Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Muzzle Making Reindeer Weather

Detail of muzzle strap
I was planning to spend most of the day out of the house gathering materials and equipment for the current batch of work, but the weather kind of messed that up.  It took a couple hours to dig out and most of the places that I needed to go ended up having snow days anyhow.  I spent the non-shoveling part of the day sewing rangifer taradus rawhide into a sled dog muzzle.

The muzzle is the 8th piece in the Central Arctic set.  As before, I'm working off of images in the Canadian Museum of Civilization's artifact catalog.  You can see the the original artifact here:

Muzzle: IV-C-3229 a

Sled Dog Muzzle Reproduction.  Excluding the straps, the muzzle is about 8 cm long and the diameter at the large end is 9.5 cm and 7.2 at the narrow end.  

Reindeer rawhide and 16 hooves
The muzzle artifact is made from caribou skin, although I used reindeer skin which came from Finland via southern Ontario.  Its the same species, rangifer tarandus, but the availability of farmed reindeer makes some of their parts easier to get a hold of than wild caribou.  I got a beautiful reindeer rawhide from a Canadian importer along with 16 feet that I'll need the hooves from for another reproduction in this set.  Reindeer rawhide like this is primarily used for drumskins and I'm going to try to work around the edges to get the pieces that I need now so that I can save the center for a drum in the future.

Its just the right size for a sled dog's nose
I used the neck skin for the muzzle, because it was the perfect size and is the thickest part of the skin.  Most of the rawhide is vellum thin.  I  moistened and chewed and scrunched up the rawhide for a while before I started sewing it to soften it up.  Its pretty flexible now and with a little bit of soot to dirty it up, I think its a good match for the original.

Photo Credits: Tim Rast


  1. Hi, this is a great blog, a good place to rest.
    I´ve linked your blog to my selfbowery- blog, the BowXplosion, it is


  2. Thanks for the link! I checked out your blog and started following - you're doing some great work!

    Today's post with the photo of the horse and donkey made me smile. I used to have a Shetland Pony growing up named Peanuts who looked just like your horse. She was always having little mule foals because the only stud we had that was the right size was a donkey that looked just like the one in your picture.


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