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The Advanced Horn Class at Jacobsburg Education Center was a Great Success. (June 8-9, 2013)

The first ever advanced horn class was held at the new education center at Jacobsburg Historical Society on June 8 and 9, 2013. The class kicked-off on Saturday morning with 10 students in attendance. The day began with an explanation of the history of scrimshaw and how it became to be called engraving and then moved into the preparation of the surface to engrave. The pre-flattened horn panels were sanded and prepped creating a large cloud that soon covered all and everything in the center in a nice layer of aromatic horn dust. The class then moved on to applying the artwork (a Fraktur design by journeyman John DeWald). A break for lunch and it was then on to engraving. The day ended with students in various stages but all thoroughly enjoying the work and conversation and questions abounded throughout the day.

Day 2 started with a brief overview of lettering and engraving styles and then the students went to work. For several hours with the exception of a helping hand or advice from John DeWald, you could of heard a pin drop in the center. Everyone applied themselves in their own artistic fashion and soon the horn panels were nearing completion. A short lunch break later, as preparations were made to age the panels, Frank Willis took the reins and aspects of staining and coloring horn were discussed and shown. John Dewald also demonstrated engrailing techniques and then it was time for finishing touches on the horn panels. Rit dye was used and then waxing and buffing and the panels were done!! John DeWald spent time adding color to his panel and then graciously donated his original Fraktur drawing and polychrome horn panel for a give-a-way to the students. All names were put in a hat and Gus Tabor’s name was drawn as the recipient.

After all was completed and the center returned to its clean state, Frank Willis asked each student for a critique of the class. Overall everyone conveyed a good response and offered suggestions for improvements for future classes. Additional advanced horn classes are being planned with projects to include: A flat, screw-tip horn; a horn ditty box and a horn cup/tumbler. Details will follow as plans and dates are finalized. We would like to extend thanks to Jacobsburg Historical Society, Roland Cadle, and to all the students for their attendance and patience. It is with great pride that the guild offers these classes; holding to our purpose to remain dedicated to the research, preservation, and education of horn workwork. Stay Tuned as more great times are a-coming.

If you are interested in attending a future horn class at Jacobsburg, please call Frank Willis at 908-246-8935 or email The basic horn class will be held in January 2014 and the advanced horn class will be late May or June of 2014.

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