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Topics - Kevinkinney

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Empire Wool and Canvas Company / 2018 WCS course choice?
« on: April 19, 2018, 10:25:16 am »
Howdy Rabble,

I'm looking forward to the 2018 WCS, the 20th one!

I'd like to offer a class this year. In the past we've attempted:

- Anoraks
- Wool Blanket Shirts
- Vests
- Mittens
- Dave and Kielyn taught Mukluks one year.
- Others, which I cannot recall.

Barring any great disruptions in life, I'd prefer to do something new this year. The course is free, of course (har).

Any suggestions for a short (6 hours or less) class for Thursday or Friday? Bear in mind that participants must provide their own machines, in good working order, and be ready to roll. It's a building class, not a sewing primer.



EDIT- Let's stick to clothing for the most part. (not footwear) Other folks offer gear bag, sled bag, and other sewn product classes. Thanks!

Empire Wool and Canvas Company / Murdering perfectly good bedding
« on: March 06, 2018, 11:58:15 am »
Howdy Rabble,

Spring is here. I'm going to follow through on a long-planned project. OK, it's not a project, but it does save me lots of Cost Of Goods Sold.

We murder lots of blankets....hundreds of them. Every now and then, a customer would offer up their favorite colored, striped, or plaid bed cover for us to build their shirt or pullover. <Flash> The lightbulb turned on. OK, my wife got the idea. I begrudgingly accepted it. Offer a set time each Spring to build custom shirts with nice blankets (and not have to burn through your own).

That time is fast approaching. We'll have details, pricing, sizing, etc. available on our website and via download in late March. If you're interested, feel free to check in. Here's a little priming shot.

FYI, We can covert just about ANY blanket now that this monster is coming. It's a Pegasus 3216 5x5, a walking foot serger. Yup, 3/4" throw on the upper arm, heavy feed, laser eyeballs, etc.

Classifieds / Traded( Feathered Coffin for trade)
« on: January 17, 2018, 03:33:26 pm »
Traded. Thanks!
Feathered Friends Snowy Owl (long) -60 degree bag. The sleep system of last resort.

Would prefer a -20 or -30 degree down bag of similar quality, and a bit of cash on top of that. USA swap only.

Used less than 15 nights. Professionally laundered and stored correctly.

Too darn warm for me.

Pics by email. [email protected]

Empire Wool and Canvas Company / Back in the track again
« on: November 01, 2017, 10:12:47 pm »
Howdy Rabble,
Thanks be to Hoop for restarting the stove!

December has settled in, the cordwood is stacked, and the shop is uncharacteristically clean and organized. Much has happened since I last posted in (2014?). I bought an adult strength website, trimmed a few products, and hired help. It darn near killed me, but it was all worth the effort.  I figger I've got about 20 good working years left in me, so I'll give the business and honest try.  I find myself doing a lot less sewing, and far more actually busy work: cutting, ordering, machine maintenance, etc.

Teaching one talented sewer to adopt my archaic methods was fun, but humbling. The huge mileage deduction (6 hour round trip) offset the increase in income. My second recruit didn't pan out, but number 3 shows promise. With luck, the three of us can keep the shelves full, and let the website run on autopilot. 3.0, with the shopping cart, mobile friendly, etc has been a boon. Though I do miss the customer contact, letting folks browse at their pace is a far more humane and ecumenical way to operate. Don't let the polish fool you. I'm still as pleasantly disorganized as always.

Items still sell out just about as fast as I/we can build them, there's just a slight buffer now.  I'll hold off  on new ideas as long as I can, but I would delight in showing off how we hammer out our current items.

Enjoy the month!


Classifieds / Sleds for sale in Duluth, MN
« on: April 19, 2016, 09:07:44 am »
Howdy all,

My neighbor pulled these out of the recesses of his garage here in the neighborhoods of Duluth, MN. They are in great shape for their age. Low UV fading, good gel coat, etc.

Jerry -218-728-1778 for details.

Tents and Shelters / Double Wall Trekmonster
« on: June 02, 2015, 07:30:22 pm »
Howdy all,

After spending a little time in Michael Maruska's tent last winter, I'm sold on the idea of double wall trekking tents.  It was inspirational. BUT, I'm darn near 50, and I like standing up and stretching out. So, I borrowed the pole set from my Snowtrekker and went to work.  The first version is just about 9'x12'' with 26" sidewalls and peak height near 6'4" inside. The finished weight is 20 pounds 8 ounces, not counting guy lines, the stove jack, or the floor. The smaller version is already patterned, the poles and fabric are here too. I just need to carve out a week to tinker. That one will be 8' x 10' and  probably weigh 17 pounds. The picky little details are too numerous to explain. Here's some pictures instead.

This is the inner tent, with Silpoly on the lower portion, and light cotton up top. I used heavier treated stuff near the stove end.

