While sorting staves in the barn a long section of bark separated from a quartered trunk. While this one is not from one of the usual species used for bark containers I decided to give it a try. Bark is used as a raw material for making water resistant hats, bowls, quivers, and other containers far back into the mists of time. From at least as far back as Mesolithic Europe to Pre-Columbian America, this type of “basket” has made it’s way into the human tool kit. While this is not a tutorial proper, I took a few photos of the finished product.
The body is made from the whole bark of Osage orange (Maclura pomifera) and sewn with rawhide from deer. The rim is constructed from a mesquite shoot split, steamed into a hoop, and sewn with rawhide.
It’s not perfect and probably won’t last forever as bark can be fairly brittle over a long time but will serve to hold some demonstration goodies for quite a while.
Have a look at a simple tutorial for a similar container by Ken Peek HERE.
Shop aprons are not as widely used as in the past. I believe this is related to our modern view on clothing and how it has changed over the past century. Not only are we training less in the trades, our clothes are ridiculously cheap in the modern world. Low prices and availability keeps our incentive to protect them pretty low. As I have reduced my quantity of clothing I have grown to appreciate the humble shop apron more than ever. In the past, my only incentive was for protection when grinding metal or welding but now I begin to understand the real role a good apron can play in the shop.
A good shop apron can cost quite a bit of money ($40 – $100 or more) so I present the above catalog page as a starting point for construction. Heavy canvas or leather are the obvious choices for material. Although heavier, I prefer leather as is it is fireproof and offers some protection against cuts. As for protection, here’s an image I found when looking for designs. It’s from a Navy singlestick exercise. Somehow the design seems familiar.
“The world, we are told, was made especially for man — a presumption not supported by all the facts.”
― John Muir, A Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf