Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Original Miner's Lunchboxes

This Canadian Design Icon was built out of the need for an "on the job" lunch seat for nickel miners in Sudbury, Ontario. Mr. Leo May constructed these aluminum riveted lunchbox in 1957 by hand after his tin lunch box gave way while riding the elevator up from the mining shaft. In 1978 L. May Metal Fabricators Ltd. was started and one of a kind automated machines were created. These beautifully crafted lunchboxes are common place in mining towns all over Canada. I first saw them while in Calgary two years ago, working with a former miner who stated that his was 20 years old. He had the union stickers on the lunchbox to prove it!. I found a similar lunchbox being constructed in Orangeville, Ont. a metal maker who made them for Aladdin back in the day and bought one of those. Then while walking in a local thrift store found my current L. May lunchbox for $3. The L. May is far more heavy duty then the Aladdin versions with latches that are 100 x better. You can order them online through L. May Metal Fabricators website. They might be "more expensive" then a cloth lunch bag, but if you divide $45 over 30 years thats $1.50 a year. If you shoot them a email, they might have some seconds for discounted prices?. Hopefully you bring your lunch to work like me, you can rest assured that you will never need to buy another box again, neither will your grand kids.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

"Woodcraft & Camping" - Bernard S. Mason

Anyone looking for a classic book with small and large projects to make at camp, this really is the book for you. I found this book at a thrift store about 7 years ago, and has been one of my go to books for ideas for easy project. Originally called "Woodcraft" and published in 1939, it was re-released as " Woodcraft & Camping" in 1974. At a thick 596 pages its is chalk full 'o' fun. It shows the outdoor enthusiast how to construct things ranging from wood whistles, bark containers, knives, eating utensils, even Indian head dresses. After a quick search Amazon has a couple for sale so does eBay (1st edition). I suggest you pick this book up, as the knowledge is timeless, and slightly different then the hundreds of survival/camping books out there.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


Hey Folks, I just threw a Auction up on eBay for a Coleman 321C lantern, it is a Factory refurb, It was made in 1984, and has never been used since the refurb. It come with original box, instructions, and mantles. Even the Globe is the older "Made in USA".

Check it out......Auction Link!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Enjoying The Outdoors - Part Four.

Here are some photographs of America enjoying the outdoors. These are from my personal collection.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Homemade "Cold Infused" Gin.

I am a Gentleman who enjoys Gin, more so than Whiskey, Rum, etc. I normally drink Hendricks, I suggest you do to. Anyhow, last week I was Google machining on how to make gin (link). Aside from distilling, there was the "cold infusing" method. Basically your making a cold alcohol tea. The website mentioned buying a very high percentage spirit, then steeping and cutting with a lower percent spirit to get a "reasonable" finished product. While reading the comments a fellow wrote his recipe. And his included just one bottle of Vodka as the base spirit. A more economical endeavor for a first time. So I gave it a whirl, and just last night the week long steep was over, and I have included some pictures of the before filtering and after. The finished product is something so fresh, the flavors are sharper, being able to pick out each one individually. So if you have a 20 min to kill and a bottle of vodka you can part with, I suggest giving it a try. If anyone has tried other variations, I would love to hear about it!

The recipe I used is as follows:

-1 750mL bottle vodka
-20 cracked juniper berries
-1 Tbsp. coriander seed
-3 whole cloves
-3 whole green cardamon
-1 star anise
-3 allspice berries
-1 cinnamon stick
-1 whole nutmeg
-1 small piece ginger root
-2 large fresh orange peels
-2 large fresh lemon peels

The mixture of spices and vodka "steeping".

Start of the first filtering.

Back to clear after second filter.

Bottled in T.W.C.B. bottle!.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Eaton's Spring / Summer 1935.

Timothy Eaton founded one of Canada’s Largest Dept. Stores in 1869. When he sold his interest in a small dry-goods store in the market town of St. Mary’s, Ontario and bought a dry-goods and haberdashery business at 178 Yonge Street in the city of Toronto. Eaton's was one of the first " No Credit & No Haggling" store and many business owners had doubts that it would succeed. After 14 years at this location with great success Mr. Eaton moved the business one block North to 190 Yonge Street. This building had the largest plate glass windows in Toronto, as well as the first electric lights and elevator in a Canadian retail establishment. In 1919, the store contained over 60 acres of floor space.

The Eaton Complex in 1920

At a time when the majority of the Canadian population was rural and mail order was common place, Eaton’s first catalogue was issued in 1884 and provided a huge selection of dry goods that would normally be unavailable, as well it gave citizens the choice and options to price compare. Eaton’s offered everything one could imagine. From Women’s wear, farm equipment, medicine, and at one time even houses. The catalogue is very much a collectable, a looking glass into history of Canadian homesteads. My wife brought into our home a Spring / Summer 1935 catalogue, and it has kept me busy a great many of Sunday mornings flipping through the yellowed pages seeing what bizarre remedies were available, and contraptions for the home. Here are a few pictures of some of the men's wear from 1935 as well as some of the camping and outdoors equipment. Buying Clothing etc via illustrations must have been difficult. Most of the men's work clothes look like they are made of cardboard and you have to be a paper doll to wear them. Enjoy.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Weekend Wallets

This week I stumbled on a great site called Everyday Carry Via Art of Manliness. EDC words what their site is about as the following:

"Everyday Carry or EDC generally refers to small items or gadgets worn, carried, or made available in pockets, holsters, or bags on a daily basis to manage common tasks or for use in unexpected situations or emergencies. In a broader sense, it is a lifestyle, discipline, or philosophy of preparedness."

While looking in their archive I found a great picture featuring a Billykirk card holder. Looking for a smaller wallet for myself, I thought this fit the bill. I quickly drew up plans and set to constructing it with 5oz tooling leather and artificial sinew. A half hour later it was complete and looked Dynamite! After showing my wife my the finished cardholder and how beautifully simple Billykirk's design was, she asked if I could make a "double wide" version for her with a paper money section. So again maybe 30 min to draw the plan, and 1 hour to make it it was done. Two wallets, two days.