Friday, October 5, 2012

Closing up Shop.

Yup, that's the word, After almost two years and exactly 200 posts of writing about my interest and finds here on, I am closing up shop. It has been a great two years, meeting and conversing with all sorts of awesome people, sharing ideas, and experiences. It really was a hard decision to make and has taken many a months to finally assure myself this is something I want to do. Being part of the blogging world and seeing new things be released and fade to the back (even having a couple items myself), I have found sometimes its all to much. How many leather phone pouches do we need? How many pairs of jeans that can last a lifetime do we need? How many pairs of welted boots do I need (a lot it seems)? Archival clothing's resolutions definitely have it right. I have found that I have all I need and there is not that much room in my life for new. When you buy to last, and you also write about it, you can only write so much till you feel like you are some what repeating yourself.

I will continue to do leather-work, I don't think I will ever stop, but I am for the time being I am not going to be offering any dry goods of sorts. So scoop them where they are available because that's the last you will see for a while, and possibly ever. I might take the odd custom job here and there, but juggling the blog, leather-work, my day-job, and other new interests is ending up being to much. And I still want to hike, bike, partake in some archery, camp and canoe.

So again I just want to say thank you to all the fantastic readers I have had over the past two years. Thank you for all your comments and feedback. Thank you all for your support with the leather-goods, It was truly  an amazing experience that has opened my eyes to some great products and consumer morals that I have passed on to many a family and friends.

Another thank you goes out to all my fellow writers and site owners, Thanks to (in no particular order) Donna & Angus, Brian, Alex, James, Obi, Jedd, Jeff, Lesli, Kevin, and many more. It has so amazing to have "met" you all, I hope one day I can meet the ones I have yet to meet face to face to share some laughs.

Also just so everyone rests assured, any damnyak products guarantee of craftsmanship will still be honored for life. If there is a issue or a repair, send me an email and I will look after you the best I can.

In the mean time people looking for some stellar leather goods please hit up some of my cohorts Hollows Leather, Corter Leather, or KG Leather. Tell them Chris from damnyak sent you.

So Thank you all, and I hope to keep in touch. Please do not hesitate to shoot me a email, and for sure there still might be the odd post here and there.

Sleep well My darlings.

Chris Adamiak.......and for those wondering my last name is pronounced "Ah-Damn-Yak".

Monday, September 10, 2012

T. Sisman Thoro-bilt Boots.

This past weekend after a morning hike we decided to hit up a local thrift shop. While walking around there was all sorts of goodies there. There was about a half dozen pairs of NOS Wrangler "Cowboy Fit" Jeans in size 27 waist. Unfortunately I don't know to many people with a 27" waist. Yikes that's small.

As I was taking a look in the shoes section I found these amazing boots. There are steel toe NOS Sisman Thoro-bilt Work boots. The crazy thing is that they were my size. The boots are extremely tough and well built. They are triple stitched on the side and have stitched and nailed Goodyear "Durocork" soles. They are unlined and have steel toes.  I am guessing they are from the 50's, and compared to my Red Wing GT's they are almost identical, the biggest differences are the Sisman's have thicker leather, larger aluminum Grommets, and no piping along the top. 

To be honest I never heard of the T.Sisman shoe Co. untill I saw these boots, but here is a bit of history for you all.  I cannot find a actual date in which the company was started, but in 1910 the Underhill and Sisman Shoe Manufacturing Co. moved to Aurora from Markem. Then Unfortunately/fortunately the partnership ended later that year. This new found freedom let T.Sisman build a larger factory in Aurora shown below.

The T.Sisman Shoe Co. built many different shoes, from combat boots for the Canadian Army in WW2, to big snow boots, to uniform boots for everyday Police Officers. Again I am sorry as information is pretty scares of the subject. But I have found a couple ads from their work boots. and I cannot wait to sport these Thoro-Bilt Boots this fall, and they are actually comfortable for being old steel toe boots.

