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RE: [medieval-leather] Re: Jason Townshend brewers' pitch

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  • Jarl Alfar
    Hi You said you get the black pitch from the UK, who is your supplier? Alfar _____ From: medieval-leather@yahoogroups.com
    Message 1 of 26 , Jun 25 12:19 AM
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      Hi



      You said you get the black pitch from the UK, who is your supplier?



      Alfar



      _____

      From: medieval-leather@yahoogroups.com
      [mailto:medieval-leather@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of legviiii
      Sent: Monday, 25 June 2007 2:39 PM
      To: medieval-leather@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [medieval-leather] Re: Jason Townshend brewers' pitch



      Hi Alasdair,

      I buy the honey coloured pitch a couple of pounds at a time for James
      Townsend in the USA, and import the black in 10kg lots from the UK.

      Postage from the UK is extortionate, costing slightly more than the
      pitch, 10kg worked out as the most cost-effective amount at the time.
      US postage is negligible, but I do pad out to whatever the weight
      point is with horn spoons, combs and wood ware.

      I'll do a write up of the frame once I've finished this jack.

      Wayne

      --- In medieval-leather@ <mailto:medieval-leather%40yahoogroups.com>
      yahoogroups.com, Alasdair Muckart
      <silver@...> wrote:
      >
      > Sweet. Where'd you find pitch in this hemisphere? I've been looking
      for it and
      > haven't been able to find honest to go pine pitch in anything less
      than
      > industrial quantities.
      >





      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • legviiii
      ... I got it from a contact who put in a bulk order, I think it was with Traditional Materials, their site appears to be down at the moment.
      Message 2 of 26 , Jun 25 6:13 PM
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        --- In medieval-leather@yahoogroups.com, "Jarl Alfar" <alfar@...> wrote:
        >
        > Hi
        >
        >
        >
        > You said you get the black pitch from the UK, who is your supplier?
        >
        >
        >
        > Alfar
        >


        I got it from a contact who put in a bulk order, I think it was with
        Traditional Materials, their site appears to be down at the moment.

        http://www.traditionalmaterials.co.uk/html/substances.php

        Wayne
      • legviiii
        ... I ve just uploaded a dozen photos of the frame and other things I ve done to the photos area in an album called Leather Vessels .
        Message 3 of 26 , Jun 25 6:42 PM
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          --- In medieval-leather@yahoogroups.com, "legviiii" <legviiii@...>
          wrote:
          >
          >
          >...

          >
          > I'll do a write up of the frame once I've finished this jack.
          >

          I've just uploaded a dozen photos of the frame and other things I've
          done to the photos area in an album called "Leather Vessels".
          http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/medieval-leather/photos/browse/3ab6?
          c=

          That should give you something to get by on until I've finished. ;-)


          Wayne
        • Alasdair Muckart
          ... Nice, thanks for posting those. That s an approach to forming the things that hasn t occurred to me. Did you base those methods on particular sources or is
          Message 4 of 26 , Jun 25 6:54 PM
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            On Tue, 26 Jun 2007, legviiii wrote:
            > > I'll do a write up of the frame once I've finished this jack.
            >
            > I've just uploaded a dozen photos of the frame and other things I've
            > done to the photos area in an album called "Leather Vessels".
            > http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/medieval-leather/photos/browse/3ab6?
            > c=
            >
            > That should give you something to get by on until I've finished. ;-)

            Nice, thanks for posting those. That's an approach to forming the things that
            hasn't occurred to me. Did you base those methods on particular sources or is
            it a technique you developed on your own?

            I keep getting distracted by other projects but I've been planning on making
            some costrels and I'd just been planning to sand pack and force dry them.
            That seems to give quite a nice shape.

            --
            Al.
            http://where.else.net.nz
            http://wherearetheelves.blogspot.com
            Don't anthropomorphize computers. They don't like it.
          • legviiii
            Thatdesign s all my own work but based on 10 years of looking at photos of originals and other people s reconstructions. I was looking for a reliable, fast way
            Message 5 of 26 , Jun 25 8:39 PM
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              Thatdesign's all my own work but based on 10 years of looking at photos
              of originals and other people's reconstructions. I was looking for a
              reliable, fast way to make the neck and the shoulders without
              distorting the ends like sand moulding always seems to.
              I'm not entirely happy with the shape, there always seems to be a bulge
              in the body just below the neck, so I need to curve that surface on the
              iside part of the mould as well.

