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Farm & Rural Past -canvas manufacturing

Graham starting collecting vintage farm machinery concentrating his efforts with harvesting.  One of his binders required a replacement canvas.  After purchasing two (never been used) canvases and then finding out that although they hadn’t been used, they were 60 years old and subsequently required repairing.  


When he needed another one, he decided to manufacture a new one, but sourcing the components was not that straightforward.  After so much effort, he decided to obtain all the various components on a larger scale so that he could then produce new canvases for other owners of binders.  


Binders are generally associated with the vintage scene but there are still many binders and threshing machines used commercially by growers of wheat straw for thatching.  Although there is a current binder on the market, many straw growers still consider the traditional binder does a better job.  


The demand for the canvases has grown over the years, so much that a re-think was required with the manufacturing process.  They are now prepared on a purpose-made adjustable work table with jigs for accuracy and efficiency.  The canvases are made to be an authentic replacement, as with the originals, cotton canvas is used.



The required width and thickness is not easily obtained but Graham has steered away from the easy route of using modern material with added synthetic fibres or totally synthetic materials.  


Specially manufactured rivets are used together with stainless washers, Carefully selected eyelets, staples and tacks are also used.  The wooden slats or laths are purposely made from carefully chosen ash, they are then cut and profiled to precise requirements.  


Cotton canvas with no added synthetics are employed as are specially made authentic rivets or burrs, as they were referred to.  Other products that are manufactured include, feeder canvasses for threshers, combine canvasses, combine rear hood skirts and curtains together with one off customers’ requirements. Rubberised canvasses can also be made.  


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At the outset of the enterprise, Graham spoke to several tanneries regarding the supply of the correct leather, initially without much success.  He was then fortunate to have a conversation with the MD of a company that was able to supply exactly what was required.  The MD recalled that when he first was with the company in the early 1950’s they supplied leather straps in vast quantities to the binder canvas manufacturers.  He knew the precise type of leather and he could even remember the various widths.  


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Having started with the manufacture of binder canvases, Farm & Rural Past, now produce canvases for combines such as the Massey Harris 21, Feeder canvases for threshing machines, combine rear hood skirts and also the internal canvases for combines.  


Graham is pleased to have the services of Marion Smith, an experienced dressmaker.  Marion’s main role is marking out and stitching where her expertise is invaluable.  With the ever increasing cost of materials and the time involved in producing handcrafted products, the cost of a binder canvas starts at £330.  Graham is quick to point out that a straightforward repair on your car can cost you that.


Graham advises anyone buying a new canvas to look after it, take it off the machine after harvest, treat the leathers and when it is completely dry, roll it up starting with the buckle end with the woods facing out, tie and then store in a dry environment away from rodents.  Many other items can be supplied.



Please click on the links below to download a set of instructions on how to measure you canvas to enable us to manufacture a quality replacement.


An order form is also below which can be emailed to us.

Threshing Machine feeder canvas in progress.