2016-12-28

Antique lanterns and stoves

I ended up with 2 antique lanterns and an antique stove.

My parent's gave me this lantern for Christmas:

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This is sold as a "portable brass candle lantern" by Garret Wade. It turns out this is a non-exact replica of a "Stonebridge Automatic Folding Candle Lantern" (thus the writing on the top), which was invented around 1906. Here's some further information on it http://thewoodslife.com/?p=82

The glass is actually mica, which is less brittle than glass would be. It looks very usable and robust in practice, folding flat with the fragile bits protected by solid brass when folding and popping open almost on it's own. It's kind of an amazing piece of gear, and has an undeniable attraction and ambiance to it as well. The only downside is that this one weighs about 18 ounces (contrary to Garret Wade's site, which claims 12 ounces). Then each candle is 2 ounces. That's a little much for using backpacking, though it may not stop me from bringing it on a trip eventually as I hone my gear further.

My parent's also said that I could have one of their antique candle lanterns from the attic if I wanted it, so we went digging in their attic for a while and I eventually turned this one up:

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This is an old Trangia candle lantern. Trangia is a Swiss company making gear for, among other things, the Swiss military. So, in the most literal sense, this is a Swiss Army lantern.

It's made of aluminum. The bottom section holds the candle, and a spring to feed it. The middle section is what looks to be a cellulose based "glass" to let the light pass through, and the top is just a chimney, protecting the flame from the wind further. The whole thing telescopes twice in to the top. Looking around the internet I was able to find only one picture of this model lantern... so now I guess there will be more.

Here's the section the candle fits in with the feeder spring:

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It's a really cool lantern, looking very pack-able and robust while packed, while weighing in at ~4 ounces. The candles are thinner, so will burn up faster, and they have to be a perfect fit, where the other lantern allows you to fudge almost any candle in to working. These thin candles are a little harder to find, so I may have to experiment a bit figuring out what is easy to get and works well. If I can figure that out this lantern may be just the ticket for my non-plastic backpacking gearset.

Lastly, while my dad was up in the attic he also found this stove:

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It's a classic Coleman from around the Vietnam War era. It needed a little oil on the leather pump gasket, but that's it. I just tested it with a little help from my dad and she lit right up (with a few bouts of 5 foot flames, hopefully I can get a little better at it). Fundamentally it's the same thing as any of the modern whitegas stoves, like the whisperlight that Angie and I use. The packaging is just a little different. The stove just goes perfectly with the Coleman 200A lantern I finished refurbishing recently (also out of my parent's attic).

I remember using the Coleman stove backpacking when I was a kid, alongside a svea and an optimus 80. My dad carried the Trangia lantern for years. My aluminum cookset was also my dad's and one of the pots we know is from at least the 60s, and dad got it used then. There's something about old gear. It embodies a connection with the past I guess. But, even practically you know they are good, or they wouldn't be around anymore. All of these pieces, like the 200A, are incredibly simple. There's no plastic, and they are made to be repaired not thrown away. When I asked dad how to clean the jet on the Coleman he said he's never had to, and his dad had one and never had to either.... A lot of this old stuff just works. Often the new gear is too much better to warrant it, but all things equal I'd always rather use old gear than new. I like the connection to the past.

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” 
― William Morris

Both is even better, and to me well made axes, knives, stoves, lanterns, and their ilk embody that spirit like little else. I don't know if all of this stuff will come with Angie and I back to North Dakota... but some of it will, and I'm not letting go of any of it either. I hope to report back on actually using some of this stuff once we get the truck sorted out.

2016-12-23

Coleman lantern rebuild

A while back while I was visiting my parent's, I mentioned that I was toying with getting a lantern. We use a white-gas stove when a fire is too much trouble or not legal, so we already have whitegas around. So, Angie and I thought it might be nice to have a whitegas lantern around. It turned out dad had an old one in the attic that he pulled out and gave to me. It had no glass, and when I tried to light it up it didn't work

But... now it DOES work:

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With a little poking around I figured out that this is an old Coleman 200A (and then I noticed the label that said exactly that on the side... heh). I ordered it a new glass.

I tried lighting it over and over again. I pumped it up and it held pressure. I did a little more reserach to make sure I understood how the pump worked, how the lighting process worked... but it just wouldn't light. It didn't even make any sounds when I tried. After more research online I found a lot of folks mentioning pouring out the fuel, pouring in ethanol, slosh it around, leave it there a day, then pour it out. Then rinse with whitegas again, and finally refill it and try again. I even found a reference in the directions for the 200A.

