Saturday, December 31, 2011

Viking drinking horn

    I have always liked the Viking drinking horns, even have had an unfinished horn for over three years, and haven't, until now, ever made a drinking horn. Gotta love this competition.
    Drinking horns have been in use from medieval times to modern times. Some horns have bases that are very elaborate, some very simple, that the horn may sit in and not spill. I admit that I have some deer antlers that my intention was to make into a simple drinking horn holder, but I ran out of time. It will be made, just not tonight.
    Most horns have a strap or handle that can be looped on a belt so the owner does not lose their horn. The loop or handle does much for keeping the owner in possession of the horn, but there is still the problem of spillage when the horn has liquid in it and a pointy bottom. However, I have been told by several modern day Vikings that a honest to goodness true Viking would never set down his horn with any beverage still in it. :) I am leaving the strap off of my drinking horn for now so I can leave open the option of completing the horn holder I mentioned before and I will see what kind of handle I want to do then.
    The carving of the horns can be very breath taking and awe inspiring or they can be very simple and just state "my horn, back off". Here are some examples of what can be done with a drinking horn, some imagination and quite a bit of time.

And some of the more simple designs of horns.

    My horn is a pretty black and gray toned, medium sized horn. I wanted to do carving on it and metal work. This was my first attempt at carving on a horn of any sort and my first time working with stamping and shaping metal.
    The first thing I did was to carve three of the faces and leaves from the Mammen Man tunic down the long curve of the horn. I carved the faces and leaves using an awl and then a medium weight file to take off the rough spots and smooth everything out. Look at the faces when you get a chance. The whorl of the black and gray make it look like it has a mouth and it howling. Rather neat looking I think.

   I used bees' wax to waterproof and finish the inside of the horn. A lot of messing in the oven for that one.
   I then took a strip of metal that does not have a gauge on it, just says that it is 0.008 of an inch thick. I know that it is finer than 24 gauge. I tried that first and it was too thick and didn't take the design. I marked on the backside of the metal the pattern I wanted to follow. I used a leather stamp in the form of crossed axes and from the backside of the metal made two impressions on either side of the marked pattern. I used a fine pointed leather stylus to mark the indents that look like braille in my pattern between the axe designs. I then turned the metal to the right side and used the same leather stylus to make opposite marks in the pattern between the first set of marks. I then measured and riveted the metal in the size I needed to fit the top rim of the horn. The metal rim was placed on the horn and then with pliers bent it over to the inside of the horn.

I started with the double axes as the "border" for the pattern.

Then the backside marks with the stylus in the pattern.

Second set of marks from the stylus, this time from the front of the metal.

Finished, on the horn and polished. I am pleased with this little bit of metal work. I may have to do something like this again.
I used a purchased decorative metal filagree tip and using epoxy glue affixed it to the horn tip.
I will have to make one for me now. Especially now that I know what to do. :)

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