From one of my new favorite blogs Running With Sheep. Johan and Sanne are a couple of remarkable outdoors – bushcraft – survival enthusiasts with more than a touch of philosophy thrown in.
Their most recent project shows how to convert a run-of-the-mill thrift store find into a functional pack basket. From what I can tell, they are adept leather workers so their skill shows in this project. Re-using found objects is an excellent way to economize both money and time, especially if it is something outside your skill set or craft specialty.
Pack baskets are light and strong and a perfect choice for hauling anything from food to dirt. Prehistoric people used them for everything, and the solid structure makes them useful even when not carried on the back (most of the time).
If you can cut a few straight lines, do some minimal sewing, and hammer a rivet, this project is for you. For the complete post, head over to Running With Sheep to learn more. I suspect you’ll want to stay a while and catch up on their other posts as well.
If you know me at all you know that I am interested in pack baskets. Because of this, they catch my eye when I’m browsing historic images.
I could find no information whatsoever about this one. I suspect maybe Tibet in the early 20th century? Pack baskets have been underrated in the west. I’m glad to see more and more of them used in the primitive technology, bushcraft, and survival communities. I love the one I made but I know there are even better ones out there.
I was interested in the harness system here. It seems to sling around the entire basket for support. It took me some time and effort to come up with one I liked for mine but based on some historic examples, I was able to come up with one that worked.
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.
Bridgette and I worked on some willow basketry last week at the Echoes in Time gathering in Champoeg, Oregon. We spent the week with our friend Mick and his family with his fantastic vardo.
I have wanted a new pack basket for quite a while and the great Oregon basketmakers provided some excellent materials for the class. I only had eight students for the frame-saw class I was teaching so I was able to work in some baskets around the teaching schedule. I would have loved to document the whole process but I am such a novice that it would have taken three times as long and disrupted the flow of the basket in ways I wasn’t prepared to deal with.
Here is the first round of basket making including the base, addition of spokes, and working with weavers. The various colors come from the different willows harvested at different times. For those truly interested in the weave, this basket consists primarily of wales and rands with the addition of a rim and a foot to protect the bottom.
I’ve made a few other basketry projects under good instructors but this is, by far, my biggest effort to date. I really hope to dive into this craft more deeply sometime in the future. Enough for now, back to Making stuff (right after my nap).