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johan_steele

Regimental Armorer
Moderator
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Messages
14,771
Location
South of the North 40
#1
It has been suggested that there needs to be a thread where newbies to the hobby can take a look at what others think of certain Vendors. Well here it is. I'll post my favorites with why I favor each. At least we'll keep them all on one thread...

With some of the questions put forward lately this might be an enjoyable thread for those of us who have been around the block in the hobby so to speak as well as an informative one to those just getting into the hobby.

While I have three distinct kits/personas my own favorite is that of Johan Steele, a 3rd Sgt in D Co 4th MN VI circa 1863/64.

I carry a Navy Arms M1841 "Colt standard" w/ appropriate (though poor copy) saber bayonet when doing pre Vicksburg. I switch to an Miroku M1861 w/ appropriate bayonet for post Vicksburg. I utilize a blanket roll instead of a knapsack as that fits with what I've read of the men. The blanket is an Abe Thomas and I carry a second blanket a gray saddle blanket, gum blanket is an unkown maker and I really do need a new one. I always have an extra pair of wool socks, hand knitted by my better half and a spare civilian style shirt as well a sa necessities bag w/ wood comb, period tooth brush and a housewife rolled in.

I wear an unadorned Hardee Hat (Tim Bender) instead of a forage cap as the 4th was never issued the forage cap before 1865. My Sack Coat is a Museum Quality Matt Caldwell as I had an opportunity to splurge and did so. My trousers are Stony Brook Commercial Grade meaning all visable stitching was hand done but all non visable are machine stitched. My civilian shirts are a mix of hand made by my wife and a couple various mid quality civi shirts that are getting rather threadbare.

My leathers are a mixture of old Upper Mississippi Merchantie and 2nd hand MB&S. My brogans IIRC are a set of Robert Lands that are getting about to the point where they need to be replaced. My M1858 smoothside canteen is a village tinsmith w/ a hemp twine attachment for the cork and a gray/brown jean wool cover. My haversack is a copy of an original I don't recall the maker which is stuffed w/ a plate from the Wi Vet Museum which is a direct copy of an original carried by an Iron Brigade soldier. My fry pan is a brutalized canteen half and my dipper is a long forgotten manufacture w/ a copper handle. The only "kewl" factor item I carry is a hand forged spork (fork on one side spoon on the other) I picked up years ago. My pocket knife is a "hawk billed/bird beaked" clasp knife that dates to 1880 or so but is of a pattern used in the 1860's.

I carry an 1870/80's vintage Swiss pipe that is of the style of construction that is appropriate and wear my needed lenses in an original pair of display eye glasses.

All things considered I like this particular kit because it is rather versatile. W/ no effort I can appear a soldier in the field or with a few minutes of ash n spit I can polish up for a garrison impression. This is the primary impression I utilize during Living Histories.

I may not likely do an impression of a soldier in line of battle ever again, my leg just doesn't allow me to keep a marching pace. But I have done pretty well adapting to a static Regt Armorer role w/ a lot of research. Having been able to read the letters of the Regt Armorer of the 7th MN has helped, even though he makes almost no mention of his special duties in the Regt. Being able to repair a period style arm in the field w/ only period tools has helped as well.

It took me some years to develop the kit I currently have and a good amount of development. I created the persona by combining the history of two real men who served w./ the 2nd MN VI & 4th MN VI into one and adding some of the experiances of the newly arrived immigrant to show the public that many a man who served were newly arrived immigrants. That study was both interesting and eye opening.
 

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johan_steele

Regimental Armorer
Moderator
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Messages
14,771
Location
South of the North 40
#2
http://stonybrookcompany.com/

In my opinion Chris Sullivan, the owner of Stony Brook may well be the finest Vendor in the business. Stellar Customer Service, superb quality and the willingness to answer questions and contribute answers that are all but gospel. I've pointed people towards him for years and will continue to do so as I've never once heard a complaint towards his product or his service.
 

johan_steele

Regimental Armorer
Moderator
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Messages
14,771
Location
South of the North 40
#3
http://missouribootandshoe.tripod.com/

Missouri Boot and Shoe, as a caveat I've never actually purchased anything new from them. Though I own several second hand items of their manufacture picked up via the Authentic Campaigner. I know of one man who has had the same pair of brogans from them that have lasted more than a decade. Their knapsacks and Accoutraments are seconds to none. While spendy in comparison to many others their quality and authenticity is top of the line.
 

johan_steele

Regimental Armorer
Moderator
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Messages
14,771
Location
South of the North 40
#4
http://www.benderhats.com/hats1.html

Tim Bendor is a superb artisan when it comes to making hats. I don't mean the hats you buy at Wal Mart or the standard run of the mill sutler I mean real HATS. Many of his hats aree constructed on original hat forms, his material and quality are literally museum quality. His service is also stellar, running neck and neck alongside Chris Sullivan of Stony Brook. It is those two gentleman and their product which set the standard and the bar for Customer Service and prompt filling of orders.
 

