Red Wing Iron Ranger


I seem to have a lot of collections. Tools. Chairs. Cameras. Boots. I seem to covet these things as art objects, but art that I can definitely use. I’ve owned objects that were too nice to use, one being a vintage Eames LCM that was just so perfect and all I could do was worry about marring the flawless beauty with a jean rivet, so I had to sell it. It was gorgeous, but I just couldn’t keep it if I wasn’t going to use it.

So here we come to my pair of Iron Rangers. Damn, if they aren’t good looking, but also up to some serious use. The harness leather is soft yet hard wearing – great material from their own tannery, S.B. Foot Tanning Company in Minnesota. I’ve had them for a couple months now and they’ve been comfortable from day one, and only expect them to get better. The cork sole is a nice change from a loud leather sole and will be perfect for the wet Portland seasons that are near. I’m curious how it will wear, as I seem to have a pronounced heel-strike, but regardless – the Goodyear welted construction will make resoling possible for the life of the boot. Amazing construction details like the triple stitching and the cap toe make this one of the best looking boots made. Fall is coming up and if you’re in need of a solid boot, I recommend you take a look at Red Wing’s offerings.

Thanks to Lisa Warninger for the photos and a tremendous thanks to Dan at Red Wing Heritage for the best gift possible for a boot collector like myself.


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Old School Book Strap

You’ll need some tools:
  • knife
  • cutting mat
  • metal ruler
  • sewing machine
You’ll need a few materials:
  • leather or nylon web strap
  • Wood surplus blanket scrap
  • contact cement
  • two 1.5" rings

Over at Design*Sponge, this month’s theme is academia. I was talking with about this project and she threw out the idea of an old-fashioned book strap. I immediately thought it sounded interesting and wondered what I could do with it. Also, the sun isn’t going to shine forever – and when it dies and we have no energy to charge our laptops, we’d all have to read books again. The rebirth of print!

So, you may not want to let go of your backpack already, but regardless – there’s some fun construction opportunities to tinker with here. I’m just showing one simple direction, so you have plenty of opportunities to experiment on your own. More pencil holders? A cross strap? A clip to attach a six-pack? Go for it!

Material-wise, my inclination is to use some leather and a scrap of Army blanket. I have lots of this stuff. You could use denim and an old belt. Felt and some nylon webbing? Lots of possibilities.


First thing, cut your wool blanket material in the shape of a T. The top is 5 inches wide and 3 inches tall. The overall height is about 12 inches. This length gives you a long flap to protect your book from the buckle area. Cut your leather to a strap of 1.5 inches wide and at least 48 inches long. You can make it longer or shorter to your preference, and longer if you want a looped handle.

Take both material pieces and lay them out together and apply some contact cement to one end of the strap and lay it glue up in the T. Fold the T ends to the glued center to make the pencil holders. Bring the strap back over the glue strip with the rings included. Press together and allow to dry. The glue is to keep things together before stitching and add some stiffness to the assembly.

Once dry, sew everything together using some thick thread. You can sew it on a machine, or hand sew. Final step, stroll to the library with the look of a literary connoisseur.



The Littlest Northwesterner


Thought I’d introduce the littlest member of the Northwesterner series, the tan waxed 12inch. Sharing the same sturdy construction as the rest of its family, this one is made with tan #10 Martexin Original Wax canvas and natural saddle leather handles and straps. Comes with a matching shoulder strap too.

I was hoping this size would be great as a camera carrier that would fit in my bike basket, and it turned out to work perfect. One thing to note, as with all the NWerner bags, they are unlined, so make sure to protect that camera with something soft inside. Interior dimensions of the opening is 11.5 in by 7.5 inches. Height is 10.5 inches not including the handles. Easily fits your iPad and a few books, possibly your 11in MacBook Air – though it might bulge a little on that.

Just hitting in the W&F store now, and I hope you like!


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