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-   -   Repro horseshair sporrrans (Pakistan); worth it or not? (http://forums.bobdunsire.com/forums/showthread.php?t=166520)

piper909 05-22-2018 05:36 PM

Repro horseshair sporrrans (Pakistan); worth it or not?
 
Horsehair sporrans are inexplicably expensive. Has anyone seen firsthand any of the reproduction military horsehair sporrans being sold from Pakistan via eBay and various reenactor suppliers? Example here:



https://www.ebay.com/itm/SI-SCOTTISH...d682%7Ciid%3A1



I'm aware of how sellers often use non-representative images to hawk their wares. But are these items any kind of decent value for money? Actual vintage items are too costly to risk in the field and commissioning a replica from a Highland outfitter would be nearly as expensive. If I wanted a respectable Cameron Highlanders sporran that I wouldn't worry so much about in rain or dirt, as a "costume" item, would these fit the bill? Or just a poorly made waste of money? How hard can it be to work with leather and horsehair, compared to bagpipes? (On the other hand, I had a plain leather sporran once that probably was made in Pakistan or India, and the leather was hard, the strap rigid and buckle very cheap, and the dye rubbed off.) Opinions and counsel welcome!

el gaitero 05-22-2018 07:51 PM

Re: Repro horseshair sporrrans (Pakistan); worth it or not?
 
Run away....run away...save your money for a rainy day.

Buying one direct is a pig in a poke. At least on eBay and PayPal you have a bit of protection....

Pip01 05-23-2018 08:22 AM

Re: Repro horseshair sporrrans (Pakistan); worth it or not?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by el gaitero


Run away....run away...save your money for a rainy day.

Buying one direct is a pig in a poke.



At least on eBay and PayPal you have a bit of protection....




... And... there is no guarantee... that any horse...
was even... or ever... involved!! :)


(A rather large poke to fit a horse... but they got 'em!! :)




moderntraditional 05-23-2018 10:45 AM

Re: Repro horseshair sporrrans (Pakistan); worth it or not?
 
I wonder why it is assumed that Pakistani wares must be bad. I bought a rosewood chanter from Pakistan and it lasted forever, was perfectly in tune, and quite pretty.

Havenít had a need to get horsehair sporran, as I never wear Reg No 1 uniforms. So, I canít speak to that.

But in these forums, people seem quite quick to dismiss goods from that area.


-J David Hester, PhD
Alt Pibroch Club
www.altpibroch.com

el gaitero 05-23-2018 10:50 AM

Re: Repro horseshair sporrrans (Pakistan); worth it or not?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by moderntraditional;132738

But in these forums, people seem quite quick to dismiss goods from that area.


-J David Hester, PhD
Alt Pibroch Club
[url
www.altpibroch.com[/url]

.....yep....with a consensus reason imo.

piper909 05-23-2018 12:57 PM

Re: Repro horseshair sporrrans (Pakistan); worth it or not?
 
It's a contentious topic, for sure, so I am curious to collect input from all viewpoints, esp. if someone else has already bought one of these and can judge in comparison with the alternatives.

Paul M Burke 05-23-2018 01:13 PM

Re: Repro horseshair sporrrans (Pakistan); worth it or not?
 
You would be amazed at the quality of some of the work coming out of Pakistan. Like everything else it comes down to what you pay.

Paul.

CalumII 05-24-2018 05:19 AM

Re: Repro horseshair sporrrans (Pakistan); worth it or not?
 
There are certainly plenty bands walking around with bits of kit made in that part of the world. When you're outfitting a band of thirty and you're comparing a £15 sporran to a £120 one from a Scottish supplier, it's a tough decision for any quartermaster.

pancelticpiper 05-24-2018 07:33 PM

Re: Repro horseshair sporrrans (Pakistan); worth it or not?
 
Back to the OP, are we talking "military sporrans" in the sense of horsehair sporrans in general, or specifically speaking of reproductions of the exact patterns worn by specific Scottish regiments?

I've seen a wide range of quality in Pakistani horsehair sporrans.

With the bodies I've seen real horsehair and enough of it for the sporran to have a fairly high-quality feel.

