Hunting Jacket: Pennsylvania Tuxedo

November 13, 2014



“To deer hunters in Pennsylvania and beyond, it introduced the Classic Hunt Coat. Combined with matching snow pants—in open black-on-deep-cherry-red ‘Heritage Plaid’—it was the uniform of the day for those pursuing whitetails. The ‘Pennsylvania Tuxedo’ debuted in the deer woods in 1925.” -Pennsylvania Department of Wildlife.

I love old style clothing. It puts me into the right mindset. If I’m dressed a bit in the old ways I get into the same epic mindset of being a trophy hunter of old.

I am going to hunt Elk here in the Rockies in a classic style hunting outfit. It’s not that the plaid hunting outfit was particularly traditional here in the West, but the little time I spent in the New England states in fall and winter made an impact on me. From such places as the Alleghenies of Pennsylvania, the  Green Mountains of Vermont and the Maine North Woods, this uniform is ubiquitous in the fall.

The plaid can be effective at breaking up the human profile just as camouflage can be. In fact, the square patterns are the basis of modern military fatigues. The red is not visible to game animals, and yet at the same time it provides with the blaze orange an additional visual indicator to human shooters for increased safety.

Everyone has a red buffalo check pattern in their closet, while the British have their own classy tweedy way of dressing, and the Germans have their rustic loden. There is nothing more free of class and preconception as the American hunting outfit, which is why it works so well for all of us.

Some people say to never put plaid on plaid, or that there is such a thing as WAYYYY too much of it. I say rules are meant to be broken.

Here’s some of my inspiration.

1922 Catalog 1 (1) backcover  pendleton-vintage-canoe-poster




Screen shot 2011-11-13 at 12.19.59 PM1925_Fall_lLL_BEAN_31


Fixing a loose ax head

March 17, 2014

In my preparations for our winter camping course I inspected my trusty ax, that had been with me for a few years of service now.

Turns out the head was loose. Probably due to me moving from humid Oklahoma to drier Colorado.

I had read a bit on knife and bushcraft forums and suggestions pointed towards dipping the head and eye into boiled linseed oil. The oils supposedly penetrate into the wood and swell it up, tightening up the wood inside the eye of the ax. Some estimates suggested this would be a week long process, and I have 24 hours so lets see how this goes.

There was also the suggestion to stick a nail into the ax wedge as a quick fix.

Either way, off to the hardware store I went. I ended up with a bottle of boiled linseed, and rather than get nails like Woodtrekker suggested, I found in the odds and ends drawer 6 different types of wedges for axes, hammers, and other wood handled tools. I grabbed 2 of the smaller sizes.

I didn’t want to start putting metal into the ax prematurely, so I dunked the hatchet, and its little brother a Vaughn subzero .5# into a paint pail of boiled linseed.

I put some plastic over the top to keep the flavors down.

48 hours later, the axe head is still very loose. I apply the last ditch efforts from the new wedges. I understand that applying metal wedges instead of re-wedging the wooden wedge damages the shaft and could shatter it preventing future repairs, but I need this axe tomorrow morning for the Snow Orientation course. 

The wedge holds fast and chops just fine for now.

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