Hand Made Clothes of days ago

Hand Made Clothes of Days ago. Not many people do it today. Hand spin, hand-loom, hand knit, hand weave, hand stitch and hand dye one’s own clothes. Imagine the time and patience involved. I love hand-made clothes and hand stitch some clothes when I can. But to do the whole process must be daunting. It takes me a whole winter to card and spin 15 big blobs of wool or one whole sheep fleece. I can not imagine weaving and then sewing it into a garment.

       Khadi is hand spun and woven in one’s own home. It is amazingly durable cotton that i wear spring, summer, winter and fall. Its keeps you cool and warm because of the air that is trapped into the cotton when hand spun. You can’t get this on a machine spun cotton. I love the variegation or slubs ( short cotton staples or sheep hair chunks) that is found in humble home spun textiles. My wool has plenty of them. In fact I strive for that chunky than skinny look in my wool. The khadi I am selling in my shop is hand loomed and hand spun in india. more and more kids are leaving the villages to work in the city and less and less khadi is being made. Many Khadi producers have no one to teach the skill to. 

broadfall pantsBroad fall Pants are buttoned in the front with a wide flap. They also have suspender buttons. They are comfortable and are still made by the Amish. www.gohnbrothers.comLinen coat. williamsburg va

hand made sweater sleave vestHandmade wool vest with sweater sleeves sewn in.

Hand made Hat- Williamsburg vaYour typical sleeping cap worm on a cool day in the shop.

hand made coatHand spun and loomed fabric like this is tough and durable. A true inheritable piece of clothing. Found in Colonial Williamsburg.

sticheshand stitching.

colonial pants

colonial coat

colonial jacket1800’s hand made clothes found in Shelburn Nova Scotia.

colonial jacket detail a heart appliqué on a revelotionary actor’s jacket.

mystic seaport clothingMystic Seaport attire.

hand loomed khadiAn Indian in Khadi Kurta and Dhoti.

Some one has to be wearing hand made’s in that crowd!

Natural Dyed Cashmere. Wool & Silk


natural lac dye

lac dye pot

pure lac dye

natural dye colors

dye master book

natural dye wool

Natural dye samples

dyers tea room - nepal

dyers field

lac samples

green natural dyed wool

sample rugs

indian gods on weavers wall

new york show room

carinilang samples

The colors of natural dyes can not be beat. As a novice dyer of wool and cotton, I am astounded by the color combinations that the Indian and Tibetans can achieve. My brothers knowledge of color and old recipes have created his to die for collection of rugs. Sure its in the design but the craftsmanship and quality have to be there also. You will not see that in many manufactures of rugs today. His carpets truly have SOUL. visit www.carinilang.com for the real story.

Varnishing Wooden Boats in New York


varnish, brightwork

at urbanboatworks we restore and refinish all matters of wood. On land or sea.

As  owner’s of a wooden boat, Julien & I understand varnish and the stable surface that needs to exist below the varnish. We address the under lying cause of varnish failure. ( caulk seam gone bad, bad bung, leaking port lights, not enough build up) When perfection is not required, we know how to lay on for protection. Prepping and painting wooden hulls – cold molded, plank on frame or strip construction is our pleasure. We work with Awlgrip, Kirby Paints and Fine Paints of Europe. Varnish is always Epifanes.


varnishing Allegro an s class boat


brightwork on an S- Class Boat

varnish on an alden hatch

varnish on an alden hatch

door varnish

epifanes matte varnish to a west village New York Door


Paint on Hope a q class wooden boat

Late fall is always a time for me to work on my own boat. The build up on TIGER MARU was thick. It had been 8 years since the last strip. I use an  inferred heater to strip large surfaces. The build up was thick but it only took a half hour to strip the cabin sides. Next I cabinet scraper the wood back to a uniform red color. If not done properly yellow oxidized wood will remain. The scraper ( when sharp) levels the wood out to an even plane. When the sun hits the varnish the rays will bounce off. If the surface is not fair then the rays will absorb into the wood. After the scraping I check to make sure everything is fair. You can run your hand over the surface with your eyes closed. I promise you will feel divits, high and low spots. Scrape away until it feels even. Then I sand with 150-180 to make sure all marks are out. Next comes the varnish which is played on across the grain and thinned for the first 3 coats. This ensures all the pores are filled. Full strength varnish is played on and sanded back with 320 sand paper until the build up looks right. Round eyebrows and the top of coamings gets more coats and is sanded back with a 400 grit sponge.



