FCF Trades and You

Category: Education

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FCF Trades and You: 

FCF Trades and You Gary “Wildwind” Bierschwale Paul “Large Mouth Bass” Serb Dan “Metalbender” Syrcle - Author

What Are Trades?: 

What Are Trades? At its most basic level, a trade is what you do in history. A trade can be a moneymaker depending on what it is. A trade can be used for…TRADE! Which helps keep the cost down for all members. A trade catches a boy’s interest when he sees it.

Why do I need a trade?: 

Why do I need a trade? A trade is important for many reasons Gives you something to trade Required to advance to buckskin Keeps alive skills of our ancestors Presents lots of ministry opportunity to boys and commanders Makes your camp something more than just a tent Brings the FCF village to life

How do I decide on a trade?: 

How do I decide on a trade? When selecting a trade ask Is it appropriate to our time period? (Approximately 1750 – 1840) Is the trade portable? Can I do it in camp or just at home? What is the cost of the trade? Is it something that other FCF members need? Do I enjoy it? Or is it just work?

Why a portable trade?: 

Why a portable trade? The primary focus of FCF should be to Reach, Teach, and Keep. Boys are drawn to the unknown. If we are demonstrating our trade in the village several things happen. Boys will stop and ask questions. The village is alive, not just a group of tents. Other FCF members know what you do!

What kinds of trades are available?: 

What kinds of trades are available? Apothecary (pharmacist) Barber Bead monger Blacksmith Bookbinder Bowyer Breeches maker Brick maker Cabinet maker Carpenter/joiner Chandler (candle maker) Coach maker (wainwright) Cooper (makes/repairs wooden barrels & tubs) Cutler (makes, sells, & repairs knives & scissors) Farmer Farrier (shoes horses) Fletcher Furrier Goldsmith (banker) Gunsmith Hatter (makes, sells, & repairs hats) Hornsmith Hunter Leather dresser (Tanner) Leatherworker Mantua maker (dressmaker) Milliner (makes, trims, designs, or sells ladies hats) Military Music teacher Printer (published newspaper, sold books and materials, served as postmaster) Potter Rope maker Saddler (makes, sells, or repairs equipment for horses Sawyer (cut trees to lumber) Shipwright Tailor Tavern keeper Tentmaker Trader Tinsmith/Whitesmith Turner Weaver (rug maker) Wheelwright (made wheels and carts) Wigmaker

Even More Trades: 

Even More Trades More information can be found here: http://homepages.rootsweb.com/~sam/occupation.html This page not only has hundreds of entries, by name, but a brief description of the job.

WOW! Information Overload!: 

WOW! Information Overload! Ok, that is a lot to consider! Our time period had lots of trades available. There are millions of pages of research on the Internet. Lets look at some specific areas and see what we can find.

What Next?: 

What Next? Let’s look at some trades that are portable, needed by FCF, and interesting. We will look at blacksmith/tinsmith, chandler (candle maker), cooper, leatherwork, hornsmith/scrimshaw, wood turning, and storytelling, and tailor.

Review the questions: 

Review the questions Is it appropriate to our time period approximately 1750 – 1840? Is the trade portable? Can I do it in camp or just at home? What is the cost of the trade? Is it something that other FCF members need? Do I enjoy it? Or is it just work?




Blacksmith Blacksmithing is within our time period. Blacksmithing can be home- or camp-based. Blacksmithing can be expensive, and tools are hard to find! Blacksmithing is a trade that creates something all FCF members will trade for!

Basic tools: 

Basic tools Blacksmiths need several basic tools to do the job Forge Small portable forge is best Anvil 75 to 150 lbs is best Hammers Sledge, straight peen, cross peen ball peen Tongs Large variety Slack tub (water tank) Half barrel from hardware store works well

Basic Information: 

Basic Information Blacksmithing can be learned from a book, but a class is better. Look for a local blacksmith group. Check www.ABANA.com (Artist Blacksmith Association of North America) for local chapters. A living-history museum might conduct classes. Some colleges have classes.

Basic Information: 

Basic Information Recommended Books


Tinsmith/Whitesmith Whitesmithing is an off-shoot of blacksmithing. Whitesmiths primarily use sheet steel that is bent and soldered together. This is also a trade that is needed in FCF. Searching the Internet for “tinsmith” or “whitesmith” will turn up lots of information and pictures.



Chandler or Candle Maker: 

Chandler or Candle Maker Candle makers are in high demand An accurate FCF village is full of candle lanterns; kerosene lanterns had not been invented in our time period. This should be a fairly cheap trade to get into. Candle making is a very portable trade.

