Though many think the end of the war in Iraq may be near, a small business in Cedar Rapids has just taken a big order from the military and is working double shifts to meet the request. Tom Shaw owns Clemens Canvas and Manufacturing which ordinarily makes products like boat covers but has been “enlisted” to make canvas bags for large military communications antennas.Shaw says the antenna has a 30-foot collapsible mast and a variety of tie-downs and other items — and the bag has slots for everything, including a mallet to pound the stakes into the ground. Shaw says production of the bags has increased ten-fold since the war in Iraq began as troops in the desert need the bags to carry the communication towers into battle. The bag is about six feet long and four feet long. He says the bag alone weighs about nine pounds as it’s large and made of thick, good-quality canvas.Shaw says his six-to-eight full-timers are working two shifts to complete the order for some 15-hundred bags. He says the bags involve a lot of work and a lot of sewing and his crew can only make about 20 of them a day.
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