Maybe this is a little mundane but I’ve been using the cold and snowy weather as an excuse to do some cutting and sewing of leather. I completed a passport wallet and finished up another minimalist wallet design. I got the pattern for the larger travel wallet from Tony, the owner/designer at DieselpunkRo. He sells finished goods, patterns, and gives a lot of good advice for makers working from his patterns on his Facebook group page.
My three newest creations.
If you follow his Facebook group, he will occasionally share free, downloadable patterns. I have two patterns from him so far and they are both great.
The large wallet is a handy, four pocket affair that snugly holds a standard passport, cards, and cash.
This is another good starter project that easily yields a great product.
We were acting like shut-ins today because of a surprise snow storm so I’ve been able to jump to another leather-related project. I’ll share some photos soon.
I’m re-sharing an older post of some experimental turnshoes I made quite a few years ago. These were based on some Scandinavian examples from the archaeological record. They came out pretty good for a first try. My only modification would be to tighten the width through the arch and lengthen the toe area slightly. I have since learned that this problem has been well-understood for centuries by shoe makers and is why modern shoe lasts often look long and narrow to the amateur eye.
Finally “finished” enough. These were rubbed down with a “tea” made from walnut juice, worn dry, and later oiled.
This was my first attempt at a proper turnshoe. Basically a variation on the shoes worn in Europe and parts of Asia from the Iron Age (ca. 500 B.C.) through the early modern times (ca. 1700s). This pair is made without a last (form) so construction is similar to other moccasin-type shoes. There are quite a large number of early shoes found in archaeological contexts in Europe so many designs are known. This is inspired by, but not slavish to, shoes found in the British Isles and Scandinavia in the early part of the last millennium.
I was sorry to not document the pattern making but, as can be figured, the upper is a single piece side-seam make by wrapping the foot, marking a rough outline of the plane where the upper meets the sole, cutting off the wrapping, and cutting to shape. Really, I’ll try to make record of this in the future but, for now, I suspect there are other tutorials out there. Besides sewing, the turning is definitely the toughest job as this was some very thick, tough leather.
I realize this isn’t the most exiting project of the year but a necessary one nonetheless. My knife sheath for the “regular” camp knife was a sloppily done remake of the original. The knife maker did an excellent job on the knife itself but the sheath wasn’t up to the standard of this fine tool.
No surprisingly, I have quite a lot of leather around for small projects like this so after some searching I chose a very thick and solid, wax stuffed leather that was batch dyed a very dark brown. For durability I decided to rivet this sheath with brass which makes for fairly quick work as well. The only real issue is getting the fit just right; tight enough to hold upside down but loose enough to come out when called upon.
After construction, a bit of hot water was poured over the body to shrink it up a bit and the well-oiled knife left in it for form-fitting. Now, we’re ready for the woods again.
So, I hung my leather bottle over the wood stove one evening and awoke to find it very dried out and the wax, hitherto virtually invisible had run to the bottom then onto the hearth. While seeking out design ideas, I recalled the excellent tutorial from the Leatherworking Reverend from way down under. I hope he doesn’t mind the publicity as I am reposting his Flacket-style bottle design here. On my ever growing, rarely shrinking list of things to do!
A flacket is a type of leather flask or bottle made from only two pieces of leather, one for the front and one for the back. It has no base, but may additionally have a welt or gasket piece between the front and back. Depending on your cultural prejudices, these are sometimes also known as pumpkinseed- or pear-flasks.
Examples are few, pointing to it being an older design than those we more commonly see, such as costrels and the two- or three-piece leather bottels. Most of the surviving examples come from the Mary Rose (1545) and are regarded as among the last exemplars of the form. Accordingly, Baker is of little help other than on p59, remarking “Flasks (Flascones) as well as bottles are mentioned in Alfric’s Colloquy in the 10th century as being made by the shoe-wright…”
Designed mainly for upright use such as hanging on saddles…
In a fit of energy I got around to putting proper and better shoulder straps on my pack basket made last summer. The pack is willow and the leather work is approximately 10 oz. Hermann Oak harness leather.
Willow pack basket I made several years ago. The straps were obviously new then.
Once the leather ages a bit they will be beautiful and rustic-looking.