Today’s Finds

A warm sunny day.  What do you do?  Shopping, picnic, blog.

The plan this morning was to pop over to a monthly antiques market and then return home to get on with some work.  The weather being so nice the plans soon changed.  We ended up traveling to Penkridge and then to Much Wenlock and we unexpectedly found some bargains, a new place to hunt for old tools and a lovely quiet, secluded picnic spot in the heart of the Shropshire countryside.

The hoard.

  • Four antique and modern pure wool veg dyed and hand knotted rugs
  • A vintage heavy wool winter cloak/ cape
  • A traditional large heavy pure wool picnic blanket
  • A small engineers ruler in a leather sleeve
  • A really old rusty axe
  • Two shoe/ coat brushes

The amazing thing is that there are still bargains to be found out there.

The items discussed here the latter three although I must say that the woolen picnic blanket really was a treat and will be a fixture in my car for the remaining summer and autumn.

I was actually on the hunt for some brushes to use when finishing my leather projects.  I sometimes feed my finished items with leather food and this can leave tallow deposits along the stitches and corners and even on the surface of the leather.  I was looking for fairly stiff bristles but not something made with pig bristle.  I found the two pictured below.  I suspect that one is horse hair and the other is a combination of horse hair and natural bristle (correct me if I am wrong).  The horse hair on is softer but very dense.

The second item is the ruler.  I love the thing already.  I think I might be a ruler hoarder!  It is an engineers ruler and comes in a leather sleeve.  I am yet to look into the maker.  It is in very good condition as it seems to have been stored in its sleeve.  I plan to make a travelling leather craft kit and this is the perfect ruler.  I recently received a rather luxurious gift from a family member.  A Makers Cabinet ruler.  Being solid brass I think it might be too bulky for my kit but lets see.  It is quite handy.

Finally the hatchet.  There seem to be no markings or perhaps the surface rust has obscured them.  It feels just right in the hand for bushcraft use.  I have been looking for something like this for years and although I would love to own a Granfors Bruks hatchet, this one will be my go to for wood craft (for now).

The question now is, how many of these items will I restore or ‘tidy up’?  The brushes are totally useable as they are but my heart is telling my to lightly sand and re-polish them.  Remove the varnish and strip the wood bare.  I love the feel of bare natural materials, especially wood that has been polished to a shine without varnish.  The bristles need ‘weeding’.  My head is telling me to leave them alone and use them as they are.  No need to create extra work for myself when I really need to be focusing on other things.  The ruler would be an interesting and not so time consuming project.  I would simply clean the leather, feed it and then lightly file the edges of the ruler to take off the burr.  I have learned from experience to do this to protect the leather from scratches and indentations (but to never round off the corners).  The hatchet is a definite restoration job.  I intend to sand it down to the bare metal after soaking it in distilled vinegar overnight.  With the rust removed and the surface polished I can then work on re-attaching the handle properly and then sharpening the edge.  The surface will be pitted badly but this will be the new surface finish for the rest of its life.  Can’t wait.  But it’ll all have to wait!  Thankfully, with a string of customer commissions in the pipelines, I must concentrate on leather for now.  I end my day here happy to share the feelings of contentment and satisfaction with my hoard of useful and needed bargains and the lovely unplanned sunny picnic with the family, on the new picnic blanket.