Product Review

Ettore Squeegee

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Almost three decades ago this young pup was called upon to clean some windows.  An idea blossomed to do my cleaning the way professionals do theirs – with professional-quality implements and techniques.  Storefront windows are large expanses of glass.  A large squeegee was wanted.

Within a dedicated commercial cleaning supplies company, choices were examined.  Brass components seemed best.  I chose an 18″ model which looked fully serviceable.  Sleek, elegant, well-balanced.  Excellent duty this squeegee did.  After proper scrubbing a streak-free glass surface was obtained.

Eventually I left the storefront.  The squeegee tagged along, to be rediscovered years later.  A glass shower enclosure wanted a professionally cleaned look.  The squeegee worked before, so I tried it again.  Time had not been kind to the rubber insert.  Back to the same supply company, where they sold insert by the foot.

Not knowing any better, I took what they sold.  Which was ill-fitting, poorly formulated, immediately left streaks, and quickly began leaving black smudges.  Lets be clear.  The OEM insert lasted years of light use and performed perfectly.  The replacement never gave satisfaction.  Research was in order.

Originally purchased was the Cadillac of squeegees, an Ettore, produced by the leader in such products.  An American Dream story of manufacturing.  Immigrant has invention then is spurned by manufacturers and vendors.  Immigrant markets invention, becomes successful, dominates the market long after patent runs out.  Initially balance and design won converts.  But the streak-free glass … what was that about?  The secret rubber formula of the squeegee insert!

Back to OEM I go.  For about the SAME cost as a cheap import squeegee insert, I buy a genuine Ettore insert.  My 18″ Ettore is back to full function.  A perfect product.

Buy a flute and you own a flute. Buy a professional squeegee and you’re a professional window washer.   Abraham Lincoln, 1853

Fiebing’s Saddle Soap

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Rehabbing old properties sounds glamorous but it’s dirty business.  Smacking everything apart and returning it to rights makes of mess of clothes and boots.  Clothes go into the Maytag.  The boots?  Special care is required.  Like we learn in the Army, you gotta take care of your feet.  That means taking care of your boots.  When the dust settles, I return my boots to factory specification.  A good cleaning, then boot oil.

For cleaning,  I continue a family tradition, trusting the same company my great-grandfather trusted with his farrier business.  Since 1895, the Fiebing Company has been manufacturing high quality Horse Care, Shoe Care and Leather Care products in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. – Fiebing

First a strong hose to remove mud and concrete dust, blood and sweat.  An old kitchen pad rubbed about in dampened Fiebing’s Saddle Soap gives me a hearty lather for sturdy scrubbing.  After a good rinse and a day for the leather to dry, its time to hydrate.  

Red Wing Boot Oil came with the Red Wing boots.  It sat for years as earlier boots crumbled into tatters.  Finally Redfern explained to me in simple terms I could remember. “You’ve got to keep the leather oiled”.  My current #1 pair of Red Wings are over a decade old, factory-resoled once.  The #2 pair, still almost dressy, six months.

Alternate days gets alternate boots.  They both get the same care. Keep’em clean with soap and water, and when the dirt becomes embedded, Fiebing’s Saddle Soap then a good boot oil.

General Tire

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Four harsh Pennsylvania winters have come and gone.  My truck tires started to feel like I would after buried in ice and snow several months a year.  Stiff & brittle.  OEM tires on American trucks are not performance tires, they’re work tires.  And work they did, perfectly, for four years and 50,000 miles.

I’d been researching tires for the past 18 months.  With 5/16″ remaining tread and even wear, my rubber is fine on dry pavement.  But the desert deluge and spring snowstorm?  Anything can be encountered within our duties maintaining this American products online resource.

Narrowing the field is easier than expected.  Noise and traction ratings were studied.  Forums consulted.  Experts queried.  My truck’s OEM tire, General Tire’s Grabber HTS,  is better than ever.  General manufactures worldwide but my Grabbers are domestic production, Mount Vernon, Illinois.  There’s even a new Grabber HTS60 manufactured in Sumter, South Carolina.

We went with OEM.  Our local Continental dealer gave us great pricing on a new set, mounted and balanced.  Immediately thereafter we embarked on a 6,000 mile adventure.  Two-lane highways preferred.  Through New Mexico deserts, a Wyoming snow and ice storm, and wind-swept plains of Montana and South Dakota.  Perfect traction and quiet.  Six Thumbs Up experience!

Surefire

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Dave Holland said, “Go ahead and fish in the (Yellowstone) River”.  Fishing permit lacking.  His parcel abutted the old Gardiner / Mammoth pump house, he owned the pump house, and the pump house deed ran to the middle of the river.  Fish & Game could pound sand, he declared.  Sounds like he was looking for a showdown.  Which never happened.

