New waterskin- finally!

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Elleth
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New waterskin- finally!

Postby Elleth » Sat Nov 19, 2016 12:16 am

Once upon a time, I sewed myself a quite nice leather bottel - and worked a trade with a gentleman to wax it for me. Sadly the process was botched, and he sent me one of his own in compromise. It looked quite nice, but has never really held water well.

merf-waterbottle.jpg
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For the most part, my trips since have been short enough that wasn't a problem, but for quite a while I've been wanting to upgrade.
After ages of putting it off, I finally decided "good enough" would have to do for a couple items, and just ordered not-quite-right-but-okay:

merf-waterskin-01.jpg
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I had to do a bit of a dance with the vendor to get it made this way - it's ALMOST entirely historically correct: it's a real pitch-lined goatskin bota: no plastic piping, no rubber liner. Just goatskin and pine pitch like in the old days. This is really cool - it feels totally different from a walmart plastic bota the instant you pick it up: the pitch lining inside is I think laid on fairly thick, and the thick-yet-yielding texture feels almost alive as you handle the empty skin.

Right now it's getting it's initial soak, but should be ready to use late this weekend!

There's still some things I'm not that happy with: the rubber 0-ring on the wooden stopper is most obvious, but the "cup" style spout - and it's olivewood construction - don't feel right for Eriador. The capacity is a bit smaller than I was expecting, but it's nice and light as is. That said, were I to do it over I think I'd have ordered the 1.5L rather than the 1L variant.

At some point I'm likely to ask my husband to turn me a more rustic spout and stopper, and while I'm at it craft a leather strap of some kind for it to replace the existing rope. All in all though, it's a decent interim step until / unless I make my own from scratch.

To the wilds! :)
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Le-Loup
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Re: New waterskin- finally!

Postby Le-Loup » Sat Nov 19, 2016 12:29 am

Elleth wrote:Once upon a time, I sewed myself a quite nice leather bottel - and worked a trade with a gentleman to wax it for me. Sadly the process was botched, and he sent me one of his own in compromise. It looked quite nice, but has never really held water well.



For the most part, my trips since have been short enough that wasn't a problem, but for quite a while I've been wanting to upgrade.
After ages of putting it off, I finally decided "good enough" would have to do for a couple items, and just ordered not-quite-right-but-okay:



I had to do a bit of a dance with the vendor to get it made this way - it's ALMOST entirely historically correct: it's a real pitch-lined goatskin bota: no plastic piping, no rubber liner. Just goatskin and pine pitch like in the old days. This is really cool - it feels totally different from a walmart plastic bota the instant you pick it up: the pitch lining inside is I think laid on fairly thick, and the thick-yet-yielding texture feels almost alive as you handle the empty skin.

Right now it's getting it's initial soak, but should be ready to use late this weekend!

There's still some things I'm not that happy with: the rubber 0-ring on the wooden stopper is most obvious, but the "cup" style spout - and it's olivewood construction - don't feel right for Eriador. The capacity is a bit smaller than I was expecting, but it's nice and light as is. That said, were I to do it over I think I'd have ordered the 1.5L rather than the 1L variant.

At some point I'm likely to ask my husband to turn me a more rustic spout and stopper, and while I'm at it craft a leather strap of some kind for it to replace the existing rope. All in all though, it's a decent interim step until / unless I make my own from scratch.

To the wilds! :)


Excellent Elleth, good purchase. I agree, the spout problems sound as if they are easily fixed, nothing lost.
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And that has made all the difference.
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Greg
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Re: New waterskin- finally!

Postby Greg » Sat Nov 19, 2016 12:55 am

That's pretty awesome. Am I gathering that it is soft/flexible, unlike our pitch-lined costrels? That would be a boon to a traveller...stiff costrels, when sat on/smushed on accident get cracks in the lining and have to be re-done.
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Re: New waterskin- finally!