The stove corner, inside view. The heavier 6 ounce fr textile abuts the stove on both sides to about 24" high.

Shown here with the silpoly fly. It's tan on the sides for solar gain, and white on the ends for light. I've yet to finish the pull outs on the fly, or install the sod flaps. The bottom edge will be taught when joined together.  The vestibules come out almost 4 feet. I'll plot the best spot for the stove jack when it's fully finished.

Side view. With a bit of creative guy line work, it should set up on ice with 8 anchors- 3 per side, and one on each vestibule.

I've reinforced all the  pullouts on their seams and edges The fly will have tabs with grommets to meet the pickets on the side, and brass rings that match those on the tent corners.

The zippers on the fly match those on the inner wall. I thought the extra 14" dogleg zipper atop each door would transform it into a spiffy little vent.

I mirrored the entrance and vestibule on the rear to maximize the utility and ventilation. Imagine always having a leeward access. I suspect that we'll spend a lot of time tinkering with different combinations to see what works best.

Classifieds / Eureka/Johnson Outdoors tent pole junctions
« on: May 28, 2015, 04:32:41 pm »
Howdy Rabble,

I'm cleaning house. These are factory pole junctions from Eureka/Johnson Outdoors. They fit the .75" Diameter Alu poles common to their larger tents. These are factory fresh. They have never seen a pole.

I'd like to get $20 for the lot, shipped via Priorirty Mail box in the USA. That's basically the shipping....Paypal would be great.


Sleds and Toboggans / The ever-shrinking sled.
« on: March 30, 2015, 11:42:41 pm »
Howdy Rabble,

My BRS toboggan got shorter again, while loading it into the trailer for a trip. It broke cleanly just behind the third rib from the back. I assume this was where the plastic was welded together to form the longer sheet that Chris used some years back. I lost the first 10" from the prow years ago, right at the tight bend. I have faith in the rest of the sheet, but I am pondering what to do with it. It's a bit longer than 8' now. With the rear portion overlapping and bolted on, it still functioned at nearly-full length.

As my gear gets lighter and I share loads, it looks less like the full sized Chipotle Burrito than it did in the past. I'm going to take advantage of the local talent and build a rigid sled for my primary hauler. Most of my trips involve semi-epic overland sections. I'm done wrestling a floppy sled.

Should I trim the tail back to the closest crossbar and make a dedicated wife sled? Should I pop off the rivets an rig it without ribs? What is the best use for an 8' toboggan?



Classifieds / Closed semi complete tent- deadline 4/3/15
« on: March 28, 2015, 08:39:18 pm »
Closed. Out come the scissors.

This is time sensitive. After 4/3/15, I scavenge it for poles and fabric.

I've taken this project as far as I'm willing to go. It's a free standing 4 pole poly/cotton hybrid. The top 80% is 4 ounce pillow ticking. The bottom and floor are 1.1 ounce silicone polyester. It was fun, but I'm already 2 miles down a different trail.  It's over 10 foot long, and nearly 7.5' wide at the two primary arches. The third arch is about 5' wide. The peak height is just under 5'. The packed weight is 7 pounds. The pole sleeves are nylon mesh. Poles intersect in brass rings so they're pretty well married to each other. It's stable. .340 Easton poles with bungee and end caps installed. The floor is installed, but not taped at the seams. I wasn't enamored with it, so I didn't make it permanent. All zippers are #5YKK coil with the appropriate sliders. There are a few smears of dirt on the outside of the floor from the yard.

There is no FR on the cotton yet. I haven't installed a stove jack either. Do so at your own risk. It might drive you slightly nuts to finish it, but it might just be a blast. I had planned to use silicone nylon or poly to make a matching fly. The pattern has already gone underground into the cycling community. I won't have the time to reproduce it from notes or memory.

I'd like to recoup some of my material and hardware costs. Price $150.   Shipping <not included>will be UPS owing to the size of the poles. That rules out my great and gracious neighbors to the north. Payment by USPS MO to me, or cash in hand.

Classifieds / Demo EWCC Parka/bibs. SOLD
« on: March 16, 2015, 12:15:01 pm »

The Guinea Pig escaped. Lock you doors.


Winter is at a drippy end, so I'm clearing out my personal gear. I'm 5'11" and 185 pounds (in theory).

I got one nice trip out of this combo. The remainder of the winter it sat in my closet.  Empire Wool and Canvas Works Permafrost Parka (new 2015 model) with matching bibs. These are a lighter 50/50 nylon cotton ripstop. I hesitate to call this fabric the 'Southern' weight fabric, but that's exactly what it is. I've sold far too much canvas to folks south of me. They asked for lighter stuff. This fabric isn't as windproof as 10.10 army duck, but is does an admirable job all the same. Depsite the nylon content, this fabric does well around hot stuff. The US military did a bit of homework when they specified their BDU fabrics.

