Bota - Leather Flask

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Introduction: Bota - Leather Flask

About: Like working with hands with wood and leather.

Watching Pirates of the Caribbean too many times to count, encouraged by my two young ones that sustain enthusiasm despite the repetition, I noticed Gibbs’ leather flask kept surfacing. Being of Spanish decent and an owner of several well make Spanish wine Botas, I found the small leather flask alluring and quite unique. I had no intentions of making one until my wonderfully conscientious wife informed me that we would be adorning as pirates for Halloween as well as for an upcoming Disney cruise. How interesting it would be to have that flask as part of my costume and to carry a nip of refreshment. And so my quest began.

Step 1: Make Wood Mold

I started with two equal square shaped pieces of plywood. Originally I used 1/2
inch but later I remade the molds with 3/4 inch to increase the flasks carrying capacity.

On one of the pieces, cut out the flask perimeter with a jigsaw being careful to keep the inside piece intact. The inside piece should then be glued\screwed to the 2nd square piece of wood.

Router or sand the edges of the inside piece to round over the top. My leather was thick so I had to sand about ¼ inch off the perimeter.

Note: I was making 4 flasks so I ended up making two sets of the molds. That way, I could make the leather front and back at the same time.

Step 2: Place Wet Leather in Mold Overnight

Cut two pieces of leather for flask front and back about 2 inches oversized.

Soak one leather piece in water for an hour and then place inside the template.

Clamp into place and let dry overnight. Repeat for the second piece of leather.

Step 3: Glue Two Side Together

Once you have molded the two leather pieces and they are dry, apply contact cement and clamp together.

Make sure the pieces are aligned as close as possible.

Step 4: Drill Sewing Guide Holes

Draw a line 1/8th inch from edge of curved leather as a guide.

With a small drill bit, drill holes 1/8th inch apart all the way around the flask.

Step 5: Sew

Lock Stich the entire perimeter. I used 6 feet of leather sewing waxed
thread and put needles on both ends.

Run the thread through the first hole near the mouth (either side) and pull to the center of the thread, about 3 feet mark.

Lock Stitch and pull thread tight after each hole until you've completed the entire flask. You may have to use pliers to pull the needle through at times.

Step 6: Waxing

Melt Bee's Wax in a jar immersed in boing water.

Apply the melted wax with a brush to the entire outside of the flask.

Pour a generous amount inside the flask and swish around for 20-30 seconds before pouring out.

Step 7: Bake

In a disposable baking tray, bake the flask upside down for 30 minutes at 200 degrees.

Wax will soak into the leather and significantly darken the leather color.

Step 8: Strap and Top

Punch holes for a strap. I bought the braided leather cord at a hobby shop.

Carve a top out of scrap wood.

Step 9: Collar (optional)

I wanted the opening to fit a standard wine cork so I lathed a piece of scrap maple to fit the opening.

Drilled out a hole the diameter of a regular wine cork.

Used Epoxy to affix it to the leather flask opening.

Some of my many Cork Designs.

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8 Comments

it's a nice bottle, but there's something it isn't - isn't a Spanish bota. A bota is a SOFT leather bottle, with the inside coated in tar so it remains flexible, and yours is a hardened one coated in wax. Not complaining about your work's quality, just about the denomination - because it induces to mistake when searching for instructables on ACTUAL botas...

1 reply

Yup, Definitely not a Spanish Bota. I happen to be from Spain, and have many "Actual" Spanish Botas. Hmm, a new project for me....

This is simply genius. I don't know if I could make that mold though. That seems like the hardest part for me. Also, what thickness of leather did you use?

Any tips for how to make that mold? I just gatta make this.

When you baked the leather, was it 200 ºC or ºF? Thanks, it looks amazing!

1 reply

Fahrenheit. Basically just heating up the leather so the wax metls into it. After about 30 minutes, I recoated and put back into the oven for another 30 minutes.

Beautiful work.

I had not seen that baked beeswax finish done before. It looks great.

1 reply

Unfortunately not my Idea. Not sure who to give credit to but I researched a bit before making the flask and found this as a means to waterproof the leather.

Wow! Your flask looks great. Thanks for sharing how you made it!