Mountain Men and Life in the Rocky

Subject Guide


Mountain West

Malachite’s Big Hole

Make a Rawhide Container

This is a handy little rawhide container which can be used for your percussion caps, spices or medicines.  Larger sizes can be used as containers for tea, coffee or tobacco.

You’ll need a scrap of rawhide large enough for the container you intend to construct, sinew or artificial sinew, and about one and one-half inches of one-half inch or larger dowel.  Soften the rawhide by soaking in water for five to six hours.  Then mark the pattern on the rawhide and cut it out.  Fold the cut-out in half and punch holes for stitching.  I use a whip stitch to sew the halves together although other stitches would work equally well.  Be sure your stitch is as tight as you can make it, remember the dried thickness of the rawhide may decrease by as much as one-third of it’s hydrated thickness.  After the container has been sewed up, pack as much sand or sawdust inside the container as it will hold.  Take your piece of dowel and taper it slightly.  Insert the dowel in the neck of the container.  The dowel should fit snugly at this time.  Allow the container to dry for two-three days, while periodically removing and re-inserting the dowel.  After the container has dried remove the sand or sawdust. Place some small metal objects (I use upholstery tacks) inside the container and shake until all of the sand or sawdust has been loosened and removed from the container.    

The pattern shown above is for the small percussion cap container.  The neck should be 15/16th inch wide if you intend to use 1/2 inch dowel.

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