I was the lucky recipient of this fine wooden canteen for my birthday, and I am looking forward to using it for upcoming Revolutionary War Reenactments. It has wooden bands - less effective but more authentic than iron - and in order to ensure that it holds water, I am going to use a very 18th century product - pine pitch. Also known as brewer's pitch, in comes in peanut brittle sized chunks. The idea is to take an old enamel pot I do not care about and melt the stuff on the stove, then pour the canteen about 3/4 full , slosh it around, and dump back into the pot for future use. If my water ends up tasting like resin, at least it will not taste like tin, which is the other period container option for continental troops.
Turns out there are all sorts of authentic products one could use in this hobby to keep up appearances. I have ordered some black ball, a mixture of beeswax, lampblack and tallow, to waterproof my shoes and cartridge box. If I wanted to do the same for a canvas backpack, a period-correct paint is made from brick dust and buttermilk. That same brick dust and olive oil is just the thing for polishing up gun barrels and other bright work.
All this spit and polish is needed in the real world in which I spend most of my time as well. My house needs more than its usual Spring cleaning in the upheaval of various comings and goings. Next week I will be away, the the following week I plan to tackle the significant amount of clutter, and detritus both inside and out. There are seedlings to start and yard waste to pile into small but functional fires. This not only spares my neighbors the smoke and me a visit from the Fire warden, but also provides fuel for outdoor cooking. I have a three legged pot, after all, and the skills to go with it. If you smell mutton curry wasting on the wind from my backyard, you are welcome to drop by for a bowl, and maybe a swig of whatever is in my canteen.