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Thread: My FR pack basket leather harness…finally finished! (pic heavy)

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    Default My FR pack basket leather harness…finally finished! (pic heavy)

    First off, thanks to KA-BAR USMC and Croatoan for their inspiration behind this project. As soon as I purchased a pack basket from Frost River, not only to accompany my Timber Cruiser Jr. but also to carry solo on many occasions, I knew the harness system that came with the basket needed a personal touch.


    Here is how it looked right out of the box from Frost River:






    Since I was going to put my own spin on the harness, I decided to customize the color and finish of the basket as well. A few coats of miniwax wood finish, and finished with several applications of satin polyurethane.






    I intentionally left the stain sit a bit longer on the rim of the basket just to set it apart a bit, and was pleased with the outcome:






    It was then time to address the harness…10 oz veggie tanned leather would fit the bill nicely and should stand the rigors that woods carry will bring. I have a gentleman that sells me longer scraps for a very reasonable price. These longer pieces are great for sheaths, belts, and other projects that may require a bit of length. So after a call to him, I had just what I needed and ordered the hardware:






    Having CAD definitely is an invaluable tool for projects like this. I can print out templates to scale and simply cut out and trace on the leather, as well as have a very specific location for punched areas and holes:


    If you need me...I'll be in the woods.


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    Everything cut and trimmed, marked and ready for tooling and stamping.






    I’m not very adept at basket weave or tri weave stamping, but really thought it would look good on this project. So I started the arduous task of laying it out and jumped in with both feet. What a chore…each strap took around 40-45 minutes, by far not an excellent job of consistency, but I was content enough with the results. A little look at stamp station central:






    So after several late nights of pounding, cutting, stamping, punching, gouging, etc… all the components were ready for rough assembly / test fit, I was also starting to test dye colors to see exactly what color I wanted to go with:






    A closer look at some of the tooling and stamp work. Don’t look too close and pinpoint my errors! The main strap as well as the shoulder straps themselves are adjustable for wearing with different amounts of layered clothing. The wider shoulder strap should definitely aid in comfort when hauling full loads:






    A few tweaks here and there were needed on the test fitting, but all said and done it went together fairly easily without the need for any major rework. The campfire emblem you can roughly see in this picture is a design I came up with a while ago and have incorporated in a few other items I’ve made. If you look closely, a few of the main center flames form a “J.S.” which happens to be my initials. A subtle way to incorporate some personality and ownership into the project:


    Last edited by jstalljon; 11-24-2013 at 01:18 PM.
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    Comfortable with the test fit, it was time to pin down a dye color. I didn’t want the leather to be too dark a color as I wanted this piece to stand out on its own, yet not clash with the color of the basket. So after much deliberation I opted with a light saddle tan, I set to taking all the hardware back off and getting it all stained:






    After 2 coats of dye and ample drying time, each piece was heated with a hair dryer and then sno-seal was vigorously rubbed into the leather to ensure this harness would remain flexible, as well as stand up to the changing elements. So here is the harness finished, with hardware ready to be installed back on the basket:






    And the harness installed:










    Last edited by jstalljon; 11-24-2013 at 01:23 PM.
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    A few of the finer detail and personal elements… The main carry strap is waxed sinew I braided with whitetail antler tine tips from past hunts of mine as well as a bear claw gifted to me by Croatoan from a memorable hunt of his. I was extremely humbled to receive this and could think of no better way to showcase such a prize:






    The other 2 auxiliary carry straps are leather pieces. One adorned with grouse feet, and the other with moose teeth…again, both gifted to me from Croatoan. Thank you again my friend! Both of the items have been whipped to the straps.










    The last portion of this build is the basket cover. Upon first glance, it may seem rather eclectic, or you may think it doesn’t quite fit in with the overall theme of the project, but I thought what better way to personalize this challenging yet meaningful project. I used a wood burner to etch into a softer piece of leather my family crest. I think it is a very regal and fitting symbol atop the pack basket cover. The cover was also treated with several coats of sno-seal to battle the weather and shed water.






    The tie system for the cover is braided jute twine that could always be used as tinder in a pinch. These are adorned with a few turkey spurs from a bird I shot with a bow 2 years ago. This ties off to a whitetail pedicle from an antler I had found when first walking our new property back in March. Again, a lot of elements and features that have deep personal meaning to me.


    Last edited by jstalljon; 11-24-2013 at 01:28 PM.
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    This has been a very long project in the making, thick with personal history, past hunts, and friends made here on BCUSA. I’ll leave you with a few more picture of the pack and some other pieces I’ve made (I can’t take credit for the kuksa, more on that in a different write up soon), as well as a few in the field and on my ugly mug. This project has been about 3-4 months in the making so it’s nice to finally have it completed and the chance to get it in the field…thanks for looking!






















    Last edited by jstalljon; 11-24-2013 at 01:32 PM.
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    Oh I can't wait to see how this turns out! Looks good so far, only gonna get better!

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    Truly great work!

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    Looks great. A harness you can be proud of.

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    Outstanding work!
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    SO damn cool man,

    You got serious talent.
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