First foray into leatherwork.

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First foray into leatherwork.

Postby starsword on Wed Jun 18, 2008 10:11 pm

I got leatherworking tools a little under a year ago but ive only just been able to get some leather to work on so I thought I would have a go at making something. Its a viking pouch (I hope), it took about 10 hours from design to completion. I didnt have a pattern so I used 2 soup plates and a ruler and kind of made it up as I went along. I was wondering what people think about it as far as design flaws and authenticity goes. Their should be 3 pictures if Ive done this right.

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Re: First foray into leatherwork.

Postby brendan on Mon Jun 23, 2008 2:28 pm

looks ok to me - certainly a lot better than my first effort at a pouch!
A few questions:
~ you have eused blanket stitch on the edge. I think that it is a very late period stitch. A simple whip stitch would have worked just as well.
~ What is the cord/twine made from
~ is the thread linen or synthetic?

If you want to darken it then just leave it out in the sun for a bit - it will develop a natural sun tan (not kidding)

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Re: First foray into leatherwork.

Postby starsword on Wed Jun 25, 2008 11:54 pm

I made up the stitching up as I went along always using 2 needles and the edging was a spur of the moment idea around 4 in the morning, I could change it for a whip stitch but I'll have to figure out how to do it first.
The cord is hemp twine I platted.
The threat is linen sealed with bees wax.

Im making another pouch with a different closing mechanism (a strip of leather down the centre going through a loop) I might try a different stitch on the edging of this one. Also I have had ideas on scababards for saxes and swords and a platted leather belt I might try to make. This time I will try to do work in progress photos aswell and post them up for advice.
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Re: First foray into leatherwork.

Postby brendan on Fri Jun 27, 2008 11:13 am

fair enough -I wouldnt necessarily change the current stitching

For scabbards and sheaths there are a few good books out there on the subject. Main points for construction:
  • Sheaths were ALWAYS worn with the blade pointing upwards, and usually towards the sword hand i.e. NOT a weapon to be used in the off hand. This has a significant impact on construction. The Curve on the back was managed by stretching the leather, NOT by cutting.
    Scabbards usually had a thin wooden core lined or unlined and a leather outer layer STITCHED AT THE BACK i.e. no edge seemed scabbards.
I stress this because at least 1/2 of the scabbards and sheaths that you see at events are WRONG. As for the people who dont bother with sheaths.... :evil:

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Re: First foray into leatherwork.

Postby Andrea L Redden on Mon Jun 30, 2008 11:18 am

Hello Starsword!

I'll divide this reply into a couple of posts 'cause I can only attach a maximum of 3 pictures per post.

starsword wrote:I got leatherworking tools a little under a year ago but I’ve only just been able to get some leather to work on so I thought I would have a go at making something. Its a Viking pouch (I hope), it took about 10 hours from design to completion. I didn’t have a pattern so I used 2 soup plates and a ruler and kind of made it up as I went along. I was wondering what people think about it as far as design flaws and authenticity goes. Their should be 3 pictures if I’ve done this right.

There’s the remains of a similar pouch illustrated in Leather and Leatherworking in Anglo-Scandinavian York by Mould, Carlisle and Cameron. Unfortunately:
“A panel from a flap-closing purse (15742) and fragments cut down from the front panel of a second example were found in backfill deposits of a cask-lined well dating to the early 15th century.”
PurseYk15C.jpg
Pouch/Purse remains from York - 15thC.
PurseYk15C.jpg (13.77 KiB) Viewed 4231 times

On the subject of earlier pouches and purses:
“The fragmentary remains of a small number of pouches and purses were found in both Anglo-Scandinavian and medieval contexts. For the most part, those found in earlier deposits were represented by very small fragments and their identification can only be tentatively suggested here.
Fragments possibly from a flap-closing purse or pouch of calfskin (15737) were found in the fill of a Period 3 {10thC} scoop, one of the earliest deposits at 16-22 Coppergate. Other small fragments with paired thong slits (15738, 15740-1), not recognisable as shoe components, may represent the highly fragmentary remains of possible drawstring purses and were recovered in contexts of 10th-century date. Better preserved was one small pouch (15739) of sheepskin or goatskin found in 10th-century pit fill; a fragment from a second panel was also present. Three narrow, integrally cut, suspension straps extend from the top of the pouch, their irregularity suggesting that they may have been cut down.”
PouchYk10C.jpg
Remains of 10thC pouch from York.
PouchYk10C.jpg (14.54 KiB) Viewed 4235 times

