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A few projects

A few projects

I was hoping to get a wigwam part II post up by now, but I have been busy and lost motivation on that project for the moment.  I still hope to get cattail mats made and cover the wigwam before winter, but I am not sure that it will happen.  We will see.  In the meanwhile, the gardens are in full harvest mode.  We have been freezing, canning, drying, and fermenting away.  Two of the most recent BIG items has been almost 6 gal. of apple cider squeezed (5 of which is fermenting) and 40 lb. of cabbage shredded and now fermenting into sauerkraut (choucroute in French).  This week looks to be set for harvesting our grapes and starting some wine.  Meanwhile, I have also been trying to wrap up a few historic projects.

One project which I will officially declare finished is my buffalo robe.  Since I fist painted it, I have felt that it looked unfinished.  There was a lot of negative space around the edges, and I just felt the design looked too small and blah.  The other night, I mixed up some more pigment, water, and hide glue and added a border to the robe.  It now looks much more finished, and I am very happy with it.

Also this past weekend, I went and cut some more hickory from the woods.  I have been wanting to make up a pair of snowshoes for my daughters to wear this winter. Last winter, they were still being pulled in the toboggan while my wife and I were on snowshoes.  This year, they are plenty old enough to walk on snow themselves.  I bent up the frames for two pair and hope to carve out and mortise in the crossbars later this week.  I will then have to make sure to lace them before snow falls.

An unusual project began this weekend when I received a late night (or late for me) phone call from a  coworker  that raises historic Red Devons and had a 8 month old calf break a leg when hit by a car. They put it down and butchered it.  Knowing the stuff I do, they asked if I wanted the hide. I said yes, of course, and now have it fleshed out and drying. I had planned on dehairing it and using the rawhide for a million different possible things (snowshoes, toboggan lacing, etc.) but started to think that it would be a shame to dehair it when it has nice hair and is a historic breed. I know that folks use this hide for bags, snapsacks,  traveling trunks, etc. and figured that I should put it to better use. This said, I do not do bark or veggie tanning, just brain; and I suppose it should probably be tanned in a European fashion.  I may try to alum taw some of it; maybe leaving the rest as rawhide.  I have yet to decide.

Finally, last night I FINALLY got around to finishing the second strip of loomed quillwork that I need for making a new bag.  I will talk more on this project when it is done, but I am not a great quillworker and this was my first stab at loomed work.  It turned out reasonably well and should make a nice bag.  Hopefully it does honor to my friend that originally collected the quills and has since walked on.  Again, more on this project later.


4 Responses to “A few projects”

  1. Bob Miller says:

    Really nice work. I have not seen that squared toe design before. [ certainly not in this area, north of Lake Ontario ] Could you comment on this ?

  2. Isaac says:

    Thanks Bob. There are a few variations of square toes in this book… Also, I thought it would maximize the sq. in. of the shoe a bit more, while keeping tails, and keeping the shoe smaller for the kids.

  3. Bob Miller says:

    Thank you very much for the explanation and the reference. Amazing . The winter moccasins worn in the one photo are like the ones of my youth , [Manitoba ]. Moosehide bottoms with cloth/canvas uppers. I use the same design now, but ditched the cloth uppers in favour of hide in order to be period correct. I still use the canvas uppers on my everyday winter moccasins.
    I haven’t learned the fine weave technique used on those snowshoes. Mine look much more coarse !! I am very much looking forward to seeing your finished product. Something to aspire to.

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