Wednesday, June 30, 2010

After N8's graduation weekend, Sweet Pea and I each received a set of new-unissued, German Bundeswehr mess-utensils. We absolutely love them and I have been using mine every day for my work lunches............ well, a little research revealed that these sets are exact copies of the original issue WW2 German Army mess-utensil sets! The only difference is in the maker and date stampings. In fact, many appear to be manufactured by the same companies that made them during WW2, and probably using the same dies.

I found a source for early post-war sets and picked a couple more up. I have assembled a set for the BGS Bike with a great mix of early dates: 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962.

These things are GREAT!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Bundesgrenzschutz Bike Update

Here are a few shots of the BGS bike with the new gear strapped on and set up for "vintage military touring".
For your viewing enjoyment, I present the bike!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Swiss Bags & Hungarian Straps

The latest acquisition of old military gear has arrived and is being processed in the "workshop" for the BGS bike outfitting.

I have been looking for two saddle bags for the BGS bike and found a great deal on a batch of Swiss Army bags that were exactly what I needed......... the only hitch was that I needed to buy a lot of 10!!!!! When they arrived they were pretty funky with mold smell and old surplus storage funk. They're better after a "hydrogen peroxide" scrubbing, and now that the leather's been oiled, they're pretty much ready to roll. They are actually "bread bags", which are utility bags that the soldiers would carry with their rations, either on a shoulder strap, or hung off their military bikes. All of them are dated in the late 70's or '80's.

The second addition to the gear is a batch of used, early 1950's vintage, Hungarian Army leather straps. I've given them a good oiling to limber them up and I am already using them to strap gear on the bike........ I'll also use them for mess kit straps on the extra kits I have banging around.

Great metal roller buckles, leather patina, and good markings on the back sides.

Home after a wonderful week!

Hello to all my loyal Blog fans!

It's been awhile since my last blog update, so here's a brief run down of what I've been up to.....
We started out the week of vacation with a trip to Seattle on Friday, June 11th, for N8's University of Washington Department graduation and then his University Commencement on Saturday, June 12th. N8 graduated with honors from both his department and from the university! (Cum Laude in the top 6% of the school!). N8 now is officially graduated with his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Digital Arts and Experimental Media from the University of Washington Seattle! After the graduations, we had a wonderful party that was hosted at Nadia and Shawn's place. Shawn put together an amazing five star spread of pulled pork, beans, salads, and more! AMAZING FOOD was enjoyed by everyone. Good times................ and a Huge congratulations to N8!

The Graduate with his VERY proud parents!

On Monday the 14th, Sweet Pea, N8, Nadia, Shawn and I all headed out to Sol Duc Hot Springs in the Olympic National Park for a week of family vacation. Nadia and Shawn stayed at a cabin at the resort and the rest of us camped in the campground next door.......... I think N8 managed to cook nearly every meal on a stick and we even had a Cape Cleare salmon cooked over the fire. Hats off to the chefs!

Shawn and Nadia hit the road with the rest of the "bike gang"...... Nadia on her new Specialized and Shawn on my GT. Now that we've got everyone in the clan biking, we'll have to plan some new rides........

More great food! Hiking, biking, music, visiting, and a great time for everyone. Dianne made it out for the last night of camping and then headed off for La Push to camp for a few days when we packed up camp on Friday. Nadia and Shawn headed back to the city and N8, Sweet Pea and I made one last stop on the way home.........

We rode the Spruce Railroad Trail from Fairholm Campground on the West end of Crescent Lake and back, about 20 miles round trip. This is an amazing trail with incredible scenery and views.......... the trail is pretty "rustic" with some tough narrow sections, rocky areas, roots, bogs, streams, NARROW "deer trail along bluff edges........... in other words, a really fun ride! A great ending for the vacation.

N8 continued on to Seattle where he had an art opening at the Henry Art Gallery in Seattle where one of his short films was being shown.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Shasta trailer gets new paint and a shower!

Well, after quite a few years of saying that we were going to do it, we did it!.................

Our little 1972 Shasta Compact Travel Trailer got a new paint job! We washed the trailer with wet and dry sand paper to both wash it and sand it at the same time....... then we waited for a sunny day to lay the paint on. We got that day on Tuesday. The trailer looked great....... then it was off to the session down at Siren's Pub. When we walked out at about 10:30 pm, it was pouring rain! We dashed home and Sweet Pea and I madly hooked up the trailer and pulled it out of the yard and under the shelter of the big fir tree....... covered it with a couple of boat yard tarps and gave it a drying the best we could. The paint will need to be redone on the top and a few spots along the top edges. No problem though, because we had planned on a second and third coat anyway :)

Yesterday I built a tent shelter over the trailer to protect it for the weekend while we're over in Seattle for N8's graduation. The weather forecast is for sun starting Friday and going into next week, so it ought to get some good drying time......... Pray for sun :)

Before painting, I pulled off all of the old running lights, installed new tail lights, and wired the lights with a new wire harness and plug socket.

