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Traditional Hide Coracles

Discussion in 'DIY and Traditional crafts' started by Dreadhead, Apr 25, 2019.

  1. Tank

    Tank Full Member

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    great post :)
     
  2. John Fenna

    John Fenna Lifetime Member & Maker

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    Tim Severrin?
    "The Brendan Voyage"?
    As I recall it was Oak tanned cow hides proofed with fat and wax... years since I read it though...
     
  3. bobnewboy

    bobnewboy Settler

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    Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t see the images you posted last night Hamish....?

    Cheers, Bob
     
  4. Janne

    Janne M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    Yes, correct.
    I recall the wax+fat proofing lasted incredibly well. My memory tells me the mix went hard, but still kept the flexibility ( and water proofness)?
    Maybe something like this could be done on your 'skins', Hamish!

    That book is well worth reading.
     
  5. Dreadhead

    Dreadhead Bushcrafter through and through

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    i'll have to read into that, though i would guess tar.
     
  6. Janne

    Janne M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    To be frank, I have not read that book since late 70’s or early 80’, but I think he descrived well ’how and why”.
    I recall he was not sure about the longevity of the w. proofing, but that it worked better than expected.
    If you create more than one boat you could always try both techniques.

    I need to try to find an online version of the book, would love to read it again!
     
  7. Dreadhead

    Dreadhead Bushcrafter through and through

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    excellent :) the leather boat i build a few years ago in norway was in the sea for 4 years with just tar on it, and when we finally had a look for maintenance it could have lasted another year or two but be re-tarred it anyway. So i think you have a few years with tar, with some maintenance every few years the same as any boat :)
     
  8. Janne

    Janne M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    That is a fantastic ’life’.

    Did you read that book, mr Hamish?
     
  9. Lugh Lámfada

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    My local community here in Mayo, west of Ireland and Kilmartin museum, west of Scotland were involved in a large corricle building project back in 97. There is a long connection between here and Iona. The corricle was build here, and sailed to Scotland from Antrim, I went over for its arrival on Iona.
    Often wondered where that boat ended up. Must ask around. It was 22 foot long, took eight cow hides, and carried a team of six rowers and had a sail.
    A little bit of googling I found, not much info, but this newspaper story for anyone that might be interested. No photos sadly, but I did be able to track a few down.
     
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  10. rogue_0

    rogue_0 Full Member

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    Brilliant stuff, thanks
     
  11. Dreadhead

    Dreadhead Bushcrafter through and through

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    That could be the one that ended up in Archaeolink in Aberdeen? Which is sadly now closed so no idea where it could have ended up

    Sent from my F8331 using Tapatalk
     
  12. awarner

    awarner Full Member

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    With the scouts we built a couple over the summer, used an old advertising banner for the skin but worked really well for the scouts to use.
     
  13. Tony

    Tony White bear (Admin)
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    Can't believe I missed this thread, excellent stuff Hamish, thanks for sharing it. Here in west Wales there's a fair bit of Coracle history and we see them around quite regularly. Any other projects in the pipeline?
     
  14. Robson Valley

    Robson Valley Full Member

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    What could have been the sources of the water proofing materials?
    Rendered animal fats, I can understand but wax (bee's wax?) and the tar?
    From all your accounts, the needed quantities must have been substantial.
     
  15. Janne

    Janne M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    Tar was one of the most profitable exports from Scandinavia since early history.
    Nobody knows how far back

    Sheep cultivating for wool goes back a long time in the British Isles, and one byproduct is Lanolin.
    Excellent leather preserver and water proofer, as all of us know.
    Fat from other domestic animals, including the body fat from sheep, was too valuable as a food source to use on a boat.most was eaten, tallow was made into candles.

    Wax? I do not know in Britain, but bee keeping- every farm had bees. Honey was the only sweetener for Millenia, the wax was used for luxury candles, and usually paid as tax to the church, chieftain or overlord.

    I doubt bees wax would be used on boats.
     
  16. sgtoutback

    sgtoutback Nomad

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