              When I make costrels, I do the top and one end seam, seal them by
              painting with molten pitch, then do the other end. That way I only have
              one end to really have to be careful with sealing. Once I've sealed the
              whole thing, I sew in the neck gasket and sit it in the oven at 60
              degrees for an hour or two to let the pinholes I get in the pitch come
              out.

              Wayne

              --- In medieval-leather@yahoogroups.com, Alasdair Muckart <silver@...>
              wrote:
              >

              >
              > Nice, thanks for posting those. That's an approach to forming the
              things that
              > hasn't occurred to me. Did you base those methods on particular
              sources or is
              > it a technique you developed on your own?
              >
              > I keep getting distracted by other projects but I've been planning on
              making
              > some costrels and I'd just been planning to sand pack and force dry
              them.
              > That seems to give quite a nice shape.
              >
            • Alasdair Muckart
              ... Interesting. Do the originals you have looked at not exhibit the bulging on the ends? I d always assumed it was inherent in the way they were made. I will
              Message 6 of 26 , Jun 25 9:14 PM
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                On Tue, 26 Jun 2007, legviiii wrote:
                > Thatdesign's all my own work but based on 10 years of looking at photos
                > of originals and other people's reconstructions. I was looking for a
                > reliable, fast way to make the neck and the shoulders without
                > distorting the ends like sand moulding always seems to.

                Interesting. Do the originals you have looked at not exhibit the bulging on
                the ends? I'd always assumed it was inherent in the way they were made.

                I will say in the defence of sand packing it sounds simpler than the method
                you describe, though the way you do it certainly gets nice clean raised
                decoration.

                > I'm not entirely happy with the shape, there always seems to be a bulge
                > in the body just below the neck, so I need to curve that surface on the
                > iside part of the mould as well.

                That quite organic smooth shape is the other reason I'd always figured they
                were fully closed up then sand packed.

                Cheers.
                --
                Al.
                http://where.else.net.nz
                http://wherearetheelves.blogspot.com
                Don't anthropomorphize computers. They don't like it.
              • legviiii
                ... bulging on ... made. ... The problem is that they seem to mostly be found flat and its hard to tell what s original and what s repairs done during
                Message 7 of 26 , Jun 25 9:51 PM
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                  --- In medieval-leather@yahoogroups.com, Alasdair Muckart
                  <silver@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > On Tue, 26 Jun 2007, legviiii wrote:
                  >
                  > Interesting. Do the originals you have looked at not exhibit the
                  bulging on
                  > the ends? I'd always assumed it was inherent in the way they were
                  made.
                  >

                  The problem is that they seem to mostly be found flat and its hard to
                  tell what's original and what's repairs done during restoration. The
                  one the black example is copied from is in the Mary Rose museum. It
                  and the others on display there looked flat at the ends, both in life
                  and in photographs. There's a similar sized one in the Museum of
                  London that looks like one end is bulging and the other flat, problem
                  is the bulging end is bulging at the edges rather than in the middle,
                  so may be damage rather than shaping. The museum placard claims that
                  one was made on a wooden former. There's a leather inkwell in the
                  same display that is dead flat on the base.

                  My brown one with the fleur-de-lys is copied from one in Baker, the
                  ends looked flat to me, but more importantly, there are similar marks
                  on the original to the line down the right side of mine from the
                  wooden stamp block.

                  Having defended blocking, there's a very small one with no decoration
                  in the MoL that bulges severly at the ends, Waterer thought it had
                  been sand packed and thought the different techniques were used
                  depending on the size and complexity of the vessel.

                  Wayne
                • legviiii
                  Just checked my references, John Waterer, in _Leather in Life, Art and Industry_, (Faber and Faber, London, 1946) shows Oliver Baker s collection of costrels,
                  Message 8 of 26 , Jun 25 10:20 PM
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                    Just checked my references, John Waterer, in _Leather in Life, Art
                    and Industry_, (Faber and Faber, London, 1946) shows Oliver Baker's
                    collection of costrels, jacks and bottels in plate 8. They date from
                    the mid-15th c onwards and are in original condition. Every single
                    one is perfectly flat at the ends.

                    And it was Waterer on pp35-6 that ascribed magical qualities to fire
                    smoke "once made, jacks and bombards were hung in the smoke from the
                    fire to cure".