Postby Udwin » Sat Nov 19, 2016 12:56 am

Groovy! Making a leather-clad stopple would probably be a good swap out for the current plug, as once they get wet they swell and seal up right well.
And I agree, olive is Definitely much too Gondorian for a northern Dunedain.
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Elleth
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Re: New waterskin- finally!

Postby Elleth » Sat Nov 19, 2016 3:41 am

Thanks all! I'm quite excited to give it a go this weekend!

Greg - it is soft: in principle it's not at all that different from the botas you see in walmart and camping stores and such - just from what I'm given to understand a bit more temperamental. For one thing, I'm apparently supposed to never let it really dry out: after its initial soak I'll store it full, with just enough wine in the water to keep it sterile.

So far it's proving remarkably water tight - certainly more than either my handmade bottel or an off the shelf rubber-and-suede bota. We'll see if that's still true after some walking time. I still wouldn't want to just toss it to the ground or crush it under other gear: I don't trust the seams *that* much. But the soft sides do seem to have a bit more leeway that insular jackware. We'll see.

I did quite a bit of historical and textual research before deciding on a softsided skin for water - I wouldn't say it's the only option for a Dunedain, but (admittedly motivated reasoning aside) I think it's quite justifiable. I'll post a writeup of that research this weekend.
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Elleth
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Re: New waterskin- finally!

Postby Elleth » Wed Nov 23, 2016 9:32 pm

Posting here rather than on the water carriers thread - but I just got back from my first jaunt with this thing.

REALLY impressed. It's been full since I got it, and hasn't leaked a drop. Sitting next to my side, getting squished now and again by my quiver or bedroll pushing against my side - not a single problem. Here's the really cool thing. In the other thread, Harper mentions:

Harper wrote:One advantage of leather over metal canteens pertinent to rangering is noise discipline. Also, shine.

Water sloshing around and hitting metal walls makes noise that can be heard. I imagine that it is more subdued with leather.


Because the waterskin is soft-sideed, you can squeeze most all the air out and reseal. Even half full, there is NO sloshing sound at all. It just feels like a bag of goo, and doesn't make a bit of sound as you shake it around.

The only reservation I have left is temperature: I'd expect if it froze, the gooey pitch lining might crack. That said, I'm not certain jackware would do any better. Regardless, I'm not planning any freezing overnights, and if I were I could keep the waterskin next to me under the blankets, so I'm not that concerned.

So far I love it!

merf-waterskin-in-woods.jpg
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edit - if you're looking for one, I bought mine from user "vintageguy71" on eBay.
He lives in Spain near one of their bota makers, speaks great English, and conveyed my custom request to them and shipped the skin to me.
He sells both modern rubber-lined ones ($20-ish) and traditional pitch lined ones ($80-ish), so be sure to specify what you're looking if you contact him.
(standard disclaimer: no kickback for the review, just bought one and liked it, yadda yadda. :) )
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Re: New waterskin- finally!

Postby Manveruon » Wed Nov 23, 2016 9:49 pm

Brilliant! I reeeeaaally want one... That being said, I would probably opt for a rubber bladder inside instead of pitch, but if he could do a similar design on the outside with the rubber bladder inside, I'd be thrilled!
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Re: New waterskin- finally!

Postby Elleth » Wed Nov 23, 2016 10:04 pm

Manv - for cost reasons, or ease of care reasons? If you can swing the extra, I'd strongly recommend the pitch.

Maybe this manufacturer is better than the Walmart/Coghlan's variety, but I've never seen a rubber one that didn't start leaking in short order.
The pitch-lined might be a hair more temperamental, needing to be kept filled - but so far the quality difference is AMAZING.

When I spoke with him, the maker wasn't certain they had any more wooden nozzles, and apparently found the one I got in a back room or something.
I'm not certain if they have more. But if you're going to roll the dice with replacing the nozzle anyhow, just ordering one with the plastic is quickest/easiest/cheapest.
(the downside is you do risk introducing some leaks that way and void any warranty they may have)
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Re: New waterskin- finally!

