Belt Progress


Hey everyone, I wanted to check in on the belt project and let everyone know when you’ll be receiving your product. I had hoped to have them all finished over the President’s Day holiday, but on Monday I clamped down on my hole puncher and no kidding – it exploded.

Earlier in the weekend, I’d bent the frame with my BRUTAL HAND STRENGTH. It had gotten weary from punching through the insanely heavy leather, and on Monday, it took it’s final punch – the top housing bent apart and hole-punch bits flew everywhere.

After the leather store opened on Tuesday, I got some REAL punches and am now poised to finish up. I’m sorry it’s taken so long! I’ll document the process, and probably bitch about it a little on my next post after they deliver.

So, with new punches and final bits of hardware, I’m confident that all belts will be done this weekend and shipping on Monday. Thanks for hanging in there with me, and I’m anxious to get them to you!

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Some New Makers


One great side-effect of having this blog is that I’ve gotten to meet other interesting craftsfolk and see their ideas and products. It’s inspiring to see what fellow tinkerers have been working on.

A while back, I got to know Garret at Strawfoot Handmade and it’s great to see that he’s going strong and creating some great work. My camera satchel is serving me well, and Garret sent me a pic showing that his carpenter’s bag is treating him well too.

More recently, I’ve met two Portland-based makers, each doing some amazing– yet very different things.

First off, Antler&Co. Personally, I love antlers. I don’t care if it was a 2008 super-fad… the real thing is and always will be CLASSIC. They’ve been around for thousands of years, so I’m not gonna let some ‘white plastic knock-off Apartment Therapy saturation’ ruin it for me. Don’t want to kill a cuddly animal for decor? No problem. Antler&Co uses natural sheds for their work. Each year, deer naturally shed their antlers and grow new ones. Why let them decay on the ground when they can be collected as little works of (handy) art? I have one of Greg’s ‘Hanger Holder’ pieces and it’s amazing. The antler is beautiful itself, but the attention to detail in the packaging is insane. They really put together a great product, complete with all necessary hardware. Check out their wares at Antler&Co.

Another recent Portland upstart is Maak Soap Lab. This is a small, handcrafted operation that makes the most amazing soaps. After opening the Doug Bar and placing in my soap tray, the amazing scent of fir and cedar traveled through the entire house. Granted, I have a small place, but it smelled amazing. The soap lathers up well, and even though it smells strong, you’re not left with a perfume-y odor. It washes clean, with just the slightest scent on your skin. Maak is also venturing into essential oils, and I’m dying to try that cedarwood scent in my house. You can follow what they’re doing at Maak Soap Lab. Also, I’ll be carrying some of their bars in the Wood&Faulk shop, starting next week.

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Vintage Barbour Jackets


I love old English things, but sometimes they can be cantankerous. My ’68 Raleigh for its weird, proprietary headset standard. My grandma for starting that family feud a few years ago. Cadbury fingers for making me fat. Barbour coats because they smell waxy and are not machine washable.

Despite these notable flaws, all are unquestionably iconic and I just can’t help but love them. Even if you don’t talk to one of them in 4 years for being irrationally rude to your Mother. But hey, this is a style post and I’m here to talk about vintage Barbour coats!

A good raincoat is a necessity in climate like Portland’s, and who better would know how to deal with this than the British? In a current market of synthetic rain-proof materials and slick, goofy designs, Barbour stands out. John Barbour founded J. Barbour & Sons back in 1894 – as a company that made clothing to keep fishermen, sailors and dock workers dry. Formulas and techniques have changed slightly since then, but the original character and intent has not.

New Barbour coats are available in many places today, and they fetch a healthy price. It’s a perfect example of you get what you pay for – a coat that will last decades. However, with that said, I opted to find a vintage piece for much less than the cost of new. Other reasons to opt for vintage: they’re broken-in, look great, and still can have tons of life left in them. If your vintage piece has seen some wear, you can (and should when necessary, even on new coats) retreat the wax to ensure water is never a concern. Sometimes if you scout well, you can find one with a hood, which is usually a $100 option on new coats.

Barbour has many styles, but to me, there’s two main ways to go – the International for cruising on your vintage motorbike, or one of the hunting/utility looks. The most common of the utility coats I’ve found is the Bedale, Beaufort and the Border. The main differences in the three are lengths. I went with the longest of the three, the Border – for the most protection and since it’ll fully cover a suit jacket.

If you start searching, you’ll find all manner of intricacies with these jackets. It’s funny to read that some periods break tradition with different patterns of plaid on the inside and certain collectors totally rant! I think mine is actually a variant. Does this change the value? Not from what I can tell, but it’s interesting none-the-less. If you’re searching and can’t find exactly what you want… do like me and search internationally on ebay. I ended up buying from a vintage dealer in England, and although the shipping was higher, it was completely worth it. Good luck finding yours!

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Sofa Quandary


Things have been changing in my living room lately. Some new things have been added to the room (a wood stove and a wall full of shelves) that made my 96” sofa look MASSIVE. I’ve since been on the lookout for something of smaller scale.

In the back corner of a vintage shop in Portland, I found a little Teak wood, Danish-made loveseat. It was only $365, but still not perfect, so I walked away. After leaving, I still kept thinking about it though. Maybe it’s something to modify? Reupholster?

I went back and offered a respectful, yet low, $200. After receiving a doubtful look, the shoplady got the owner of the piece on the phone and she said she could go $225. I figured that was good enough to give me some room to do something with it, right?

At first, I didn’t like the solid panel side/leg arrangement and thought about actually carving it up or putting different legs on it altogether. I bought it home, took it apart and refreshed the wood with Howard’s Restor-a-Finish and then a coat of Feed-n-Wax. After that, the Teak REALLY looked amazing and I didn’t have the desire to cut into it any longer.

But now I still have the reupholstery dilemma. Before finding this loveseat, my first desire was to have a small grey-flannel sofa in there. Now, I’m not so sure if that would work on this particular piece. I didn’t want more leather because I’ve already got my black leather lounge and the brown leather sling chair in the room… BUT, now I’m coming back to the thought of using leather again. I’ve always coveted a tan leather Børge Mogensen, though after seeing the deep-reddish tone of the Teak, I don’t think tan would work either. I think the upholstery needs to be darker than the wood.

Do I resort to classic black? That’s what I’m leaning towards… but I wanted to get your opinions. Anyone have a great idea for this baby? One thing I definitely want to do if I reupholster, is to rework the cushions to a more boxy shape, and also chop the back cushions’ height by a couple inches. As is, I think those covers are just too tall, taut and bulbous. They make me angry just looking at them. I want boxy and loose. Check these sofas here for an idea. Or maybe I do nothing and re-sell? Wait for the pefect, and probably $2000 piece? I’m all over the place, so please weigh in!

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