Water Canteen

Hard Kit is all other accoutrements that are not clothing, weapons or armour. This includes pots and tents, and flint & steel, and other things like that.

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Shadrack
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Water Canteen

Postby Shadrack » Thu Dec 19, 2019 10:05 pm

I've just finished work on a pretty standard leather canteen!
bottle.jpg
bottle.jpg (80.97 KiB) Viewed 1840 times

I made the two panels out of leather, stitched them together, soaked it in water, stuffed it with barley and lined the whole thing with a mixture of beeswax and pine rosin. When it came to the lining process I did make a couple of errors however that I'm sure others can learn from. Firstly I poured the wax in far to hot! This caused a part of the canteen to deform slightly and may have damaged its integrity in the long run. I'll have to wait and see! And secondly I neglected the fact that filling the bottle with hot wax would once again soften up the leather, allowing it to become pliable so that when I left it on its side for a brief moment while it was cooling down, it resulted in a slightly flattened depression where it had sat on the bench, slightly reducing its total carrying capacity.
For the strap I braided a length of jute twine in a cobra knot, and made a separate braid to attach the stopper to the bottle.
The bottle itself is completely water tight, holding just over a liter of water however it will slowly leak out the sides of the stopper at the seams when tipped upside down. if anyone has any advice for this I'd appreciate it though I suspect the only solution will be to keep carefully shaving away layers from the stopper until I get a perfect fit. For now though as long as I keep the bottle upright it does its job pretty well!
Thoughts and feedback welcome!
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Manveruon
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Re: Water Canteen

Postby Manveruon » Thu Dec 19, 2019 10:26 pm

Looks great! I made a similar one recently myself, and it was no small task. Extremely labor-intensive. But the end result is worth it!
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Ghostsoldier
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Re: Water Canteen

Postby Ghostsoldier » Fri Dec 20, 2019 1:38 am

Nice job, Ranger! :P

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Iodo
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Re: Water Canteen

Postby Iodo » Fri Dec 20, 2019 7:28 am

Nice work :P
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Taurinor
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Re: Water Canteen

Postby Taurinor » Fri Dec 20, 2019 2:31 pm

Wow, that looks great! One of these is on my list; I have a large barrel-shaped costrel, but I think a flacket would serve me better on shorter jaunts.

Shadrack wrote:The bottle itself is completely water tight, holding just over a liter of water however it will slowly leak out the sides of the stopper at the seams when tipped upside down. if anyone has any advice for this I'd appreciate it though I suspect the only solution will be to keep carefully shaving away layers from the stopper until I get a perfect fit.

I have a couple thoughts on this -

My first thought is that this may just be a limitation of the technology. I imagine the folks who used these in their day to day lives just... didn't turn the canteen upside down. My guess is that they probably would have tolerated a little leakage in that situation, the way they probably would have tolerated wet feet and bland food in ways that we don't really have to nowadays.

My second thought, which doesn't really help you with this canteen but might be worth keeping in mind for future projects, is that you could use a welt and/or a liner in the throat of the flacket. I don't know that this is terribly common in two-piece canteens like yours, but I've seen them in leather costrels (the image in the link above is from this blog post about making a leather costrel). That results in a much rounder opening that doesn't have the pinched sides of a two-piece flacket, but like I said, I don't know that it was commonly used in the sort of canteen that you've made.

My third thought, which might actually be helpful, is that you could wrap the stopper (or "stopple", as they are sometimes called) in leather, which might add a little more "give" and might allow for a more snug fit. A couple of the Mary Rose stopples were found to have this.
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Elleth
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Re: Water Canteen

Postby Elleth » Fri Dec 20, 2019 2:40 pm

I concur with Taurinor on all points, especially that a leather "gasket" over the stoppel's mating surface would be worth a try.
Another possibility I've seen on wooden recorders from the pre-plastic-in-everything age is a gasket of cord or heavy thread wrap: often I think beeswax or other treatment was rubbed into the cord to provide a smooth but somewhat compressive fit.

Ultimately I think it's never going to be as water-tight and secure as a modern plastic-gasketed screw-top steel water bottle, but that's part of the joy of reenactment generally: discovering all the little quirks of life that our ancestors had to put up with, and explore how they might have dealt with them. :mrgreen:
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Manveruon
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Re: Water Canteen

Postby Manveruon » Sat Dec 21, 2019 8:07 pm

HAH! I don’t know why I never thought about making a leather gasket to go around the stopple, but now I really want to try it!
Last edited by Manveruon on Thu Jan 23, 2020 7:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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SierraStrider
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Re: Water Canteen

Postby SierraStrider » Tue Jan 21, 2020 4:36 am

I recently chickened out and purchased a flacket, and was noticing the same problem--not only when it was tipped, but when it's jostled from running, as well. Water sloshes out in a rather annoying fashion. I don't know how well a cord or leather gasket on the stopple would work; it seems like that would serve to increase its diameter, but the problem isn't the size but the shape. Whittling the stopple into a more suitable shape with an eye-shaped cross section seems like a good plan, and I also like Taurinor's welt idea. I had originally thought to simply build up wax in the opening and work it back down such that it filled the gaps at the corners, leaving a rounder, more fitted hole, but that seems delicate. A welt could lend structural integrity if nothing else.
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SierraStrider
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Re: Water Canteen

Postby SierraStrider » Tue Jan 28, 2020 4:21 am

I just got some beeswax in and decided to try my own suggestion. I first tried to coat the stopper in beeswax and push it in--no good. It didn't adhere to the bottle. Next I dribbled some liquid wax from a spoon into the corners. This worked better. I pressed it in with my fingers and then melted it a little with a small flame to 'weld' it to the existing sealant.

Image

This worked MUCH better. The water no longer sloshes out when I'm running, and only very slowly leaks when the bottle is laid on its side. Unfortunately, as anticipated, the wax is quite inelastic to the point that hairline cracks form when the stopper is pushed in. This doesn't seem to cause any actual issues, but if It could be made a little less brittle without being actually soft, that would be ideal.
Elleth
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Re: Water Canteen

Postby Elleth » Tue Jan 28, 2020 11:44 am

Cool!

I believe that brewer's pitch is a mix of wax and pine pitch (and perhaps other binders?) - and in the right proportion those elments give you the sealing qualities of wax without the crumbliness.

However, I don't know what those proportions are, or if they might present a surface too sticky to use around a stoppel.

Someone was playing with the stuff though a couple years ago - Taurinor? Udwin?
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Udwin
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Re: Water Canteen

Postby Udwin » Tue Jan 28, 2020 9:56 pm

Elleth wrote:Someone was playing with the stuff though a couple years ago - Taurinor? Udwin?


Hmm...from what I can tell, there seem to be a few things going by 'brewer's pitch'.
I got a few pounds of Townsend's brewer's pitch in '14 for lining my large gourd canteen. They don't advertise the actual composition, but it seems like some kind of resin only (no wax). It's a translucent golden yellow.
The stuff I see commercial flackets and jacks lined with is opaque black.
Then there's the stuff used in spanish botas, which is--correct me if I'm wrong--more flexible and translucent black. The leatherworker I apprenticed to might still have...multiple tens of gallons of the stuff? Thought about doing a MERF buy-in years ago. ; )
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