A lot of us work pretty hard to get our gear into a condition that is often called "Period Correct" or PC. This can be for one of the CAS type shooting sports or ren-acting/living history. For the shooting sports it is a bit more simple, one has to meet at least the minimum standards of the group you are shooting with, any more is great.
For the others it can get harder since a lot more of us camp and we're more often in the eye of the general public. There lies the big problem, this can get expensive and in some cases it can be impossible. We need to decide how far we can afford to go or need to go.
My project this winter is to completely work over my cook camp and get it in the shape I'm happy with. Totally PC will never happen, but I want it to the point everything not is hidden or is something most folks including my peers won't recognize. In my case this sometimes involves using food products that are only close, a good example being flour. PC would require un-bleached flour, a simple task, just go to the local health food Coop and pay about a $1 a pound for it. But that won't happen with modern bleached being about $6 for a 25 pound bag and I often take 50-100 pounds of flour on a trip. There are others that few will recognize, but they are there, they either involve cost or simply items exactly right not being obtainable or at least simply. (Can anyone tell me which apples that one can buy at the produce dept of your local store are PC and which are not? Most can say Red Delicious is not PC and there it ends.) To tell the truth almost all modern produce is only close.
I am in the process of building more camp boxes and a recent find at a local hardware store gave me many items I need and caused me to start this thread for fun.http://www.cascity.com/forumhall/index.php/topic,40428.0.html
I used some of the de-plated screws in building this box:
And I used some painters tricks I obtained form somebody to make the paint look like the old milk paint. But with some research and some more help, the rest will be painted with homemade milk paint.
The box was put together with modern Philips head cabinet screws with are counter sunk and then filled. You can not tell they are there. It is also nailed with drawn wire nails, something I found out is PC from the 1860's from finding some pictures from the period showing drawn nails. Both cut and drawn were used side by side for many years, availability and use dictated which was used. Recent research and finding some from the period shows that modern store bought ones are not totally PC, does anyone but me know why? Cut nails can also still be found but are both limited in size and are expensive but can be found at places you would never expect such as Menards.
Enamel ware is another interesting one, the majority of it in the US in this time period was the grey with white speckles, pure white being also fairly common. Both are very hard to find today, except as true antiques and I avoid using true antiques when I can for both cost and preferring not to risk a piece of history. However with some research and the help of a friend who collect enamelware I have found out the other colors were around, but are rare because they were more expensive in the time period do to the cost of the pigments used at the time.
I could go on and on with things that are close and few really know the difference, it can drive you crazy if you let it, one needs to decide for yourself what you have to do.
I offer this for all to think about with apologies to Reinhold Niebuhr.God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot reproduce,
Courage to reproduce the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.