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Indyguy
07-01-2006, 01:31 PM
I may get flamed on for this but........:?
Okay, can one get a less than top quality uniform and turn it into a more authenic looking garment? Hand sew the button holes etc.? Or is this like a silk purse sows ear story?
I have seen some people get run off the field in their imported uniforms and never come back, I mean harsh stuff was said.But from where I sat I thought they looked okay, So what's it all about:confused:
I was told buy one person that my cartidge box strap was wrong because it was bridle leather then I read that most were.
I paid $95.00 for a Forage cap"Museum Quality" it's made of some nice wool then I read that they were made from Jean cloth. so Now I am lost and asking for the community to set me straight and get me going in the right direction. Anyone's ideas will be helpful since everyone here seems to know what's what in the hobby. Thanks

Big Irish Will
35th IVI- 1st Irish

VaTrooper
07-01-2006, 02:14 PM
Its the silk purse story. Who made the cap?

Hondo
07-01-2006, 02:19 PM
Will,

It all boils down to the impression you are doing and that of your unit. At 50 yds a spectator will be hard pressed to properly identify quailty. If doing a living history where you will direct contact with spectators then by all means try to have the most correct kit you can.




Hondo

MStuart
07-01-2006, 02:44 PM
Will:

The A/C website has a list of top drawer sutlers who's work is as close as it gets to the originals. I would start there first when purchasing. That being said, the A/C website also has a search function. There's a plethora of threads on research and findings done by many over there and you're more than likey to find just what you need. One word of caution........use the search function first before asking a million questions.

Mark

reb64
07-01-2006, 03:13 PM
You have raised several good points of which I beleive there will be a long list of replies to follow. First off, most of these issues can be avoided if you buy after consulting your unit/comapany/bn NCO's. Meeting their guidlines is what is important, not anyone else's. Even if the group is mainstream, arby whatever, hardcore you will be correct for the unit, you maybe wrong accuracy wise though. Thats the seconfd part, if you are buying according to your likes and visual cues like"museum quality", you are stepping intoa hole. Many kepis wre of wool and other and can be made of museum quality, but does you unit portray wool kepi wearing soldiers or jean, or slouch hats etc.? Too many variables. My first year I bought ny own after research and was called farby. I was correct but my prospective unit was behind the times. I had a jean coat, tape trimmed shirt, sewn soled brogans and some machining sewing visible. I was told by hardcores no sewn soles existed, the shirt was farby (now standard trans miss wear) and no sewing machines existed. I hvaen't cared much for know it all's ever since, rather those with friendly advice. Correct me if I'm wrong, back off if you aren't grounded with research. Chasing someone off for wearing import sounds more like falsato patriotism than anything else. you bought cheaper and they don't like it. Most Confederate items were imported weren't they? Anyhow, ask the guy who doesn't like imported jackets if he buys from walamrt and what does he drive, mostly all imports i bet. Buy american if you can, and if you afford it,but you will notice the overpriced puffed up sutlers out therethe turn 36$of jean wool into a three hundered dollar coat. you get what you pay for, but you can convert a cheaper jacket into a harcore one. Altering sleeves, collars and button holes is fairly easy. I have owned the more expensive brands and they are nice, but one can do it themselves for a lot less and will be very comparable if just for a occational weekend outing. I mean why pay hundreds for it to be torn up. some Hardcores pay alot because they mostly just pose and want to look good but are gone at the sight of rain. I'd rather have a sturdy utilitarian coat and trousers made homespun that I won't cry over if they get torn or ripped. I better quit, cuz I feel the enemy on my heels now. Anyhow, seek out your pards and there advice first.

VaTrooper
07-01-2006, 03:21 PM
you get what you pay for, but you can convert a cheaper jacket into a harcore one. Altering sleeves, collars and button holes is fairly easy.