Note: the bibs have 1.5" elastic suspenders. I flipped one of the buckles over so it would be easier for me to tell them apart in the dark.

The pattern is ATACS AU camo. It's pretty nice for the Boreal region year round, with a combo of mossy greens and greys.  Retail for these would be over $500 together. I'm happy with $375 plus postage since I got to use them a bit. No ruff included, but there is a zipper to add one later.

Here's the Atacs AU in comparison with Atacs FG and Multicam:

Here's the actual set in use:

Here's a Guinea Pig that just ate a cherry.

Classifieds / Link to gear sale on BCUSA
« on: February 24, 2015, 02:09:55 pm »
Howdy Rabble,

One of the BCUSA folks is selling this setup.


EDIT- Images and info posted below.

Tents and Shelters / Silicone Nylon lightweights
« on: October 27, 2014, 02:17:06 pm »
Howdy Rabble,

I got my wife through grad school, so now I can tinker again. In preparation for this year's WCS, I made a few Silicone Nylon lightweight hot tents. The first is my 3 season (fall/winter/spring), two person, double wall sketch. The second fits on my Fatbike.  I promise to take better photos when everything is up and running.

EDIT- I don't intend to sell these. I was just trying out the idea.

#1.  10' floor-less hex with three .433 Easton poles. The center pole has a 135 degree pre-bend.  It's 1.1 ounce fabric. I'll include a drop liner made from bed sheets later on.  I built this around the smaller Four Dog Ti stove, with a lightweight 'flashing' that will hang directly on the hotbox to protect tent walls, sleeping bags, etc.  Weight is right around 7.5lb without the liner or floor tarp. The pre-bent hoop leaning against the wall is the support for the stove pipe. It wraps the pipe with cable, then sits under tension to a single anchor at the base.

#2. My fatbike tent- 1.5 person, 7' by 10' x 4' peak height. 3.5 pounds w/o floor. It's tiny. So tiny that I need to find a tiny stove.

#3. The trail rig.   Hard to find good racks and panniers, so I'm building frame sheets for the panniers into the rack. Now I can probably stuff lots of down in and compress the daylights out of it.


Other Winter Camping Gear / New toboggan from Chicago?
« on: March 01, 2011, 01:49:17 pm »
Howdy rabble,

I spoke wit a gent from Chicago who was working on a new toboggan frame. His name was Greg. I've lost his phone number. Does anyone know him?


Classifieds / Stainless box stove $160
« on: October 25, 2010, 04:49:29 pm »

Winter Camping Clothing / DIY Mittens
« on: February 08, 2010, 08:49:17 am »
Hello all,

Here's a primer on making shell mitten palms.

Starting with your own hands...

A simple way to think about making a mitten pattern is to trace your hand, thumb out at a natural angle. Add about 1.25" to 1.5" of additional size to the palm and fingers, and 1" to your thumb. Smooth the shape so it looks kinda Gumbyish. Then cut a slit down the line of the thumb to about 1/2" from your index finger. Take note of the depth of the slit <A to B in the next photo>, you'll need the measurement  in a moment.

To make the panel for the rear of the thumb <known henceforth as THUMB BACK>, trace the shape of the thumb directly from the palm portion. Trace it from B, out around the tip to C, down to D, and over to E. D and E help to define the bottom edge of the thumb back, the portion that lies over your wrist. The line from B to E is roughly where the thumb potion of the shell will pivot once it is assembled. Now extend the top edge of the thumb back by the addition of the distance from A to B.  Extend the bottom line, what would be the bottom/wrist potion of the mitten by two times the distance from A to B to form the full length of D to F. Connect A to F  to form the outside edge of the thumb panel. If you like, mark points A, B, C, and D on the back of each leather piece. You will need them for registration marks when you sew them together.

Lay the pieces good sides together so that B, C, and D are aligned.

Now rotate the outer thumb panel around point B so that points A and B are aligned. Point A is where we begin the assembly.

Start your stitching at A, be sure to lock the thread by backing up once or twice. Sew down towards B.

IMPORTANT- to be sure that you have consistent stitches around this tight curve, walk the machine slowly by hand until you have reached B. Sink the needle completely, then raise it up about 1/3 of the way. When you see that the upper thread is starting to draw down through the leather, you know that you have engaged the hook and will get a complete stitch. If you don't see the thread cycling through the stitch hole, you might not get a good stitch, which might make you thumbs feel a bit drafty.

Begin walking the needle around the corner, one stitch at a time. After each stitch, raise the presser foot, and rotate BOTH piece of leather a little bit in an effort the align the C points. Don't rush this.

It takes me about 6 complete stitches and 6 different shifts of the leather to make a nice curved seam. This is the most critical seam in your whole mitten, so patience pays off.

Once you've rounded the corner, stretch the panels out slightly and work towards the thumb tip and the C points.

Round the tip, and aim for the D points.

Stop at D,and lock up the stitches.

Continued in the next post....

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