Martexin reproofing wax. Operating instructions on the can.
Archival Clothing endorses waxed cotton because it’s a rugged, natural, water resistant fabric that requires only wax reproofing to maintain its finish. Waxed cotton users should know how to reprooof their jackets, hats, and bags. Both Filson and Barbour offer factory reproofing services but we recommend performing the work yourself (at least once). Reproofing waxed cotton is relatively easy and personalizes the care and maintenance of your garment. Even if you live in the desert, you should establish a reproofing schedule for your waxed cotton. Reproofing extends the life of waxed cotton and prevents it from developing the folds and wear lines that often lead to holes.
I do my reproofing in August so I can move the work outdoors.
Basic tools: wax (warmed), water, sponge, blow dryer (or heat gun). If you’re using our 1.5 ounce tin, spoon some wax into a bowl and heat briefly in microwave. Some people recommend using Filson wax, say, with a Filson product, but 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.
Dab off dirt with a moistened sponge. Do not use soaps or detergents.
Use clean sponge to spread warmed reproofing wax thinly on fabric. Short strokes work best.
Reheat surface of item with blow dryer to melt the wax into the fabric.
Reapply wax until it evenly coats the bag.
Restored to original factory finish
I still have wax left so I’m reproofing a couple 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 the surface.
There! You’ve shopped from yourself. These rewaxed hats are better than new. Let the sun help w/the final reproofing. Use a blow dryer again if you find any remaining, unmelted spots of wax. If you’ve overdone it, fear not, daily use and rain will wear down the excess wax.
Heddels asked me to identify my “item number one,” that is, the thing I’ve owned the longest (and still use semi-regularly). Read about my rare Filson Mackinaw Cruiser for women and follow the complete series here. And reference snaps below. What is your item number one?
Filson Mackinaw Cruiser with its rare cardigan fit
Minimal signs of wear after twenty years of hard wear
Many years ago, I featured a gent who refashioned his Filson Small Field Bag into a handlebar bag for his Rivendell Rambouillet road bike. Alex Forsythe, owner of Analog Records in Orange County, sent me photos of his own retrofit of an Archival Rolltop Messenger into motorcycle panniers for his Triumph Motorcycle. Read his project notes on the projects at the bottom of this post. Refrub photos by Stefan Junir.
Here are Alex’s notes on his Archival Rolltop Messenger refurb project: “I actually stole the idea of using a field type bag as a saddle bag from Blair of General Quarters in LA. He has a set of Filson field bags that he attaches to his bonnie sometimes. I rode up to his shop and got to talking with him about doing the same with my bike. The difference with his bike is a black seat versus the brown leather I have on mine. Your lager roll top bag matched much better with my seat and also seemed to be a better option for weather. The wax being a smart move with potential water hitting the bag and the roll top for protecting whats inside. Blair ordered the messenger roll top for me and took it to his (I think) shoe repair guy. He sewed two leather lash points on the back for me to attach leather straps and secure it to my bikes frame. I found 2 small leather straps with buckles and voila! I’m super happy with how it came out. The bag is perfect size for riding to work. I often carry my laptop and sometimes even records in it.”
If you have creatively carved up your own Archival bag for a unique use application, send us photos and we’ll feature you on the blog.
I’ve been a brand fan of CC Filson since I was a teen. Over the past few years, I’ve republished favorite Filson catalogs on the Archival blog. My own clothing archives includes a number of Filson twill bags, wool vests, vintage Cruisers and key selections from the women’s line. While the past decade has produced some corporate headscratchers (overseas manufacturing and the Passage Line), I still consider Filson one of the best American brands. What I admire most about Filson is its manufacturing ethos: make the best product from the best available materials and back it up with a lifetime warranty. It’s hard to identify a better role model for Archival than CC Filson.
On a recent trip to Seattle, I scheduled a tour of the new Seattle building which includes a production facility entirely to dedicated to luggage. I’ve been hearing from Filson reps and friends that Filson is changing as a company. Filson is trying to bring all of their manufacturing back to the US, updating their collection for women (Fall 2014), introducing a line of bike luggage and revising their dated fit system. Here are some of my notes and snaps from the tour.
Filson is now collaborating with Detroit based Shinola on panniers and a front handlebar basket bag. Cyclists should be thrilled to have their own line of twill luggage.
New Filson wax vests and jackets in an updated fit. I love the integration of more traditional hunting jacket features like the front loading game pocket. Sadly, Filson has no immediate plans to release these styles in sizes for women.
Evidence – Filson garment tags on vintage Cruiser jackets
From the archives – vintage Filson wool pants, hunting vest and a Mackinaw Cruiser in scarlet
Patched and refurbished Filson luggage en route to the new flagship store in London. Everything old is new again
One of my favorite new luggage styles – the Large Twill Carry-On
Roller luggage awaiting repair
Seattle factory worker smock (I want one!)
I was amazed by the complexity of the piece work in the factory. Bags were assembled over many different work stations. I love seeing all the stacks of bag bits.
Recipe for a bag – hardware, thread and fabric samples are kept on the Filson factory floor for reference
Filson bag library (reference bags for every model in production at the Filson Seattle factory)
Thanks to CC Filson for providing me with this archival scan of the original Filson Wool Sports Jacket. As someone who has worn Filson for twenty years, I can spot a Cruiser, Cape Coat or Packer just by catching a glimpse of a pocket configuration, fabric type or design detail. In contrast, the Filson Wool Sports Jacket is an enigmatic Filson model which comes from an era in the 1980s when the company was experimenting with a line of leisure, non hunting apparel. If you spotted this jacket at a thrift store you might not even identifying it as a Filson. I myself was thrown off by the heathered brown wool, satin lining and leather buttons – features more characteristic of a department store car coat.
