Tuesday, February 20, 2018

A BOOK REVIEW: Bone Tipped & Banded Horns Regional Characteristics of Professionally Made Powder Horns by Jay Hopkins

May 31, 2017 by  
Filed under Book Review, Product Review

I asked my friend Mark Lewis of Tennessee to consider writing a review of this new book as Mark has an eye and insight for traditional and historic items. He realily agreeed. I am happy that he submitted this review….

Mark and Debbie LewisHere is a short bio of Mark and wife.  Mark & Debbie Lewis have been involved in the muzzleloading and Living History hobbies since the late 1970s.  What started out as a Kentucky Rifle kit from J.C. Penny’s soon blossomed into a lifelong passion for recreating historical objects and impressions.  Together they have participated in hundreds of events across the country spanning time periods from the 1750s to the 1940s.  They along with their sons Jason and Gabriel have provided historical music for numerous different venues over the years.  Debbie makes all of her own clothing, hats, and accessories.  Mark makes most of his leather accouterments and reworks virtually everything he buys to make it more historically correct and ascetically pleasing.
Since moving back to Tennessee from Florida four years ago they have focused on the 1780-1820 time period providing historical music and interpretation for the Jame K. Polk Home in Columbia and Historic Bledsoe’s Station in Castilian Springs.
Mark is currently pursuing his membership in the American Mountain Men.  While their sons have moved on, this duo still continues to make beautiful music together.


Building the Southern Banded Horn – A Book Review

Scott Sibley on the range in Wyoming.

Everybody involved in our hobby of making powder horns knows of Scott and Cathy Sibley for their carved and engraved 18th and early 19th Century style powder horns. And if one wants to build such a horn the go-to book is “Recreating the 18th Century Powder Horn.”

I love that book! When Scott and Cathy came out with “Building the Southern Banded Horn,” I had to have it. My first observation is that the new book compares very well with their previous one. If you liked the color photos and clear, concise descriptions in “Recreating the 18th Century Powder Horn,” you will not be disappointed in their new book, “Building the Southern Banded Horn.” The quality is great in this 125 page soft-bound book.

As a Prideful Southerner and horner, I like to think I know a thing or two about Southern banded horns. I have had the privilege in handling a few originals, seeing many and being tutored by some wonderful horn turners in the Southern tradition of banded horn making. While this book was not written by a Southerner, it could have been!  So I must say, while it would not hurt to be Southern, it is not a requirement to turn a Southern Banded Horn.

Right off, I like the fact that there is no “outboard turning” in this book. That is a big deal as a lathe outfitted to do outboard turning with very slow rpm settings is very expensive.  What that means is you can do all of your turning with a typical lathe with a Nova type chuck.

As we have come to expect from the authors, the reader is carried step-by-step from a tool list to the completed project. Wisely, Scott and Cathy did not repeat their antiquing process in this book; they used the space for new information.

I must mention that there is a picture of a very easily made accessory that holds the horn tip between the chuck and the dead-center. This is makes for a scar-free horn tip. This book has just the right amount of detail.

The book has many full-color photos of many original Southern horns as well as a gallery of Sibley built horns. (By the way, sometimes the Sibleys sell their finished horns online <<click here>> to see if any are available.)

I heartily recommend this book!

Thanks for reading,
Rick Sheets

1132 RD 7
POWELL, WY 82435

To order the book online, <<click here>>

Every Insult and Indignity: The Life Genius and Legacy of Major Patrick Ferguson

February 5, 2012 by  
Filed under Book Review, Gift Idea, Product Review

Ricky Roberts and Bryan Brown sporting their Ferguson Rifles at Loch Norman at the Highland Games 2010.

“Every Insult and Indignity”
The Life, Genius and Legacy of Major Patrick Ferguson by Ricky Roberts and Bryan Brown

I had the pleasure reading the  trade paperback version (with color photos and illustrations) of this new book by Ricky Roberts and Bryan Brown. It is 235 pages of lively information and photographs on the Ferguson rifle and it’s developer Major Patrick Ferguson. It is written in a very conversational manner as you would expect from these two old-school flintlock shooters and experimental archeologists!

What I really like about this book on the first “assault rifle” is the authors’ rigorous methods in their first-hand research on the care, loading and cleaning of the gun. They even have replicated Ferguson’s original testing for the Crown. Further, the book challenges our common belief of the boogeymen, Tarleton and Ferguson, during our Revolutionary War. What a read!

