X Marks the Scot - An on-line community of kilt wearers.

   X Marks Partners - (Go to the Partners Dedicated Forums )
USA Kilts website Freedom Kilts website Scotweb websiten Burnetts and Struth website The Scottish Trading Company
MacGregor and MacDuff Xmarks advertising information Celtic Croft website Xmarks advertising information Celtic Corner website

User Tag List

Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: Hard Tartan

  1. #1
    Join Date
    27th October 09
    Location
    Kerrville, Texas
    Posts
    4,521
    Mentioned
    3 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Hard Tartan

    I don't know why, exactly, but I've been very curious lately about hard tartan. I was reading this old thread by Matt Newsome, which went into some detail about what hard tartan is and how it is replicated today. Apparently they weave the tartan the same as any other, but it just isn't sent off for finishing/washing and is considered "in the grease". Can anyone go into more detail on what else happens in the finishing process, and how exactly it changes the cloth? Is it merely as simple as removing lanolin from the wool and working the cloth to give it more flexibility? Or does something else happen in the finishing process that softens it?

    Hard tartan has been described as feeling more like canvas, and is said to be more durable as well as water-resistant. Is it possible to take a length of finished tartan cloth and do something to it in order to bring it back to hard tartan? Like adding lanolin, wax, etc?

  2. The Following 5 Users say 'Aye' to Tobus For This Useful Post:


  3. #2
    Join Date
    11th July 05
    Location
    Alexandria, VA (USA)
    Posts
    248
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Tobus - Figheadair will probably be the one to fill you in on hard tartan. In my dealings with him to get "replica" hard tartan for modern kilting and use as reenactor belted plaids, he has told me that authentic 18th c. hard tartan can't be replicated (the original sheep from which the wool was plucked are extinct today, for one thing), so removing the tartan web from the loom "in the grease" is as close as we'll come. The replica "hard" tartan that Peter helped me get in this way does feel a bit rougher and crisper than other finished "soft" tartan I've examined. I've always gotten it in 16 oz weight. As a reenactor, I'm pretty satisfied with its authenticity (I wear a long linen body shirt with my belted plaid to guard my thighs, as a woman's slip might do), and it feels good when I wear it in my modern box-pleat kilts, as well. It feels a bit rougher, but not uncomfortable. For information, when Peter assisted me in getting replica "hard" tartan to duplicate 18th c. setts, he had it woven by D.C. Dalgliesh. I'm confident that the weaving firm of Elliots can also produce tartan "in the grease" to your specifications. I like to add herringbone selvedges to my tartan (as they did in the 18th c.), which adds a bit to the cost, but it's worth it.

  4. The Following 4 Users say 'Aye' to Orvis For This Useful Post:


  5. #3
    Join Date
    9th June 16
    Location
    Killeen Texas
    Posts
    88
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Cost difference for 'Hard" tartan

    Since one of the Scot's traits that definitely followed my family line is being cost conscious (cheap!) what kind of cost differential is there between a standard kilt and one that uses hard tartan?

  6. #4
    Join Date
    2nd January 10
    Location
    Crieff, Perthshire
    Posts
    3,305
    Mentioned
    7 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Hard tartan is a term that's been bandied about for years, it is generally used to describe a stiff, coarse cloth of the type found in rural Highland specimens and later, the type of woven by Wilson's of Bannockburn and others until the mid 1800s.

    All Highland tartan was worsted but not all was hard although is was all invariably coarse. The native type of sheep used to produce the long staple yarn used for 18th and early 19th century tartan yarn, the Scottish Dunface, has been 'improved' i.e. bred out: the Soay sheep are the nearest surviving relatives. This 'hard tartan' was always fine by modern kilting standards, more like a medium weight cloth. Heavier cloth was coarse but not hard and modern 'unfinished' cloth is closer to that Wilsons called Coarse Cloth rather than true hard tartan. Hard tartan is not available today.

  7. The Following 5 Users say 'Aye' to figheadair For This Useful Post:


  8. #5
    Join Date
    2nd January 10
    Location
    Crieff, Perthshire
    Posts
    3,305
    Mentioned
    7 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by GrymJack View Post
    Since one of the Scot's traits that definitely followed my family line is being cost conscious (cheap!) what kind of cost differential is there between a standard kilt and one that uses hard tartan?
    As mentioned, hard tartan does not exist today. It is not a case of the diffential between a standard kilt, by which you actually mean one made of stock cloth, and hard tartan but with a comparison with a short run commissioned piece. The cost difference is not as much as one might imagine bit it does depend on the quality and quantity.

