A friend is a Civil War reenactor. That means he spends his weekends putting on his Sargent’s uniform and going out to march, shoot, camp, and generally be miserable with his unit! You should check them out HERE. (If perhaps you don’t think these guys like being miserable, think about wearing all that wool for three days straight in 90 degree heat!)
When we were talking back last year when I built some Bread boxes for them, he mentioned that he would love to have a “footlocker.” We’ve kicked around the idea of “the box” for months since then.
Part of the problem with this is just any old wood box will not do. These guys are really serious about their “props.” Muskets really fire, tents really are nothing but canvas, uniforms really are wool, (they look hot, itchy, and tend to smell), and anything around camp has to look “period correct.”
Which means a box like this – during the Civil War, would be pine planks, nailed together, and would weigh a ton without a single item inside! (Officers and non-coms didn’t worry about weight back then, they just loaded it on the supply wagons.) But within a year or two, that “box,” schlepped around from battlefield to battlefield, would be splitting, probably rotten, and just thrown away. Not something reenactors tend to do with their equipment.
So, the challenge was to build a box that looked old – even to the iron hardware and period correct screws – and yet not fall apart after a season or two. My solution? A box that looks old on the outside – yet on the inside is engineered. It’s lighter than solid wood, stronger than solid wood, and framed from treated lumber. (The same stuff you build your back deck out of.) It’ll hold more gear, take more abuse, and last longer than the original would have! (With a company available like Restorers, you can also find all the hardware to make this kind of project work.)
This isn’t a project to make money on. Frankly, there’s too much time and labor to ever get out of it what you put into it. But for the pleasure of actually creating something “new” that looks, and will be used as, something “old”… this was worth every minute!
See all the photos HERE.