I've also seen horrid fake horsehair, thin and incredibly cheap-looking.

With the cantles I've seen nice-quality cast tops.

I've also seen cast tops which are obviously re-casts made from heavily-worn originals, thus lacking much detail.

Now specifically about reproduction military sporrans, I have a reproduction Black Watch sporran that's made of real horsehair, fairly full, with high-quality tassels that look exactly like the originals.

The cantle, though, was re-cast from a worn original; I'd like more detail, personally.

Here it is

https://i.imgur.com/WGsFt0k.jpg

pancelticpiper 05-24-2018 07:46 PM

Re: Repro horseshair sporrrans (Pakistan); worth it or not?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by piper909 (Post 1327363)

The quality on that one looks pretty good, but be warned that that is NOT a Cameron Highlanders pattern sporran.

The cantle looks sort of like the shape of the old OR Black Watch sporrans, and it has a Black Watch badge. The body does resemble old OR Cameron sporrans.

For those who haven't seen them, here's an actual OR's Cameron Highlanders sporran

https://i.imgur.com/LC7GDWl.jpg

And here's an actual Black Watch OR's sporran. Note the distinctive shape of the cantle, quite different than the shape of the Camerons' style.

https://i.imgur.com/JpNPX41.jpg

piper909 05-24-2018 10:20 PM

Re: Repro horseshair sporrrans (Pakistan); worth it or not?
 
Good posts. That Black Watch WWII repro uniform is interesting. I haven't seen rosettes on their Royal Stuart kilts before. Or a fringed apron -- military kilts I've seen or owned have always been finished with a "clean" apron edge, not fringed (as with typical civilian kilts, unless you ask for this NOT to be done!).

pancelticpiper 05-25-2018 06:30 AM

Re: Repro horseshair sporrrans (Pakistan); worth it or not?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by piper909 (Post 1327452)
That Black Watch WWII repro uniform is interesting. I haven't seen rosettes on their Royal Stuart kilts before. Or a fringed apron

Black Watch pipers wore Royal Stewart from sometime around the mid-19th century. Before that they wore the Black Watch "music tartan" which was worn by all Black Watch musicians. I don't know exactly when, or why, they decided to put the musicians in Black Watch kilts and the pipers in Royal Stewart kilts.

Here's a Black Watch piper in the 2nd quarter of the 19th century wearing kilt and plaid of the Black Watch "music tartan" and coatee of the ordinary Black Watch tartan.

https://i.imgur.com/2r5QRe6.jpg

About the fringe, yes, military kilts especially OR's kilt in most regiments lacked fringe. But one sees officers kilts and senior sergeants kilts with fringe sometimes. I don't know enough about it to know exactly what ranks in what regiments would have fringe.

Here's an actual Black Watch piper's kilt (sergeant and above), it's what my reproduction is based on. My kilt was made by House Of Edgar and uses the heavier 18oz tartan.

https://i.imgur.com/17ACwcQ.jpg

Here's a Pipe Major of the Black Watch where you can see his ribbons and just barely make out the fringe

https://i.imgur.com/aelxa6M.jpg

The most obvious fringe on a military kilt is this blue fringe on the Hodden Grey kilt

https://i.imgur.com/JW64DHh.jpg

CalumII 05-25-2018 06:58 AM

Re: Repro horseshair sporrrans (Pakistan); worth it or not?
 
The extra fringe, like a lot of details, is normally warrant officer and above. Pipers confuse things because they often wear details that belong to that class of higher individual.


Incidentally the Hodden Grey kilt pictured there is actually an OR kilt; the officer's version has an even more excitable fringe, also worn by the PM and DM.

piper909 05-27-2018 11:29 PM

Re: Repro horseshair sporrrans (Pakistan); worth it or not?
 
"Excitable" kilt apron fringe, that's an expression I want to work into all pipe band conversations from now on!



Interesting lore. That Hodden Grey color is certainly an odd duck. The shade of the kilt doesn't match the shade of the jacket. (made from different materials, no doubt). A "fugitive" color, I wonder what dyes are used or what yarns are in the weave? Sort of brown and grey with purplish tones.