johan_steele

Regimental Armorer
Moderator
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Messages
14,771
Location
South of the North 40
#5
http://wwandcompany.com/

Several years ago I purchased a fine Sack Coat made by Matt Caldwell. I had decided to splurge on a true museum quality piece. I was not disappointed. While I have heard some complaints to their customer service my own experiance was one of a prompt filling of my order and I received exactly what I expected. I would not hesitate to use them again.
 

johan_steele

Regimental Armorer
Moderator
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Messages
14,771
Location
South of the North 40
#6
http://www.trackofthewolf.com/index.aspx?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1&as=1&as=1

Track of the Wolf is a vendor that concentrates on the Fur Trade/buckskinner re-enactor. So why on earth would anyone include them in a list of ACW vendors? Simple, the guns side of their trade usually includes a number of ACW era firearms in new or used condition. Their prices can run from the bargain basement to astranomical. They also carry blankets, tinware and shooting supplies.Their customer service is phenomenal and the speed in which they fill orders is commendable.

Someone finally bought that original M1817 that was in all but new as issued condition... curse the lotto people for refusing to pull my numbers.
 

johan_steele

Regimental Armorer
Moderator
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Messages
14,771
Location
South of the North 40
#7
http://lodgewood.com/

Here is a tough one to speak about. Lodgewood MFG of Whitewater Wisconsin. Years ago I could not speak highly enough of the crew at Lodgewood. Their customer service, knowledge and product were beyond compare. That was several years ago before I had my bad experiance with them. My father had a list of parts he wanted, that were listed as on hand in their shop, for a restoration project. I placed the order, and a couple of months later when I went to the shop for a visit I picked them up. The mail order experiance for my father does not appear to be an isolated incident. My own experiances have been stellar, but I've never done mail order for myself from them. Instead I've been able to vist them at events or in the shop and would still call their knowledge and quality of product pretty much second to none.

That said they've never been real good about updating their website and responses to email queries are a stab in the dark. I'll still fill my orders for original parts from them because as bad as their promtness of service may be it is what it is.
 

johan_steele

Regimental Armorer
Moderator
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Messages
14,771
Location
South of the North 40
#8
http://www.blockaderunner.com/Catalog/catpg2a.html

In a word Todd Watts, the man is a superb smith and his service is prompt and of the highest quality. Can I think of a thing to say negatively about the man? No.

Blockade Runner is a Mainstream Sutler with access to the excellent work of Todd Watts, their tinware is also pretty nice (just stay away from the stainless & US/CS stamped plates) I've yet to hear a negative thing about their service.
 

carson_reb

Sergeant Major
Joined
Dec 14, 2010
Messages
2,270
Location
Carson City, Nevada
#11
I placed a Dirty Billy black slouch hat on my Father's Day and Birthday Wishlists this year. Knocking on wood...

After the facial burn I got two weeks ago at our Spring Tactical (imagine sunburn in 60 degree weather) I decided that the kepis and bummers are good for cloudy, dry weather only. A slouch hat, hardee hat, or something else with a broad brim is a necessity in the field when it's sunny or stormy. Of course, it didn't help that I used my preacher's hat to shield a sleeping child that mother gave me to watch while she helped to finish stitching up our club's banner. Oh, well...at least baby didn't get burned.
 
Joined
Jul 23, 2010
Messages
70
Location
Shelby county, Tennessee
#12
http://wwandcompany.com/

Several years ago I purchased a fine Sack Coat made by Matt Caldwell. I had decided to splurge on a true museum quality piece. I was not disappointed. While I have heard some complaints to their customer service my own experiance was one of a prompt filling of my order and I received exactly what I expected. I would not hesitate to use them again.

Dan is great. Prompt and courteous.
 
Joined
Jul 24, 2010
Messages
74
#16
well im looking for a cheap good quality CSA frock coat for formal scv events. I've looked at blockade runner and im probably going with them but i would also like to check out the competition first. any suggestions?
 
Joined
Nov 24, 2006
Messages
551
Location
Georgia By GAWD!
#18
well im looking for a cheap good quality CSA frock coat for formal scv events. I've looked at blockade runner and im probably going with them but i would also like to check out the competition first. any suggestions?

Cheap and good quality don't go hand in hand. Do as Johan said and check Stoney Brooks consignment page and you may can find a used one.
 
Joined
Jun 7, 2011
Messages
65
Location
Lawrenceburg TN
#19
well im looking for a cheap good quality CSA frock coat for formal scv events. I've looked at blockade runner and im probably going with them but i would also like to check out the competition first. any suggestions?
I have a C.S. Frock from Blockade Runner and I'm very happy with it. Mostly machine sewn, but all visible stiching is done by hand, even the buttonholes appear to be handworked. For the price you can't beat them.
 

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