Archival Clothing - Made in USA

Archive for August, 2010

Archival Rewaxing

August 23rd, 2010
Martexin (Waxwear) reproofing wax. Operating instructions on the can.

Archival Clothing endorses waxed cotton because it’s a rugged, natural fabric that requires simple wax reproofing to maintain its finish and water repellency. Waxed cotton users should know how to reprooof their hats, bags and jackets. Both Filson and Barbour offer factory reproofing services but we recommend performing the work yourself. Reproofing waxed cotton is easy and personalizes the care and maintenance of your garment. Even if you live in the desert, you should establish a reproofing scheduled for your waxed cotton products. Reproofing extends the life of a waxed item and prevents it from developing folds and wear lines that might cause holes.

I do my reproofing work in August so I can move the work into the backyard.

Basic tools: wax (warmed), water, sponge, blow dryer (or heat gun). Some people recommend using the same paraffin wax sold by the original manufacturer. I’ve switched between several brands of wax treatment (Filson, Barbour and Martinex) with the same results. I will concede that for a full reproofing job on a jacket, the larger tins of Barbour reproofing wax are easier to heat in a double boiler.

Scrub off dirt with a moistened sponge. Do not use soaps or detergents.

Use quarter sponge to spread warmed reproofing wax. Small strokes best.

Reheat surface of fabric with blow dryer to melt down larger wax deposits.

Reapply wax until it evenly coats the bag.

Apply additional blow dryer heat treatment (direct sunlight also helps)

Returned to original factory finish

I still have wax left so I’m reproofing a few of my Filson duckbill caps

You’ll be moving back and forth between wax applications and the blow dryer

Don’t expect the wax to glaze evenly over fabric. You’ll need to work it into surface.

Fully shellaced. Let the sun help melt the wax. Retreat with a blow dryer if you find any remaining, unmelted spots of wax. I love how stand up sturdy waxed products become after reproofing. Daily use and rain will wear down overly zealous reproofing efforts.

Shopping from 1952: Summer Camp Kit

August 19th, 2010

Next week, I’ll be heading to the Hood Canal for a weekend at my old summer camp. Since I’m fulfilling my packing list from the pages of the 1952 LL Bean catalog, I’ll only need to shop for few perishable provisions (coffee beans, 35mm film and almonds).

I have a two shoe rule for traveling but I couldn’t decide between the no-sole moccasin, camp oxford and canoe shoe, so I’ll pack all three (and throw in the 9″ moccasins just in case I do some ad hoc tramping and fishing).

All my gear will be packed in Bean Zipper Duffles and our trusty A.C. rucksack (camp tested by Sweet Juniper).

Camping in the movies:

Charlotte Vale’s well appointed camp site (Now Voyager)

Archival Pocket Knives

August 16th, 2010
A.C. endorsed Opinel (Tom’s model)

Discontinued Victorinox (L.L.’s current pocket folder)

I’ve been shopping for another knife ever since I saw a gent in Seattle cutting leather straps with a self sharpened Randall’s Adventure knife.

Unauthorized obsession

Tom and Sara both say NO to a jungle survival knife. Admittedly, I’m not sure what I would use it for save for opening boxes or cutting up cured salamis. A Randall would be overkill for my needs since it would spend most of its life in a kitchen drawer (too large for daily carry).

My second choice would be an Oregon made knife by the William Henry studio. Back in the day, I used to catch and release these from the display case of our favorite, now closed cutlery shop in Portland: George & Son Cutlery. A staff member once described William Henry as the CC Filson of pocket knives: high level of workmanship, local production, best quality materials. At the time, William Henry issued fewer, special edition knives and the lower end of their price point was still semi affordable (though painful enough that I never made a purchase).

William Henry pocket folder

Another pocket folder from Oregon’s Lone Wolf Knives

I’ve asked Tom to suggest some alternative folding knives to William Henry or Randall for daily use. Although he’s steadfast in his support of the Opinel as the best bang-for-buck user knife, here’s what he selected from Garret Wade‘s knife counter:

Tom is very fond of this brass Japanese folder, since it reminds him of his beloved scribing knife.

Sheepsfoot blade German-made Sailor’s knife.

The famous French Douk-Douk. Featuring a Duk-Duk spirit from Papua New Guinea on the handle. The other Opinel, in a sense: very popular with the FFL and throughout the French Colonies (although I didn’t find one in Morocco).

The safest option that Tom approves for Lesli’s use.

For fixed blade knife users, try making your own. It’s a basic process of finding a blade and mounting a handle. Here’s one that Tom made for his timber framing teacher.