When we bought the trailer, the cool Shasta Wings were gone. I have patterns and the correct textured aluminum to make new ones.......... the next trailer project!

Czechoslovakian Mess Kit Straps

My latest addition to the ongoing equipment outfitting for the Bundesgrenzschutz bicycle has arrived. I had an opportunity to get in on the very last stock of new, never issued, Czechoslovakian Army, leather equipment straps. They arrived the other day and I've already put them into use!

I have 10 straps in all........ Five plain, vegetable tanned leather straps all dated 1987, and five double buckle oiled leather straps that are from the early 1950's !!!!! The double buckle straps are the rare ones and the biggest score of the two. They are even pebble embossed on the smooth side of the leather! All of the straps have the small "X" stamp as well (Czechoslovakian Army coat of arms, a bit blurred).

I made up a couple of prototype belt loops that buckle into the double buckle straps so that they can be used to carry the mess kit on a belt. I gave them the usual "replica" date stamps with BGS service stamp to indicate they were early 1950's BGS issue.

I am also experimenting with using the straps for attaching other bits and pieces of equipment on the bike........... more photos later when I figure that all out.

Early Czech soldiers on bicycles.

Friday, June 4, 2010

1924 Hershey Wrappers

Quite some time ago I bought a book at a yard sale and when I got home, I found an old Hershey's Chocolate Bar wrapper pressed between the pages! I've held on to it for some time with no particular idea about what its final use would be......... well today it found its new calling!

A little searching on the Hershey Chocolate Company webs
ite turned up a photo archive of the old wrapper styles and on another site, I found a list of what years matched which bar weights. Between the two sites, I was able to pinpoint the date as a 1924 wrapper.

I used a color copier to make several copies of the front and back sides of the wrapper, then pieced them together into a large composite. I used the copier again, to make final copies and then cut them out squared on a paper cutter. I affixed a narrow strip of sticker tape along the backside of the overlap edge so they are ready to use........ as "pre-aged" 1924 candy wrappers!
I'll buy some modern chocolate bars, toss the new wrappers and then wrap the bar with my "new Hershey's wrapper!

The "NEW" wrappers ready to go:

Here's the original, front and back:

Old and new!

Thursday, June 3, 2010


In my never ending search for items to outfit the BGS bicycle, I ran across a number of web sites dedicated to German WW2 reenactment, both items for sale and how to outfit an authentic military impression. In the middle of this, I found out that there is a German candy company that has been making a caffeine, ground coffee bean and dark chocolate candy since 1935. It seems that this candy was issued to the German WW2 troops in large quanities in their rations. The "candy" is called Scho-Ka-Kola and is still made today, sold in the same type of tins and with nearly the same labels as they used in the war! I know you can buy tins of the new made candy off of the web, but I'd like to find a store out here to buy a tin or two in person. If I can't find a tin or two locally, I'll probably break down and order one just to give them a try and have a "real" tin on hand.

A little more hunting through Google gave me enough .jpeg images to doctor up a set of genuine counterfeit labels of my own! I printed the labels with a high quality print setting on regular white office paper, covered the print with a clear laminating sheet, affixed double sticky tape on the back and then cut them out. For my first prototype, I used an empty mink oil tin (cream oil for leather boots) that I had cleaned out and painted black. A small, round mint tin would make a more correct replica..............

I"ll use it to carry small items in the bread bag on the rear rack of the BGS bike. The tin is not correct, but the effect is still pretty good!

There are a number of different period labels for Scho-Ka-Kola that I could have chosen from, but I felt that having a label that fit the early post-war period would be best (translation: label without swastika!). Here are a few WW2 period labels.

"Mayday" in June!

For those of you who haven't been watching the Pacific Northwest weather lately, I'll just tell you that we are SOAKED up here! It has been raining for what seems like a week and yesterday we woke up to some pretty strong winds. Not long after sunrise, I looked out the window here at the mill and saw a 1940's wooden motor cruiser washing up on the beach! About 20 minutes later the main mast was snapped off at the base on a sailboat anchored nearby! The cruiser ended up on the beach and the sailboat pulled up it's anchor and headed for the boat haven............

The motor cruiser is a bit longer than our boat and was also designed by Ed Monk. This boat is basically Monk's 1940's version of the Bernadine. (The flying bridge and aft hard top of the grounded boat were added much later).

Never dull here in Port Townsend!

Here's a shot of the boat looking back towards the mill.

An here's another shot from a little closer.