Author Topic: “Waste Naught, Want Naught!” The Value of Camp Rags  (Read 306 times)

Offline Tsalagidave

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“Waste Naught, Want Naught!” The Value of Camp Rags
« on: October 12, 2020, 02:14:49 AM »
“Waste Naught, Want Naught!” from the Wash Basin, to Rifle and Tinder-box, the Recycled Life of an Old Rag in the Pioneer West

Primitive Life Hack: In the old days, a used-up shirt’s story didn’t end when it got tossed out; it was just getting started.

Modern manufacturing is a marvel. It allows people of modest means to acquire luxuries that were previously reserved for the wealthy few. Today, an old shirt is thrown away since a replacement is so cheap.  While we often say “they don’t make them like the used to…”, that quality came at an extra cost. However, while we may have more today, we have lost our practical ability to use a product until the last part of it has been completely consumed.


Here is where we can learn a lot from our ancestors. An old file can be repurposed into a butcher knife. Eventually, that butcher knife will be sharpened down to the size of a peeling knife. An old tin can may be repurposed as a lantern, replacement shingle or a receptacle for loose odds and ends around the shop. In this case, a shirt was not thrown out but consigned to the “cleaning rag bin” where it would serve a variety of purposes before calling it a day.

Making of a Household Cleaning Rag:
Cut along the seams to make a series of rectangular rags of varying dimensions. Remove and save the buttons. Do this and you will always have too many buttons; do it naught and there will never be an available button when you need one.  The discarded collar and hard seams make good scouring cloths and will serve well with soda or fine grade minerals to scour pots & pans. Your cleaning rags can be used around the house for a variety of tough jobs to be washed and reused until they literally fall apart. Their final use can be to wash it in strong bar soap and give it a one-way trip to the outhouse paper bin.


A Woodsman’s Use for a Cleaning Rag:
I always have a need for a good cleaning rag. I pack them with my victuals and use them for the dirty grunt work of my camp kitchen. A piece of rag that I used to season a pan will next find itself in my hunting bag. It’s been a never-ending source of amazement to me how today’s muzzle-loading shooters waste their cleaning patches. One wipe and they are in that trash! Such a greenhorn move with a scarce commodity!  I will use one patch that I rinse out after each swab to clean the barrel; another patch is used to dry and one lightly oiled patch treats the bore. I will then wash each patch in bar soap and save them for the next time.
Another use for them is as bullet wadding (or vise-versa). Either way, eventually these patches get too beat up to seat a ball or scrub a bore.

At that point, stick the old patches into an unsoldered, pressed tin box and put it into your camp fire. Flames will spurt out of the seams as the cloth chars but there is no oxygen within so the cloth won’t be consumed during the few minutes it takes to roast.  The finished “charcloth” takes a spark from flint and steel, creating a fire-starting ember.

Economy of use is key. Never look at an item and see it for its singular purpose. From a practical standpoint, see it with pre-20th century eyes. There’s probably a use for it until there isn’t…from a shirt, to a cleaning & seasoning rag, to muzzleloader wadding, cleaning patch, to charcloth and inevitably, the heart of a nice warm fire.

-DR
Guns don't kill people; fathers with pretty daughters do.

Offline Coffinmaker

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Re: “Waste Naught, Want Naught!” The Value of Camp Rags
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2020, 01:11:38 PM »

 :)  Ha!!  Waste Naught . . . . Want Naught   ;)

Guess how long it's been since I "trashed" a warn T-Shirt.  Shop Grease Rags.  Shop Cleaning Rags.  Bore Patches.  Shotgun Patches at Matches.  I still have TWO utility drawers FULL of old, stain'd T-Shirts.  At this point, since well worn, I consider them FREEBIE's

Live Long and Prosper

Offline Tsalagidave

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Re: “Waste Naught, Want Naught!” The Value of Camp Rags
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2020, 03:02:45 PM »
Coffinmaker, I could not agree more. I suppose a whole new article could be made about patching, pokes, quilting etc.

