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Ditty Box Project

Ditty Box -  2017 - Gary Waidson - Ravenlore

I camp out for a variety of reasons and not every camp I make is light weight.

In fact, if I’m on a Living History camp that is far from the case. I usually have a van full of canvas, kit and wooden boxes.

At some of the “Bushcraft” meet ups like the Bushmoot I tend to take a lot of gear for craft work and demonstrations.

Inevitably, that can result in a lot of clutter. Much of that is dealt with in my Grab Bag but I fancied something a little more substantial for some of my more precious items.

Ditty Box -  2017 - Gary Waidson - Ravenlore

So, when I found this nice old box on a market I decided this would be my next project.

It was labelled as a “Captains Ditty Box” which I think was speculative. It dous indeed resemble a Ditty Box which was used to contain a sailors personal effects on ship but it appears to be larger than the size usually allowed.

Ditty Box -  2017 - Gary Waidson - Ravenlore

It has taken a little damage over the years but that all adds to the character and the odd size is not a worry so it will serve it’s named purpose perfectly for me.

Ditty Box -  2017 - Gary Waidson - Ravenlore

First of all, I wanted to reinforce the points which seem most prone to damage. For that I used some cast brass corners which I patinated with Liver of Sulphur to blend them in with the existing fittings.

Ditty Box -  2017 - Gary Waidson - Ravenlore

It needed a lock of some kind and I found an old single lever padlock in my accumulated jumble at home. Not very secure perhaps but adequate to keep things together in transit.

Ditty Box  -  2017 - Gary Waidson - Ravenlore

I’m also starting to assemble the bits and pieces that I want to store and transport.

Ditty Box -  2017 - Gary Waidson - Ravenlore

The next  thing I wanted to change was the lid handles which were just screw eyes with split rings when I got it. Functional but a little crude and the screws protruded from the underside of the lids  slightly leaving sharp points which might damage the contents in transit.

I managed to source some simple turned wooden knobs which were low enough they would not interfere with the box lid when closing.

While looking for them, I spotted an auction for some old brass military style campaign chest handles which I thought would suit it well.

I’ll blend the woodwork in a bit further down the line.

 

One of my inspirations for this project is the travelling chests that Army Officers took with them on campaign in the Nineteenth Century.

I was particularly impressed with the legs that some of them had for raising them above the damp when living in a tent.

What I wanted was a detachable set of legs so I could use the box with or without the legs depending on my situation.

By attaching a pair of battens to the bottom of the box I was able to adapt some legs from an old folding stool which do the job perfectly.

When the lid is closed the whole afair becomes a convenient table for working on too.

One last thing to do for which I am just waiting for something to arrive in the post.

Ditty Box -  2017 - Gary Waidson - Ravenlore
Ditty Box -  2017 - Gary Waidson - Ravenlore
Ditty Box -  2017 - Gary Waidson - Ravenlore
Ditty Box -  2017 - Gary Waidson - Ravenlore

The postman arrived early today allowing me to complete possibly the final modification. (Although I tinker with things so much I should probably never say final.)

I wanted an extra handle so that I could pick it up and carry it one handed on occasions.

This is just an added convenience really but at big meet ups it is nice to wander from camp to camp and this means I have an extra hand to carry a chair as well.

Most of the contents are the sort of things that are convenient to have around a communal fire such as eating and drinking utensils, lighting, repair and craft kit.

The fact that the whole thing is just the right height to stand a bottle of wine on by the side of your chair is of course completely coincidental.

Ditty Box -  2017 - Gary Waidson - Ravenlore
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Ravenlore is a site promoting Bushcraft and Wilderness skills as a way of working, living and enjoying the wilderness with minimal impact on it’s resources. Bushcraft should be practised in a responsible manner with consideration for the environment and other people who seek to enjoy the outdoors.

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Bushcraft skills complement many outdoor living pursuits such as walking, mountaineering, canoeing, hunting, fishing and in my case at least landscape photography. In fact I find the equipment suited to bushcraft often far exceeds the specification and usefulness of other high tech outdoor equipment.

Bushcraft and wilderness skills should always be practised with respect for the environment and other users of the outdoors. Leave No Trace.

All text, images and artwork on this site are the property of Gary Waidson and protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

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