Does anyone know if current MOD contractors still use a heavier weight material for kilts, or have they cut costs by using lighter, cheaper material, now that there are fewer tartans in regimental use, fewer numbers of soldiers overall, and the kilt has been shunted to ceremonial use as far as I can tell?

CalumII 05-28-2018 09:16 AM

Re: Repro horseshair sporrrans (Pakistan); worth it or not?
 
The colour of Hodden Grey has varied over the years (it did start out actually grey, but that didn't last long), but it's subject to the vagaries of the mills. It was originally chosen as a cheap, common textile, and now has to be custom made at vast expense...


And yes, not quite matching uniform items is a common problem in Hodden Grey. Usually dealt with by standing a reasonable distance away.



As for weights, modern MOD kilts certainly aren't the 32oz beasts of yore that could stand up by themselves, but they are still made of decent material, as anything else tends to be a false economy with such items.

pancelticpiper 05-28-2018 10:00 PM

Re: Repro horseshair sporrrans (Pakistan); worth it or not?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by piper909 (Post 1327530)
I wonder what dyes are used or what yarns are in the weave?

Here's a discussion about Hodden Grey fabric and the problem obtaining it

http://www.xmarksthescot.com/forum/f...-fabric-92902/

Quote:

Originally Posted by piper909 (Post 1327530)
Does anyone know if current MOD contractors still use a heavier weight material for kilts

If we're talking Scotland, all the infantry of the nation has been amalgamated into a single regiment, the Royal Regiment Of Scotland. I don't know who weaves the new-pattern RRS kilt fabric, or what weight it is. But the new-pattern RRS kilts have veered away from some of the traditional aspects of Scottish military ORs' kilts such as the grass-green herringbone twill binding and the stamped sheet-metal two-prong buckles on black-painted fabric tabs.

At least until recently the pipes & drums of the various battalions have continued their traditional kit including kilts that appear to be made of the traditional fabric. I have a Royal Stewart MOD-style kilt made by House Of Edgar using their 18oz MOD style fabric and it's a dead ringer for the kilts worn by pipers of The Black Watch.

piper909 05-29-2018 12:35 AM

Re: Repro horseshair sporrrans (Pakistan); worth it or not?
 
That was a fascinating discussion about the London Scottish (and Toronto Scottish) kilts. I'm sorry I saw that discussion too late to buy one of those Hodden Grey kilt material lots! (I haven't visited that forum in quite a while.) I'd have bought some to make *something,* or the wife would have loved it for a jacket or skirt for herself.

piper909 05-31-2018 11:41 PM

Re: Repro horseshair sporrrans (Pakistan); worth it or not?
 
Well, I decided to splurge on the sporran from the vendor originally linked in my first post. I'll post a review when it arrives. Pancelticpiper has already noted the historical discrepancies; I'll focus on the quality of materials and worksmanship -- is it a decent value for money? Pictures, too, if I can remember how to post them here! And if it's a total flop, I'll raise a stink with Paypal about a refund.

piper909 06-07-2018 03:19 PM

Re: Repro horseshair sporrrans (Pakistan); worth it or not?
 
Report time! The sporran arrived two days ago, very quick shipping from Pakistan via DHL services (less than a week from order to my door). Pictures and review below.

For $125 plus $25 shipping charge, I am pleased that this is decent value for money. This maker, at least (Sulshi International) is using real horsehair, not imitation, and the sporran body is neither whispy or warped. The leather looks sound, well stitched, the back has a small pocket; the shape of the cantle is not entirely accurate, as noted above, but perhaps acceptable to most reenactors or general consumers. The brass badge is a bit on the cheap side, an obvious copy from an original or pattern; needs some polishing and it lacks crisp casting detail. The bells on top of the tassels are black plastic, the tassels suspended by thick black cord.

The sporran strap is NOT all leather, as it should be, but I will order one of those elsewhere. (I haven't worn a chain strap in decades, since I learned better, from the example of the military.) There is also not one of those little leather bits that the chains are supposed to attach to, that then threads through the strap built onto the sporran back. So if you used the belt provided, you'd have to clip the chains ends to each other. I have not checked to see what size this chain belt might be.

