Large Possibles Bag

Another possibles bag completed and out the door.  This one was designed, at the request of a customer, to fit a specific case that would fit inside.  This is clearly my favorite “go to” design and will make an excellent bushcrafter’s kit.

This one is about 3 1/2″ deep and a little over 12″ by 9″ inside the body.  Front and back are 7 oz. leather and the gusset is about 5 oz. to give some flexibility.

All the hardware and rivets are solid brass for all weather use and this one features a flat pocket inside and out to organize small items.

The gussets are cinched to keep the top contracted but can be opened if necessary.

The security strap is left open so that objects can be tucked under if desired.

Obviously, I like this design and all its variations and I hope the new owner can put it to good use for many years.

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Shop Update

I’m currently working on a custom order.  Projects are coming to an end for a few weeks with the impending surgery.  The dimensions of this bag are suited to fit a specific waterproof map case already owned by the customer.

The components clicked and punched the old-fashioned way but with the aid of some modern measuring tools.

Double-needle stitching.  It may not look perfect yet, but a little trimming and burnishing will clean the edge up beautifully on this bag edge.

The double-needle work creates a tight, strong seam.

A sewing awl and needle are used to hold aligned pieces for stitching. 

Deluxe Possibles Bag

In my shop, 18th century style is still in style.

More shameless promotion from the workshop.  This is my new, deluxe model possibles bag for the right mountain man or woman.  This design has proven to be practical and popular.  The leather is veg-tanned Hermann-Oak and all sewing is double-needle saddle-stitch.  The hardware is premium solid harness brass.  This bag will only get better with time and wear.  I’ve been carrying the same design for a decade and it is just getting more beautiful with age.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/669145808/deluxe-shooting-bag-possibles-bag?ref=shop_home_active_1

A Fun Little Fashion Project

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Here is a little Boho Chic bag made from a beautifully bark-tanned hide by Joe Brandl (#absarokajoe). It’s a bit outside my normal style but people have loved these bags over the years. Heading to the Oregon Country Fair, Burning Man, or just the beach? This is an accessory for you. Oh yeah, it makes a a great possibles bag too!

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Here’s my unapologetic SALES PITCH…

This hand-made bag was created by me and is adorned with a lunar crescent and four sea-shells collected on the Oregon coast. The leather is extremely soft to the touch and was tanned with an all natural process using the natural tannins from tree bark. It is double needle stitched with heavyweight hemp thread waxed with pure beeswax from another friend, Benjamin Pixie. The strap is a three-strand braid from the same hide and is very soft and supple.

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The crescent and shells are stitched with real buckskin (not commercially made) in keeping with the authenticity of this bag. It is the perfect size for a day in the wilderness, beach, or at a festival. It is beautiful enough to work as an everyday Bohemian purse in town. I have made several of these over the years and they have always been the envy in any crowd.  Wanna look like the coolest Shaman on the block?  This bag will get you there.

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The edge is bound for stiffness to hold its shape.

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Specifications:

  • Length – 7″ (17.75cm) long
  • Width –  5″ (12.75) wide
  • 4″ (10 cm) fringe
  • Strap length – 58″ (147 cm) to hang low on the hip

If you are looking for the perfect gift for the outdoorsy Lady or Gent, we are here to help you out.  Our new webstore will be filling up as we learn our way through the Matrix.  In the mean time, check us out at: https://www.etsy.com/shop/LostWorldCrafts

Action Photos

Just a quick follow-up from yesterday’s post…

The sporran is complete and ready to go so, of course, I had to model it to show the size and wearability.

Here is the Maker in his workshop sporting the new bag.  I didn’t bother to “kilt up” but that is the belt I frequently wear when kilted.  Overall, this design is great and I’ll probably start making a few more right away.  I like this one better than my own day sporran so I guess I’ll need to make one for myself as well.  I should note that a truly traditional sporran would be ornamented with leather or hair tassels.  I pondered this addition, but it isn’t really my style.  Maybe on the next one.

Possibles Bag

Here is an update on the most recent possibles bag I have been working on:

The buffed leather reflects a lot more than I realized while photographing.

Sorry the photos aren’t so great but here is the description: Made from 7 oz (~3 mm) Hermann-Oak full-grain harness leather top dyed and antiqued Fiebings medium brown with a single patch pocket inside. It still needs a little edge detailing, waxing and buffing before it is truly done but that will happen later today.