Finally, was the Ferguson Ordinance Rifle at The Battle of King’s Mountain? I am not sure, but read what Mr. Roberts and Mr. Brown have to say about that.

One thing is for sure, thanks to the efforts of the authors, Revolutionary War scholars will have a bit to think about and have to adjust what they say in the future.

Thanks for reading,
Rick Sheets

PS: I am pleased to announce that the definitive book on the Ferguson rifle is now available from Ricky Roberts and Bryan Brown. See www.everyinsultandindignity.com.

I hope you enjoy this one minute video of Ricky Roberts shooting the Ferguson Rifle.

Ricky Roberts Ferguson Rifle Timed Fire at King's Mountain National Military Park

Ferguson Rifle at Kings Mountain

Image courtesy of the National Park Service.

CLICK HERE for a short article from the NPS on the Ferguson rifle at King’s Mountain.

The Hartley Horn Drawings: A Collection of Powder Horn Drawings by Robert M. Hartley. A book review.

November 26, 2010 by  
Filed under Book Review, Powder Horns, Product Review

The Hartley Horn Drawings: A Collection of Powder Horn Drawings by Robert M. Hartley
79 Pages
11″ X 8-1/2″
Full-color illustrations and photographs
Presented by The Honourable Company of Horners
Published by the Scurlock Publishing Company

This review of The Hartley Horn Drawings (more commonly called The Hartley Book) is by me, a novice horn maker and the webmaster of The Honourable Company of Horners website. I know more about web design than horns, but I am doing my darndest to close that gap! And this book helps immensely.

What do illuminated script, calligraphy, folk art and history have in common? They all come together in a practical object used by our ancestors in the form of an engraved powder horn! Robert Hartley was inspired by these unique objects used by our ancestors.

Robert Hartley was a prolific collector of Americana and antiques and an amateur historian. He saw a need in the mid-1930s to document French and Indian War powder horns. His technique was to copy the complete three dimensional horns as flat drawings. (Imagine peeling-off a product label from a can and displaying it flat. That is not a great description, but I hope you get the idea.) In the process of copying the horns, Mr. Hartley created his own art that we get to enjoy today.

In the mid-1940′s, as least forty of these powder horn drawings were given to the Margaret Reaney Memorial Library in the Village of St. Johnsville, New York. There they were conserved, but they had not been published.

John Proud, a Master Horner, became interested in the drawings and thought they deserved to be seen by everyone in the form of a book. The result is a 79 page book with color illustration and photographs of the actual horns in a few instances. The book is pre-pended with a history of The Honourable Company of Horners and an informative article on how to render your own powder horn drawing.

This publication has become one of my new favorites. I highly recommend this for your library or as a gift for the lover of history.

Thanks for reading,
Rick Sheets
By the way, please see the review written by my friend, Rich Pierce, as it appears on the HCH Blog. Click here to see it.
To purchase the book, click here.

The Hartley Horn Drawings. F&I horns are drawn “flat.”

Recreating the 18th Century Hunting Pouch by T.C. Albert

I have been a lover of nice flintlock guns since I was just a kid. However, a real appreciation of the same qualities in accouterments like pouches and horns followed later. At one time a nice gun and just any old bag and horn would do (not so, now). Be warned! Once you associate with folks who produce good stuff, your kit will look different to you and an upgrade will be in order!

Some of us figure out a way to buy quality items for our hobby and some actually make them. I fall into the first category. But I wanted to try to make a bag. And that is how this review of Tim Albert’s book, Recreating the 18th Century Hunting Pouch came about.

First of all the book is published by Track of the Wolf, Inc. The pictures and layout live up the quality one expects from them. Super pictures and patterns are found throughout. Tim’s writing is clear and concise. Nothing is left out. All you need is the book, supplies and a few hand tools.

The book is softbound with 123 (8.5 x 11 inch) pages. The paper has a quality shine to it. The color photos are by the same guys who photograph for the Track of the Wolf website, so you know what to expect!

I mentioned that the book leaves nothing out. I am not kidding. The content includes: tools, types of leather, setting up your workspace, cutting, constructing, attaching everything and dyeing the pouch and strap. As a bonus, Tim shows you how to make and attach a knife sheath and an optional gusset as part of the pouch body. Antiquing techniques are also shown.

