Inspired by an article by Beke Olbers in Issue 13 of The Bushcraft Journal, whilst we were running our excellent Nordic Crafts course at the weekend, Nicola made a shrink pot, so here are some photos and guidelines for you to make your own! Nicola used sycamore bark, ash for the top and bottom, lime bark cordage and some hawthorn thorns.
Peel the bark from a sycamore stem about up to 10cm in diameter (alternatively, birch or willow). This is the inside (which you can see is really wet, now is a good time of year to make a shrink pot).
And this is the outside.
Roll the bark so that you have about 2cm of overlap. Make some holes in both pieces of the bark for the stitches to go through. Nicola used an awl to do this.
Be careful not to poke the awl into your finger!
Pop some thorns from a hawthorn through the holes to hold things in place.
Nicola used some cordage made from lime bark to do the stitching.
This is the pot with the stitching complete.
Draw around the base of the shrink pot onto a disc of wood and then carve the piece of wood to size. Nicola used a piece of ash. It should be a tight fit so that as the bark shrinks the fit becomes tighter. You could also use the thorns as pegs and gently hammer them through the bark into the base.
Repeat this process to form the lid. Chamfer the sides so that the lid will fit easily. Make a hole in the middle of the lid and make a loop with some of your cordage.
And the finished pot….