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  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Project Blog - Historic Sporrans / Brass Cantle Project

    Hi All,

    The following is the blog documenting the start of a two-pronged project for me.

    These projects are directly related, but will develop at different speeds due to the nature of one of them.

    The first half of this project is my Historic Sporran development. These are sporrans I'm patterning on the watercolour paintings of Kenneth MacLeay, commissioned for Queen Victoria.

    These sporrans will be modeled directly off of those worn by various individuals, and each individual 'type' will retain the name of the man pictured wearing it.

    Below are a few small starter sketches indicating a 'first sweep' sampling of the sporrans worn. These are primarily the leather cantled sporrans, as the metal cantles project is a longer term one, and the economic restraints of metal casting in micro-batches will be an issue.


    While at first glance a number of them seem nearly identical, there are subtle differences in cantle shape, or sometimes minor differences in the geometry of the curves (wider, shallower top), even though the basic shape is the same.

    The second half of my historic sporrans blog will hopefully cover, from inception to final burnishing and installation, the development of some metal cantles.

    I've been incredibly frustrated by the lack of historic metal (brass) cantles available on the market. There basically aren't any. The few I've seen have either been ex-MOD cantles or have gone for such insane prices on eBay (Thistledown and Downunder Kilt brought one to light that recently went for 690GBP/$1100US!)

    Luckily, a metal smith friend and I have developed a working arrangement, I'm rebuilding all the leather in the harnesses for his suit of full-plate armour, and he's helping me develop the masters and (hopefully) sand cast brass cantles.

    Below are the 2nd stage working drawings:


    My plan is to cast a standard 'round' top cantle, and a more angular cantle. IF the box (for moulding) will allow, I may attempt either a very ornate Victorian cantle (which would be silver plated) or may further develop one of the MacLeay sporrans which would require a metal cantle, and most likely silver plating as well.

    This is a long term blog, and will probably not see the near-daily updates of some of my WIP threads in the recent past.

    Also, I'm looking for someone with VERY specific knowledge to act as a consultant on the project. Please PM me or email me at artificer(replace-with-at-symbol)earthlink.net if you feel yourself qualified and we can discuss arrangements.

    As always, constructive commentary/critique is welcome.
    ith:
    Last edited by artificer; 26th September 10 at 07:00 PM.
    artificer Pronunciation: \är-ˈti-fə-sər, ˈär-tə-fə-sər\ : noun : 14th century :a skilled or artistic worker or craftsman
    Artificer Custom Sporrans
    *Home of the Original Kenneth MacLeay Sporran Project & Functional Brass Cantles*

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Wow what a project, in fact 2 projects. If you need any further photos of closing mechanisms for the brass cantle ones give me a shout and I'll see what I got. BTW love that you appear to be going for the lacing attachment method of the bag

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    As a huge fan of historic sporrans (especially the goat-hair variety), I will be watching your progress with great interest.

    Given your previous works, I imagine the final product will be something incredible!

    Good luck!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Downunder Kilt View Post
    Wow what a project, in fact 2 projects. If you need any further photos of closing mechanisms for the brass cantle ones give me a shout and I'll see what I got. BTW love that you appear to be going for the lacing attachment method of the bag
    Will do, although I think I have that sussed. I actually MAY do the 'trick release' latch on one of them... Slide one knob to the side and only THEN can the top button be lifted.

    I really like the laced attachment too. You are reading the black dots correctly, they are holes for the leather thong to go through.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cygnus View Post
    As a huge fan of historic sporrans (especially the goat-hair variety), I will be watching your progress with great interest.

    Given your previous works, I imagine the final product will be something incredible!

    Good luck!
    Thanks!

    Here is a small collage of the initial selection.


    A-Brown, Archibald
    B-Campbell (of the Campbell & Campbell image)
    C-Morgan, James
    D-MacDougall
    E-Robertson (of the Robertson & Stewart image)
    F- Stewart (of same)
    G- Stewart

    I'll most likely attempt 'F' first, as it matches the materials I have in hand, but 'A' is my second choice- as I really like the pinked red trim between the cantle and hair
    artificer Pronunciation: \är-ˈti-fə-sər, ˈär-tə-fə-sər\ : noun : 14th century :a skilled or artistic worker or craftsman
    Artificer Custom Sporrans
    *Home of the Original Kenneth MacLeay Sporran Project & Functional Brass Cantles*

  5. #5
    MacBean is offline Oops, it seems this member needs to update their email address
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    I would be most surprised if the original cantles were sand-cast. They look to me to be constructed (jeweler's term for saw and solder work as opposed to casting). So I think you are making yourself a bigger hurdle than you need to here.

    Just a thought: I've wondered if modern attachment schemes might be brought to bear on the leather work, so that one could swap a hair sporran for a leather one on the same cantle? Velcro?

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacBean View Post
    I would be most surprised if the original cantles were sand-cast. They look to me to be constructed (jeweler's term for saw and solder work as opposed to casting). So I think you are making yourself a bigger hurdle than you need to here.

    Just a thought: I've wondered if modern attachment schemes might be brought to bear on the leather work, so that one could swap a hair sporran for a leather one on the same cantle? Velcro?
    The original construction varied. Many that we've seen pictured here and elsewhere were in fact built-up, but we've definitely seen some that were sand casted.

    My same metal worker pal can do the cut&solder method, but sand casting allows for quicker, less intensive production after the initial masters are made.

    We're still exploring both options, but leaning toward sand casting. This is especially true for a very ornate Victorian design which would otherwise have to be produced using repousse' and chasing.

    As to the 'quick change' bag idea, it's intriguing, even tempting. I think that I'd rather stay true to the originals rather than risk compromising the design and construction.
    artificer Pronunciation: \är-ˈti-fə-sər, ˈär-tə-fə-sər\ : noun : 14th century :a skilled or artistic worker or craftsman
    Artificer Custom Sporrans
    *Home of the Original Kenneth MacLeay Sporran Project & Functional Brass Cantles*

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Quick update,
    I found a good supplier of turned brass knobs and finials.



    Most are available in several suitable sizes, so I'll be spoiled for choice.
    I'm particularly excited about the 1/2 dome. As this will allow for
    some very cool options like the 'trick lock' figheadair has shown HERE.

    ith:
    artificer Pronunciation: \är-ˈti-fə-sər, ˈär-tə-fə-sər\ : noun : 14th century :a skilled or artistic worker or craftsman
    Artificer Custom Sporrans
    *Home of the Original Kenneth MacLeay Sporran Project & Functional Brass Cantles*

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    This is going to be enjoyable to see as it developes.

    Jim
    I cook with a flair for the dramatic,
    and depraved indifference to calories

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by artificer View Post
    Quick update,
    I found a good supplier of turned brass knobs and finials.

    ith:
    Care to share your find?

  10. #10
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    this is one to definitely keep an eye on.

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