                    Wayne


                    --- In medieval-leather@yahoogroups.com, "legviiii" <legviiii@...>
                    wrote:
                    >
                    > --- In medieval-leather@yahoogroups.com, Alasdair Muckart
                    > <silver@> wrote:
                    > >
                    > > On Tue, 26 Jun 2007, legviiii wrote:
                    > >
                    > > Interesting. Do the originals you have looked at not exhibit the
                    > bulging on
                    > > the ends? I'd always assumed it was inherent in the way they were
                    > made.
                    > >
                    >
                    > The problem is that they seem to mostly be found flat and its hard
                    to
                    > tell what's original and what's repairs done during restoration.
                    The
                    > one the black example is copied from is in the Mary Rose museum. It
                    > and the others on display there looked flat at the ends, both in
                    life
                    > and in photographs. There's a similar sized one in the Museum of
                    > London that looks like one end is bulging and the other flat,
                    problem
                    > is the bulging end is bulging at the edges rather than in the
                    middle,
                    > so may be damage rather than shaping. The museum placard claims
                    that
                    > one was made on a wooden former. There's a leather inkwell in the
                    > same display that is dead flat on the base.
                    >
                    > My brown one with the fleur-de-lys is copied from one in Baker, the
                    > ends looked flat to me, but more importantly, there are similar
                    marks
                    > on the original to the line down the right side of mine from the
                    > wooden stamp block.
                    >
                    > Having defended blocking, there's a very small one with no
                    decoration
                    > in the MoL that bulges severly at the ends, Waterer thought it had
                    > been sand packed and thought the different techniques were used
                    > depending on the size and complexity of the vessel.
                    >
                    > Wayne
                    >
                  • Arthur Kathan
                    There are several pieces at the Royal Ontario Museum, bottles, bombards and tankards. All of them have flat ends or bottoms, none display the bulge of sand
                    Message 9 of 26 , Jun 27 9:06 PM
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                      There are several pieces at the Royal Ontario Museum, bottles, bombards and tankards.
                      All of them have flat ends or bottoms, none display the bulge of sand stuffing. Some
                      combination of internal and external molding was the only method I could come up with
                      that would lead to the shapes that I saw. The piece that absolutely convinces me these
                      techniques were used is the "dagg" shaped bottle. There is a line drawing of a similar
                      piece in Baker. To get the internal shape and molded external surface detail, I believe,
                      had to require stretching over an internal mold and clamping inside an external mold,
                      drying, removing from the molds and then sewing shut.
                      --Corin

                      ----- Original Message -----
                      From: legviiii
                      To: medieval-leather@yahoogroups.com
                      Sent: Monday, June 25, 2007 11:51 PM
                      Subject: [medieval-leather] Re: Jason Townshend brewers' pitch


                      --- In medieval-leather@yahoogroups.com, Alasdair Muckart
                      <silver@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > On Tue, 26 Jun 2007, legviiii wrote:
                      >
                      > Interesting. Do the originals you have looked at not exhibit the
                      bulging on
                      > the ends? I'd always assumed it was inherent in the way they were
                      made.
                      >

                      The problem is that they seem to mostly be found flat and its hard to
                      tell what's original and what's repairs done during restoration. The
                      one the black example is copied from is in the Mary Rose museum. It
                      and the others on display there looked flat at the ends, both in life
                      and in photographs. There's a similar sized one in the Museum of
                      London that looks like one end is bulging and the other flat, problem
                      is the bulging end is bulging at the edges rather than in the middle,
                      so may be damage rather than shaping. The museum placard claims that
                      one was made on a wooden former. There's a leather inkwell in the
                      same display that is dead flat on the base.

                      My brown one with the fleur-de-lys is copied from one in Baker, the
                      ends looked flat to me, but more importantly, there are similar marks
                      on the original to the line down the right side of mine from the
                      wooden stamp block.

                      Having defended blocking, there's a very small one with no decoration
                      in the MoL that bulges severly at the ends, Waterer thought it had
                      been sand packed and thought the different techniques were used
                      depending on the size and complexity of the vessel.

                      Wayne





                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • Alasdair Muckart
                      ... There is a series of pictures in the photos section of this group showing a bombard that displays the characteristically bulged bottom of sand stuffing. It
                      Message 10 of 26 , Jun 27 9:19 PM
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                        On Thu, 28 Jun 2007, Arthur Kathan wrote:
                        > There are several pieces at the Royal Ontario Museum, bottles, bombards and
                        > tankards. All of them have flat ends or bottoms, none display the bulge of
                        > sand stuffing.  Some combination of internal and external molding was the
                        > only method I could come up with that would lead to the shapes that I saw.

                        There is a series of pictures in the photos section of this group showing a
                        bombard that displays the characteristically bulged bottom of sand stuffing.
                        It is possible, given the size of the vessel, that the bottom bulged under
                        the weight of the liquid it held, but I think that would do bad things to
                        it's watertightness.