Given what new horsehair band sporrans cost these days from the UK or Canada, or what a genuine military issue would cost (and vintage sporrans in good condition are rare and valuable -- would you want to do active reenactor work with it?), I'd say that in this case, a cut-rate Subcontinent manufacturer offers a good product and an option for a bargain hunter or anyone with a tight budget. A good-looking band sporran for what my first one (Scottish-made) cost me back in 1976.

Picture 1: as arrived, in its packing, on the shipping box:


https://vgy.me/zLz9LG.jpg



Picture 2: unwrapped, with chain belt/strap in its own bag



https://vgy.me/JuVm46.jpg



Picture 3: back view


https://vgy.me/bEsTVC.jpg



Picture 4: detail of cantle:


https://vgy.me/DhS3Hx.jpg

pancelticpiper 06-07-2018 07:16 PM

Re: Repro horseshair sporrrans (Pakistan); worth it or not?
 
Looks like good quality, but it's puzzling why they put a Black Watch sporran badge on a Cameron Highlanders sporran.

I myself would switch out the badge for the proper one. Genuine Cameron Highlanders sporran badges come up cheap on Ebay all the time.

piper909 06-09-2018 09:51 PM

Re: Repro horseshair sporrrans (Pakistan); worth it or not?
 
Huh! Quite right, I missed this detail. I thought the St. Andrew with cross was unique to the Camerons but I see now after checking that the Black Watch sporran badge also features this motif (not at all like their cap badge), but the Camerons' figure stands on a wreath. So right you are, it's a mixed up badge and I'll see what I can do to make modifications. Cheers!

LJ Neville 06-12-2018 09:44 AM

Re: Repro horseshair sporrrans (Pakistan); worth it or not?
 
Thanks for posting on this, esp the pics - I think you made a great purchase!

Klondike Waldo 06-12-2018 10:17 AM

Re: Repro horseshair sporrrans (Pakistan); worth it or not?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by piper909 (Post 1328112)
Huh! Quite right, I missed this detail. I thought the St. Andrew with cross was unique to the Camerons but I see now after checking that the Black Watch sporran badge also features this motif (not at all like their cap badge), but the Camerons' figure stands on a wreath. So right you are, it's a mixed up badge and I'll see what I can do to make modifications. Cheers!


That Cameron Highlanders badge is easy enough to find as a cap badge. I have several on caps and sporrans, including on a horse hair sporran that came with the ubiquitous thistle badge- just swapped out the Thistle and put on St Andrew.:thumb:

pancelticpiper 06-13-2018 06:41 PM

Re: Repro horseshair sporrrans (Pakistan); worth it or not?
 
What's a bit odd, and subtle, is that the Camerons' cap badge and sporran badge both featured St Andrew with his cross on a wreath, the but wreaths are shaped a bit differently.

So even if there's no hint as to scale in photos you can't mistake one for the other.

https://i.imgur.com/SuaqfOP.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/jakBLF8.jpg

and with the scroll

https://i.imgur.com/zdIIjih.jpg

And what have we here?

https://i.imgur.com/BkGuq68.jpg

el gaitero 06-14-2018 05:19 AM

Re: Repro horseshair sporrrans (Pakistan); worth it or not?
 
Looks like someone in MOD finally tried to ecomomize by ordering 10000 Cameron badges....Ē oh,...but leave the word Cameron off 5000 please. ď

piper909 06-14-2018 03:19 PM

Re: Repro horseshair sporrrans (Pakistan); worth it or not?
 
What an odd muddle of badge motifs!


That BW piper's picture detail reminded me -- does anyone know why the Black Watch pipers wear their crossbelt OVER their plaid when I think every other regiment wears/wore their plaid over the crossbelt?


Sheer obstinacy, or what?

CalumII 06-15-2018 06:27 AM

Re: Repro horseshair sporrrans (Pakistan); worth it or not?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by piper909 (Post 1328224)
does anyone know why the Black Watch pipers wear their crossbelt OVER their plaid when I think every other regiment wears/wore their plaid over the crossbelt?


HIstorically there was quite a bit of variety and no real consistency - and it could change in the same pipe band according to whims of the hierarchy.


I suspect in the case of the Black Watch it was simply a case of being able to see the badges.


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