7 – Full Front
Heart shaped southern mountain shot pouch and powder horn
Bag #11, Horn #7 – Full Back

Most of the southern mountain shot pouches shown on this page were copied from Jim Webb’s book Sketches of Hunting Pouches, Powder Horns, and Accoutrements of Southern Appalachia. I made the first, heart shaped, shot pouches pictured here exactly as shown on pages 18-19; approximately 7.5″wide x 7.5″ high, using 3-4oz  (straps on the new bags are 6 oz) vegetable tanned cowhide and linen thread.This shot pouch design consists of a one piece back and flap with a front panel attached via a 1″ gusset that goes around the entire pouch and attaches to the strap.  The strap can  generally be cut up to at least 60″ top of bag to top of bag.

Back of heart shaped southern mountain shot pouch
Bag #11, Horn #7 – Back

The shot pouch is assembled such that the flesh sides are stitched together without a welt, and the bag is not turned. This results in the gusset folding inward. It is an unusual arrangement, but that is how the original was constructed. I used an iron buckle on the strap to allow for seasonal adjustment. The leather was stained with vinegar and iron. The strap is about 60″ and can be shortened as much as necessary just by punching new holes for the buckle.

Southern mountain shot pouch and powder horn
Bag #11, Horn #7 – Front

The attached powder horn is based on several original powder horns from Southwest Virginia. It is about 13″ around the outside curve with a 2 1/2″ base plug. This seemingly simple horn has carved integral rings and is as much work as a banded, applied-tip horn. It is hand filed and scraped with a turned walnut base plug attached using hand forged nails. A turned walnut stopper finishes the horn. The horn is dyed yellow with aquafortis and appropriately aged.

Below is a heart shaped pouch with a slightly different horn.  This horn has an turned applied collar instead of integral rings, and is based on the horn on pages 228-229 in Jay Hopkins book Bone Tipped and Banded Horns.    It is about 12 1/2″ around the outside curve with a 2 1/4″ base plug.   

Bag #24, Horn #24 - A powder horn with a turned base plug and a applied turned collar - Front
Bag #24, Horn #24 – A powder horn with a turned base plug and a applied turned collar – Front
Bag #24, Horn #24 - A powder horn with a turned base plug and a applied turned collar - Back
Bag #24, Horn #24 – A powder horn with a turned base plug and a applied turned collar – Back
 

Below are two heart shaped shot pouches with plain powder horns  that are much more typical of what you would find in the southern mountains.  The bottom outfit uses linen cord and chain to attach all the accouterments, much as it would have in the period.

Pouch #27 and Horn #28 - A typical southern shot pouch and powder horn outfit.
Bag #27,  Horn #28 – A heart shaped shot pouch with a plain carved throat powder horn
Horn #3 - Bag #8 -  A plain southern powder horn attached by linen cord to a Southern heart shaped shot pouch.
Bag #8, Horn #3 – Another heart shaped shot pouch with a very plain powder horn

Typical One Piece Shot Pouch

Bag #25, Horn #29 - Typical Mountain Shot Pouch & Powder Horn
Bag #26, Horn #29 – Typical Mountain Shot Pouch

This is a very typical one piece rectangular shot pouch based on the one shown on pages 14-15 of Jim Webb’s book. It is just one piece of leather stitched up the sides with a welt and then turned inside out. I added the welt since the pouch was to be turned. The original did not have one. The pouch measures about 7″ wide by about 8″ high.  The strap can generally  be cut up to at least 60″ top of bag to top of bag.

The attached horn (#29) is very similar to Horn #24 shown above.    It has a turned base plug and an turned, applied collar.  It is about 13 1/2″ around the outside curve (button to stopper) with an approximately  2 1/8″ base plug.   

The pouch body and strap are made from 3-4 oz (new pouches have 6 oz straps) vegetable tanned cowhide.   An iron buckle is used for strap adjustment.   The leather is stained with vinegar and iron for a blue-black color and finished with mink oil and black shoe polish.  

