Yes, it’s that time of year. I supposed I should have had this up on the now ubiquitous Cyber Monday. Let’s think of this post as being 51 weeks early for next year!
These items are quintessentially Old School. There’s something for every budget because frugality is Old School, too. Many have been mentioned previously on this blog. There’s not a single trendy item on the list. These items are of lasting value and have found their way into the lives Old School Men (this one included) around the world. Any one of these items will help you be a better Old School man, father, husband, brother,son or friend.
Use this guide for the Old School men and boys in your life. And don’t forget to “accidentally” let your best girl see it.
Old School Tools & Accessories
Competence and preparedness are two traits of an Old School Man. The right tool helps a man be more competent and a tool he can carry with him every day helps him be prepared. Enter the Leatherman CS4. Love this thing.
As I was typing this post my in-laws stopped by with a birthday present for my now three year old son, Danny. If you’ve unpacked a toy recently, you know they are more securely packed than Fort Knox. I literally had to cut through eight zip ties, slice six strips of tape and unscrew two screws so Danny could play with a foam tee ball set. All while not ripping up the package. It was easy because the Leatherman CS4 that lives in my front right pocket.
If you want to get some Old School in ya, get the CS4 in your pocket. $49
OK, you need a beefier multi-tool? You want the Leatherman Wave, the most popular Leatherman tool ever. Too big for most pockets; it comes with nylon sheath you can secure on your belt. Great to have on your belt for the Old School Man who has a little more on his work plate. $63
I’m sitting on mine right now. My Saddleback Leather Bi-Fold Wallet, that is. Guaranteed for 100 years! They’ll fight over it when you’re dead. This is the wallet I carry every day. Saddleback Leather products are unmatched, manly, rugged, long-lasting… Old School!
Like most men, I’ve had dozens of wallets in my life. This will be the last one. It’s just that good. $60
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What’s In YOUR Old School Pockets?
My personal favorite is my vintage 1959 Gillette Fat Boy. But those are tough to come by. Looking for a modern Old School equivalent? Try this Merkur. A friend of mine who began traditional shaving because of Old School Rules (changing one life at a time) uses this model and raves about it. You will, too. At thirty-three bucks and change, you’ll be shaving Old School in no time.$34. Get the how-to details here.
If you shave with an Old School double edge razor and use it with some aerosol shaving cream you are risking Nancy Boy status. This stuff has a crisp, clean scent that is perfect for the morning shave. $10. Put a little in your hand and get your…
The woosh of a badger shaving brush beats the splurgle a can of aerosol shaving cream every time. $12
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Old School Shaving 101
For The Old School Homestead
A homestead is a little bit more of a homestead when a dinner bell is rung. It translates “clang-clang-clang-clang” into “Supper is ready. Bring it in, boys!” $12
You and the family surrounding your firepit. Chili inside this pot. Rolls cooking on top. If you put your ear close to the pot (Careful!) you can hear a lonesome cowpoke playing the wistful tune on his harmonica, pining for his girl. Dutch oven cooking is Old School cooking at its best. $57
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How to build your backyard fire pit
Old School Books & Sundry Entertainments
These first two books are about Batman. I’ve long had the conviction that an Old School Man has the deceptively valuable quality of quirkiness. It manifests itself in different ways in different men. In me, one way is an apologetic love of all things Batman. If you share this, you’ll want these books.
The first is Becoming Batman: The Possibility of a Superhero by E. Paul Zeher. The author is a neuroscientist and martial arts black belt. He looks at the science of the body’s capability to respond and adapt to extremes… Batman extremes. What is so compelling about this book is that he begins with a fantasy-based question, “Could someone train to be a real-life Batman?” and actually seriously answers it. The books is laden with medically researched based answers arriving at the bottom line of “Yes, it is possible, but…” You’ll have to read the book to find out what follows the “but”. This book is also a study in how to make what could be a rather dry subject — neuroscience, training, etc. — interesting to the laymen.$17
The other book is The Batman Handbook: The Ultimate Training Manual by Scott Beatty. No where near as scientific in approach as the previous book, but extremely entertaining. It has chapters like…
- How to assemble a Utility Belt
- How to take out a roomful of Goons
- How to make a Bat-signal
- How to train a sidekick
- How to withstand poison kisses
This is stuff we need to know. Particularly that last one. So I said to the Smokin’ Hot Wife, “Eat this garlic bread and kiss me for several hours. It’s not because I’ll enjoy it. You see, I’m a crime fighter.” $11
No Batman here. Just great advice. I know I reviewed this book on OSR a few days ago, but I must give it one more push here. This book is a “one stop shop” kind of book. I’ve cracked it open hundreds of times. A great resource no matter how big your homestead.
Long time OSR readers know my family and I moved from the suburbs to the country about one and a half years ago. One of the motivations for the move was to have a more “agrarian lifestyle” for our family, especially for our boys. This translates into some tasks we’ve done (plant eight fruit trees, chickens for eggs, heat with wood), some in progress (huge garden) and some to be done (goats, cow, canning produce).
This book has been a huge asset. While not the biggest book of its kind, it’s virtually encyclopedic commitment to creating a backyard homestead is staggering. Want to raise a pig? Want to raise ducks? Have bees for honey? Oats? Strawberries? Make beer? Make cheese? It’s in here. Well-written and informative, if you’re making a move from suburbanite living to a more agrarian, homestead lifestyle, you want this book. If you want to make your suburban or city home more of a homestead, you want this book. Just $12 and change on Amazon. $12
For Your Future Old School Men
Though I expressed concerns with this book here, it deserves to be on the shelf of every dad who has a son. It encourages kids to get outside, do things, get off their butts and take action along with taking some risks. It’s a modern day version of the classic Boy Scout Handbook, with a nostalgic twist thrown into its marketing. While it’s a great book, its real value is not in what it is but what it begins. No single book is going to be able to teach every worthwhile Father/Son skill, but this books gets you on that path and, more importantly, will give you a kick in the pants when you need it. $17
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Projects for Old School Boys
A few months back I wrote a post about the legendary Red Ryder, giving “Six Reasons BB Guns Are In My Boys’ Lives”
#1 Some day real guns will be in my boys lives.
#2 A BB gun gets the boys and Dad outdoors.
#3 A BB gun teaches important safety lessons and life lessons
Learn all 6 reason here. Then get your Red Ryder on.
Add plywood, trains, a conductor hat and your set. This set gives you all the train track you’ll need for a great layout that you and your boys can work and play on throughout 2012 and beyond. It even comes with a DVD to explain how to do everything. $91
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Keep it Old School, my friend
The Old Man, Chris Dixon