Bocksten 'Ranger' Cloak - From EotW Winter 16-17

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Bocksten 'Ranger' Cloak - From EotW Winter 16-17

Postby Greg » Sat Mar 18, 2017 9:14 pm

Well, I've gotten around to finishing the cloak, and I'm very pleased. The fabric, as I mentioned in the thread on my article (see: Middle Earth Reenactment Society Sub-Forum), arrived a few days late, but certainly not a dollar short. It matches the numerous descriptions of DARK grey that are found throughout the text, and fits the bill for a 3-4 season cloak. It's actually lighter than I anticipated (though not too thin as a fabric.) I honestly feel like the weight difference I'm feeling between this cloak, which is barely thinner as a material [but has darned near twice the square footage of my last cloak] can be chalked up to the brilliance in weight distribution inherent in the Bocksten design. MAN it's comfy.

For comparison, here's a replica of the original in the museum that houses the Bocksten find:
Bocksten Man.jpg
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I chose to stay in my tree work clothing from a side job today to give a sharp contrast between my under-layers and the cloak. Helps to see the pattern a little better.

In this first image, we see it hanging fully downwards, with no folding or tucking. Kinda poncho-like, but definitely functional, and definitely warm. For those who are strictly in this for costuming purposes, I doubt there'd be an appreciation for this cloak, because at first glance, this really doesn't fit what most people have in mind for a Ranger. However, in the text, we find that a cloak that can cover a sword is used (and perhaps even invaluable!) so here we have it. Certainly works well as a built-in over-under blanket as well...I napped in it today, in fact. The second image shows the leading edge of the cloak tucked inside to open things up just a touch. Might call this the "tavern tuck"...like unbuttoning an outer layer, or unzipping your sweatshirt. Sword still concealed, but lets some air in and out, and the hands are plenty free to deal with eating, etc.

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Down here, we start looking more familiar...more of that profile we're used to seeing. Here, I've quickly (literally...this took two seconds to accomplish, with no "dressing" done) gathered the front from the right (open) edge across towards my left, and thrown the whole mess over my shoulder. In the photo attached to my article, the folds were somewhat "stacked" on the shoulder, which wasn't as comfortable as throwing it across and back. This spreads out the weight and creates a natural layer of padding beneath the bedroll strap that would be placed atop all of that. Everybody wins.

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I'll toss up some more photos showing the seams a little later, which were stitched with a gorgeous silvery-grey linen thread I found on ebay. The left shoulder seam was fairly heavily darted, which drew the much-longer-than-the-original cloak up off the ground a bit, and then the neck-hole followed by the right shoulder were tailored in turn. The half-circle was also progressively tailored a bit, so that the front half (in poncho-mode) is actually a few inches shorter by the time you get to the end. I used the string jig I used to draw the original half-circle on the fabric, but moved it along the straight edge about 6", so the new line gradually curved up sharper than the original, and lifted up the front a hair.

I did not piece it together like the original for the sake of ease of patterning, etc. Now that it's finished, I'm considering whether or not I'd like to cut it apart in the appropriate areas and re-stitch it to form that patchwork construction. It wasn't necessary for mine, though, because the fabric came in at 60" wide already.

Now, on to making the hood, and then we'll start doing some pics with the whole shebang starting to come together.
Now the sword shall come from under the cloak.
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Re: Bocksten 'Ranger' Cloak - From EotW Winter 16-17

Postby Elleth » Sat Mar 18, 2017 10:16 pm

Oh that's very cool! (And dashing! )

... might I ask the weight of the wool you used? You said once you found the fabric you used for your surcoat too light for this application: is the cloak more a blanket weight?
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Re: Bocksten 'Ranger' Cloak - From EotW Winter 16-17

Postby Greg » Sat Mar 18, 2017 10:23 pm

Elleth wrote:... might I ask the weight of the wool you used? You said ounce you found the fabric you used for your surcoat too light for this application: is the cloak more a blanket weight?
Yes, I'd call it a blanket weight, but on the thinner side of that spectrum. It's a melton wool...lemme look it up real quick...

Ah-ha. 24 oz/square yard. There you go. My actual blanket is a GOOD deal heavier than this, but it functions for the purpose, will shed water reasonably (and still maintain heating properties when soaked) and warms up very quickly. If it were much heavier, it wouldn't be practical as a cloak, and would be too stiff as a hood to ever hang down, rather than covering the head.
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Re: Bocksten 'Ranger' Cloak - From EotW Winter 16-17

Postby Straelbora » Mon Mar 20, 2017 8:56 pm

In part because my sewing skills are so abysmal, in part because I'd like to spend my 'project time' on getting the Dragons Wood Inn in shape, I decided to have my friend who is a tailor who also does Colonial reenactment / sews all sorts of historical costume and garb make me a cape.

Some may recall the 1950s "Doris Day" mink stole I got for a dollar a pound at the Goodwill store. One of his patrons really liked it, so I traded it to her in exchange for the purchase of a coyote pelt. I told my friend to just go ahead and make a gray woolen cloak with a fur collar and let him run with it. Do a certain degree, 'anything goes' in Middle-earth recreation.

Hence, I am now the proud owner of a cloak that I think may have passed in Medieval times, but is certainly Colonial in certain features.
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Cape 1.jpg
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Vápnum sínum skala maðr velli á
feti ganga framar því at óvist er at vita
nær verðr á vegum úti geirs um þörf guma
Hávamál
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Re: Bocksten 'Ranger' Cloak - From EotW Winter 16-17

Postby Greg » Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:27 pm

Coyote, eh? Is it pretty warm? Hard to tell how long the fur is on that, and even harder when it's on the animal and they're keeping their wary distance.