hand blocked cotton

hand blocking fabric

drying hand blocked cotton

carving wood stamp for block printing

Wood blocks are carved from raw wood. Intricate details are drilled and chiseled.drilling wood traditional style

bow drill

A perfectly low seat and wood low table are essential. Patience a must!hand blocked cotton pajama's

to buy hand blocked pajama’s check out  World’s End ny

New Wooden Boat Cockpit made by urbanboatworks.com


It’s not every day that some one comes along and wants a new cockpit. The owner of this almost 100 year old S Boat ALLEGRO did.

Julien loves to builds cockpits. He says ” i have always enjoyed rebuilding cockpits. Normally I am trying to keep boats afloat. Cockpits are the fluff. You have to get it right. It needs to fit. Basically that’s were you spend all your time.”

If you are in the New York area and have a wooden boat contact us thru our website at www.urbanboatworks.com

new cockpit for s boat ALLEGRO made by www.urbanboatworks.com

new cockpit for s boat ALLEGRO made by http://www.urbanboatworks.com



timberframe salvaged storm sandy woodWhen sandy blew thru the Hudson Valley in 2012 a few 100 year oaks parted way with the earth. Julien and I had to mill them up for timber in our new addition. We called in Johnny who worked them down the hillside with his bob cat. Then he transported them to an Amish neighbor who milled them for us. Next we mortised and tenoned the frame. In this movie you see the gable end wall going up. ( 30 feet long 18 ft high) We assembled the wall down on saw horses and then let the sill plate down to skids. We dragged the whole wall within two feet of position. Then we stood it up with a come a long from the existing bathroom ridge.

What we learned: The Amish do amazing mill work. Any person who uses the kitschy word sustainability must study the Amish.

We learned that old tree’s absorbed minerals from the earth and deposit it in there checks to prevent disease. We had gorgeous green cooper deposits in the wood.

We learned old Toyota pick up trucks make for good demolition.

We learned mortise and tenon joinery is a pleasure  in green oak.


Crafted By Hands – A Rustic Wood Tradition


made from old house parts- painted out with rabbit skin glue and pigments

made from old house parts- painted out with rabbit skin glue and pigments

I am really getting into it now. My winter visit to Colonial Williamsburg has given me much inspiration. I knew it would. I have ordered some traditional hand tools from Lee Valley. A german Ax and froe for splitting small and large tree limbs. A drawknife, brace and bit with Auger, and soon a shave horse. I am not a detailed technical person. I don’t measure real well and I shoot from the gut. Not so easy when your making dovetail joints and furniture that is supposed to be square. Now that I have discovered simple hand tools and rough green wood, I am back. This kind of woodwork fits my soul. When I froe a piece of wood it really goes where its gonna go. I feel the wood is dictating the piece. I am just going with the grain, basically. Not the same with all the machine tools I have been using. There is a delight in the hand hewn doweled stools, benches and tables I have been making. There are always marks of the tools I am using and all my little petty mistakes. It’s so much easier letting them show.

Green Wood BenchThis is the kind of stuff I have been making. Simple Durable and what I call Inheritable. As it gets old it gets better!

Mortising Wood

Rustic wood stools

Williamsburg Stool

Green Wood Stool

Stool- Bench- Table

My Durable Goods NY collection can be viewed at www.etsy.com/shop/DURABLEGOODSny

Fine Paints of Europe Glossy Door


I have been painting with Fine Paints of Europe paints for years. This year I was able to head up to Woodstock Vt and join 50 other obsessed Fine Paints of Europe painters to become certified. Officially I am now a certified Fine Paints of Europe painter.