After I did that it made noise when I turned the valve it did make sounds, but still nothing would light... shoot. So, then I found this video:


Following this I disassembled the lantern and checked each component. I tried pumping it up and cracking the valve a bit with the generator on, but didn't really smell gas. I also tried with the generator off, and it bubbled, but only a little. I talked to my dad a bit, and we decided whatever was wrong it was clearly in the fuel takeup. After I'd taken it apart it became obvious that the fuel-air tube had a hole at the bottom for fuel, and one at the top for gas, clearly it wasn't mixing them right. After I pulled the fuel-air tube off I noticed the pin inside was very rough feeling, so I scratched and cleaned it, then ran it over an Emory cloth to really get it smooth.

Woot! I'd probably just found and fixed the problem! Then I reassembled it. Most of the parts are screwed on quite tightly, so I screwed the fuel-air tube on tight... and sheered it. Damn. Quick search on ebay and I found one for $5 and $5 more shipping. That came in today, so I put it back together and Hey! It works!

Here it is unlit for a better view:
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  • $6.50 for new mantles (I have 2 spare still, busted one while figuring it all out)
  • $12.00 or so for  the glass
  • $10.00 for a new fuel-air tube
So ~$28.50 total to get it working, $10 of which was only because I stupidly broke it. Not bad! Lanterns of this sort sell for $50-$200 depending on condition. This one has a touch of rust on the burner frame, but otherwise is in really nice condition, You can't get a new one much cheaper.

Fun little project... I'm excited to hang it under my cotton-sheet tarp supported by sticks for that nice homey feel once we get the truck back.

2016-12-12

Standing rock: Is it over?

Here's one opinion:
http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/12/05/504420616/standing-rock-leader-asks-those-who-are-not-sioux-to-leave-pipeline-protest-area

And I just learned of another.

If you've been following, you'll know from my last post that Angie and I are in Bismarck North Dakota, after rolling our truck (and we're both completely uninjured... awesome). Here's that post: http://www.blog.smalladventures.net/2016/12/rolled-truck-in-north-dakota-blizzard.html.

Today we left our motel 6 up on the northern end of Bismarck and walked down to the car repair place to chat with them and swap out a little gear before leaving on a bus this evening for Fargo where we'll catch a train east. It started at a toasty 5F this morning with almost no wind but slowly got colder, and that's how we found ourselves ducking in to a Starbucks cafe in a Target to warm up Angie's phone for a moment so it would work to look for the coffee shop we were headed for. While poking at her phone a man walks up and asks "Are you headed to the protests?" Angie explained that we had been, but rolled our car. He then proceeded to explain that the protests are NOT over.

Here's what he told us:

There are apparently a couple of major leaders. There's the widely recognized Dave Archambault III who is Chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. There is also Ladonna who is apparently the sister of the man who was talking to us. A quick internet search finds he likely meant LaDonna Brave Bull Allard – Oglala Lakota. Here's some an article by her: http://www.yesmagazine.org/people-power/why-the-founder-of-standing-rock-sioux-camp-cant-forget-the-whitestone-massacre-20160903

Anyway, this man told us that she actually started the protests not 
Dave Archambault III. I guess a lot of Sioux are Skeptical of Archambault and there are rumors that he accepted a bribe to stop the protests. Apparently LaDonna wants to continue the protests.

He noted that there are several camps, this I knew. It's not too hard to read between the lines and realize these are controlled by different factions. The Sacred Stone camp was the first, and I guess this is the one started by LaDonna. This camp is also on... I believe he said federal land... and thus the governor doesn't have jurisdiction to issue an eviction. The camp that has the eviction is on private (and thus state controlled) land, and is often reffered to as the "overflow" camp. The man we talked to called it this several times. The one with all the flags and stuff you see all over facebook.

He said that if you go to the Sacred Stone camp to truly be helpful you will be welcomed. He said they are still looking for carpenters, plumbers, etc. and are in it for the long haul, building permanent structures.

When Angie and I attempted to contact the Standing Rock organizers we contacted the "Medic and Healers council" which is somewhat separate from any of the separate groups and runs tents in all of the camps. Their primary aim being to spread knowledge of traditional healing and just to keep people safe and healthy, spiritually and physically.
One of my goals in going was to see for myself and talk to people on the ground about what is going on. So I wanted to pass this along. There is a lot of conflicting information out there... This backs up the idea that one major reason is that there are a number of major leaders (often associated with camps) involved who do not necessarily agree.

Update:Here's some official word confirming both the general sense, and the specifics of what I wrote about above.

https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/news/native-news/dapl-water-protectors-forge-way-forward-black-snake/

2016-12-10

Rolled the truck in North Dakota blizzard

I've already posted this to social media, but it never made it to the blog

Here's my facebook post (with more photos):
I rolled the truck, Angie and I are just fine.


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Driving through north dakota we hit a blizzard. I was trying to be careful, but ended up spinning out on the ice. Truck hit the edge of the road going fairly slowly, but just barely rolled over in deep snow. The truck ended up upside down.