The interior is natural but will darken with use and waxing.

Rustic, laced construction, unlined, 18th century “English-style” bag.  The main pocket is 8 x 8 inches (1.5 litre in volume), while the overall body length is about 12 inches. 

The edges are all burnished for a smooth and comfortable feel in hand. The thick oak-tanned will soften with time and use.

The eared shape is to keep the bag from riding around to the front or back of the torso during use. This leather will age nicely and will last longer than any of us with normal rugged use. 

All sewing is double needle free-hand saddle stitch.

1 1/4″-wide strap extends to about 56″ to fit the most well-padded or heavily coated hunter. Going out for trade in the next couple days.

Making the Possibles Bag

Several years ago, I made a shoulder bag that I still often carry today.  It is the perfect size for a small field bag or hunting pouch.  It was a lot fun looking at various designs, mostly from the 18th century to try and come up with something that would fit my needs.

My bag, several years and many miles later.

When I first joined Boy Scouts at about age eleven, I envisioned myself as a mountain man-explorer who was going to learn to live off the land.  The first merit badge book I bought with my little money was Wilderness Survival and it spoke of the possibles bag that  early explorers carried that kept everything they needed to live off the land and cover every emergency.  At least, that’s how I remember it.  Later, as a an actual wilderness explorer, traveler, and archaeologist, I learned to appreciate the “kit” bag on a more realistic level, and how this bag transforms for different purposes and places one travels.  It is the unsealed* survival kit to be used and replenished as needed based on the situation. My current favorites, though too big for general daily wear, are the Mountainsmith Approach pack and my Filson Medium Field Bag.  I can live out of either almost indefinitely and both make handsome weekender bags.

On to the Shoulder Bag

After much deliberation and review of mostly 18th century gear I decided I wanted a small outside pocket, a small inside pocket, a larger, closable outside pocket for important things like a compass, and main compartment large enough to hold a notebook and daily essentials.  I decided to make the main flap in a stitched-down style so that it would keep things in, even if it wasn’t buckled shut.

In the end, I went with a fairly standard English-American shooting bag style as seen above.  It works well for me and after using it for several years now, I don’t believe I would change anything about it.

 

Dimensions: the body of the bag is 9 x 10″ with a gusset exposed at 1″.  Reinforced ears, riveted for strength.  All stitching is two needle saddle stitch, except the body, which is laced.  Three pockets, and a 1 1/4″ shoulder strap, adjustable by about 12″.

All the parts of the body except the main gusset.

When laying out a complex sewing project like this, you need to decide in what order to begin the assembly.  The back wall of the bag has an internal and external pocket that were sewn down first (beginning with the smaller one inside).

Outer pocket attached.

The outer pocket has a gusset that was sewn inside-out before being sewn down to the front wall of the bag.  You’ll probably notice that the edges of the flaps are raw but if I were using thinner leather I would bind them with a soft buckskin or something similar.  The raw edges were smoothed and burnished to create a nicer look than just a sharp cut edge.

The assembled bag.

Finished!  It’s hard to gauge work time but since that is generally the first thing anyone asks I will estimate about eight hours of stitching and assembly for this project.  There is one inside patch pocket, an outside rear pocket, and a gusseted pocket under the flap.  Eleven pieces plus the strap (four pieces).  Hardware includes a one inch bridle buckle, a 5/8″ buckle, and two solid one inch “D” rings.

 

Now, what to keep in it…

*The modern sealed survival kit was developed for conscripted soldiers and airmen to keep them from rifling through and using up the goods and having nothing when they truly need it.  This has carried over into survival-skills-for-morons programs world-wide and creates a product to be sold and consumed by the inept.  If you cannot trust yourself to update, change, use, and modify the contents of your personal survival kit, by all means make or buy one and seal it up, awaiting the day it will come in handy.  If nothing else, you can enjoy all the surprises you will find while you wait for someone to rescue you.  ~GTC

Travel Essentials

This is part of an ongoing theme to document travel and camping gear that has served me over the years.  These will be mirrored on the Traveler’s Gear page as I get them up.

As a traveler, primitive technologist, peaceful survivalist, affected provincial,  long-time Idler, and sometime field scientist I find the necessity for a shoulder bag to carry essentials.  I have two size shoulder bags as well as various backpacks, brief cases, and messenger bags that have served me well over the years walking thousands of miles on survey and in my travels.