Fine Paint of Europe Certified painter

When someone contacts me for painting of their New York City front door I always use  Hollandlac traditional oil from Fine Paints. I also use Hollandlac on window sash restoration and on all the wooden yachts I paint or restore. Clients are often taken back when I let them know I wont use any other paint for my doors and windows. After I explain that Hollandlac has superior gloss retention, longevity and durability they start to listen. When I show them the samples they are won over.

Fine Paints of Europe Door Samples

The top picture is Brilliant and the lower is a satin. Both are great. For a door to be done up in Brilliant one has to have a little more money. A coat or two of Swedish Putty is used to skim the door. It is sanded back to perfection and then coated with paint. A High Gloss door will set you apart. It is both dramatic and durable. But there is nothing like the classic enduring quality of a satin or matte door. It really goes with everything and is equally desirable but not as dramatic.

fine paint test cards


This test card shows how Hollandlac covers. The red satin in one coat as well as the dark green Brilliant on the right.

covering ability of fine paints verses other designer brands

The best and the rest if proof. These test cards show leading designer brands cover ability. Sherman Williams and Farrow and Ball do not get even close with the one coat test. Fine paint covers better because of their high pigment to binder ratio’s. Pick up a can of this stuff and you will realize this by the can’s weight.

Painting a Door in Manhattan can be challenging due to the movement of people thru the doorway. The dust and dirt and grime do not help any either. But working on old historic doors and working with old time paints is a true passion of mine. I can’t imagine spending all the time I do stripping and painting doors and windows and boats and not having a product like Hollandlac to work with. Hollandlac can be mixed into any color, which is a great thing because yacht enamels come in crazy bright colors that do not work on New York’s finest wooden doors.

Typically I spend about $150 in materials to paint an Entrance door in Brilliant or super super high gloss Hollandlac paint. Sanding, priming and painting takes 3-6 days and  costs from $1200 to $1800. Restoration is on an hourly basis as its impossible to know where there is rot or broken parts when the paint build up is still on the door. Restoration tends to run $3000 to $5000 depending upon the detail and amount of doors involved.

Full Door Restoration- west village New York


Fine Paints of Europe has great Marine Varnishes and Eurothane’s that are great on floors, doors, banisters and boats. St John Varnished Antique Door

Always use Fine Paints of Europe on your entrance doors!! You will not be sorry.


Steam bending Oak Veneer

An old oak table that has been kicked around & soaked by Hurricane Sandy found it’s way to our shop. Here Julien is steam bending a piece if 1/8 ” oak wood. He uses the Earlex steam machine ( $75 bucks) a plastic plumbing pipe, a clamp and some rags.

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/112111235″>Steam Bending Oak Wood to a curve</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user7487212″>dana carini</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Manila Line = Nautical Madness


I have been jazzing everything up in my life with manila line for years. Partly because I own a boat and always have it around and partly because its cheap and make’s a great make do material. If and when I get around to finding the PROPER ( boring) replacement I do not feel bad, nor have I lost much money or time. When In my twenty’s, on my first boat, I would make marvelous items out of old line and manila. I used Hervey Garrett Smith’s book The Marlinspike Sailor. Much better then Ashleys book of knots.(way to  complicated for my tropic drenched brain)

Hanging Rope Beds For sale on www.durablegoodsny.com

Hanging Rope Beds For sale on www.durablegoodsny.com

Fenders and wisksBaggy Wrinkles for protectionManila RopeManila Rope loft at Mystic SeaPortManila LineMaking of Line

My boyfriend is so sweet to carry my junk finds. He knows how useful this junk find is.

My boyfriend is so sweet to carry my junk finds. He knows how useful this junk find is.

Art of RopeWork


Drawer pulls fashioned with a tack knot

Drawer pulls fashioned with a tack knot

You know how much that metal stuff can add up to

You know how much that metal stuff can add up to

The perfect Door Pull

The perfect Door Pull

Easy Stair Case BanisterDitty bag - riggers bucket