-Dave
Guns don't kill people; fathers with pretty daughters do.

Offline Dave T

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Re: “Waste Naught, Want Naught!” The Value of Camp Rags
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2020, 06:03:26 PM »
My wife thinks it's gross but I have a plastic milk crate in my shop that's full of several years worth of old Jockey shorts. I use them to clean guns and re-wash them over and over. Probably wouldn't take them to the range (smile) but some old boxers would probably pass muster.

Dave

Offline Tsalagidave

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Re: “Waste Naught, Want Naught!” The Value of Camp Rags
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2020, 06:18:21 PM »
My wife thinks it's gross but I have a plastic milk crate in my shop that's full of several years worth of old Jockey shorts. I use them to clean guns and re-wash them over and over. Probably wouldn't take them to the range (smile) but some old boxers would probably pass muster.

Dave

That has given me much to think about since I have shot some of your guns.

-Dave
Guns don't kill people; fathers with pretty daughters do.

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Re: “Waste Naught, Want Naught!” The Value of Camp Rags
« Reply #5 on: Today at 06:55:33 AM »

Offline Kent Shootwell

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Re: “Waste Naught, Want Naught!” The Value of Camp Rags
« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2020, 09:56:19 AM »
I have plenty of old clothes but I wear them.  ;D The thing that is less plentiful is time, so I buy cleaning patches and use paper towels for most chores. There was a time that cloth was hard to come by but that was before my time.
Little powder much lead shoots far kills dead.
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Offline Tsalagidave

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Re: “Waste Naught, Want Naught!” The Value of Camp Rags
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2020, 03:22:11 AM »
I hear you Kent. I'm talking more along the lines of doing the historic experiment. There are so many ways to make trigger time easier when one is only working on the marksmanship and that includes a lot of modern things getting brought into the mix.

As much as I enjoy all the years of shooting, it's the overall experience that I live for.  I'm not content with just shooting it; I'd like to deal with all the issues that come along in the same period manner as my ancestors did.  Something about it helps solidify this connection to the past that I feel makes my life just a little fuller.  I don't mind if others have different methods and thoughts on it. The main purpose of this hobby is to have fun. It's just how I like doing things.

-Dave
Guns don't kill people; fathers with pretty daughters do.

Offline Navy Six

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Re: “Waste Naught, Want Naught!” The Value of Camp Rags
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2020, 06:08:16 PM »
We just had a cotton flannel sheet wear out and I was going to toss it until I tried cutting a few cleaning patches out of it.  They worked great with black powder residue, nice and absorbent. Now I don't want to waste the rest of the sheet. Since winter is coming up I will use that time when trapped indoors to do something useful. Since it was a king size sheet I should have plenty of patches by next Spring.
I agree, Tsalagidave, about feeling that connection with the past. It just makes the whole experience richer.
Only Blackpowder Is Interesting 
"I'm the richest man in the world. I have a good wife, a good dog and a good sixgun." Charles A "Skeeter" Skelton

Offline Tsalagidave

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Re: “Waste Naught, Want Naught!” The Value of Camp Rags
« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2020, 01:36:03 AM »
Thanks for sharing Navy Six. As time goes on, I'm finding a lot of solace in the small rituals of life. Regardless if it's shaving with a straight razor, starting a fire in the old way, running ball, or roasting/grinding my own coffee beans and boiling it over some mesquite. Funny how such plain things can at the same time be so interesting, even if you have done it a thousand times before.

-Dave
Guns don't kill people; fathers with pretty daughters do.

Offline Mogorilla

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Re: “Waste Naught, Want Naught!” The Value of Camp Rags
« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2020, 06:57:34 AM »
I just did the same with some flannel sheets that were wore too thin.    They make great cleaning patches, leather dyeing cloth and leather buffing.   Great material.

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Re: “Waste Naught, Want Naught!” The Value of Camp Rags
« Reply #10 on: Today at 06:55:33 AM »

 

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