From Back To Basics: A Complete Guide To Traditional Skills, Third Edition, edited by Abigail R. Gehring

The coonskin cap has been an American favorite from pioneer days to the age of television. Like the moccasins DIY AF ran in the last issue, its origins predate the arrival of the white man—the oldest painting of an American Indian shows an aborigine wearing a round hat with a raccoon tail attached to the crown. By the time pioneers were beginning to settle Kentucky and Tennessee, the coonskin hat had evolved into the hunting cap now associated with Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett. When making one, use a large skin, free of blemishes and bald spots, with a tail that is full and well marked. Cut the pattern out of a heavy grocery bag, baste it together, and check to make sure you have the fit you want. The crown should be somewhat elongated—about 1 inch longer than it is wide. When cutting the leather, use a razor-sharp knife and cut on the skin side.   

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Back to Basics

Editor’s note: “Coonskin Cap D.I.Y.” was reprinted by permission of Skyhorse Publishing from the title Back To Basics: A Complete Guide To Traditional Skills, Third Edition, edited by Abigail R. Gehring. Back to Basics retails for $24.95 at skyhorsepublishing.com.

 

This article originally published in AMERICAN FRONTIERSMAN®  2014-#158 issue. Print and Digital Subscriptions to AMERICAN FRONTIERSMAN®  magazine are available here