Bag #25, Horn #29 - Typical Mountain Shot Pouch
Bag #26, Horn #29 – Typical Mountain Shot Pouch
Bag #25, Horn #29 - Typical Mountain Shot Pouch & Powder Horn
Bag #26, Horn #29 – Typical Mountain Shot Pouch

Small Two Piece Shot Pouch

Bag #25, Horn #27 - An outfit for a southern squirrel rifle
Bag #25, Horn #27 – An outfit for a southern squirrel rifle

This shot pouch is shown on pages 16-17 of Jim Webb’s book.  It is a very simple two piece (back with flap, and front)  pouch flat sewn along the bottom and up the sides  with a brass button holding the flap closed.  It is little under  7″ wide  x 6″ high.   It is basically just large enough for your hand, and I would only expect to  carry a few balls, some patch material, and maybe a measure and a couple flints.      I imagine it being carried with a squirrel rifle and paired it with a very small banded screw-tip horn for just a few shots.   

The horn is about 10 1/2″ around the outside curve (staple to stopper) with a base plug about 2 1/8″ in diameter.  It is straight so it can be correct as either a left or right hand carry, and has been setup as a right hand carry.  I figure it might hold 10 shots worth of powder for a small caliber rifle.   

The pouch body and strap are made from 3-4 oz (new pouches have 6 oz straps) vegetable tanned cowhide.   An iron buckle is used for strap adjustment.   The strap can generally  be cut up to at least 60″ top of bag to top of bag.   The leather is stained with vinegar and iron for a blue-black color and finished with mink oil and black shoe polish.  

Bag #25, Horn #27 - An outfit for a southern squirrel rifle
Bag #25, Horn #27 – An outfit for a southern squirrel rifle
Bag #25, Horn #27 - An outfit for a southern squirrel rifle
Bag #25, Horn #27 – An outfit for a southern squirrel rifle

Pillow Ticking and Leather Pouch

Shown here is a very practical pouch made from pillow ticking and a bit of leather for the flap.   The bag is approximately 8″x 10″ and fully lined in that there are no raw edges showing on the inside.   A leather reinforcement has been placed on the inside of the bag and stitched to the flap.   The leather strap is stitched to the flap and internal reinforcement and is adjusted by an iron buckle.  

Pouch #31 - Pillow ticking and leather pouch - Front
Pouch #31 – Pillow ticking and leather pouch – Front
Pouch #31 - Pillow ticking and leather pouch - Back
Pouch #31 – Pillow ticking and leather pouch – Back
Pouch #31 - Pillow ticking and leather pouch - Front
Pouch #31 – Pillow ticking and leather pouch – Front
Pouch #31 - Pillow ticking and leather pouch - Inside
Pouch #31 – Pillow ticking and leather pouch – Inside

Bespoke Pricing for Shot Pouches & Powder Horns

Bespoke Pricing for items like the ones shown above is as follows:

  • Southern Heart Shaped Shot Pouch (like #11) – $150 plus shipping
  • Southern One Piece Shot Pouch (like #26) – $140 plus shipping
  • Small Two Piece Shot Pouch (like #25)- $135 plus shipping
  • Pillow Ticking and Leather Pouch (like #31) – $135 plus shipping
  • Leather Powder Horn Hangers – $15 (Option with a pouch order)
  • Leather sheath for a small knife attached to back of pouch – $45 (Option with a pouch order – client must provide knife)
  • Leather sheath for a large rifleman’s knife to be hung from a belt – $85 (client must provide knife)
  • Plain Southern Powder Horn with a flat base plug (with staple)  and  a simple carved throat and spout (like #3 or #28) – $150 plus shipping
  • Southern Powder Horn with a Turned Base Plug, and a carved throat and spout with integral rings (like #7)  – $275 plus shipping
  • Southern Powder Horn with a Turned Base Plug and a  applied collar (#24 or #29) – $200 plus shipping.
  • Multiple Banded Screw-tip Powder Horn (like #27) – $275 plus shipping
  • Tin Powder Measure, Whipped Brush and Pick set (as shown with Bag #11) – $55

Priority shipping and insurance on a single item is $15. Shipping on an outfit is $20.  Shipping of the high value items is $25.  I will collect VA Sales Tax for items shipping to VA residents.

