Freezing cold temperatures for weeks on end and no pressing chores with this old house gave me a chance to cut out a dozen new projects. Now, just a bit of trimming, stitching, lacing, riveting, and wet-moulding to make these into some useful heirlooms.
“The truly sociable man is more difficult in his relationships than others; those which consist only in false appearances cannot suit him. He prefers to live far from wicked men without thinking about them, than to see them and hate them.” — Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Dialogues "Naturalistic Philosopher (28 June 1712 - 2 July 1778), steel … Continue reading Avoiding Hate
Images from Mendel, A.D. 1425. I'm dedicating the next few weeks to my small leatherwork business. When I'm making things with my hands and simple tools, I feel a real connection with our ancestors. It's nice to get lost in the projects and learn new techniques along the way. When I'm away from this portion … Continue reading Leatherwork is Timeless
I'm calling this one the Ranger Bag - It takes a lot of work to prototype a new bag design. To get just the right shape and proportion, find the right materials, and choose the appropriate construction technique is a big deal; especially if it's going to be done well. I wanted something that looked … Continue reading Prototyping a New Belt Pouch
Before the cold weather came we were able to escape to one of my favorite places in the world. A little hidden corner of the Ozarks that has many fond memories for me. Kyly the wonder dog got some much needed wilderness time as well. Of course, she always needs to be first down the … Continue reading A Much Needed Walk in the Woods
Sometimes it's nice to have the security of a bag strapped closely to the body and not swinging around your neck and shoulders. This little 9 x 5 x 2 inch design has done quite well over the past year and has been a popular seller in the shop. Made from 7 oz. veg-tanned leather … Continue reading Small Possibles Bag for the Belt
This will be the last one for a while as I have other projects in the hopper. Two-toned 7 oz. leather. The complete kit will get you started and, if frugal, can start several fires. The strikers are custom made by my friend Eric at Colonial Iron. A bundle of juniper bark and ample charred … Continue reading Flint and Steel
“About going where he likes, for instance? Are there not certain laws of the road that forbid the tarrying by the way of caravan folks, for a longer period than that necessary to water and feed a horse or look at his feet? By night, again, he may spy a delightfully retired common, with nothing … Continue reading Ode to the Wanderer, the First Land Yacht
I like to add a little character and variety, even if I'm just making the same thing again and again. I want to believe that this is what my ancestors would have done, toiling away in the craft to make a living. It keeps things interesting and more human than the soulless, mass-produced consumables. Here's … Continue reading Catching Up
On this day before the coming Burns Night where we celebrate the Bard in virtual lockdown I invite you to pull up a chair, pour a tall drink of something potent, and enjoy a few poems from the master of Scottish vernacular. This evening, I strongly recommend you find a copy of Tam O'Shanter and … Continue reading Burns Night, a Dirge
I decided that my kit bags, although nearly perfect for their function, could use a little more room. Outdoorsmen and women can never have too many nooks and crannies about themselves to store little necessities. With this in mind, I have made the bellows sides bigger to accommodate about an inch in thickness. It might … Continue reading Improving on a Design
Colored saddle thread was on sale at my supplier last month so, guess what? I'm going to try it out on some upcoming projects and see what the reception is. Nothing too flashy, just a bit of red, yellow, or blue on the horizon. Since I'm also a fan of mixed materials, this next bag … Continue reading A Touch of Color
These Flint and Steel Fire Kits are hard to keep in stock. Since I don't mass-produce things, I'm pretty slow at filling the shop. We did well enough last year that I still haven't caught up but hope to in the coming weeks and months. Please check out the shop and consider making it a … Continue reading Fire Kits Again
I began version one of my Vardo Caravan eleven years ago this month. As I published updates and details along the way people have for a detailed "how to" for building a vardo. Since everyone's needs, skills, and resources are different, I will leave the task to others. My suggestions are this. Decide on your … Continue reading Building Your Own Vardo
The shop has been a little slow with outside projects and day work taking over my hours. However, I do get a few things done along the way and some projects are coming to a completion. I have a load of FLINT & STEEL fire kits on the way for late winter purchase and have … Continue reading Fire Kits on the Production Bench
I wish all of you the best this holiday season and hope you enjoy a little time taking stock of what is truly important to you and your families. Merry Christmas...
I know this year has been very strange for most of us but please remember... Life is Short. If you're fortunate enough to live with the means and privilege and food security, consider yourself lucky. When I feel low or unhappy, I always want to remember the people subjected to abject poverty worldwide through no … Continue reading Don’t Forget to Enjoy the Ride
With an excellent video with music of Clanadonia. Let us begin the winter feasting season in the old north. Not just a Scottish or Christian holy day, much of Europe is tied to animal slaughter and feast days to kick off the long dark season. From and anthropological and historical perspective the feast itself is … Continue reading Happy Saint Andrew’s Day!
Here are some throwback photos from Ghillie shoe making classes from 2009 and 2011. The first pair is from a small class at the Bois d'Arc Rendezvous in southwest Missouri (note the lush green of late summer). Maybe not as sexy as the arrow-making class but it is a very real and useful skill. I … Continue reading Ghillie Shoe Class
These ratty old moccasins have spent a lot of time in the woods. These have been my winter moccasins for over two decades. I can't remember exactly when I made them but it was a quick and dirty sewing job. They have been re-soled at least twice and need it again. The uppers are an … Continue reading Moccasin upgrade time again