1957 Work Boot Ad.

1933 Work Boots Ad.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Steam Era 2012.

This Weekend is the Annual Milton Steam Era show, Bringing back to life all the grand machines that carved out agriculture and construction in this Country. In its 52nd year of showcasing rural heritage, they included a beautiful display of Steam Construction equipment.  Below are some of pictures from out and about at the show as well as the Noon Whistle blow.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Making Sauerkraut.

This Weekend my Wife and I hit up the Aberfoyle Antique Market for some find. I was looking for a crock and my Wife was looking for a kitchen cabinet of sorts. Well we hit both marks perfect and now with my new 6 Gallon Medalta crock I could finally start making my own sauerkraut. The process is really quite simple and straight forward. Cut up cabbage mix it with a bit of salt and let it ferment naturally in its own juices. The recipe I found was from a blog called  "Wild Fermentation" . It is written by Sandor Katz, a culinary author, DIY food activist.

Any how for my recipe I used some carrots mixed with the cabbage for some extra sweetness. To prepare the sauerkraut first you must chop the cabbage as fine or as course as you would like. When you place a big handful of cabbage in the crock you just sprinkle on some salt, which draw the water out of  the cabbage and make a brine to ferment the cabbage into sauerkraut.

Once you have a bunch of cabbage in the crock you pack it down with your fist, this make sure its tight withing the crock and helps pound out some water. At this point you just keep repeating these steps with the cabbage, carrots, and salt. Layer after layer and punch/pound.  

In this recipe I used about 7 pounds of cabbage and a bag of carrots and 4 tablespoons of salt. I think I was a little over zealous with a 6 gallon crock, or I need to make allot more sauerkraut.

One you are all done, you put a glass or ceramic plate on top if the cabbage along with a weight of sorts. I used a huge mason jar willed with water to keep the plate down. From what I was reading if you do not keep the plate on top the fermentation process can expand the cabbage and make it overflow, thought I think I got enough room in the crock.

And there you have it; sauerkraut in the making. Every couple days remove the plate and give it a rinse, and withing 3 or 4 days you should start to taste the tangy-ness of the brine. and within 2-4 weeks you will have some killer kraut. Again check out  "Wild Fermentation" for more info on the process and the exact steps to making sauerkraut. I will keep you updated on the process over the next couple weeks, and If any of the readers have some tips please post in the comments below and let us know.

Friday, August 24, 2012

L.L. Bean Pipes & Tobacco.

I have been on a bit of a L.L. Bean antique kick lately. I have known of Bean's pipes for quite some time, but the market goes up and down quite frequently with them. Sometimes the Bay will be flooded with them and then you will not see any for quite sometime. I picked this one up and again it was in decent shape, took about a hour to bring back to near perfect condition. I have yet to smoke it as it has not come up in the rotation of the 23 pipes I own. From scouring the net I have come up with a bit of history regarding L.L. Bean and his / Their pipes and Tobacco.

L.L. Bean sold pipes and tobacco from the 40's all the way up till about 1985. The majority of the pipes were Smokemasters made by Briarcraft. Briarcraft exsisted until 1950 when they closed. In 1967 the name and system were bought by US made Dr. Grabow and continued making Smokemasters until the mid 90's. Smokemasters were sold as coupon pipes and the natural finished pipes were stamped L.L. Bean and sold in their store and through their catalogs until about 1985. Grabow continued making regular Smokemasters w/o the L.L. Bean stamping until the mid 90's. 

L.L. Bean Freehand
From what I have scene is that there is some harder to find L.L. bean pipes as well, There is a rustic bent Meerschaum lined pipe, as well as a freehand made by Smokemasters. The majority of the Smokemasters use a unique system of a bent pipe cleaner as a filter and are marked on the stem with an orange diamond shape.  There was also a second maker of Bean's "moisture proof" pipe, it had a clear section right after the bowl before the mouthpiece so you could see the moisture collected...ick!