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A Morton County Sheriff stopped just as we were calling for a tow, after we'd checked ourselves for injuries. He was incredibly nice, and had us sit in the back of his cruiser while he got all the information. Eventually he ended up taking us to a bar nearby.
All the tow-trucks were busy, they closed the interstates. The bar-keep called the Sheriff's department again to give us (and another guy who'd stuck his truck in the snow) a ride in to town. Even with everything going on a Sheriff showed up... I felt bad because a tow-truck had only *just* given us a real ETA and was on the way. The sheriff was super nice about it. We got back to town with the truck in tow at something like 11:30 at night.
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So, the truck is now in a shop, and we're in a hotelroom. The hotel we were in last night was booked, so we ended up walking across town in the snow... Interesting times.
So... we never made it to the protests. On the other hand, we did get some interesting stories. The Sheriff who helped us out said he got death threats related to the protests. He and others said they really didn't care about the pipeline overall though. Some in the bar were much more opposed.
Anyway... we're fine. Waiting to get the truck looked at by the insurance company

since then:
Well... temps here have varied from around 5F to -15F below not including. We've been walking around town, hanging out in coffee shops, and eating restaurant food. No word yet on whether the truck is totaled.

Being us we're well outfitted. Fur hats, gortex overmitts, thinsulate lined mittens, wool liner gloves, down coats, multiple layers of pants, scarfs... etc. We haven't even been using all our layers:
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So, we're fine... The truck looks to be in repairable shape one way or another. The doors are still perfectly aligned with the body, so that means the main pillars are fine. The roof is just caved in. This implies that it's probably just sheet-metal that's damaged. The cap is cracked a bit, but the roof rack looks salvagable. Almost none of our stuff was damaged.

Hopefully the insurance company will want to repair it... if not I may be posting about how to register a salvage title vehicle in MA :P. The legal mumbo jumbo is pretty confusing, but we shall see!

Looking up, and taking a train home for Christmas.


2016-12-01

Heading to the Standing Rock Ceremonies

Angie and I have decided to go try and help out (if we can) with the water protector's ceremony. We've both promised our families we'll be home for Christmas (a bit ironic, I know... but it's when my family gets together every year), so we'll be there for only a short time... whether we go back afterward is open and probably dependent on how helpful it looks like we can be.

Our plan is to show up, stay on the outskirts away from the center and away from conflict, and watch for things we can respectfully attempt to help with. We tried a few contacts to see if we could rustle up an internal contact but failed... so we're just going to go. Angie is a Nurse, I have a variety of practical skills, and (hopefully) we're decently kitted out to deal with ourselves and avoid becoming a burden on the camp. There's always a chance we'll just turn around and leave, depending.

This blog doesn't usually get political. I try to keep it to just facts and information about being outdoors... but sometimes politics sneak in around the edges because it's what I'm doing, or because it's directly related to outdoors pursuits, like with the Buffalo Field Campaign post I wrote some time back.

There are a lot of articles out there about NoDAPL, and surprisingly little information. I've been sifting through what I can, trying to get the real information. What I think I know is that this is about two related issues:
  1. American Indians (I'm using the term I have most often heard is preferred... sorry if it's not in this case) taking yet another stand for something after hundreds of years of being trampled on.
  2. It's about the environmental cause of keeping water clean... heightened by the special religious place that water holds in the various Sioux traditions.
I've read repeatedly that #1 is very important. The show is being run by the Standing Rock Sioux who's sacred land is at risk, and has been repeatedly violated and shrunk in the past... and folks of other backgrounds tromping on toes to try and "help" are not appreciated.

Anyway... here's some sources that are a bit more fact based

The first article is fairly comprehensive as to the legal situation and a general rundown of events... It also seems fairly unvarnished:
http://heavy.com/news/2016/09/dakota-access-pipeline-protests-video-photos-dogs-map-dapl-routes-north-oil-mace-standing-rock-sioux-native-american-indian-energy-transfer-kelcy-warren-bakken-lawsuit/

One thing they miss is the actual safety of pipelines. For environmental impact, or oil spilled, they are worse than trains (which is what is in use now). Why push for a pipeline then? Because it's cheaper:

It also misses the more mundane day-to-day story and what most of the people at Standing Rock are doing... Media only reports when things get violent, and mostly things haven't been violent: It's important to realize that this is thousands of people when considering that allegedly someone fired 3 shots. This article is less "just facts" but I think is still helpful background reading for what is really going on:
http://earthjustice.org/blog/2016-november/we-re-missing-90-percent-of-the-dakota-access-pipeline-story#

Pipeline leak detection techniques are not very good.
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/massive-oil-pipeline-break-under-nd-farmers-wheat-field/

Here's something I read early on that I think is really helpful for non-American-Indians understanding what's going on, and how to actually be helpful.
https://medium.com/@liampurvis/12-loose-rules-to-follow-as-an-effective-ally-at-standing-rock-a-blueprint-for-white-solidarity-66cb4010a35f#.iolws510a

And, to lighten the mood a little:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZJXvoxmR2I