How to Make a Wineskin

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How to Make a Wineskin. We don't know when wineskins were invented, but they appear in Homer's "Odyssey," the Bible and other ancient literary works. Making a wineskin takes time, but it can be distinctive addition to your next picnic or camping trip.

Make templates out of cardboard in the shape of the wineskin, one for each side. The overall shape will resemble a large kidney bean, with one end a little narrower than the other for the snout. Trace around the templates onto the smooth side of the goatskin. The hairy side of the goatskin will face the table.

Cut around the traced shapes of the wineskins.

Turn the cut pieces of goatskin over, hairy side up. Trim the hair off from around the edges of the goatskin with a pair of hair trimmers. Do this for both sides of the goatskin. Brush the goatskin to remove any loose hair.

Wash the goatskins with warm water, and then wring them out thoroughly.

Flatten the goatskins on the table, and lay them together so that the hairy sides face out. Carefully line up the goatskins until the edges meet. Trim away any excess skin with a pair of scissors. The edges must line up exactly.

Brush the hair so it lies flat and in one direction on both sides. Apply pitch to the hair with a stiff brush. The pitch will waterproof the wineskin so it won't leak.

Fold small strips of skinned goatskin in half and place them in between the layers of goatskin that will form the wineskin, being careful to line up their edges with the goatskin. Do this along the rounded end of the wineskin. Add a thinner folded piece of leather near the opening where the spout will be inserted. Thread the cording that forms the handle through these loops.

Sew around the edges of the wineskin, leaving the end where the spout will be inserted open. Next, sew cording around the edges of the wineskin.

Turn the wineskin so that the hair side is in, then check to see if the wineskin's seams are correct. There should be no gaps. Hang the wineskin in the open air to dry.

Fill the wineskin the next day to see it has any leaks. If not, insert the spout, and lash it in place with twine or string. Make sure this is done tightly so that the spout will not work its way out, or that any wine will pass between the spout and the goatskin. Cover the string with red binder, either tape or some material of your choice, then add more string near the top of the neck of the wineskin.

Air out the wineskin, and let it hang for another day.

Thread cording through the loops of the wineskin to form the handle. The cording can be any color of your choice. Las Tres Z.Z.Z. of Pamplona, one of the most famous wineskin makers in Spain, uses a distinctive red cording.

Fill your wineskin with your favorite beverage and enjoy.

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