                        --
                        Al.
                        http://where.else.net.nz
                        http://wherearetheelves.blogspot.com
                        Don't anthropomorphize computers. They don't like it.
                      • legviiii
                        ... showing a ... stuffing. ... bulged under ... things to ... I m fairly certain the jack from Jamestown in the Smithsonian collection is sand moulded, it
                        Message 11 of 26 , Jun 28 12:13 AM
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                          --- In medieval-leather@yahoogroups.com, Alasdair Muckart
                          <silver@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > There is a series of pictures in the photos section of this group
                          showing a
                          > bombard that displays the characteristically bulged bottom of sand
                          stuffing.
                          > It is possible, given the size of the vessel, that the bottom
                          bulged under
                          > the weight of the liquid it held, but I think that would do bad
                          things to
                          > it's watertightness.
                          >

                          I'm fairly certain the jack from Jamestown in the Smithsonian
                          collection is sand moulded, it bulges unevenly and doesn't show the
                          clearly defined curves that the ones in the ROM and MoL have. The ROM
                          photos in the photo section of this list also show the pull/stretch
                          marks around the neck and a similar lean on the handle to mine and
                          the MoL example. I can't get that much even twisting around the
                          vessel when sand ramming, without seriously distorting the handle.

                          I took those photos of the Warwick Bombards, and was able to handle
                          them for a good 20 minutes. The sagging happened recently, there's
                          one photo of the inside that I didn't upload which shows the pitch in
                          the bottom and the base have separated - the shape of the pitch
                          indicates the base was flat when it was last waterproofed. I think
                          Baker mentions both these bombards were repaired in the 1880s or
                          similar so that could be a good 100 years of sagging before the
                          photos were taken in 2003. He also had a whinge about the storage
                          conditions they were in when he saw them in the early 20th century.

                          Apart from Baker's drawing of the jack formers, what convinced me
                          that wooden formers/lasts were used was the bottel with the lady's
                          face on one side and rounded, but slightly concave on the other. The
                          slightest pressure when wet would have distorted it.

                          I'll upload that other photo now.

                          Cheers,

                          Wayne
                        • Gregory G. Stapleton
                          I know it s been a while since I chimed in here, but I have to add my 2-cents worth on this topic, as it s one of my favorites. :) After researching molded
                          Message 12 of 26 , Jun 28 11:06 AM
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                            I know it's been a while since I chimed in here, but I have to add my
                            2-cents worth on this topic, as it's one of my favorites. :)

                            After researching molded leather vessels for about 15 years now, here
                            are the conclusions I've come too, for what they are worth.

                            The frame mold you made is great and it produces a great product.
                            Very nice work there. I made one almost exactly like it about 8
                            years ago. It works, but I don't think it's how it was done during
                            period. Sand molding, from the evidence I've seen, was most probably
                            done on some of the smaller items. Probably done also by craftsmen
                            working farther away from the main industrial centers, i.e. London,
                            etc., or by craftsmen new to the trade who hadn't yet built up a
                            great stock of molds.

                            Molds you say? Yes. I've researched this for a long time and have
                            held long conversations with Master Craftsmen such as the gentlemen
                            who man the leather and harness shop in Colonial Williamsburg, VA.,
                            and with Mark Beabey of "Bjarni's Boots" in the UK (check out his
                            vessels at: http://www.bjarnisboots.co.uk/). I've also visually
                            examined most of the better collections in England and physically
                            examined the collection at the Royal Ontario Museum. From this
                            reasearch I believe they used an internal, PUZZLE mold to create the
                            shapes of the vessels. A puzzle mold, for a baluster or pot-bellied
                            shaped bombard is made by cutting up a block of wood, the central
                            core here is the key as it is shaped as a long, truncated pyramid, so
                            that it can be driven into the center of the other pieces when they
                            are re-assembled, inside the bombard. You then glue the pieces back
                            together with a wood glue, with a piece of paper seperating each
                            piece of wood from the others. This creates a joint that can be
                            pried apart later. Once the glue has set up, I recommend overnight,
                            you then turn the shape on a wood lathe. Remove it from the lathe.
                            Pop the pieces apart with a chisle and you have your mold. Sew up
                            your bombard, leaving the bottom out. Then soak it in water,
                            thoroughly (i.e. a good half-hour). Place the outside pieces of the
                            mold into the bombard and then drive the central piece, acting as a
                            wedge, into the the bombard and it spreads the wood parts of the
                            mold, creating the shape you desire. You then let it dry. This is
                            where I think the "Hanging and curing in the smoke of the fire.",
                            comes in. They were using the heat from the fire to help dry the
                            leather around the mold. If I can find them, I've got some pics of
                            the process and will post them later.

