Resources

Re-enacters attempt to reflect a specific time period in their clothing, tools, and ways of doing things. Below are some companies and their websites from which the members of Tombigbee Pioneers purchase their outfits and supplies.
www.franksupply.com provides reed and splints for basket making and other crafts. They also provide binder cane for seat bottoms.
www.jas-townsend.com For over 35 years, we have helped historical re-enactors, movie makers, theatrical companies, pirates, and regular people find items including clothing,
tents, books, knives, tomahawks, oak barrels and lots of other goods appropriate
for 1750 to 1840 – especially the American Revolutionary War and War of 1812.
Whether you need a pirate shirt or a ladies gown, we can help.
www.smoke-fire.com Catalog of Colonial, Scottish, and Medieval Clothing, Patterns, Books, Historic Camp Gear, & Period Accoutrements
www.jarnaginco.com Provider of Fine Wares from 1750 through 1865. Our Uniforms, Leather Accoutrements, Footwear and Tinware are made right here in our shops in Corinth, MS, by a small staff of American craftspeople. We provide the finest quality, most authentic wares you can buy. Our Workshops produce a full complement of Military Uniforms and Equipment, as well as Men’s Civilian Clothing.
www.pantherprimitives.com,We bring the past to life by supplying historical reproduction tents and supplies for historical re-enactors and collectors. Our dedication to quality and customer service has made Panther the world’s largest manufacturer of historical tentage.
www.crazycrow.com Crazy Crow Trading Post LLC is the largest supplier of Native American and American Mountain Man crafts, craft supplies and craft kits in the world! Since 1970, Crazy Crow has grown from a single table at a powwow, to a modern 31,000 sq. ft. office and warehouse complex.
www.spottedponytraders.com providers of deer and elk leather, clothing, and tool

www.basketweaving.com V.I. Reed & Cane Inc. offers reed, ash and oak splints for baskets. They have an assortment of basket kits as well as chair caning supplies.

Suzanne Moore’s North Carolina Basketworks is also a good place for basket making and chair caning supplies.

Homemade Lye Soap

Things you will need:
18 ounces lye
3 pounds lard, or other melted fat
1 quart water
1 cup baking soda (optional, for whitening the soap)
l large cast iron or stainless steel pot (do not use aluminum)
A box or container about 10 X 15 X 2 inches. I’ve read you can use plastic but I never have. I use a cardboard soda flat lined with a big bread towel. This should make your bars about an inch thick.

This can be done inside, but have all the windows open and your exhaust fan running. Also, remember you are working with lye which is very caustic and will burn your skin. You should not touch the soap with your bare skin until the next morning after it has set overnight. The soap needs to cure before using.

Pour the lye into the pot and then add the water (the baking soda should be dissolved in the water before hand). Stir the mixture as you gradually add the MELTED fat. Continue stirring until the mixture thickens to about cake batter or corn bread consistency. Pour the mixture into the box, shaking and stirring until it spreads out evenly. The container should sit in place until the soap firms up enough to cut into bars with a plastic or a very thin piece of wood. I use a wooden butter knife. After slicing into bars, leave the container in place until the next morning when the bars should easily break apart. Separate them and just pile them back in the box or put them in a brown paper bag and set in a cool dry place for a couple of weeks to cure.

HINTS: As you are stirring the mixture, look for tracing (when you pick up the spoon a thick rope of the mixture will form as the soap drains back into the pot).If tracing has not occurred in about an hour, then you should add some heat to the bottom of the pan. In the old days they always heated the soap, partly to concentrate the lye water leached through wood ashes, and partly to render the fat since they would just put big pieces of fat into the pot with the leached lye water. Don’t boil the soap–just heat it. It should thicken up with the added heat. Just be sure to not let it get too thick.

Sometimes tracing occurs and the mixture will thicken but not to the right consistency. If this occurs, you can set the pot into a big bowl of ice and continue stirring. It should thicken. Heat would probably work in either situation.

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