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Tim Edwards

97th Regt Knapsack

I am hoping to reconstruct my first knapsack this winter, based on a surviving example of the 97th regt, illustrated in Pierre Turner P68.

I assume many will be familiar with this piece.  Some questions before I start -

1)  Where should I source the buckles?  I cannot find appropriate examples off the shelf anywhere.  I suspect I will have to get some forged especially.  A very similar buckle appears on the 10th NBM Regt example.

2) The original has natural leather finish strapping, but I will need to whiten mine.  Is this done on all surfaces, or just the top of the strapping?  I recall an ACW reenactor explaining that strapping was normally only whitened on the top surface - same for our era?

3)  What common mistakes do people make when making these?

4) How late can we prove the envelope type in existence?

5) What paint is most practical to use?
Obadiah

Hi Tim. Thanks for starting this thread and it would be great if you continually update us with your progess of the knapsack.

No doub't Mr D {Paul} will be able to help you and answer your questions. And if Mr Packer {who we meet last weekend} would chip in if his computer would let him.

As for Buckles there's a company in the States that makes them but I'll leave Paul to sort this one for you.

Genrally the leather was only surface dyed, in other words only the visable side would be finished.

As for manufacturing problems and the paint used I'll leave for Paul again.

All Best and Good Luck

Dave
Radford

Re: 97th Regt Knapsack

Dear Tim and List-

Tim Edwards wrote:
I am hoping to reconstruct my first knapsack this winter, based on a surviving example of the 97th regt, illustrated in Pierre Turner P68.

I assume many will be familiar with this piece.  Some questions before I start -

1)  Where should I source the buckles?  I cannot find appropriate examples off the shelf anywhere.  I suspect I will have to get some forged especially.  A very similar buckle appears on the 10th NBM Regt example.


Roy Najecki in the US sells proper drop forged buckles:

http://www.najecki.com/repro/IronBuckles.html

Quote:
2) The original has natural leather finish strapping, but I will need to whiten mine.  Is this done on all surfaces, or just the top of the strapping?  I recall an ACW reenactor explaining that strapping was normally only whitened on the top surface - same for our era?


If you are doing white leather, you need to use buff leather, not tanned leather. The buff leather is whitened on the outer surface only.

Quote:
3)  What common mistakes do people make when making these?


I don't know what counts as "common mistakes" but the instructions I give for making an AWI period goatskin covered knapsack have a lot in common with the 97th Foot knapsack:

http://www.33rdfoot.org/knapsacks.html

Quote:
4) How late can we prove the envelope type in existence?


1790's at least.

Quote:
5) What paint is most practical to use?


Practical? Exterior latex. Accurate - not so much.
Obadiah

Thanks Radford for pitching in, most helpful. Glad to see that your still about.

Tim I did forget answer the question about "how long did this style of knapsack last"? Variants lasted probably upto 1812 when the fully enclosed pack came in, again Paul might pitch in on that. One image springs to mind of the folded knapsack is of the wounded Piper still playing to engourage the men forward at the battle of Rolica or Vimero. Only difference is that they had blanket or greatcoat rolls on top.

Dave
Paul Durrant

Re: 97th Regt Knapsack

Tim Edwards wrote:

1)  Where should I source the buckles?  I cannot find appropriate examples off the shelf anywhere.

Tim, I do my own buckles which I adapt from a modern buckle. It's tedious, but worth it. At the moment I can only do them in a rectangular shape.  I've made this model in ¾" & 1" (that's strap width). The side ones on the 67th look poss ¾". Not sure what the one's on the bottom are - suspect 1"?? This isn't the typical wide shoulder strap that is seen on other models.
This is a 1" that I do for my cartridge boxes.

Quote:
2) The original has natural leather finish strapping, but I will need to whiten mine.  Is this done on all surfaces, or just the top of the strapping?  I recall an ACW reenactor explaining that strapping was normally only whitened on the top surface - same for our era?

If I understand it right, this pack belongs to a Volunteer unit who tended to have black or brown harness (but not always!). We're presuming the line infantry would be in white so it's better, as Radford said, you do the white buff. The only source I know of in UK is Claytons (Sheffield way) and It's expensive. If you're only planning on doing the one, I could let you have some - save you from buying a rather expensive hide (Unless they do it by the strip).

Quote:
3)  What common mistakes do people make when making these?

Sticking roller buckles on is my big bug-bear! Fortunately you aren't destined to go down that road!

Look at using a half yard wide length of linen. Once hemmed that will give you your 17" width. Wash the linen first to shrink it before cutting. I use 'Bold' thread (some refer it to button thread) it's nice and strong. Wax thread as you sew. Where you sew the shoulder harness' on,  put a thin piece if leather on the other side of the linen to strengthen the attatching.