Medieval Finds from Excavations in London: 3, Dress Accessories c.1150 to c.1450 by Egan and Pritchard says: “There are 3 leather pouches that were closed with drawstrings from DUA excavations. One {1693} was recovered from a late 12th-century deposit (ceramic date phase 6)…..” It's 98mm high by 65mm wide. They also had purses similarish to 15742 from York, still of late 14th-early 15th century date.
PouchLn12C.jpg
Remains of 12thC pouch from London.
PouchLn12C.jpg (18.59 KiB) Viewed 4234 times

More to follow.

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Re: First foray into leatherwork.

Postby Andrea L Redden on Mon Jun 30, 2008 11:34 am

Half a pouch/purse that’s almost a dead ringer for 1693 from London was recovered from a dig at Iona in 1979 (“Excavations at Iona, 1979, John H. Barber, PSAS 111, 1981, pages 282-380) in a layer radiocarbon dated between 585-690Adish with the comment “One half of a purse, probably made of cowhide, was found (fig 27; pl 20). Other fragments with rather big holes along one edge, sometimes with actual thonging present, may also belong to this category, although the latter may also be parts of the uppers of thonged shoes, or simple repairs.”
PouchIona.jpg
6th-7thC pouch remains from Iona.
PouchIona.jpg (15.9 KiB) Viewed 4224 times

I don't have a copy of Leather from Medieval Svendborg. There were pouches there but that's 12th-16thC so still too late for Viking. I remember being told once that there were pouches found at either Birka or Hedeby that were either full circles with drawstring holes around the circumference or 1/2 circles, folded in the middle of the straight edge, which was sewn up and drawstring holes cut around the circumference but I don't have those books either. Also, I don't read German so I'd have to rely on the pictures, drawings, tables and BabelFish. Maybe somebody else on the forums DOES have them and can confirm and post scans?

Bye for now,

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Re: First foray into leatherwork.

Postby brendan on Mon Jun 30, 2008 2:06 pm

the book "stepping through time" has pretty much everything you might want to know about making footwear http://www.amazon.com/Stepping-through-time-Archaeological-prehistoric/dp/9080104469
The author (Olaf Goubitz) also wrote a book on pouches http://www.amazon.com/Purses-Pieces-Archaeological-16th-century-Netherlands/dp/9089320040/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1214834711&sr=1-1which has been released posthumously. Not as good as the shoes one but still very interesting.


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Re: First foray into leatherwork.

Postby RecycledViking on Mon Jun 30, 2008 2:08 pm

Sheaths were ALWAYS worn with the blade pointing upwards, and usually towards the sword hand i.e. NOT a weapon to be used in the off hand. This has a significant impact on construction. The Curve on the back was managed by stretching the leather, NOT by cutting.
Scabbards usually had a thin wooden core lined or unlined and a leather outer layer STITCHED AT THE BACK i.e. no edge seemed scabbards.
I'm sorry Brendan but I don't quite follow you here. In particular, what do you mean 'sheaths...with the blade pointing upwards'? I think you should start a new post with some photos or diagrams of 'what not to do/what to do when wearing/making sheaths and scabbards'.
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Re: First foray into leatherwork.

Postby brendan on Mon Jun 30, 2008 2:37 pm

what! now I have to back up my statements! :roll:
whatever is the world coming to.

I will see what I can do

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Re: First foray into leatherwork.

Postby Andrea L Redden on Mon Jun 30, 2008 8:57 pm

brendan wrote:the book "stepping through time" has pretty much everything you might want to know about making footwear [

Got that one, a photocopy anyway. Was OOP when I got together the money to buy one. Excellent book!
The author (Olaf Goubitz) also wrote a book on pouches which has been released posthumously. Not as good as the shoes one but still very interesting.[/quote]
Looks interesting but says "Late Medieval". What's the start date? Didn't know about that one.

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