Last year I went through an exercise of figuring out how I would
make a box if I were back in time circa 1790 as a fur trapper in
The Ozark Highland of Upper Louisiana.
The tools I used to make
the box in the photos were the kinds that were routinely carried
on belts or in a pouch.
A belt axe, hunting knife, and a clasp knife were used. The
boards were rived out of red oak. I made a club to pound on the
hatchet head to start a split and the drove in little dogwood
wedges to chase the split to the other end. It helped that the
oak I chose split easily.
The dimensions of the box are 11-5/8 x 6-1/4 x 5-5/8 inch.
I made tools out of horseshoe and
square nails such as a small chisel and a bow drill. It took
about 8 inches of iron wire to make the snipe hinges. The latch
was made from a piece of bone and leather.
Sawing was done with
a little steel saw with a 3-inch blade that I made before the
imaginary trip and put in the pouch. I worked well over a week
on this box and then made another one while the techniques were
fresh in my mind.
I flaked some stone scrapers for smoothing the rived boards and
finished the smoothing with a flat sandstone rock about the size
of a bar of soap.
I did not use sinew to join the boards
together to make the box. The lashings you see in the photos are
string saturated with beeswax.