If you would like something similar to what is shown on this page, or even something completely different, use the Contact form to send me an e-mail. See FAQ for more information on purchasing custom work.

The availability of any particular horn design depends on the availability of an appropriate unfinished horn in my inventory.

I try to make all my recreated shot pouches and horns look used. That means adding wrinkles, puckers, perhaps some cracks, and a bit of dirt and oil.  I leave normal blemishes in the leather that add some character.

Right or Left Hand Carry?

What is right or left hand carry?  Simply, it is the side of the body on which a horn is intended to be worn.  Historically,  a curve of the tip to the left as viewed from the top is a right hand carry horn and also from the right side of the cow.   A curve of the tip to the right would historically  be a left hand carry horn and from the left side of the cow.   If there is no significant curve of the horn as viewed from the top, then the horn can be easily worn on either side with no conflict.   Most horns have so little curve it really doesn’t matter much and the modern pattern of carry is frequently opposite of the historical pattern.

Carrying a horn on the same side of the body as it came from the cow results in the tip pointing toward the body and the base pointing away from the body.   I also like the base of the horn to point toward the body, as do many modern wearers, so I usually use the opposite side horn and rotate it about 90 degrees so that both the tip and the base of the horn point into the body.    This makes a horn from the left side of the cow into a powder horn you can carry on the right side of the body.     This is my personal preference, but not generally historically correct.  Historically,  powder horns were usually carried on the same side of the body as they came from on the cow.   If you want to be completely historically correct,  you need to understand that.

Sometimes a horn that is technically a left hand horn might wrap around the body better on the right hand side and vice versa.    So,  in describing a horn,  I will tell you whether a horn is historically a left hand or a right hand.  Then I will tell you on which side the horn was built to be carried,  if it is different.    I will also try to include a photo from the top of the horn so you can see the curve for yourself.     On which side you actually carry a horn, that is up to you.

 

Early Virginia Shot Pouch & Powder Horn

Early VA shot pouch and powder horn
Bag #10, Horn #6 – Full Front (Click for larger image)

Shown here is an outfit that I made for myself consisting of an early Virginia shot pouch and a Virginia banded, screw-tip powder horn. Most of the shot pouches made these days are relatively complicated affairs using designs from the early to middle 19th century. If you want a shot pouch that is proper for the 18th century, take a close look at this shot pouch and powder horn.  I put together an outfit that I felt would be proper for 1775 on the Virginia frontier.

There are very few examples of shot pouches from the 18th century.  So, I was fortunate to be able to study an original early Virginia shot pouch that matches the size and construction of another published (Clash of Empires exhibition catalog, p. 30) pouch known to date to the period of the French and Indian War.  This original Virginia shot pouch was documented by Wallace Gusler in the December 2009 Muzzle Blasts(pp. 4-8).

The original one piece pouch is square at the bottom (although the corners look rounded due to use) and stitched up the sides with a very fine stitch very close to the edge. A divider that is open at the bottom serves as a welt between the front and the back of the bag. A pewter flap button is anchored to a stag horn button on the inside of the pouch. The stag horn button was covered by a round piece of leather that served to prevent the user’s hand from catching on the button. The flap extends approximately halfway down the front of the bag and has a slight beaver tail shape with a welted edge.

Early VA Shot Pouch & Powder Horn
Bag #10, Horn #6 – Front (Click for larger image)

The original bag did not have a strap attached and was missing part of the leather at one attachment point. However, there was evidence of a strap stitched to one side and a button hole on the other side. Actually, it was just a rough cut hole through which two buttons might have been tied to each other. Wallace Gusler indicated in his article that he believed two linked buttons (as in a cufflink) connected the strap to the bag using the button hole. The hole on the original pouch went through the welt and front of the bag as the back was torn away at that spot. I believe, the button was originally placed on the inside of the back and eventually pulled through tearing the back. That is why I did not run the button hole all the way through all three layers of leather on my recreation of the pouch.

