Maintaining Your Clothing & Equipment
Unlike many other periods of history re-enacted in the United Kingdom, much of the clothing and equipment in use is original, and as such is at least sixty years old. Given the mass production nature of this equipment it stands to reason it was not intended to last for so long, therefore greater care should he taken to maintain it.
When purchasing equipment give some thought to its eventual use in relation to the role you will be portraying in the unit. You will pay a lot more for items listed as 'mint' or 'never issued' by the dealers - items you may not wish to wear out at private battle weekends and public shows. Such equipment should he put by for prestige events - where we need to look like garrison soldiers. In the main items listed 'grade 2' or 'part worn' are sufficient, with a little tender loving care, for use at most public and private events. However try to avoid very worn items, fraying collars and cuffs etc. as these will wear out rapidly and require extensive repair or replacement.
There now follows are some suggested care and cleaning tips for clothing, equipment and weapons.
WOOL clothing should be DRY CLEANED only. If is has become heavily soiled allow the mud to dry then brush as much as you can off before taking it to be cleaned
COTTON clothing should he hand washed to help prevent colour loss. particularly on original items. Again brush off as much dry mud as possible before soaking in a mild detergent. Note: we are trying to portray combat soldiers so a little light soiling should not be worried about too much.
LEATHER items should be allowed to dry naturally should they become saturated. Do not put the by the radiator as the heat will 'kill' the leather. Once dry treat the leather with an appropriate dressing - 'Pecard Leather Restorer' for example. Boots should be cleaned and saddle soaped after each event to maintain suppleness and water proofing.
CANVAS - Equipment should he allowed to dry naturally, any dry mud can then be brushed off using a stiff brush. Metal fastenings can be wiped with a lightly oiled cloth to help prevent rusting.
CANTEEN - Boil it out occasionally, allow it to dry naturally and store with the cap OFF.
BEDDING - Unroll your blanket roll at home if it becomes wet at an event, allow it to dry naturally. This will prevent mildew. Consider applying a water repelling treatment to the canvas of the shelter tent.
Following an event disassemble and clean all your weapons. The general principles are as follows:
After removing the bolt, wash the bore and chamber of the barrel with either hot soapy, hot or cold water (depending on availability). Using cleaning rods with a cloth patch pump the water through the barrel. If available run a brass, or bronze, wire brush through whilst the bore is still wet.
Thoroughly dry the bore and chamber using a clean, dry cloth patch.
Once satisfied that the bore and chamber are thoroughly clean and dry (i.e. no fouling residue is appearing on the patches), saturate a clean cloth patch with
appropriate gun oil and swab out the barrel. Fit a canvas muzzle cover to prevent dirt from entering the barrel once clean.
Using a clean, oiled cloth rub over all of the metal parts of the weapon to leave a light coating of oil.
At regular intervals 'feed' the wooden stock with linseed oil.
Bladed weapons should also be cleaned and lightly oiled to prevent rusting.