Meer Lined Rustic Beauty

As for the L.L. Bean Tobacco, that to is long gone. However, some followers and fans were able to find out what brands Bean used for their own blend. From what I can find there was two Bean tobaccos. The first was "Pipe Tobacco for Hunters & Fishermen". This turned out to be nothing more than the common "Edgeworth Ready Rubbed". Which too is no longer available, but there is bulk match tobacco available. The second Bean tobacco was "Bean's Special Blend", which is now been replicated by "Park-Lane Fireside" available here. 

1945 S/S Catalog of Pipes

It has also been said that L.L. Bean himself was a huge fan of "Prince Albert" Tobacco, this was told to a Bean fan by one of the Flagship stores senior employee who recalled selling it back in the day. So one can deduct that bean L.L. Bean smoked it because of the fact that he didn't sell stuff that he did not use himself. Its great to know that in 2012 you can still experience the L.L.Bean tobacco and pipes. Unfortunately in today's society its unacceptable to sell these things, as it would be great to still get the Bean tinned tobacco and see what shapes of pipes would be available today.

1965 Catalog.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Ball and Buck + 10engines Mesh Back for Sale.

Dropped online today is the fantastic collaboration between Boston's Ball and Buck + 10engines. This beaut of a mesh back will be sure to serve you proper for year to come. Can't wait to get my hands on one. I would suggest email B&B as the only shipping to Canada is $100.  Come on B&B, Canadians are people too.

If any of you cats follow 10engines, which I am sure you do; You know he is a legend when it come to Carhartt, and you can defiantly feel the old Carhartt hunting vibe radiating from this cap. Stellar work Gents.

From 10engines:
"New release; Ball and Buck + 10engines. Made in the USA five panel hat; headliner-scraping crown, mesh back, old time "USA" molded snap, doubled canvas duck front, and pony boy gold rope stitching. Visor lined with Ball and Buck's signature 8oz camo.

Back story: Last year I approached the Boston store Ball and Buck simply to get some manufacturing info and we ended up working together to create a product that reflects both our sensibilities. One of the guys is also my neighbor... so a lot of porch-rocking discussions. They will release this along with some heavier-weight products at an in-store event next Thursday; RSVP.

Be great to see people at the in-store do, but you may also buy a hat online through their shop - use code 10engines for $3 off and free shipping thus $25 shipped. (note code expires after event date 8/23/12, thx)

Monday, August 13, 2012

L.L. Bean' s Waterproof Dressing.

Finding antique L.L. Bean items seems to be a bit more difficult than say "vintage" L.L. Bean. To me personally "vintage" refers to clothing, shoes, and wear-ables. "Antique" to me refers to everything else, like tools, furniture etc.  I often scour the various internet retailer and auction sites looking for a well price collectibles. About 3 weeks ago I stumbled on to this partially used can of  "Beans waterproof dressing". It is a 1/4 Pint can, and the label was still in good shape. The price on  the can is $0.25, hoping to be able to date the can by the price I dug out my Spring/Summer 1950 catalog to see what the price was then. Sure enough the can was in there, and for $0.25. So that makes it at least 62 years old. I wonder if the dressing is still usable? As there is no ingredients on the package I cannot verify that it contains beeswax, which if it did I would think that it would still be good. L.L. Bean should get Obenauf's to produce some of their LP dressing in a reissue of the old tins with like this.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Juniper Ridge - Desert Cedar Backpacker's Cologne.

Dubbed as "Snapshots of life on the trail" Juniper Ridges Field Lab Series of colognes, oils and perfumes are really just that. Hand picked by a group of outdoors-men and women with the knowledge of what plants will make amazing scents. The clippings are gathered and brought to their awesome Econoline Van that holds their converted Essential Oil still, that in another life was made for producing whiskey. Usually showcasing their distilling methods at farmers markets or local street festivals around the area that they have collected the flora.

I was privileged to be able to try out their "Desert Cedar Backpackers Cologne". Sent to me by good buddy Obi Kaufmann, one of the folks behind Juniper Ridge, an artist, and the mastermind at Coyote and Thunder. As I scrambled to open the box à la the Nintendo 64 kid, I gave a spritz to the room. The first note you smell is the dry, clean, warming smell of cedar. I am not sure if there is a blend of EO in this cologne, but from what I can pick out is that there seems to be a hint of a citrus, just a hint. The citrus might just be from the cedar however, as they both have that same effect on my "scent palette".

