Sunday, January 15, 2017

Archer's Gambeson

Purchased a replica of a medieval archer's gambeson on Ebay on the spur of the moment. It was the style I was looking for but white was not my preferred color. The discount code Ebay had sent me for $15USD was due to expire that evening so I made the buy....color be damned. It was a good deal with free shipping on an item right at the minimum price point to qualify for the discount.

Manufactured in India of heavy cotton(historically it was of linen and wools) the gambeson made it to Canada surprisingly quickly via UPS and in my possession this week. Well constructed it fit me very well but it was very white.....not off white nor natural cotton but bright white. The DIY project was born.

Research gave me two options; dye or fabric paint. I opted for the dye simply because it was cheaper and fabric paint wasn't available in the color I required. Picked up a bottle of Rit beige dye as it was close to the camel color I preferred and headed to the drop sink in the laundry room.

Simple instructions to complete the dyeing process but rather time consuming. The constant hand agitation for thirty minutes and the final rinse was laborious especially considering the weight of the soaked gambeson. Hung it over the sink to drip while I mopped the floor impressed by the first look of the new color. A final hand wringing and in the sunshine to dry.

Stage Two-St. George's Cross

Now that the gambeson was dyed an appropriate color I decided I would hand sew a English cross and place upon the sleeve. Used by English armies as early as Edward I's reign the red cross was used on banners by Edward III in France and by 1385 English men at arms and archers had identified themselves on the battlefield onwards after Richard II made it mandatory during his Scottish campaigns. There seems to be some variation on placement Often it was placed upon the left breast and back or as a separate garment such as a livery jacket or surcoat. I'm considering another placed upon the chest as generally it was sewed in two locations.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Rum - Captain Morgan Black Spiced Rum

It's official.....I'm sailing with the Captain. Picked up a bottle of the spiced black on sale at the NSLC for $27.00 Cdn, two dollars off the list price. I've read some reviews and had put this on my "buy" list for a couple reasons; it is blended with a blackstrap rum and has a cork stopper....two of my rum preferences.

Uncorked the nose out of the bottle is of sweetened vanilla and baking spices. In the glass neat it presents nicely but follows with a spicy finish with some rawness in the throat. Not surprising considering it possesses an alcohol % of 47.3.

In the glass over ice the spicy finish is mellowed somewhat but if the cubes begin to melt I noticed the flavor quickly begins to fade along with the heat. The color of the rum remains visually appealing moving from the black of the bottle into exhibiting burnt copper in the glass.

Mixed with soda to create the classic Captain and coke the rum marries well with the pop to create a pleasant, but sweet, beverage.

Who knew? An affordable blackstrap rum with a good price point that passes as an OK sipper but a great mixer. It has a cork too.......bonus!


Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Mora Knives - Companion and Eldris

Picked up a couple knives for the archery and bush crafting packs from Canadian Outdoor Equipment. Excellent online store with lightning fast shipping.

A couple years ago I purchased a Condor Bushlore via Ebay but decided I needed something with a more durable edge retention. I like the traditional look and feel of the Bushlore but needed something that was simply bombproof.

Enter the Mora "robust" companion. Excellent reviews and a bargain at $28.95 CDN. Yes. It`s a modern knife complete with a rubberized hilt and plastic sheath but with a world renown high carbon steel blade with a (decently) thick spine. Scandinavian grind - razor sharp out of the box. Excellent ergonomics and fits my hand to perfection.

Since COE offers free shipping on orders over $50 I opted to also purchase the Mora Eldris neck knife. Designed for wearing around your neck or in pockets this little blade is quite impressive. Constructed of stainless steel with a grounded spine for use with ferrous rods it`s 59 mm blade is also razor sharp out of the box. It comes in a variety of colors and has a specially designed sheath for use with a lanyard. Excellent emergency backup blade or one well suited to finer work. Despite its small stature with an overall length of 143 mm it fits the hand quite comfortably. I did wrap the grip in black hockey tape for better handling and control.