Welcome to the Frost River shop! It’s a bustling place throughout the year, but it gets extra crazy building up to the holidays. An active workshop has a commotion all its own. Each step of the way, you’ll find skilled folks making it happen. It takes a long time to make good stuff, with many steps involved. Bags go upstairs and down, between machines, from station to station getting a bit more of what makes them special at each stop. Most often, there’s far more than twelve steps to build our goods because it takes a lot to make quality gear that’ll last. Scroll down to see a bit of how Frost River goods are built without compromise and follow along as we share some of the sights, sounds, and action going on.
Welcome to our “12 Days of Crafting” – Cheers!
It all starts with one roll of canvas. Our part in the shop starts with carrying the canvas from the delivery truck to the cutting table one roll at a time. Luckily the trip is mostly downstairs.
Two sides of leather are used to make a bundle of handles. Here, Dan uses a hydraulic press called a “clicker” along with a cutting die with a sharp edge to punch out the necessary leather pieces.
Three kits of bushcraft packs. The kits for the sewing staff get assembled so they have all the straps, reinforcements, lash squares, logos, and necessary canvas panels they need to put the packs together. Three bundles of six-packs will equal 18 Isle Royale bushcraft packs ready to hit the portage trail.
Four steps to make our signature buckskin padded backstraps for our canoe packs. Click out the hard harness leather on the clicker, stretch the buckskin for a perfect fit, sew the two together with a bit of foam padding, and trim appropriately. That’s how we do that!
Five golden things…
Okay they’re not actually made of gold, because gold wouldn’t hold up! Hand pounded harness rivets are the best way to secure straps and buckles to our Isle Royales and other rugged packs. The pounding table lends unique syncopation to the production floor.
Six sewers sewing… at least! It’s all hands on deck this time of year as the production crew works hard stitching seams to fill orders. Even on a Saturday the machines are buzzing, building bags to last a lifetime.
Seven Finishers Riveting around a bustling center station. Tyler and Jen do the bulk of the riveting, but this time of year they often get help with the finishing. Straps & buckles added, the packs are done right here. There ya go!
Eight steps of quality assurance. Everything we make takes a trip through QUIP: All seams inspected, rivets surely set, buckles and straps get stressed. We make it all here, best be sure it’s done right. Overbuilt is the standard.
Nine Frost River hangtags. They’re more than a place to put a price. It’s a stamp of approval, a name tag for the model number, a statement of quality and heritage— it’s a reminder of where our goods come from: Frost River.
Ten orders picked from the store. Just as Santa loads his sleigh, we gather frostriver.com orders from the shelves of the store and set them up to ship. This time of year we get a bit of exercise as we’re at it!
Eleven packed packages, ready to ship. Inside each box we wrap with care to send across the country and around the world, we try to add a bit of character, present it so it’s fun to open, and there’s no doubt who made it and where.
On the Twelfth Day of Christmas drivers pick up the day’s packages that we’ve carried, batched, built, buckled, made, sewn, finished, inspected, tagged, picked, packed, and shipped. It’s a lot of work by a whole team. Thanks to all, and to you!
So there ya go! Twelve days of Crafting, from our shop out to you, Thanks so much for the support, business, and opportunity to keep building packs and bags in our home port, Duluth, Minnesota.
Happy Holidays from all of us to all of you and yours!