Candle Basics: 

Candle Basics There are two basic types of candles Dipped Wax is melted in a large pot and wick material is dipped and allowed to cool, building up layers until the candle size is obtained. Poured Melted wax is poured into molds to make candles.

Candle Basics: 

Candle Basics Candle wax is very flammable! Extreme caution should be used. Kits are available from Panther Primitives and Jas. Townsend. Also check www.peakcandle.com www.artncraftsupplies.com




Cooper Coopers are within our time period. Coopering is portable Start up cost on coopering should be reasonable. Coopering tools are basic woodworking tools. This trade is not well represented in FCF, but would be a nice trade to see at events.


Cooper What is a cooper? This is a person that makes barrels and buckets primarily. Most often white oak is used. Basic tools are wood working tools that can be picked up at flea markets and garage sales. Check Amazon or halfpricebooks.com for books. Search Internet for related links.




Leatherwork This is truly a period trade. Bags, clothes, shoes, belts, etc. are made from leather. Start up can be expensive. FCF needs leather goods of all kinds. This is a great trade to do in camp and is easy to share with boys.

Leatherwork Basics: 

Leatherwork Basics Leather Factory has basic kits and books, and patterns. They are here at our conference. Minimum tools Leather Awl Needle Sinew or linen thread Beeswax


Hornsmith/Scrimshaw Horn shown by Cory Joe Stewart


Hornsmith/Scrimshaw Hornsmiths, are those who make things from horn, which might include cups, spoons, powder horns and salt horns. Scrimshaw is an art form used to decorate these items.


Hornsmith/Scrimshaw This is a trade that could be done in camp This trade will take some artistic ability. FCF members need items made of horn. This is an art form that needs to be kept alive. Our own Territorial Rep. Oak is a horner and scrimshander!

Hornsmith Basics: 

Hornsmith Basics Cow horns, fairly inexpensive Saws, files, sandpaper to shape the horn and plugs Needles for doing the design to scrimshaw and India ink to color it Panther Primitives sells a scrimshaw kit and has several books on the topic This may be a good self taught trade.



Woodturning : 

Woodturning Absolutely a period trade, this is a branch of woodworking I have yet to see this trade at an event. This trade may have a high start up cost to build a lathe. Most FCF guys would trade for bowls, finials, containers, etc. Boys would go crazy over this trade!

Woodturning Basics: 

Woodturning Basics Rodney “Bow Breaker Briggs provided me the following link http://www.manytracks.com/lathe/default.htm This has downloadable plans of a treadle lathe. This lathe could be used at an event.



Tailoring Basics: 

Tailoring Basics This is a much needed trade in FCF. This could be done in camp if we would take the time to learn to sew neatly by hand. All of us in FCF wear clothes these clothes have to come from somewhere There are dozens of patterns available. Jas Townsend Panther Smoke and Fire Kannicks Korner


Storytelling All though this does not fall into what we perceive as a trade, it has historical basis for being a trade. Education was carried on verbally for many years, these people were in essence storytellers. While this may have limited scope as a money making trade, it will make camp a more interesting place to be.

Storytelling Basics Where do I find a story?: 

Storytelling Basics Where do I find a story? Books 398.2 card catalog numbers at the public library FCF Handbook Frontiersman/Mountain Man Skills books Internet (watch out for the junk) Goggle Search www.Storytellers.net http://www.timsheppard.co.uk/story/storylinks.html Write your own Biblical principal or general entertainment Personal experience Research for authenticity (dates, locations, etc)

Storytelling Basics Choosing a story: 

Storytelling Basics Choosing a story Keep target audience in mind (RK, DR, AR, combined group) Length of story Personal comfort with the story Appropriateness

Storytelling Basics Delivery: 

Storytelling Basics Delivery PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE In front of a mirror Family Audio recorder Pitch, speed, and volume Builds with excitement and action Creates suspense Used to convey a point Movement – don’t become a distraction Outfit – If you use one, make it period correct RELAX!!!!

Storytelling Basics Now what?: 

Storytelling Basics Now what? Keep it up! Practice some more! Get feedback from someone who can be honest with you Find/write more stories Join a local story telling group/association HAVE FUN!!!!


Conclusion FCF trades are a vital part of our ministry. Trades are not just about making the Buckskin Advancement. We should all work on devotions that tie into our trade to share with boys. We should all be willing to trade with the boys to help them out. Trades are what will make the FCF village come to life at any event. No one really wants to see just a bunch of tents with Commander Sits-a-lot talking about the “Good old days” in FCF.


Remember, your trade should be Something you are interested in. Something that you will enjoy doing. Something that hopefully you can do in front of an audience while you are talking. Something that will Reach, Teach, and Keep boys for Jesus Christ. Something you can trade!

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