Pirate Boots

I am cheap. I would love to have a real pair of pirate boots, but just can’t justify spending the money for a pair that I’ll only wear a few times a year.

I do already own a pair of cowboy boots and with decent boot covers they would work. The problem, of course, is finding decent boot covers.

Several years ago my wife had one of those “pleather” jackets that was on it’s last leg. She was going to throw it out when I realized the sleeves would make great boot covers.

If you need boot covers you can hit you local thrift store and take you pick of “pleather” pants, jackets, or whatever to make boot covers with. The’ll probably cost you less than  $10 and look better than anything you’ll find at a costume shop. Here are my boots:

It’s all about the hat

I needed a new hat. My previous hat was a conversion from a cowboy hat I bought at Wal-mart several years ago for about $15. The price was right, but the brim was really just to small to look right as a pirate hat.

I wanted to stick with something as inexpensive as possible and I found hat blanks for $24 at Jas Townsend & Son.

I used a portable steam iron to crease the hat in the style I wanted then added a button and a feather to finish it out.

Pirate Pistol Redux

This post is a follow up to Pirate Pistols.

I finally had time to go back and re-finish the ‘wooden’ parts of these plastic pistols. I used the technique in TribalDancer‘s steampunk pirate gun mod on Instructables.com. With this particular pistol I only re-finish the ‘wooden’ part because the ‘metal’ part already looked pretty decent.

I did this on my back porch, at night, with almost no light. It was nearly impossible to really see what I was doing and I had to go inside between layers to try to get an idea of how it was looking. Not quite up to my usual exacting standards but here is the result before and after:

pirate pistol

Pirate Weekend Giveaway

I just won the Texas Renaissance Fair’s Pirate Weekend giveaway & got 4 free tickets!

Rain at the Ren Faire? You need a Sword-brella

A while back my friend Paul Laster (of buckskinning.org) pointed out to me the existence of the Sword Hilted Umbrella. Although I thought the idea of  an umbrella with a sword hilt for a handle was a product that was long overdue, I couldn’t come up with a good argument to convince my wife that it was a necessity. Until now…

My wife pointed out to me that there is a 60% chance of rain for the Texas Ren Fest when we will be there this weekend. This means i’ll need an umbrella – no, a sword-brella. I have two problems though. First, the sword hilted umbrella above does not have a cutlass hilt (and wouldn’t be very piratical) and second, I’m not spending $40 on an umbrella that I may use once a year if I’m lucky. Time to get out the tools.

I bought a $10 umbrella and a $3 plastic sword. I removed the screws from the plastic sword handle and popped out the blade. I twisted the black end-cap off the umbrella and flattened the bottom section down to the width of the plastic blade so it would fit inside the handle. I marked and drilled 3 holes in the bottom of the umbrella where the plastic post inside the handle connect the two halves. I seated the bottom of the umbrella over the posts inside the handle, screwed it back together, and wrapped it in some leather scraps I had (it was originally wrapped in some really thin, crappy, cloth strips). Here’s the result:

A simple baldrick from a belt

Here’s a quick and easy way to make a baldrick from a belt. This particular one was for one of my kids but you could make an adult sized baldrick with a long enough belt.

The process begins of course with the belt. I always manage to find piratical style belts at Goodwill, Savers, or other local thrift stores. Once you have a belt that looks decent, you simply put a twist in it to make a loop and then buckle it.

belt rivets baldrick

In the second picture I have punched a couple of holes through the belt with a nail and am adding rivets to hold the loop in place. The rivets and rivet tool can be found in the leather section of your local craft store (you could just hot glue it of course). The final pic shows the finished baldric in action.

Plastic Rum bottle

This was my problem – I wanted something functional, light-weight, unbreakable, semi-authentic looking, and cheap, to carry my favorite piratical beverage in at the Texas Renaissance Festival and Sherwood Forest Faire.

What I really wanted was an onion bottle made of colored plastic that looked like glass. After many hours of scouring the internet it seemed unlikely that such a bottle existed and paying a company in China to produce one was going to be cost prohibitive and would blow my ‘cheap’ requirement clean out of the water.