Regardless of what exact scents their is a blend of, you are left with a fantastic scent that has quite long wearing. I have been wearing this cologne steadily for 5 days now, and I am still rewarded with the woodsy aroma every time I take a deep breath through my nose. Seeing as wearing a cologne that smells like smoke and B.O. would also probably remind me of being on long wilderness trips, I think my wife, friends and co-workers probably would not enjoy that blend of scents on a daily basis. Juniper Ridge on the other hand has perfected capturing the riveting scents that we enjoy while backpacking, canoeing, or just hanging out in the woods, and done so with an amazing hands-on experience that can teach people about their local plants and their uses in making fresh aromatics. Please swing by Juniper Ridges site and pick yourself or your loved one's up a bottle of these limited edition scents. They really, really are something else.

Econoline and Whiskey Turned EO still.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

D.Y. / Woods Canada Renewed Canoe Packs PT.2

Fresh 9 oz leather straps for hauling heavy gear.

Here are the last two of the Vintage Woods Canada Canoe packs that I have refurbished from a Muskoka Summer camp, Just to refresh, They have been stripped of old leather, cleaned, fabric repairs done, and new heavy dudty lether added as well as a tumpline. The first (No.02) is still available, pics can be seen here. These packs are getting harder to find as they never give up. Shoot me a email to purchuse. To see if the pack you are intrested in has been sold please visit the "Trading post" on the right.

Amazing original spiral repair. ( No. 03 )

Original No.100 stencil.  (No. 03) 

Ready for adventure  (No. 03)

The No. 200 below with side axe holder turned out great. Instead of the original vinyl that ripped and tore, I used veg tanned leather treated with Obenauf's LP. Alittle more traditional, it should last twice as long. This project was a blast, seeing these bags take shape and become completely useable was fantastic. They really will be able keep up once again with the roughest of adventurer.

(No.04) SOLD

Original No.200 Stencil (No.04) SOLD

Axe holder (No.04) SOLD

(No.04) SOLD

Original leather patch  (No.04) SOLD

Heavy duty canoe pack.  (No.04) SOLD

Friday, July 20, 2012

A Field Test: The 180 Stove.

Its time to take a look at another wood burning camp stove and put it through its paces. This time we have the Colorado made and invented 180 Stove. Made from 304 stainless, this tough, sturdy stove comes to us from the 180 Tack Co. The compact nature of this stove allows it to be even stored in your back pocket. If I had to put it in a comparable size, I would say that the 180 stove is about the size of two decks of cards laid side by side when collapsed. Weighting in at 10.4oz. the 180 stove is a touch heavier than the last stove we tested (the Littlbug Jr.), but it also has a fairly large cooking area at 7” X 6” which is probably the reason for that extra weight.

When you take the stove out of its heavy mil plastic bag you will see all the pieces nestle together to form a ½” thick package, with a slim chance for any pieces to go missing. Set up is a breeze, and with only 6 pieces it comes together is seconds. In order to assemble the user connects the two sidepieces to the back panel via some tabs, then slip the sturdy cross bars into their tabs on the side panels. The stamped or laser cut “180 stove” on the side panels act as air flow ports allowing ample air to fuel the fire. When you have the stove all fitted together properly it forms damn near solid box that can handle the heaviest of pots, go ahead throw your cast iron on there, it can take it.

Again I will mention that like all these thin stainless stove there is of course a slim chance of cutting yourself on an edge, so please be careful. Unlike the past two stoves showcases the 180 stove basically makes compact fire pit. You build you fire on the ground and the 180 stove acts like a grate, but also adding the bonus features of wind protection. The front of the 180 allows for incredibly easy access to adding fuel to the fire, the large opening can handle large pinecones and decent size sticks with no problem. Even allowing for extra long stick to be fed in as the unburned portion just rests on the ground.

