One Stitch at a Time
An on going project that I started some time ago is my authentic Indian Pack-Frame, the frame made from willow with the bark removed, typical of those that would have been built by the plains dwellers back 150 years ago.
Now I did change the design somewhat when it came time to add a back to the willow frame, as the original design would have used leather for this, where-as I decided to use canvas that I had on hand. I will wax the canvas once the work is complete, making the canvas waterproof.
With the canvas cut to shape, I initially used contact cement to assemble it, but then reinforced it with a sewed seam on either side. This required using a sewing awl that uses high-tensile waxed thread, as the pack-frame assembly would not fit into my sewing machine.
If you've never used a sewing awl, they are nice to own if you mess with things that may require repairs at one time or another like repairing tents, backpacks, sleeping bags, upholstery, etc.
The sewing awl consists of a spool of high tensile waxed thread located in the hollowed out section of the handle. Depernding on the job at hand, there is a selection of different sewing needles that are included with the sewing awl.
It's important to use coarse thread for either of the coarse thread needles; and fine thread for the fine thread needle so the tensioning effect of the stitching works efficiently.
Believe it or not, you can speed right along once you get the hang of it. With the awl, just push the needle through on the marked spot and drag the cord back from the piercing forming a loop. Place the cord end through the improvised loop, then pull the awl’s needle back and form a lockstitch. Proceed with the following spots and joints. Make several stitches backward to complete a secure ending. Make several overhand knots and secure it by melting the knot with the use of a soldering iron.
I'm getting close to done with my project, and will give you a heads up as how the finished pack frame turned out.
One more thing, the leather work that includes the shoulder-straps seen in the photo, were saddle-stitched by hand using a length of waxed thread and two saddle-stitching needles. This allows for a much more robust stitch, and more pleasing too look at.
When making my leather knife sheaths, I assemble them by saddle-stitching them together.
Expand the photo for a closer look.....
The finished packframe…..