DSC_0005I made this bag a few years ago based on an 18th century gentleman’s shooting bag.  If you are interested to see it’s construction, it is documented HERE.  Carried by naturalists, sportsmen, and explorers, this small compartmentalized bag keeps the essentials handy.  Sturdy 10-12 oz vegetable tanned leather from Hermann Oak means that this bag will serve many decades without fear of damage from wear.

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This is most of the contents from the above bag; mostly things I don’t like to be without. Clockwise (more-or-less) from the upper left: Brunton pocket compass with signal mirror, Moleskine notebook, pencil, folding knife, whetstone with bag, belt knife, wooden spoon, 550 paracord, insulated mug, hand lens, sunglasses.

Since I was eleven, I have been infatuated with mountain man style wilderness survival.  It was, by far, my favorite merit badge as a Boy Scout.  The merit badge book taught about the old idea of a “possibles” bag carried by early explorers that we now think of as a survival kit.  Although the above is far from a complete survival kit, this little bundle, with the addition of a water bottle, gets me through many long days of travel and field work.  Additional items include: lighter, flashlight, bandanas, and some first-aid essentials.  However, traversing the wilderness, or even through civilization, means more than having the right stuff handy, being dressed properly is probably even more important.  After years of walking in the wilderness I have learned the same lessons that our forefathers did; the importance of being well shod and covered with a proper hat.

Those topics will be covered down the trail.

Haversack

Over the weekend, I was able to design and nearly finish a new leather haversack.  I’ve wanted to make one for a while but I’m always hesitant to start a big sewing project if I don’t think I’ll finish it in a short time… I hate lingering unfinished projects (not to say I don’t have a few lying around).

DSC_0613[update: outdoor photo of the finished haversack.]

DSC_0620So, while this idea has been bouncing around in my skull for some time, I was inspired by running across a beautiful bag from Morocco in a store in Santa Fe a couple weeks ago.  It was about 20″ square with a flap that covered the entire body and was supplemented by a small pocket inside and a larger, open pocket outside.  So voila!  That’s exactly the design I was pondering.

DSC_0609It didn’t occur to me to document the process right away, and I didn’t do it well, but here’s how to make a haversack in a few pictures and very few words.

A little historical trivia because I am an archaeological geek; “haversack” means “oats bag” and is associated with soldiering, pilgrims, and other travelers for at least two millennia.  Something very like this was carried by Roman Legionnaires and is shown on Trajan’s Column.  Here’s a likely reconstruction of their bag:

Click the image for more information.

Click the image for more historical information on this bag.

Okay, back to the business at hand.  The layout consists of three connected square sections, in this case 18″ x 54″ (18 x 3).  I happened to have a beautiful soft bend of 8 oz. vegetable tanned leather from Spain that just barely fit the size I needed.  This used most of the side, so I used some similar weight shoulder for the pockets.  I gave the whole thing a dye coat of tan water dye as the pieces were cut.

Below is the basic bag coming to life, outside pockets visible, with a third pocket inside, not shown.

DSC_0617I like the simplicity of this design, but at this point was forced to decide as to whether the stitching will be outside and visible making a flatter, but bigger bag (see backpack for external stitching).

Finished backpack

Click for larger.

An observation: folks who don’t MAKE stuff, don’t always appreciate the large number of steps in an apparently simple project like the above.  For example: the inside pocket must go on before the outer (so you can get to the stitches), rivets need to be set before they are hidden away, edges skived, beveled, and burnished, stitch holes punched, etc.  Above is the bag nearly ready to “close”.  Hope I didn’t forget anything.

I sewed it “inside out” to hide the seam and to puff out the body a bit.  Turning back out was quite a chore and took some struggling but in the end, I think it looks good.  It’s not really quite this red but that’s an issue with my camera and photography skills.

DSC_0609DSC_0614DSC_0615It shouldn’t be assumed that this is cheap.  The body alone is 6.75 square feet of leather meaning you need about 10 square feet of good hide to start with to make the entire bag.  With the materials and all the labor involved, it’s easy to see how a leather worker can often charge $500 or more for a similar project.  I buy up leather in quantity when the price is low when I can but this project still could cost over $150 in materials alone.

But in the end, it’s really an heirloom of a centuries-old design.  It will improve with age and hopefully this is a creation that will outlive me.