Thursday, August 28, 2014


Here's a very nice pair of Vintage Engineer Boots sent in to me by VEB contributor, Warren. Originally released in the late 1940's, these sold for a perfect $499. They bear that staple 1940's profile sought after by collectors, but unfortunately don't possess a label from any big name brands of the day ... or they definitely would have garnered at least twice the money on the auction block. There's slight damage from what appears to be exposure to water, but nothing too detracting.  I wouldn't have paid any more than six bills for these, so kudos to the winner for the steal.

Oh, and these aren't made with Horsehide. I've mentioned this time and again; unless they are marked "Horsehide," don't get caught up with spending an extra five plus bills for oil tanned cow ... regardless of what the seller claims.  Props to the seller of these boots for not including misleading key words in the description.


I decided to try my hand at making a watch band for one of my many deployment watches and am very pleased with the huge difference a leather band makes. I made this one with black Horween and my exclusive core spun thread to complement the watch colors.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Sunday, August 24, 2014


Advertised as "1930's" through "1950's" and possibly made of Horsehide leather, these late 1950's / early 1960's Vintage Engineer Boots are in fact not Horsehide, but rather the lowest grade of footwear leather - Split Grain Cowhide.

Don't get me wrong, some great VEB's were made with this leather - these definitely are not a pair of them.

With a final auction price of $431, they sold for about $200 more than they are worth. 

Two or three more bills and one could easily have a pair of super amazing homage boots from some big Japanese brands.

Monday, August 18, 2014


Kudos to Tomonari Nishizaki and the other cool cats over at Attactions for keeping the momentum goin' on what I consider to be quality homage Engineer and Riding boots.  The new Lot.301 Roper's are their same popular riders with added hair-on-hide.  Nice one!


It's truly an honor to be the last five permanent personnel Marines onboard the USS Peleliu as she will be officially decomissioned early next year.  Here is Gunnery Sergeant Polk being promoted to Master Sergeant in the hallowed halls of the CPO (Chief Petty Officer) Mess on 16 August 2014.

Monday, August 11, 2014


Working on my lastest Chimayo piece constructed with black Horween, authentic Chimayo, antiqued hardware and exclusive spun cored thread sourced while stationed in Japan.  I've worked with pretty much all available types of leathercrafting thread and this is much cleaner and as strong as your typical waxed nylon / linen thread. 


General Smedley Butler and Jiggs, circa 1926.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014



The Gallenkamp's Shoes brand was a popular California brand for over eighty years and up until the end of its run, operated some 700 retail outlets around the country. The company was founded at the start of the twentieth century a prominent San Francisco family.

This pair of amazingly worn Vintage Engineer Boot with highly sought after patina surprisingly took quite some time to finally go to the best offer. Had these been any of the “big” brands of the day, they wouldn’t have lasted any more than a couple of hours on the auction block and would have easily been snatched up for the asking price of $1,100. These were worth every cent of eleven bones and anywhere up to fifteen, if ya ask me.

The uniqueness of the boots – form the brand to the buckles – should have set off all kinds of alarms with collectors, but it comes to show that deep down we are all “brand whores.” I was very close to pulling the trigger on the asking price, but I would have had to swap the buckles and that didn’t sit right with me – these deserve to be left as-is until it became absolutely necessary for an overhaul.

Brand: GallenKamp's
Circa: 1940's
Color: Brown
Size: 7 ½
Leather: Cowhide (Sorry to burst your bubble y’all, but not all Vintage Engineer Boots were cut from Horsehide)
Soles/Heels: Leather
Hardware: Nickel
Sold for: Best offer from $1,100

The deep cuts didn’t bother me. This would’ve been an easy at-home repair.

Bottom line is that everyone who contemplated bidding should regret not pulling the trigger on these classics.  I do!

Monday, August 4, 2014

USS Peleliu's Combat Cargo team following Steven Arevalo's promotion to Gunnery Sergeant (second from right)

Enjoying some adult beverages onboard the USS Regan during the post Rim of the Pacific 2014 celebration

Saturday, August 2, 2014


My latest Chimayo Wallet/Case/Clutch creation is made with original vintage Chimayo, brown Horween, antique brass hardware and a custom "bullseye" design with a Swarovski jewel in the center.  I normally add my own leather conditioner to already factory oiled leather, but this piece looked really good as-is.  As usual, these have two inner card slots and measure a whopping 10 1/2" x 5 1/2".

Monday, July 28, 2014


I'm really excited about quite a few pieces from the latest "The Sportsman” Fall 2014 preview just posted on the Mister Freedom® Blog.  And the wait begins! 


I just had to post another from the other day onboard the USS Peleliu during exercise Rim of the Pacific 2014.

Saturday, July 26, 2014


Rollin' deep onboard the USS Peleliu in the South Pacific during exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2014.  RIMPAC is the world's largest international maritime exercise with 22 nations, 49 ships and six submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel participating in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. This multi-lateral evolution provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world's oceans. RIMPAC 2014 is the 24th exercise in the series that began in 1971.

Here's a great shot of the sea-based fire power that makes up RIMPAC.  The USS Peleliu (LHA-5) can be seen centered, third from the front behind the two Carriers.  Note the subs on the right side of the photo.

Rockin' my trusty Mister Freedom Skivvy and supreme fire power in the background.

Monday, July 21, 2014


It's befitting that this belt be made onboard the USS Peleliu while deployed to the South Pacific during my liberty periods. I suntanned this VEB Leather belt prior to applying the custom design. Purposely avoiding the use of any type of leather finish or treatment, the belt will age beautifully and become darker over time.