  9. The Following User Says 'Aye' to figheadair For This Useful Post:


  10. #6
    Join Date
    27th October 09
    Location
    Kerrville, Texas
    Posts
    4,521
    Mentioned
    3 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by figheadair View Post
    Hard tartan is a term that's been bandied about for years, it is generally used to describe a stiff, coarse cloth of the type found in rural Highland specimens and later, the type of woven by Wilson's of Bannockburn and others until the mid 1800s.

    All Highland tartan was worsted but not all was hard although is was all invariably coarse. The native type of sheep used to produce the long staple yarn used for 18th and early 19th century tartan yarn, the Scottish Dunface, has been 'improved' i.e. bred out: the Soay sheep are the nearest surviving relatives. This 'hard tartan' was always fine by modern kilting standards, more like a medium weight cloth. Heavier cloth was coarse but not hard and modern 'unfinished' cloth is closer to that Wilsons called Coarse Cloth rather than true hard tartan. Hard tartan is not available today.
    Is the "unfinished" cloth today any more durable than finished cloth? Does it shed water any better than finished cloth, or keep its colour better? I'm just wondering what the differences would be in terms of wearability, and if there's any advantage to using unfinished cloth for particular kilts that might be used out-of-doors more than others.

    Basically, if you had a bunch of unfinished tartan cloth that you were trying to sell off, what advantages would you list in an advert?

  11. The Following User Says 'Aye' to Tobus For This Useful Post:


  12. #7
    Join Date
    11th July 05
    Location
    Alexandria, VA (USA)
    Posts
    248
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Tobus View Post
    Is the "unfinished" cloth today any more durable than finished cloth? Does it shed water any better than finished cloth, or keep its colour better? I'm just wondering what the differences would be in terms of wearability, and if there's any advantage to using unfinished cloth for particular kilts that might be used out-of-doors more than others.

    Basically, if you had a bunch of unfinished tartan cloth that you were trying to sell off, what advantages would you list in an advert?
    When I had my modern box-pleat kilts made (by Matthew Newsome), I got the 16 oz tartan cloth through the good offices of Peter MacDonald, who went to the D.C. Dalgliesh mill to get it woven in four yard lengths. After reading Peter's research papers and having email exchanges with him concerning "hard tartan," I specified that the cloth be unfinished ("in the grease") to approximate hard tartan, since it couldn't be reproduced at the mill exactly as it was in the 18th century. I noted that the fabric felt a little rougher against my skin and, as Matt Newsome says on his website, it has a "crisper" (but not stiff) feel to it. Other than that, I really don't see any differences with the finished "soft" tartan produced today.
    Last edited by Orvis; 10th July 18 at 11:00 AM.

  13. The Following 2 Users say 'Aye' to Orvis For This Useful Post:


  14. #8
    Join Date
    2nd January 10
    Location
    Crieff, Perthshire
    Posts
    3,305
    Mentioned
    7 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Tobus View Post
    Is the "unfinished" cloth today any more durable than finished cloth? Does it shed water any better than finished cloth, or keep its colour better? I'm just wondering what the differences would be in terms of wearability, and if there's any advantage to using unfinished cloth for particular kilts that might be used out-of-doors more than others.

    Basically, if you had a bunch of unfinished tartan cloth that you were trying to sell off, what advantages would you list in an advert?
    Gerry has given a user's view. From a technical perspective I would say that unfinished cloth is coarser and has a firmer handle, It is also more open as it hasn't been washed, shaved and rolled (pressed). When I hand-weave, not that I have much time for that at present, I simply take my cloth off the loom and give it a medium steam press.

    Dalgliesh used to let me have cloth straight off the loom however Elliots insist on it being lightly scoured before thet will let me have it. I preferred the feel of Dalgliesh's material.

  15. #9
    Join Date
    1st February 14
    Location
    Tall Grass Prarie, Kansas
    Posts
    623
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Most commonly when referring to wool the term in the grease means the lanolin hasn't been removed from the wool. Lanolin has more or less the same water proofing qualities in woven wool as it does when still on the sheep. Woven wool without lanolin can be fairly well water proofed by soaking it in a solution on benzene and anhydrous lanolin, about one pound of sheep grease to a gallon of benzine as I recall. Look it up in Horace Kepart's "Camping and Woodcraft.'
    Benning School for Boys
    97th Company
    OC 5-68

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

» Log in

User Name:

Password:

Not a member yet?
Register Now!
Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v4.2.0