The book features pictures and notes about many originals and variations for the novice builder. I took various elements from a few different pouches in the book to make mine. In retrospect, I should have followed Tim’s directions on North Hampton county pouch and built that bag precisely to the instructions. This would have made the process easier I am sure. And I probably would have wound up with a better looking bag!

If you want to try to make a pouch from scratch, this is the book for you. Even if you have made a few bags, I am sure you will pick up some useful tips.

The process of learning to make a pouch was enjoyable and I gained a new respect for the leather worker who does this for a living.

The book can be purchased from Scurlock Publishing using this link.

Thanks for reading this review,

By the way, I used leather from www.leatherbythepiece.com to make my pouch. Their typical 5-6 ounce leather is a bit too heavy for most pouches, but often they will have some 3-4 ounce leather in stock even if it is not on their website. Email them through their site; they are nice people.

The buckles were obtained from http://www.buckleguy.com . They have a good selection and their website is easy to use.


C. Michael Briggs, North Carolina Longrifle Collector and Author

February 7, 2010 by  
Filed under Book Review, Collector, Gift Idea, Product Review

I caught up with Michael Briggs at the Greensboro Gun Show today at the Greensboro Coliseum. He had superlative examples from his collection of original North Carolina longrifles on display. The crowd was brisk at times, but Michael took his time to speak with people coming by his booth, which included me. Thanks Michael. 

C. Michael Briggs at the Greensboro Gun Show 2010


I first met Michael when he and Bill Ivey spoke at the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA) in Old Salem, NC in April of 2008. They arranged for a massive display of North Carolina longrifles (and a few pistols) to supplement the extensive slide show and lecture on NC rifles, their makers and accouterments. I have read everything I can get my hands on about NC guns and gunsmiths and I can tell you Michael has raised the bar of serious scholarship in these firearms, pouches and horns. If I hear about another lecture I will post an announcement here on BlackPowder411. If you can’t see the guns in person, the next best thing to do is get his books. 

Michael is the author of three books. The Longrifle Makers of Guilford County, The Longrifle Makers of Forsyth County & Davidson County and Piedmont N.C. Banded Powder Horns and Hunting Bags. 

Michael has just produced a conventionally bound volume of his work The Longrifle Makers of Guilford County. The pictures are sharp and clear and it is a first class production; you will be pleased with this book. (He does have a few left of this book in the unbound format, which he is selling at a discount. You will need to call Michael if you are interested in the discounted books. See the link below.) 

If you are interested in contacting Michael to purchase his books or want to know a little bit more about him, click on this link to see Michael’s Mini-Site. 

Thanks for reading,
Rick Sheets 

“The Gillespie Gun Makers of East Fork” is back in print. A Book Review.

January 13, 2010 by  
Filed under Book Review, Gift Idea, Product Review

Dennis with two original Gillespie rifles.

Here is Dennis at a family reunion holding two original Gillespie rifles.

I was so excited to see that T. Dennis Glazener’s book on the Gillespie gun makers was reprinted I asked Dennis permission to review the book on my black powder website.
My personal copy has been read and reread many times and I have given a couple as gifts. The reason for this is pretty simple; The Gillespie Gun Makers of East Fork is a well researched and photographed work by a shooter, builder and history buff. Plus Dennis is the great, great, grandson of John Gillespie; John was the guy who started it all.
If you enjoy southern mountain rifles and southern history or are a Gillespie descendant, you must have T. Dennis Glazener’s book on the Gillespie gun makers. The Gillespie Gun Makers of East Fork details the genealogical history of three generations of the gunsmithing family as well as many pictures of the guns themselves. The book is clearly a labor of love as Dennis made many field trips and used original sources as well as public documents to bring 150 years of his prolific gun making family to life.
Another great thing about this book is that it has inspired many contemporary builders of flintlock and percussion longrifles to try their hands at recreating the Gillespie rifle. I know I enjoy my modern-made Gillespie long gun. That is it pictured above in the header of this website.

Thanks for reading!,
The Gillespie Gun Makers of East Fork
84 Pages- 8.5″ X 11″ Color soft cover.
Numerous black and white photographs of the guns, the Gillespie clan and family documents are included.
$22.50 plus $3.00 s/h via first class mail, add $1.60 if insurance is desired.

To purchase the book, make payment to:
T. D. Glazener
917 Manakin Road
Midlothian, VA 23113

To order the book online from the publisher,
click here.