I have made a number of hunting pouches based on this original. I have generally maintained the size and shape but varied the construction (i.e. external vs. internal stitching), the type of strap (i.e. leather vs. woven) and the type of attachment (i.e. location and number of buttons) for the strap. The original pouch actually appears to have rounded corners due to wear, and I made several copies that way before I realized that it was an optical illusion. Even in this very close copy, I still rounded the corners slightly in order to give the bag a finished look.

Not having Russia leather (a thin, textured, red dyed leather commercially available in the 18th century for upholstery work) which was most likely used to create the original, I created my copy of the original using 3-4 oz (may use 2-3 oz for some parts and 6oz for the strap) vegetable tanned cowhide which I stained using aqua fortis to give a dark brown color.  I normally use vinegar and iron as a stain on my bags which usually gives more of a blue-black color. This bag is approximately the same size as the original at about 7″ square.  Just like the original, this pouch has a center divider as the welt and is stitched up the sides. In Bag #10, I rolled and hemmed the edge of the flap instead of using a welted edge. I now make these bags using a welted flap just like the original. I maintained the same flap button attachment as the original with an internal horn button used as an anchor for the external pewter flap button.    A leather cover is sewn over the internal button to prevent the hand from catching on it.

Bag #10, Horn #6 - Back
Bag #10, Horn #6 – Back (Click for larger image)

As for the strap, I attached it in a manner as close to the original as I could ascertain. One end of the strap is stitched to the right side (as worn on the right side), and the other end is attached to
the bag using a single small pewter button anchored to another small pewter button on the inside of the pouch. The strap may then be seasonally adjusted using buttonholes in the end of the strap. I usually only cut one set (strap and powder horn hangers) of button holes for the requested strap length, but more holes can be cut as required to adjust the strap.

Early VA shot pouch front panel decoration
Bag #10 – Front Decoration (Click for larger image)

The original pouch was decorated with stamped stars, some forming the initials of the owner. Consequently, I made a matching stamp to decorate my pouch. However, I decided to get a little fancier with a more refined design. I added diagonal lines reminiscent of English checkering patterns. On the bags shown below, I used the same stamp to create the owners initials and to do a Sun, Moon, and stars motif. In fact, I liked the Sun, Moon, and stars design so much, I used it on two bags, one of them is shown below.

Early VA banded, screw-tip powder horn
Early VA banded, screw-tip powder horn; Horn #6 (Click for larger image)

I attached to the bag a Virginia single banded screw-tip horn that is similar to an original dated 1774.  The horn is approximately 15″ around the outside curve with a 2 3/4″ base plug. The base plug and stopper are turned walnut with the base plug attached with wooden pegs. The screw-tip and band are horn. The screw-tip is dyed to match the walnut. Hand forged staples are installed in the the base plug and throat for the attachment of the hangers. The hangers are attached to the bag strap with buttons just as the strap is attached to the bag. This attachment method is purely conjecture on my part, but I think it makes sense to be able to adjust the hanger attachment location as the strap length is adjusted. The horn is dyed yellow with aqua fortis and appropriately aged.

I distress the leather on most of my pouches to give them a used appearance. That means adding wrinkles, scuffs and scratches as well as a coat of black shoe polish to simulate a little dirt and grime. I try not to overdue it so that the function of the bag is compromised. I don’t generally distress the leather to be used on a bag that is to be highly tooled.

You might think that this bag is too small at about 7″ square.  I can assure you that it is not.   Period documentation indicates that most longhunters carried hunting pouches of this size.  They would just carry what they needed to shoot the gun. This generally meant a bullet mold, some bullets, patches, tow, and a wiper. A powder horn and powder measure with a vent pick and brush were generally hung from the strap.