                            Sincerely,

                            Gregory G. Stapleton
                            List Admin

                            --- In medieval-leather@yahoogroups.com, "legviiii" <legviiii@...>
                            wrote:
                            >

                            > I'm fairly certain the jack from Jamestown in the Smithsonian
                            > collection is sand moulded, it bulges unevenly and doesn't show the
                            > clearly defined curves that the ones in the ROM and MoL have. The
                            ROM
                            > photos in the photo section of this list also show the pull/stretch
                            > marks around the neck and a similar lean on the handle to mine and
                            > the MoL example. I can't get that much even twisting around the
                            > vessel when sand ramming, without seriously distorting the handle.
                            >
                            > I took those photos of the Warwick Bombards, and was able to handle
                            > them for a good 20 minutes. The sagging happened recently, there's
                            > one photo of the inside that I didn't upload which shows the pitch
                            in
                            > the bottom and the base have separated - the shape of the pitch
                            > indicates the base was flat when it was last waterproofed. I think
                            > Baker mentions both these bombards were repaired in the 1880s or
                            > similar so that could be a good 100 years of sagging before the
                            > photos were taken in 2003. He also had a whinge about the storage
                            > conditions they were in when he saw them in the early 20th century.
                            >
                            > Apart from Baker's drawing of the jack formers, what convinced me
                            > that wooden formers/lasts were used was the bottel with the lady's
                            > face on one side and rounded, but slightly concave on the other.
                            The
                            > slightest pressure when wet would have distorted it.
                            >
                            > I'll upload that other photo now.
                            >
                            > Cheers,
                            >
                            > Wayne
                            >
                          • legviiii
                            ... the ... Hi Greg, chime away. I ve seen some of your photos some time back, the puzzle mould was a rather elegant solution and definitely not beyond the
                            Message 13 of 26 , Jun 29 2:33 AM
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                              --- In medieval-leather@yahoogroups.com, "Gregory G. Stapleton"
                              <gregsta@...> wrote:
                              >
                              ...
                              > Pop the pieces apart with a chisle and you have your mold. Sew up
                              > your bombard, leaving the bottom out. Then soak it in water,
                              > thoroughly (i.e. a good half-hour). Place the outside pieces of
                              the
                              > mold into the bombard and then drive the central piece, acting as a
                              > wedge, into the the bombard and it spreads the wood parts of the
                              > mold, creating the shape you desire. You then let it dry. This is
                              > where I think the "Hanging and curing in the smoke of the fire.",
                              > comes in. They were using the heat from the fire to help dry the
                              > leather around the mold. If I can find them, I've got some pics of
                              > the process and will post them later.


                              Hi Greg, chime away. I've seen some of your photos some time back,
                              the puzzle mould was a rather elegant solution and definitely not
                              beyond the technology they had. I'm still not completely convinced,
                              particularly with the simpler shapes like the one I'm doing.

                              Living where I do, it hadn't occured to me that you'd need to dry the
                              leather after moulding. In summer I can wet, mould, dry and be ready
                              for stitching in about two hours, even winter only takes 6-8.

                              Wayne
                            • legviiii
                              ... up ... as ... ... I ve just finished my second jack using the frame and realised the slope on the back seam that I was using as incontrovertible proof of
                              Message 14 of 26 , Aug 8, 2007
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                                --- In medieval-leather@yahoogroups.com, "legviiii" <legviiii@...>
                                wrote:
                                >
                                > --- In medieval-leather@yahoogroups.com, "Gregory G. Stapleton"
                                > <gregsta@> wrote:
                                > >
                                > ...
                                > > Pop the pieces apart with a chisle and you have your mold. Sew
                                up
                                > > your bombard, leaving the bottom out. Then soak it in water,
                                > > thoroughly (i.e. a good half-hour). Place the outside pieces of
                                > the
                                > > mold into the bombard and then drive the central piece, acting
                                as ...
                                >... I'm still not completely convinced,
                                > particularly with the simpler shapes like the one I'm doing.
                                >
                                >

                                I've just finished my second jack using the frame and realised the
                                slope on the back seam that I was using as incontrovertible proof of
                                the method is entirely due to uneven tension while stitching, not
                                some unique characteristic of the moulding frame.

                                Wayne
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