Lighting the stove is as easy as all the rest. Its all in the sticks you choose, starting with small twigs and pine branches I moved to pencil and permanent marker size sticks, quite quickly getting the heat you need to boil some water or cook some foot. When I was doing the testing I was using my 1 litre Zebra billy can, and as you can see from the pictures that the cooking surface of the 180 stove is much larger than the pot, I think this is the only down side of this cooking set up, as I feared I was loosing a lot of heat around the pot. Now if I was cooking with a shallower wider pot I am sure the boil time would have been shortened exponentially.  So now that I think about it its not so much of the stoves problem, but more of that the user would have to possible tweak there set up to get maximum efficacy. Also with that being said and like I mentioned in other posts that I am in no rush while camping, boil time is not that important to me. I just found that the issue is that the extra loss of heat meant that I had to gather more sticks to be burned in order to bring that water to a boil.

Another good point about the 180 stove is that even if you had just your standard fire pit at the campsite, no need to make a separate fire just to cook. The durable natural of the stainless steel allows you to rest the 180 directly into your main fire and cook there (perhaps off to the side, but still).

The 180 stove is a solid choice for outdoor cooking, it provide the user with the ability to have a larger cooking surface for large pots and keep a even heat across the bottom. This is a great option of people looking to use bio fuel for group outings and trips. For its lightweight it sure is a sturdy stove, and the windscreens functions beautifully.  I also really like the fact that this bad boys packs down into a rectangle. Easy to store and its simple shape does not gobble up more room than it needs. 180 Tack also has a separate ash / snow pan for the 180 for users who do not want to scorch the earth or cook in the wintertime.

I just want to say thank you to Curt Linville from 180 Tack for the opportunity to try the 180 stove out and to experience the ease in which this stove can adapt from small cooks to full on fire box. You can pick the 180 stove directly at 180 Tack or in Canada at Bushcraft Canada.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Tom Thomson - 95th Anniversary.

Thomson on Lake Scugog.

In a couple of days marks the 95th anniversary of Canadian artist Tom Thomson mysterious death (July 8th, 1917) on Canoe Lake in Algonquin Park. There is plenty of theories and ideas behind his death, and it is amazing that 95 years later it really is still a mystery. Below I have cited some Wiki that puts forth some of the theories behind his death.

"Thomson disappeared during a canoeing trip on Canoe Lake in Algonquin Park on July 8, 1917 and his body was discovered in the lake eight days later. The official cause of death was accidental drowning, but there are still questions about how he actually died. It was reported that there was fishing line wrapped around his leg and he had a head injury (which may have been post mortem). It has also been speculated that he was murdered by a German-American neighbour, Martin Blecher, Jr., or that he fell on a fire grate during a drunken brawl with J. Shannon Fraser, owner of Canoe Lake's Mowat Lodge, over an old loan to Fraser for the purchase of canoes. Thomson allegedly needed the money for a new suit to marry Winnifred Trainor, whose parents had a cottage at Canoe Lake. Rumours circulated following his drowning that she was pregnant with Thomson's child. Winnifred Trainor made a trip to Philadelphia with her mother the following winter and returned around Easter. She never spoke about her relationship with Thomson. A nephew, Terrance Trainor McCormick, an upper New York resident who inherited her estate, which included at least 13 small Thomson paintings and letters, said the letters confirm their engagement. McCormick has refused to produce the letters for scholarly investigation. Others believe that Thomson, who produced at least 63 landscape paintings that last spring, many of which he gave away or discarded, suffered severe depression and drowned himself. There is also the speculation that he was killed by poachers within the park, many still existed for years after the creation of the park and were known to get violent when the possibility of being exposed was present. He was buried at Canoe Lake in Algonquin Park on July 17, 1917, without family members having seen the body. Under the direction of his older brother, George Thomson, the body was exhumed two days later and re-interred in the family plot beside the Leith Presbyterian Church on July 21. None of these theories are conclusive, and the wide range of speculation serves mostly to perpetuate Thomson's romantic legend."

Enjoy some of these pictures for the man himself.