Ive only got one question: How are you going to get the polyester out?

skamikaze
07-01-2006, 09:52 PM
touche.

i have often taken farb gear and turned it into something more authentic. your canteen for example, may be of the sutler row variety. you can rip off that wool/polyester blend cover and handstich on a new one of jean cloth. take the extra long strap they give you, rip it off, and put on a new one of correct material and cut to the proper ride. same goes with the cork and its attachement. also, for that little added touch, do some research and find the canteen of the unit of your impression and stencil paint your company letter or whatever they put on there. it may be a farby tin canteen underneath but from the outside it will be nice. same goes for haversacks and knapsacks.

my current project is a union shell jakect with blue piping that is totally farb that i bought for $20. i cut off all the piping and the buttons, took an inch off the closure of the front, and am tapering the bottom to curve like the short zouave jackets of the 95th PA. then im adding red piping and ball buttons as well.

VaTrooper
07-01-2006, 10:08 PM
By the time you buy the sling, cover kit, and sew it on you could have gotten a quality one. And stenciling in your units names a nice touch, as long as your unit was at the event. And I dont even wanna talk about the jacket.

reb64
07-02-2006, 08:37 AM
Ive only got one question: How are you going to get the polyester out?


Well of course if there is obvious synthetic material scratch that conversion. But then again you would be suprised how incorrect even the best fabrics we use are, the jean plies and counts are incorrect but have been improved of late. In reality we are all farbs in a way.

reb64
07-02-2006, 08:40 AM
By the time you buy the sling, cover kit, and sew it on you could have gotten a quality one. And stenciling in your units names a nice touch, as long as your unit was at the event. And I dont even wanna talk about the jacket.


Not true, many squre feet of jean just lies around. I have a ton. You can convert a canteen to jean fairly cheap, no sense paying 10-20 for a small patch of jean.

VaTrooper
07-02-2006, 10:59 AM
This fella wants to have a good authentic impression. Will, go buy some on Nicks Tread on me socks!

theknapsack
07-02-2006, 04:17 PM
Will,
Here's a great article for you. (http://www.authentic-campaigner.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1080)
Here's another. (http://www.authentic-campaigner.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1079)
And another. (http://www.authentic-campaigner.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1094)

Here's another good tip: Do the research yourself, and then you can decide who makes the best whatever (research is half the fun!).
Some research is as easy as clicking this link, (http://www2.inxpress.net/jwedeward/original_civil_war_uniforms.htm) or clicking this one. (http://cjdaley.com/research.htm) Some research is a bit harder but extremely rewarding. I suggest that you take advantage of magazines like the Civil War Historian (http://civilwarhistorian.com/)

Go to sites, find articles (good ones) and read them! And then read some books! And do some research! And then choose the vendors to buy from! And then go to some Good Events! (http://www.authentic-campaigner.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=5)

Always remember that the more you know, the more you know you don't know and that a good reenactor is always learning, growing, and improving. This way you won't have to ask people you've never met questions which you can easily answer for yourself. If the vendor doesn't provide enough information to prove the garment's authenticity, and you can't handle it, then don't buy it.

Indyguy
07-02-2006, 05:05 PM
Many great answers, I am a History Major who graduated from Notre Dame and I thought I knew history, well I know history but was completely lost as to Farby or Authenic. I am a member of the 35th Indiana Regt. A Co. or 1st Irish. I had family members that served in this unit, in the war that is, and one I was named for as was my father.
But one point I thought was interersting reb64 said we are all farbs in reality, that I find is true to some extent, How many of us are or were farmers? I was for a time and farmed the same land that my CW family did, that does not make me more authenic but does help in Living Histories when I need something to talk about.And I don't mean you are less if you did not Farm. So how far do you go when calling someone farb? But the same "Lt.Col" who counts stitches and bitches about being authenic slept in his RV while I slept with my non authenic blankets and poncho in the rain.So I don't feel too bad about his not allowing me to be in his unit, which is not the 35th, as I found the 19th Indiana and I had some fun with some guys who were just glad to have me in the ranks.
What is the view on the book Echos of Glory- Uniforms and Equiptment as a reference? I use it alot and I am planning on purchasing some of Nick's items as soon as I save up more money or win the lottery, or rob a bank but they are the best from what I've been told and from the limited research I've done.
But I thank everyone for the comments and I plan to do the research and just be happy with my own impression.
Thanks again
Big Irish Will
35th IVI A co.

