Haversack by Bill Smith

by Joshua Shepherd with photography by H. David Wright


Few items in a modern longhunter’s kit are as important as a comfortable possibles bag. Buyers on today’s market can find few bags as well made, aesthetically pleasing, or long lasting than those crafted by Kentucky artist Bill Smith.

Smith produces a custom-made bag for the CLA auction each year, and this year’s exceptional offering is sure to please prospective bidders. Smith describes the bag as a small haversack or messenger’s bag, and it’s perfectly sized for a day hunt. Typical of the artist’s work, this bag is constructed entirely of historically appropriate materials. The body of the bag is crafted from genuine hemp canvas, at one time a staple agricultural product of frontier Kentucky. Smith dyed the canvas in black walnut hulls and then sealed the surface with beeswax. The front flap and shoulder strap is crafted from heavy weight but supple cow hide, and both are fitted with hand-forged iron buckles. The body of the bag is entirely handsewn with 5 strand waxed linen.

Bill Smith’s bags are exemplary samples of the leatherworker’s craft and have set a precedent in the field for quality. The artist explains that he plans to donate a bag to the CLA auction “every year until I can’t make bags anymore.” It’s simply his way of supporting a worthy endeavor. “I want to give back to the CLA,” says Smith, “it’s a wonderful organization.”

For for information on the work of the artist, contact:


Bill Smith
270-737-3597
wsmithblackpowder@windstream.net







Join the CLA


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