What did Chris learn to make from Franz?
Chris McCandless learned to make a leather belt and other leather products from Ronald Franz.
An accomplished leatherworker, Franz taught Alex the secrets of his craft; for his first project McCandless produced a tooled leather belt, on which he created an artful pictorial record of his wanderings.
McCandless met Franz while he (McCandless) was wandering around the Salton Sea area of California. Franz took an immediate liking to McCandless and took the young wanderer under his wing for a bit. At first, Franz couldn't understand why McCandless would hitchhike around the country, and Franz encouraged McCandless to "make something of his life." McCandless politely told Franz to not worry about him, and from there the two men became quite good friends. In fact, Franz even offered to adopt McCandless as his grandson. McCandless dodged the question by saying that they would talk about it later.
McCandless, uncomfortable with the request, dodged the question: “We’ll talk about it when I get back from Alaska, Ron.”
The two men learned a great deal from each other. McCandless taught Franz the value of a wandering free spirit, and Franz taught McCandless the skills of a leatherworker.