A themed set of frontier goods


Well-Known Member
The idea behind this set of goods, was to take a whiteman made item and deco it up Indian and/or Metis style - a not an untypical mixture of cultures/goods during the 1850''s period.
The first piece was a circa Mexican loop style knife sheath for a small antler handled Bowie with an antler grip set off with wrought iron fittings. The beadwork on the upper brain tan cuff is in the style of the Southern Cheyenne, while the lower floral beadwork which is of a Metis style, is sewn onto a rawhide over wrap. I also added the rawhide wrap decorated with brass tacks on the 6" bladed Bowie knife.Wrapped around the grip just above the guard is a braintan thong attached to the sheath which is weighted on the end with several brass and glass beads the wrapped thong makes an easy to use one handed security strap.

Next came the first companion piece - a tawed sheepskin shot pouch with a hand made domed brass button, a rawhide repaired powder horn, and antler powder measure. An eastern made piece it got a bit of local color - the beaded "ramshorn" on the flap - after it went west.

The third piece of the set is this percussion trade rifle display. The rifle is a re-stocked Dixie Gunworks 45 caliber "Lancaster" rifle that I traded into a few years ago. Over time I first refinished it using Aqua Fortis for the stock color which I then finished off with a period type Linseed oil based varnish. I then added several rawhide "repairs", brass tacks, and a beaded horse hair dangle, all decorative items commonly found on hard used Indian trade guns like the popular Leman's of the time, which this piece was made to represent. I then shot it some and let it hang around, again getting that feeling that there was unfinished business.
Then one day while going to pick up the mail I noticed ths chunk of board where there used to be a sawmill. I thought A HA! grabbed the board and varnished it up. Mi amigo, Jerry Rodri of 9 Tongs Forge then forged me up some hooks for the rifle. I wrapped the hooks with some rawhide for damage control along with some beaded horse hair dangles and a few brass tacks. I also added an antler "hook" in the center for hanging a shot pouch and powder horn (the horn pictured is not part of the final set - see the bag and horn above). The final result was this:



The final piece of the puzzle so to speak is this strike-a-light pouch and striker set. The idea here was to more or less emulate the larger shot pouch, so I made it out of the same tawed sheepskin with the same beaded "ramshorn" motif and a bit more beading. Instead of a hand made brass button I used a quite common cast pewter button.
Then while still in the design stage, I got a wild hair and decided to add the beaded pocket on the front to hold the striker which is shown on top of the pouch in the second image - the beadwork mimics the Cheyenne style beadwork on the sheaths cuff above. Finally I added some beaded tassels with tin cones and buffalo hair tufts along with a beaded belt loop. To finsh off I fixed up a can with char cloth and a chunk of flint. All of the strikers shown are again by mi amigo, Jerry Rodri of 9 Tongs Forge and those are just a few of the styles available - and they spark like crazy!


All items were given a final aged finish - used but not abused.
Anyway that's it. Being of mixed blood heritage myself, I wanted to build something that reflected that mix of heritages and cultures so often found along the American frontier during the mid-1850's.
Whether I succeeded or not I'll leave up to the observer.....
PS Unfortunately I do not have a good picture of the final set - just use your imagaination to envision it. Also while this has mainly wound up as a man cave display, all parts are fully functional and could be used as originally designed..


Sheath Forum Moderator
I've been watching your work from the day you first entered the forums way back, and you have shown a constant maturation in your work. In other words, and those of you new to the craft listen, you never stop learning and improving your work.

I've watched those with so much talent just stagnate and keep doing the same level of work not stretching out and taking it to another tier.

Chuck is a great example of evolution in leather craft.

Church & Son

Well-Known Member
The entire set appears perfect to be hanging in a mid 19th century trappers cabin waiting on the next days work.
The east is too crowded, the west is gold crazy. The only place left for him is up in these hills.


Awesome leather and bead work Chuck and really like the display board and iron that holds it all. I've been wanting to do a rack for my BP like that and that is a beautiful example of a period gun rack- nicely done. We have old wood in mountains near Walden left from the "tie hacks" making RR ties so have an 'old wood' source...that ironwork would be a challenge though.