Thursday, July 16, 2015

One more leather canteen

After reviewing the various craft supplies I'll have to order for Marathon 2015, and paying off a huge ER bill from that little eye accident in May, I've decided I can't afford a custom ceramic canteen.

That being the case, and what with waiting on some final decisions before finally putting in those orders, and my hands getting bored, I decided to make another leather canteen instead.

Although veg-tanned (and therefore molded) leather is probably not accurate for the Achaemenid period, I could at least aim for a better shape.  The one I made for Marathon 2011 is a blobby trapezoid with ears on either side of the neck, made according to the shape of the remaining leather scraps I had at the time, without thought to accuracy.  This new one is based on a clay canteen shown in OIP 69, plates 71 and 72 (pages 293 and 295 of the PDF).

This shape (I've always thought of it as "turtle-shaped") isn't very convenient; at just under four and a half inches/11.4cm across plus more than a quarter-inch of seams all around, it's a bit awkward to hold in your hand, but contains only around 14 ounces of water, a little more than a standard can of soda or beer.  One of the tapered bottle shapes would probably be more practical.

The leather is a Tandy economy shoulder, which I've been using up gradually over several years.  It seems to have been discontinued, but that's just as well because I don't like it and it's too heavy (around nine ounces) for most uses I put it to; I had to skive the pieces here by about a third.

In the original, the earholes were actually vertical, and grooves in the sides of the body indicated that the carrying cord passed all around the lower two thirds of the canteen.  I didn't think this would be practical to reproduce in leather; I think it would be prone to break.

.This time around, I made the stitch holes with a thin hobby awl rather than a drill or Dremel, and stitched with artificial sinew instead of dental floss (they're basically the same thing, but artificial sinew is much thicker).  It was a tight fit; I had to yank the needle through with a pair of pliers each time, but it was worthwhile because the seams don't appear to leak at all this time.  Just to be on the safe side, I went ahead and flash-sealed the inside seam with beeswax and melted more into the outside seams (which should also hopefully shield the artificial sinew; a lot of its own wax rubbed off while hot after the initial soak).

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