Being so well known for making just about everything, it was only a matter of time before we finally got around to this. Many of you know that the Captain and I have been up to a top secret project and now we're finally ready to let the world know: we're making Berdan knapsacks! Cpt. Whitehall recently helped me with a purchase from a retiring reenactor. With it, we were surprised that he included his amazingly detailed research and build plans for a Berdan knapsack from Company C. As you can imagine, we were blow away and began planning an intensive build weekend. We both contributed a hefty initial investment to get the project off the ground. The Cpt. was so excited, he got to building the straps as soon he got back from Tandy leather. A couple of weeks later, he was in my shop for several long days figuring out the process.
Each day, we started with coffee and contemplation before heading straight for the shop until we crashed each night. We were surprised at how fairly straight forward the construction is. While the Cpt. was cutting and stitching leather, I was building frames and cutting templates. We got enough leather and wood cut for our initial batch and to build our skills. Though, our first one came out way better than we expected. Once back home, Cpt. settled in for the finishing work. The last piece to complete the project were the custom machined finials that a wonderful fellow reenactor and machinist made for us.
Our knapsacks, based on plans from an original, are quite a bit different from other reproductions. Two areas that really stand out are weight and fit. The Whitehall Koepp knapsacks are a good two pounds lighter and the back relief on these frames make an already comfortable pack even more comfy.
The only thing left is to buy a mess kit for it. Though, we have detailed blueprints to build them as soon as we can find a tin supplier.