Along the way I ran across these two projects that helped me along in my thinking. The first is a plastic rum bottle that is kind of a standard liquor bottle style here. Scroll down on the page and you’ll see a good picture of it and a description of how he made it.

The second was closer in shape to what I originally had in mind. It is made from a round plastic Coke bottle (they were sold in Wal-Mart stores in Dec. of ’09) and is here. I think if you used the technique (sanding and staining) of the first bottle with this bottle’s shape and then added a hand tied net, it would look really good. I’ll have to try it later if I can get my hands on more of those round Coke bottles this Christmas.

I did find plastic wine bottles online that had potential, but had trouble actually finding any locally. I finally decided on using a 1 liter plastic Perrier bottle. You should be able to find these just about anywhere.

rum cork twine rum bottle rope rum bottle

I removed the label (they are shrink-wrap plastic and come off with no residue) then cut the top threaded portion of the bottle off. I Darkened a cork I bought from a craft store with a lighter, then decorated it with a wood burning tool. After about 5 minutes on youtube I learned how to tie my own rope netting and the result is in the first picture above.

I wasn’t 100% content and decided to keep experimenting. I had seen bottles wrapped in rope before and decided to give that a go. The twine I used with the first one turned out to be a little too thin and I didn’t really like the look of it. The last picture was my final attempt. I used round piece of brown leather on the bottom, a thicker rope for the wrap, and then finished it with the lighter, thinner netting over it. FYI – I did have to hot glue the crap out of the rope as I wrapped it to keep it from sliding off and coming unwound.

Don’t want to make your own? You could always buy one now!

Pirate dagger

While checking out one of thrift store this Halloween I spotted a set of Wolverine claws that looked cool and were made of very sturdy plastic (and were cheap). I thought the blades would potentially make cool looking daggers.

I ripped one of the ‘claws’ off and thinned down the end I intended to insert into a handle with a rotary tool. For the handle I used a small section of bamboo that I notched (also with the rotary tool) to accommodate the ‘blade’.

After a little hot glue and some black leather cord wrapped around, this was the result:

pirate dagger pirate dagger handle

I then used a wood burning tool to add the inscription. The loose translation from Latin is “everyone lives, not everyone deserved to”. It seemed like something a pirate would say.

Pirate Pistols

If you are looking for pirate pistols to make your pirate costume complete, you have several options.

  1. Buy actual black powder pistols or accurate reproductions. The issue for me with this option (although I do have one reproduction flintlock) is cost and weight. For some this option is just too expensive and for others the reality of traipsing around the faire (or whatever your event is) with several extra pounds of steel and wood shoved into the front of your trousers just isn’t very pleasant.
  2. Buy cheap crap that looks terrible. The issue here is…nevermind.
  3. Buy something inexpensive that can be transformed into something that looks good.

I took the 3rd approach with this pistol:

pirate pistol pirate pistol pirate pistol

I started with a very inexpensive plastic flintlock from a store called Savers (it’s a thrift store) at Halloween. I always hit the thrift and costume stores around Halloween looking for anything new that is inexpensive and can be used as (or converted to) a decent prop, accessory, or costume.

In the second picture I have sawed off the flared end because I prefer the straight barrel look. The third picture shows the end of the barrel with a piece of black leather hot-glued inside the end.

The next step is to re-finish it using the technique in TribalDancer‘s steampunk pirate gun mod on Instructables.com. With this particular pistol I will likely only refinish the ‘wood’ part because the ‘metal’ part already looks pretty decent.

Once that’s done it will look pretty decent, be very light-weight, and the plastic pistol itself was under $4.00.

UPDATE: See the follow up post here – Pirate Pistol Redux

Old Cannon balls

If you find an old cannon ball on the sea floor do NOT bring it topside – it could explode.  According to this article “Davy Jones doesn’t like you touching his stuff, and he’s booby-trapped it.” Plus there’s a couple of scientific reasons the old ball could go boom (of course the Davey Jones thing sounds cooler).

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