reb64
07-02-2006, 06:09 PM
Many great answers, I am a History Major who graduated from Notre Dame and I thought I knew history, well I know history but was completely lost as to Farby or Authenic. I am a member of the 35th Indiana Regt. A Co. or 1st Irish. I had family members that served in this unit, in the war that is, and one I was named for as was my father.
But one point I thought was interersting reb64 said we are all farbs in reality, that I find is true to some extent, How many of us are or were farmers? I was for a time and farmed the same land that my CW family did, that does not make me more authenic but does help in Living Histories when I need something to talk about.And I don't mean you are less if you did not Farm. So how far do you go when calling someone farb? But the same "Lt.Col" who counts stitches and bitches about being authenic slept in his RV while I slept with my non authenic blankets and poncho in the rain.So I don't feel too bad about his not allowing me to be in his unit, which is not the 35th, as I found the 19th Indiana and I had some fun with some guys who were just glad to have me in the ranks.
What is the view on the book Echos of Glory- Uniforms and Equiptment as a reference? I use it alot and I am planning on purchasing some of Nick's items as soon as I save up more money or win the lottery, or rob a bank but they are the best from what I've been told and from the limited research I've done.
But I thank everyone for the comments and I plan to do the research and just be happy with my own impression.
Thanks again
Big Irish Will
35th IVI A co.

Told you, alot of authentic guys are just posers. I would have gotten his tin type of him in the rv and posted it. a colonel should hve a nice enought tent you would think,

theknapsack
07-02-2006, 06:55 PM
Told you, alot of authentic guys are just posers. I would have gotten his tin type of him in the rv and posted it. a colonel should hve a nice enought tent you would think,

If they are posers then they are not authentic... so why are those two words in the same sentance? Will, If you go to good events you'll see where authentic truly lies. It's not all in the uniform, its attitude that is utmost. If you have the right attitude you should try hooking up with the Geoge H. Thomas' Invincibles (http://www.ghti.homestead.com/) or the Old Northwest Volunteers (http://oldnorthwestvols.org/index.php) to go to a few or at least one good event per year. The ONV is an anti-politic unit that does not require you to go to their events instead of your home unit. We just ask that you come with the right attitude, and like the rest of us, willing to improve. Just because some guys with good uniforms sleep in RV's doesn't mean all of them do.

JMByrnes
07-02-2006, 07:57 PM
It's funny how quickly things reduce down to hardcore vs mainstream vs farb. The man simply asked if you can take an article in your kit and improve upon it. In my opinion the correct answer is yes and no. I've seen numerous coats that are made of good quality fabric, but are machine sewn using a modern machine. If you know how to hand topstitch a coat you very well could buy a coat for 80 bucks, and after putting a few hours into it have it looking like an 150 coat. On the other hand, if you have a poor-quality blanket you really don't have many options you can take to better that blanket without buying a truly more authentic blanket.

As a recent graduate from college the entire time I've spent in this hobby was during my college career, which meant not much money to put toward my impression. So, I had to cut some corners here and there and opt for the cheaper, and then improve upon it as I could. My only piece of advice here is that you really ought to try and go with the higher quality "American-made" gear because it really does hold up much better than the gear that is imported. Take advantage of the buy, sell, trade folders on this forum and others similar to it. You can often find great gear with plenty of life left in it for a modest amount of money. If you continually buy imported you'll have spent more in continually replace inferior quality goods than you would have spent on that piece that is crafted by a skilled craftsman.

flattop32355
07-02-2006, 10:15 PM
Yeah, we tend to always degenerate into the class warfare thing.

That being said, all sides have some legitimate points. The trick is figuring out which are which, while realizing that nothing is all white or all black.

The answer to your original question is, of course, variable. Do you want the coat to be as accurate as possible? All you need to do is, first remove all the fabric.....

Do you want the coat to be more accurate than it is now? Then remove incorrect surface errors, such as improper cut or machined button holes. How close do you want the "look" to be? Remember, someone will always not like it, and will tell you so, especially if you tell him it isn't made by one of his favorite vendors.