Tom’s own custom creation


August 14th, 2010

“Since 1839, Kirk’s master soap makers have formulated this hypoallergenic skin care bar with all natural coconut oil. Unlike other national brands, Kirk’s Original Coco Castile contains no animal by products that can irritate sensitive skin. No synthetic detergents, like sodium lauryl sulfate, either.
Kirk’s makes handfuls of rich creamy lather even in the hardest water. Yet, it rinses with thrilling ease and no drying residue. Skin is left beautifully soft and healthy. Ideal for every member of the family, by the sink or in the bath. Kirk’s is biodegradable and never tested on animals.”

My favorite soap. Under $2 at your local grocer. Made in USA. Sister company to Granpa’s (of Pine Tar Soap fame), for those from the BOB who need some Grant credibility. Available in liquid form, but I’d recommend sticking with the bar.

Archival Review: Thorogood Boots

August 11th, 2010

We’ve been working with Weinbrenner, the parent company of Thorogood, to digitize some of their company archives. There’s some tremendous material in there. We’d love to have the power to just point at a few boot examples and have them re-issued (we’re working on it). Click to enlarge these great scans.

Of course, the Japanese are already on it.

Apparently the Roofer boot (above, still available) is very popular over there, and here’s a vintage boot in a recent issue of GO OUT STYLE.

Until we can have pristine reproductions of historical Thorogood boots, we’ll have to make do with their present-day offerings (which include some work boots and shoes which can be sized for women). Unfortunately, most of Thorogood’s line is… very technical, using more ballistic nylon and SWAT aesthetics than full grain leather and low-profile soles. Weinbrenner manufactured shoes and boots for CC Filson so we’re confident in their capacity to execute more archival styles. I’m pleased to report that their 6″ Moc Toe is completely worthy of its heritage. My pair have excelled in every way.

They’re made in Weinbrenner’s factory in Merrill, Wisconsin, from American-tanned leather. The worksmanship is tidy, although the star rivets holding the speed lacing studs on have sharp ends (but that’s only noticeable when you pull the double tongue apart).

They came with decent stock insoles, although I swapped them out for my favorite Filson cork insoles. They broke in within a month and are now very comfortable. I like the Vibram wedge soles better than other wedge soles, they seem to have better traction on wet surfaces. I’m not wild about the blingy MADE IN USA tag on the outside of the boot, but that’s easy to solve with 30 seconds and a knife.

Available in an endless variety of widths and sizes, down to 6 and up to 14. All this is to say – they’re basically Red Wing killers, and for $130, they’re pretty much half the price. Get some for this fall and winter.

Archival Update (8/9/2010)

August 7th, 2010

A few updates on archival projects. Tom and I went up to Portland on Friday to discuss plans for an upcoming waxed cotton jacket. We’re working with a clothing manufacturer who also makes traditional letterman jackets, vintage MLB apparel and dresses for a recent Project Runway winner.

Waxwear fabric for the prototype (not final jacket color).

Future A.C. show banner?

Since Tom is moving to New York for grad school, we’re trying to wrap up as many production issues before he departs. High on our list was our need to source zippers for our jacket and future bags. We visited the Riri rep in her home in Portland to choose our zipper size, finish and features. Later this month, Tom will make final decision about tape color at the Riri office in NYC (located, of all places, in the Empire State building).

Riri zipper samples

Lunch with Patrick

Snap view: Patrick’s studio

Prada shorts, baseball belt

Patrick (sporting our Stop Making Sense Big Tote)

A.C. flap musettes and totes available at Winn Perry

Friend Jordan was taken with a finish detail on Tom’s undershirt.

(It’s actually a laundry bag)

Please note that we continue to build St James inventory in our store. Pictured above – the unisex Navale, a slim-fitting official French Navy shirt.

Don’t forget that we have a fresh batch of Flap Musettes, now in Gray and solid Black, as well as solid black Totes.

Tom has also been working on a long-term CTS project by cutting all of the straps for our next run of Rucksacks at the A.C. headquarter’s temporary plywood workbench (sometimes assisted by our Weimaraner-in-residence).

Shopping from the Past: Hairpin Legs

August 6th, 2010

I know, I know, mid-century modern furniture. But c’mon, lots of it is way cool, and one of my favorite details is a nice set of hairpin legs.

I’m an amateur furniture maker, so I got pretty excited when I found, the web shop for a machine shop in Columbus, Ohio.

Apparently they just crank out hairpin legs in several variations, ideal for that custom coffee table or side board that you’re working on. I have a nice pair of book-matched walnut boards that I’m going to turn into a coffee table later this summer.

Once I started poking around the history of the hairpin leg, things got really interesting. They were designed by Henry Glass in 1942. The austere lines of the legs minimize the amount of material needed to make them – a boon to the war effort. Like a less-famous version of Fuller, Glass got involved in just about everything, designing cars, houses, radios, and furniture.

He was born in Vienna, fled the Nazis in 1938, and lived an active life in design until his death at 92. Well done, sir.

Hairpins on the A.C. homefront