In my bag, I keep some tow, a strip of pre-lubricated pillow ticking for shooting patches, five balls, two flints wrapped in leather, and a turn screw of a type typically used with muskets.  A turn screw would not have normally been found in an original hunting pouch as a longhunter would most likely have used their knife to turn the screws on their gun. However, being a gunsmith, I just can’t bring myself to risk tearing up my screw heads like that. All that said, this bag is plenty big for the listed items. I hang a pan brush, vent pick, and powder measure from either the pouch strap or powder horn hanger.  I made those from recycled tin plated steel from a cookie tin. I have attached small knife to the back of the pouch to use as a patch knife. The period longhunters would most likely have just carried a store bought butcher knife in their belt.  This is certainly all you need for a day of hunting and more than you need to carry to the line when shooting at the range.

Shown below are four more pouch and horn outfits very similar to the bag shown above.   They are of the same basic design with different tooling. The bottom two outfits have a different type of early Virginia horn. Horn #21 was made to the client’s specification and is not based on a particular original. They all have a welted flap just like the original, and I am currently making all these style bags that way.

Please note that I no longer hang the powder horn as high as shown on the bags shown on this page.    I have found that the outfit works better if you hang the horn below the flap button so that you can open the flap without moving the horn out of the way.    I will, of course, hang the horn where you want with the hangers as long (or short) as you want.    I  have made the hangers all lengths but tend to think about 8″ is long enough.   You can just tip the horn up to pour the powder.    When you place an order for this outfit,  I will ask for your input on the length of the hangers and where you want the horn hung.

Bag #17, Horn #16
Bag #17, Horn #16; This bag is tooled with the initials of the owner.

Bag #18, Horn #17 with Sun, Moon & Stars motif.
Bag #18, Horn #17 with Sun, Moon & Stars motif.

Pouch #20 with Horn #20 - Early VA style shot pouch with an early VA style powder horn with a turned antler tip and turned base plug
Pouch #20 with Horn #20 – Early VA style shot pouch with an early VA style powder horn with a turned antler tip and turned base plug

Bag #21, Horn #21, with just flap tooling and a completely custom powder
Bag #21, Horn #21, with just flap tooling and a powder horn with a screw-tip and a turned base plug with a band .

You can obtain your very own pouch and horn outfit like the ones shown above for the following prices:

  • Plain Early Virginia Shot Pouch (as shown above but without tooling) – $195 plus shipping
  • Powder Horn Hangers for Early Virginia Shot Pouch – $20 (Option with a pouch order)
  • Decorative Tooling on Early Virginia Shot Pouch – $20 (Option with a pouch order)
  • Leather knife sheath for customer provided knife – $45 (Option with a pouch order – customer must provide knife)
  • Virginia Banded, Screw-tip Powder Horn – $275 plus shipping
  • Virginia applied tip Powder Horn – $250 plus shipping
  • Tin Powder Measure, Brush and Pick set – $55

Priority shipping and insurance on a single item is $20. Shipping on an outfit is $25.   I will collect VA Sales Tax for items shipping to VA residents.

To order a pouch or horn like the ones shown above, or to discuss a different project, use the Contact form to send me an e-mail. See FAQ for more information on purchasing custom work. The availability of any particular horn design depends on the availability of an appropriate unfinished horn in my inventory.

Plain Southern Powder Horns

The vast majority of original powder horns were as plain as they could be and still be functional. That means a flat pine (or other softwood) base plug and little or no carving of the throat; just enough work to contain powder and attach a strap. Many times a screw was used to attach a strap to the base plug. A grooved or simply reduced throat is enough to tie a strap around it. The two powder horns shown just below are based on an original southwest Virginia horn and are a little fancier than most with a turned base plug and carved rings at the throat. Even so, it is still much plainer than the carved and engraved horns from the French and Indian War. This horn could also be made with a turned and applied collar instead of the integral rings. The horn would dictate how it is approached.