While I edit together a new kinoks movie, here are a few placeholder views of my return trip to Camp Robbinswold. Thanks to Sara T. (and an amazing cast of extras) for performing as my camp hands and feet since my historical surrogate was unavailable.
Given that I spent the day cycling through a heat advisory, it’s odd that I’m fixating on a Fall layering piece – the Patagonia Nano Puff Hybrid. I first spotted the NPH in a Patagonia catalog – one of the last print catalogs worth browsing. As photographed, I love the NPH’s blend of fabric types: wind blocking primaloft above with with better venting fleece below. For real outdoor use, I prefer wool to fleece, but this garment – especially in what the catalog calls “paintbrush orange” – is a visual stunner. I’ve emailed Patagonia to request a version for women. I was told that a model is in the works for Fall 2013. Let’s hope they offer it in the same colorway as the gents. And if Patagonia is taking requests, they might consider offering the jacket with a two way zip for better fit and venting.
Check out the FYi Design blog to read about the development of the NPF and to see detailed views of the garment.
If you’re a devotee of wool, but you like the look of the Nano Puff Hybrid, track down one of the original Filson Outdoorsman sweaters knit from worsted wool with reinforced, waxed cotton shoulders.
Editor’s note: A month ago, Chris Adamiak, Damn-Yak Dry Goods proprietor, emailed me about a vintage Filson cruiser he spotted on Etsy. He asked for my help in identifying the fabric which is lighter weight than the 24 oz. melton wool used for current model Filson cruisers. I forwarded along some Filson catalog scans speculating that the fabric in question was a discontinued worsted wool serge. Chris purchased the Cruiser and, at my request, wrote up a review for Archival.
The Filson Cruiser in question
In Canada, Filson doesn’t have the availability as it does in the States. The distributors are few and far, and when we order online we face massive shipping, duty, and custom fees (due to the weight of Filson’s heavy fabric). It makes me so upset reading tales in forums of people finding Tin Cloth Cruisers in Thrift stores for $5. Finding Filson anything, in any store here is a miracle and being 6’5″ makes the search even harder for vintage items.
I have spent countless hours scouring Etsy, Ebay, and many other vintage clothing shops online for decently priced Filson that I can actually wear. Two weeks ago I stumbled upon this late 50’s to mid 60’s green wool cruiser for $50. The measurements seem to match my Pointer brand chore coat I wear daily. So without hesitation I scooped it up. After my purchase I contacted Lesli, in regard to its fabric, because in the picture on the listing it seemed very light. With a quick reply she sent me a link to a old catalog page (see below) suggesting that it might be worsted serge. However, on that same catalog picture there is no mention of a green worsted serge, only grey, brown, or beige. Then I saw the display tag from AC’s Flickr page for a early forestry cloth cruiser. It states that forestry cloth is a green Worsted serge. This made me even more excited. Could it be a rarer piece in my size?
Last week the Etsy Cruiser arrived and taking it out of the package, I was amazed at how “new” it was. It looked like it was only worn maybe one season. I was also surprised at the weight of the jacket. It was not light and flimsy but quite heavy and tough. The tight, diagonal wool twill does not stretch, and has no problem blocking all the light when held up to a bulb. The fit is true Filson. I wear a 44 suit and this is bang on. Although looking at the label there is no size tag, so I cannot be sure of its exact size. The green color is still very pure, with only tiny specks of fading. Also this past week here in Toronto it has been about 9*C (48*F) in the morning and I was surprised at how warm this cruiser is. Along with being very warm , the cruiser still provides plenty of movement and doesn’t catch and stay up on my back when reaching above my head. I have never worn a Filson Mackinaw, but I have heard that they are quite heavy and extremely warm. I have a early Woolrich Buffalo plaid mackinaw and you can forget being indoors for any length of time with a coat like that on! That’s where the Cruiser coat fits in perfectly. The fabric is thin enough to move from outdoors to indoors, tough enough to trek through thickets and brush, tight enough to ward off light showers and snow, and roomy enough for layering options underneath.
I am not exactly sure if it the jacket is made in forestry cloth or whipcord, as I have never held or seen either up close. But what I do know is that this cruiser is not a standard issue item. Why Filson eliminated this fabric as a standard cruiser option baffles me — they still make shirts out of serge and pants out of whipcord. From what I have been told, they will still make whipcord cruisers in their custom shop for a greater price. Its a great seasonal transition coat, from Summer to Fall and Winter to Spring. This coat will definitely be a new daily driver for me from city to forest. And as much as I really like this coat, the search for these kind of pieces never ever really ends!
AC friend and Otter Wax founder Chris Chase proposed that we put together a series of DIY videos on reproofing canvas products. We wanted to test wax a range of artifacts from dry finish canvas sneakers to an AC flap musette. Unlike traditional fabric waxes, Otter Wax is made from natural materials and is 100% petroleum free. In the video below, Chris demonstrates a method for rewaxing canvas sneakers that doesn’t require a double boiler or heat gun. This is the first in a series of AC x Otter Wax reproofing videos. Start gathering your dry finish canvas goods.
Chris reproofing a pair of Superga canvas sneakers
Otter Wax. All natural, petroleum free fabric wax.
For interested parties, here’s our original post on reproofing a Filson duckbill cap using Martexin wax.