Postby Manveruon » Wed Nov 23, 2016 11:07 pm

Fair enough. My concern was both cost and ease of upkeep, to be honest.
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Elleth
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Re: New waterskin- finally!

Postby Elleth » Fri Dec 23, 2016 10:08 pm

Hubby had a few spare hours for the first time in months, so he kindly turned me a new mouthpiece out of maple to better fit Eriador:
merf-waterskin-replacement-mouth.jpg
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I gave it a quick wax/raw flaxseed oil finish and stuck it into the skin:
merf-waterskin-replacement-mouth-assembled.jpg
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The stopper he turned is a bit fat, but at some point we'll find time to knock that down and I'll sew a proper leather gasket for it.
I'll also be weaving new strap for it from some nettle yarn I found online. (thanks to Udwin for that tip!)

The one concern I have is that the pitch may have been damaged too much when I replaced the mouthpiece. I may have degraded the water seal on the neck of the bag: if that proves to be the case, I'll need to investigate a way to reline it somehow. (Also, the original mouthpiece had a rubber gasket around the widest "valley" around the neck. I may replace that with a leather gasket as well).

So far, so good.
Though were I to do it over, I'd investigate whether I could have the mouth turned *first* and mail it to the skin maker.


edit-
good news: the pitch seems to be holding up quite well! (I did the removal/replacement under hot running water, which I think helped a lot)
bad news: that gasket around the mouthpiece was absolutely necessary. I'm going to try a leather one to stay completely in period: if that doesn't work I'll either put the original one on my new mouthpiece, or get a bit of inner tube rubber or something for it. While I'm at it I'll replace the top carrying loop with waxed linen or something instead of the poly string they used.

so far, so good. :)
Last edited by Elleth on Sat Dec 24, 2016 1:04 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: New waterskin- finally!

Postby Manveruon » Sat Dec 24, 2016 4:55 am

Lovely modifications! Hope the skin holds up well!
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Re: New waterskin- finally!

Postby Greg » Sat Dec 24, 2016 1:56 pm

Dig it! Looks great.
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Re: New waterskin- finally!

Postby Kortoso » Sat Dec 31, 2016 1:13 am

That looks great! Certainly a fun bit of gear to have once it is right.

I remember that there was a vendor at Ren Faires in California who made soft "bota" type bags with a turned wooden stopple assembly. But these had a screw closure. That's a challenge for a wood-turner, yes?

I guess the wooden stoppers were not smiled on by the FDA or something, or maybe the craftsman simply retired. Can't find them anymore.
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Elleth
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Re: New waterskin- finally!

Postby Elleth » Sat Jan 28, 2017 10:20 pm

Well, doesn't look much different, but I got a lot done on this today.

merf-waterskin-sewing.jpg
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I dug out the rubber gasket from the old nozzle and installed it on the new one. Sure I'd prefer to be 100% historic materials, but it doesn't show and after mucking about in the pitch twice I need all the help I can get. The seal is MOSTLY back, but I think I'll drip some wax down in around the nozzle next time I have some on the stove to try and make the seal perfect as I can. Also you'll see I replaced the cotton loop at the top with a linen one. Again - would have been nice to have it done that way the first time, but I think it'll work out alright.

The strap I made on a small loom from nettle yarn - thanks for the tip Udwin! This is the first weaving I've done in aaaaages and to be honest I'm not terribly pleased with it. At some point I'd like to either weave a new one or purchase a better strap, but for the time being it works and I've more important things to spend time on.

merf-waterskin-strapweaving.jpg
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I need to cut the strap down a bit to size it, perhaps sew a bit on linen about the neck to clean up the look, and then just wait for the replacement stopper.
Almost there! :)
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Re: New waterskin- finally!

Postby Ursus » Thu Feb 09, 2017 4:01 am

I really want to pursue something similar to this this year. My current waterbag is great but awkwardly shaped. I wonder if they would be willing to do a two liter. Failing that I guess its time to learn yet another skill...
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