Quote:
4) How late can we prove the envelope type in existence?


Well that one has an '1804' written on it. We have Atkinson sketches dated 1808 that show troops carrying similar, and, has Dave Gower points out, there is a Battle of Vimiera (1808?) painting showing something which looks like the folding variety.


Atkinson 1808                         RA 1800 (NAM)       Volunteer 1804 (NAM)      unknown C1800               RBV 1803+                   Vimiera 1808


Quote:
5) What paint is most practical to use?

Bugger! As Radford says, there's practical and there's authentic.... which do you want? (I must admit, I cheat and go practical!)
Paul Durrant

In Pierre Turner's notes, he claims in 1802 they had loops put on the top for rolls. We've found no evidence of this in any surviving examples. And this one that you're doing - 1804 - certainly doesn't have them!
khazzard2000

I made up one of these packs for myself as few years ago. The paint I used was linseed oil based from here.

http://www.greenshop.co.uk/natura...osCsid=cpt2ue2jjh7roipc43k1rj5kj6

I used black on mine, so used the premixed kind but if you want to go for oche you can buy the white linseed oil paint and then add one of their pigment powders and mix your own.

The paint takes an age to dry but is very effective in water proofing, so long as the linen used is a tight enough weave.
John Waller

Paul, would you share the Le Prevo order ref number of the buckles you modify? I'm guessing 3/4 " is 1019? What about the 1"?

Cheers

John
Pvt._McNamara

Nice subject!

Paul, are there any Fotos showing the edge, to understand how the seam was made with the benefit of the selvedge?


At the 42nd, kraut section, we decided to go back to the "envelope type" knapsack in combination with Frank Packers great coat sling reconstruction. At a "troop trial" at the Ghörde event  this year, we tested some of Franks knapsacks (some of them overloaded) in march and battle. I decided to skip the Thatcher knapsack in it´s pure form as I found it a bit troublesome with the definite construction of the lower part still unclear.

The "envelope" with Frank´s sling worked perfectly instead and had the proper look to me.

cheers

Robert
Tim Edwards

Gents,

Thanks for all the replies, extremely helpful across the board.

Especial thanks to Radford for the excellent website and patterns, bravo!

I can also see at some original envelope knapsacks encroaching on the first image of the cartridge pouch thread, posted by Iain -

http://2nd95thrifles.myfastforum.org/about981.html

Are these among the examples already cited in this thread?

Back to that original 97th knapsack the images I have seen suggest it is a twill linen (2/1?) rather than a tabby, or is it a trick of the printing / image processing? Either way helpfully on this website:

http://www.33rdfoot.org/inv-inside.html

Ben - I am tempted to take you up on the offer of the straps.  Hacking down Le Prevo buckles is an ingenious solution, orders to Canada not withstanding.
Greg Renault

Here is my envelope knapsack, with greatcoat sling based on Frank Packer's reconstruction.

Bryan

Here's an interesting one for this thread as you can see rolled blankets on the top of their knapsacks, or are they watchcoats? They are definately grey at any rate. Not the natural cream colour I would have expected were they blankets.  

Of the 28th regiment the painting is called The Recruiting Party, is dated 1803 - 1809. You can also clearly make out the back badge on the cap sitting on the table.

John Waller

Bryan wrote:
Here's an interesting one for this thread as you can see rolled blankets on the top of their knapsacks, or are they watchcoats? They are definately grey at any rate. Not the natural cream colour I would have expected were they blankets.  

Of the 28th regiment the painting is called The Recruiting Party, is dated 1803 - 1809. You can also clearly make out the back badge on the cap sitting on the table.



There could be coats or blankets rolled on top of the pack. At times coats were returned to stores and soldiers only carried blankets. Depends on the campaign and circumstances.
Ben Townsend

Coats for me. After all, they are on recruiting service, so billetted, and have little need of blankets. Bryan, I admire your faith- that backbadge looks like a blob of snot to me, but I agree its in the right place. Interesting that they are in grey pantaloons, which would place the date later than that suggested. If the 28th were trialling the grey pantaloons in late 1809 that might help, but wasn't that just the chaps off to Walcheren?
Bryan

I would tend to agree that the rolls are coats rather than blankets but it raises that old point again about envelope knapsacks and coat strap anchors  The bloke leaning on the table is showing how the knapsacks are far more comfortable as pillows than back packs.

Ha ha! Well blob of snot or not it's been judged a depiction of the famous back badge by greater scholars than I. I don't think they were the number 1 recruiting team because it looks like they got bored and sat down for a pint.

It is a very early depiction of the grey pantaloons if the dating is accurate. And yes like you I had assumed they were only worn by those off to Walcheren. I don't know what the museums basis is for the dating but I'm going to ask.

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