Doesn't have to be "anything goes", though. Elrond furnished the Fellowship with fur-lined cloaks.
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Re: Bocksten 'Ranger' Cloak - From EotW Winter 16-17

Postby Elleth » Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:50 pm

Oh I bet that'll be nice to bury your face in come the winter winds!

When I was in Alaska a friend gave me an old parka she had with (I think she said) wolf fur about the face. It's AMAZING how much difference it makes.
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Re: Bocksten 'Ranger' Cloak - From EotW Winter 16-17

Postby Greg » Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:52 pm

For what it's worth, most of those parkas use Fox Fur, which is often considered the warmest fur available (the Silvers being the most desirable for warmth, my sources tell me.)
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Re: Bocksten 'Ranger' Cloak - From EotW Winter 16-17

Postby Kortoso » Mon Mar 20, 2017 10:22 pm

Looks very good, all around.
Is the fur detachable for when the weather warms up, or is it exclusively a winter cloak?
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Re: Bocksten 'Ranger' Cloak - From EotW Winter 16-17

Postby Straelbora » Tue Mar 21, 2017 12:04 am

Greg wrote:Coyote, eh? Is it pretty warm? Hard to tell how long the fur is on that, and even harder when it's on the animal and they're keeping their wary distance.

Doesn't have to be "anything goes", though. Elrond furnished the Fellowship with fur-lined cloaks.


Of course, I've had the cloak a few days, and it's been warm. The fur is pretty thick. Maybe Indiana will actually have a winter next year and I'll get to test it out.
Vápnum sínum skala maðr velli á
feti ganga framar því at óvist er at vita
nær verðr á vegum úti geirs um þörf guma
Hávamál
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Re: Bocksten 'Ranger' Cloak - From EotW Winter 16-17

Postby Straelbora » Tue Mar 21, 2017 12:07 am

Kortoso wrote:Looks very good, all around.
Is the fur detachable for when the weather warms up, or is it exclusively a winter cloak?


Strickly a winter cloak- the fur stays on. That's why I had it attached to gray wool. I have a 'suit wool' hooded cloak that's brown that I use for warmer weather.

I've decided that I want to have a winter set of garb, mostly wool, primarily grays with green and brown highlights, and a summer one of linen, mostly greens with gray and brown trim.
Vápnum sínum skala maðr velli á
feti ganga framar því at óvist er at vita
nær verðr á vegum úti geirs um þörf guma
Hávamál
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Re: Bocksten 'Ranger' Cloak - From EotW Winter 16-17

Postby Manveruon » Tue Mar 28, 2017 5:52 am

Yeah, I've been toying with the idea of having two or three distinct sets of garb for various times of the year - a bunch of heavy wool for the winter, lots of breathable linen for summer day-trips, and maybe one that has a mixture of both, but with lighter weight wools, for summer camping.

At any rate, the cloaks look great all around! I really dig that fur collar.

The Bocksten one looks extremely practical. The only change I'd make if it were mine would be to add some kind of clasp so it didn't have to be put on and taken off over the head. Still though, it cuts a dashing figure, and seems to really fit the bill for what we do. Love it!
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Re: Bocksten 'Ranger' Cloak - From EotW Winter 16-17

Postby Elleth » Tue Mar 28, 2017 11:36 am

Oh no Manv don't tell me that! I'm only now coming close to getting *one* set complete! :shock:
(I'm sure you're right though.. plus layers layers layers. )

For what it's worth, I found the sewn neck a fantastic breakthrough: I was agonizing over how to set closures, and sewing it shut just cut the Gordian knot perfectly.
(Greg's solutions tend to be like that I find. )

If there were lots of straps under the cloak I'd have a different opinion I think - but since it sits underneath anyway, and quivers and such will likely need to come off to remove it no matter what- there seems little downside and a great deal of stability in sewing up the neck.

That said, I've not actually gotten mine out in the woods: it's still got a couple hours of sewing left before it's ready.
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Re: Bocksten 'Ranger' Cloak - From EotW Winter 16-17

Postby kleenur » Wed May 08, 2019 4:37 pm

I thought I saw a reference to some sort of tutorial in one of the threads referencing this build (I have counted 3 so far). Is there a tutorial somewhere? Specifically the sewing parts I will struggle with unless I have very clear instructions. I'm a fair hand at banging on metal until it behaves, and shaping wood with sharp things until it behaves. Textiles, however are a complete mystery to me. This could have something to do with the fact that in middle school when I should have been learning the basics of sewing in Life Skills class I was thinking about D&D. The upside is that the girl who would eventually be my wife did the work for me (I reciprocated the gift in Computer Lit). In any case the last time I touched a sewing machine it committed suicide.
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Re: Bocksten 'Ranger' Cloak - From EotW Winter 16-17

Postby Taurinor » Wed May 08, 2019 7:01 pm

Here’s the issue where Greg talked about the design and the like - http://www.budgetauthenticity.org/mers/ ... nter17.pdf

The Bocksten cloak is an extant garment that we’ve all be referencing - it’s a 14th century half circle cloak with a sewn neck closure.
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Re: Bocksten 'Ranger' Cloak - From EotW Winter 16-17

Postby Elleth » Wed May 08, 2019 8:23 pm

Also watch this before you start cutting.

There's more going on in that neck hole than it looks at first glance:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrPbq0-laFM
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