Dave is hooking another worm with Curt.  Time moves forward.  Again I find myself along the 45th Parallel, at Mammoth Hot Springs campground.  Better equipped, this time.  Spoiled, even.  

Spoiled with the best headlamp in the world, the Surefire variable output LED.  Guaranteed forever, practically indestructible.  With a bulb life of several generations, this fine bit of engineering and craftsmanship has never failed.

Elk give me more room.  Coyotes run from Man With Third Eye Glowing. A vintage copy of Dostoyevsky can be enjoyed long after ‘quiet time’ is enacted.  A spattering of rain, wind in the trees, the distant Gardner River, and my reliable Surefire.

Badger Balm

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A gift received four years ago sat unused for months.  Need finally arose over a bracing chapped winter.  This balm was found to be superior.  An all-natural salve with pleasant wintergreen finish restored what nature took.  

Before the tin was reduced to a few smears of Badger Balm along the bottom, my restored hands had intersourced * a vendor with reasonable shipping fees.  I’m BACK IN THE BALM again!

That split nail growing from a perpetually cracked cuticle?  Finally, some relief after a couple months of consistent application.  Sub-epidermal exposure through fingertip calluses?  Stick with Badger Balm, and relief will come.  A must have through the winter and all year around!

Bill, what makes it so good?  Our philosophy flows from the ground up. We believe in using botanical ingredients that are grown in healthy soil and processed simply without the use of chemicals. Ingredients like these are filled with life force. They make for better products, for healthier people, and for a healthier planet. Badger Bill Whyte, CEO & Head Badger


*  locate materials or labor via the Internet

Harry’s Shave Cream

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Our publishing deadline is here once again.  More quickly this time around.  As life becomes busier, hectic, and committed, options to slow down remain elusive.  But one ritual can transport you for a few minutes:  the morning shave.

A Barbasol man from ‘way back, gifted shave product traditionally sat unused.  Tried once or twice, they usually seemed gooey or thick.  Turns out I was not reading the directions.  Premium shaving products contains more conditioners  to position your beard and protect the skin.  Unlike the much lighter Barbasol.

This morning with fresh blade, Harry’s Shave Cream brought me, for a few minutes, into a decadent salon.  Natural oils pop with mildly astringent nose, along with conditioners which assist in Zamboni-smooth blade action across my weathered face.  Harry’s CSR will not share their formula secrets except to list ingredients.  Research as I may, the specific plant or tree oil which brings me to reorder Harry’s remains elusive. Unlike a perfect shave, which is now within my grasp.

The whole picture, via Harry’s SMT (social media team):  Thanks so much for your interest in our products! To give you the whole picture: our blades and cartridges are engineered and manufactured in Germany using Swedish steel, our handles are made in China, and our shaving cream is developed at a really cool lab in New Jersey. Every Harry’s item is uniquely designed and produced, but we hope you’ll love them all equally.

Harry’s shipping boxes are of particular genius.  Perfectly sized, sturdy, reusable.  I turn’em inside out and load them up!  Next project?  Take an unpurposed  box, unfold it flat, and have my nieces draw on it.  Then reassemble.  Voilà, first of the Harry’s Collectable Boxes.  You will not know which edition you receive until your order arrives, with instructions:  Kindly unpack your Harry’s premium shave gear for later use. Unfold this box to flat.  Reassemble inside out.  Fill your new Harry’s ART SERIES container with multi-generational treasures and enjoy!

3M Personal Safety Division

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La sécurité n’est pas un accident.

I gear up for another season with that famous French proverb ringing in my ears.  Safety is not an accident.  Eye protection?  Check!  Uxex for me.  Ears?  Hoppes plugs are always within reach and used, even if drilling only one or two holes in concrete.  Lungs?  As they say, when you can’t breathe, nothing else matters. 

After several apprentice seasons struggling with disposal breathing masks, I took advice from safety experts at Graingers.  North/Honeywell or 3M are the usual offerings when safety is your top concern.  Decades later, I have and use both brands.  Honeywell for light dust and all day comfort, and the 3M “half-mask” for more involved irritants.

The 3M™ Half Facepiece Reusable Respirator 6000 Series.  Interchangeable cartridges for protection within different contaminants.  While this unit will not provide oxygen, with the right cartridges, muriatic acid can be handled safely in a well-ventilated area.  With the pictured P100 Particulate Filters, I’m protected against anything the typical construction site stirs up.

Healthy body, healthy mind, restful sleep.