Horn #7 - Side
Horn #7 – A SW. VA style powder horn

Horn #19 - A SW. VA horn in the basic style of Horn #7.
Horn #19 – A SW. VA horn in the basic style of Horn #7.

Please note the raw linen cord used to attach the horn in the photo below.   Cord was often found on southern outfits.    The outfit show below is much more historically correct for a southern mountain rifle than many of the sophisticated shot pouches and powder horns being recreated today.    Most of the original powder horns and shot pouches were very simple affairs, well worn and patched together.   You will see horns completely covered in leather to patch a hole or holes rather than just throw it away.   Even something as simple as a plain powder horn could not be easily replaced in the southern mountains and was highly valued.

I will make any plain powder horn with a flat base plug and simply carved throat and spout for $150 plus shipping. A horn like #7 with a turned, flat or domed base plug and carved rings would cost $275 plus shipping.

To order a powder horn or discuss any other project, use the Contact form to send me an e-mail. See FAQ for more information on ordering custom work. The availability of any particular horn design depends on the availability of an appropriate unfinished horn in my inventory.

Horn #3 - Bag #8 - A plain southern powder horn attached by linen cord to a Southern heart shaped shot pouch laying on a flat surface.
Horn #3 – Plain southern powder horn, Bag #8 – Southern Heart Shaped Shot Pouch

Horn #4 - Plain southern powder horn, 10 3/4" outside curve, 2 1/2" dia. base plug
Horn #4 – Plain southern powder horn, 10 3/4″ outside curve, 2 1/2″ dia. base plug

Horn #4 - Top of plain southern powder horn with a wedding ring carved at the end of a bell shaped tip.
Horn #4 – Top – Plain southern powder horn

Horn #8 - Top of a plain southern powder horn wiht a large wedding band carved a the beginning of a bell shaped tip just above the throat.
Horn #8 – Top – Plain southern powder horn

Horn #8 - Plain southern powder horn, 10 1/4" outside curve, 2 3/8" dia. base plug
Horn #8 – Plain southern powder horn, 10 1/4″ outside curve, 2 3/8″ dia. base plug

Plain southern powder horn with octagonal shaped tip.
Horn #9 – Plain Southern Powder Horn, 11″ outside curve, 2 1/2″ dia. base plug

Top view of plain southern powder horn with an octacgonal tip.
Horn #9 – Top – Plain southern powder horn

Right or Left Hand Carry Powder Horns?

There are both right hand and left hand powder horns shown above.   The question is what does that mean.   It refers to the side on which you carry the horn.   The tip always points forward and should wrap around your body.    In other words, the tip should not jut out so that it can catch on a passing object.

Technically,  a curve of the tip to the left as viewed from the top is a right hand carry horn and also from the right side of the cow.   A curve of the tip to the right would technically be a left hand carry horn and from the left side of the cow.   If there is no significant curve of the horn as viewed from the top, then the horn can be easily worn on either side.   Most horns have so little curve it really doesn’t matter.

Sometimes a horn that is technically a left hand horn might wrap around the body better on the right hand side and vice versa.    So,  in describing a horn for sale,  I will tell you whether a horn is technically a left hand or a right hand.  Then I will tell you on which side the horn was built to be carried,  if it is different.    I will also try to include a photo from the top of the horn so you can see the curve for yourself.     On which side you actually carry a horn, that is up to you.

Custom Shot Pouches, Powder Horns, and Measure Sets

Bag #10, Horn #6 - Front
Bag #10, Horn #6 – Front

I make historically correct shot pouches and powder horns generally based on documented originals without being exact copies. These tend to be relatively plain affairs much like the originals. I particularly like making banded, screw-tip or applied tip powder horns.

See Portfolio/Pouches & Powder Horns for examples of my work.

To discuss a project and get a quote use the Contact form to send me an e-mail. I will e-mail or call to further discuss the project. Please see the FAQ for more information on purchasing custom work.  Check out Works for Sale for product currently in stock.