If you want the best, expect to pay for it, but also remember there are folks out there making good articles who don't have the name recognition of the "approved vendors". Who are they? That's open to each person's opinion: we can't even agree on who's the best at making a given "authentic" item. One hardcore swears by Vendor Z, another swears at him. I know whom I trust to make what I consider good wares. I may be proven wrong at some time, but until shown differently, I'll continue purchasing those items from those vendors.

Then comes the battle over impression: Each one of us considers a farb to be anyone less "authentic" than ourselves, while anyone more "authentic" is a hardcore. They are relative terms which are losing meaning by the minute.

I also agree that we're all "farby". Some are just more obvious about it than others. The only true authentics are the boys who fought the war. The rest of us just try to be like them to one degree or another.

Along with that, each of us is willing to cut ourselves some slack on those areas we don't feel like pursuing as accurately that we don't always give to the other guy (your Lt. Col., for example). This hobby is made up of flawed human beings with their own concepts and prejudices, likes and dislikes. We don't fall lock-step into line in any other aspect of our collective lives, so why do we expect it to happen here in this hobby?

On to Echos of Glory: No one reference is the end-all and be-all. Also, new information is always turning up. For example, at one time it was thought that no infantry units were issued ponchos, only gum blankets. We now know that isn't true, although it is for most units.

Finally, as for "knowing" history, it depends upon what you mean by that. I know a fair bit about the Civil War, but there are small battles I've never heard of, and aspects of major ones I've not noted before. I can know the basic and general information, but be totally ignorant of the details. I can also know a particular battle down cold to the last detail, but can't tell you a thing about some other battle. And I know next to nothing about the civilian aspects. I also have other, non-CW interests that interfere with learning all there is to know about this subject.

My suggestion to you would be to determine how deeply you wish to go in this hobby, and then don't be afraid to go further. It is a process, a journey. Some reach their personal end destination sooner than others who wish to continue on down the road. It doesn't particularly make one or the other better, just different. We tend to lose sight of that sometimes.

Doug Cooper
07-03-2006, 12:42 AM
I may get flamed on for this but........:?
Okay, can one get a less than top quality uniform and turn it into a more authenic looking garment? Hand sew the button holes etc.? Or is this like a silk purse sows ear story?
I have seen some people get run off the field in their imported uniforms and never come back, I mean harsh stuff was said.But from where I sat I thought they looked okay, So what's it all about:confused:
I was told buy one person that my cartidge box strap was wrong because it was bridle leather then I read that most were.
I paid $95.00 for a Forage cap"Museum Quality" it's made of some nice wool then I read that they were made from Jean cloth. so Now I am lost and asking for the community to set me straight and get me going in the right direction. Anyone's ideas will be helpful since everyone here seems to know what's what in the hobby. Thanks

Big Irish Will
35th IVI- 1st Irish

Will - The answer to the basic question is "NO." Think about the logic of buying something incorrect and then attempting to fix it...and of course you will fall short of simply owning something made correctly from the beginning. Its not just about buttonholes. Any vendor that would machine sew buttonholes is making other construction, pattern and material mistakes as well. I love Bernard's comment about "first remove the fabric." Exactly :-).

Buy good stuff once, rather than bad stuff many times or attempting to fix bad stuff. Its cheaper, easier and allows one to concentrate on learning to be a soldier. Do your own research - read the huge amount of information available on sack coats for example, or cartridge boxes, caps, etc.

Start with the Authentic Campaigner Approved Vendor list - its not everyone but is a great start. You need to have confidence that the vendor has the experience and expertise to do it right - the list does that. But always remember to do your research. Ensure that everything you buy is correct in materials, pattern and construction, from good vendors and patterned DIRECTLY off an original (vice photos). NEVER BUY ANYTHING IMPORTED - its incorrect in all ways and you would not believe the huge profit margins made off the imported garbage many sutlers sell. Just don't do it, for a variety of reasons cited.

Your comment about the cap is confusing - what type cap? Which army? Sounds like you are getting a load of bad advice from somewhere. Millions of federal forage caps were made with fine dark blue wool - and anyone who would tell you they were mostly made of jean wool is simply wrong.

VaTrooper
07-03-2006, 12:49 AM
NEVER BUY ANYTHING IMPORTED - its incorrect in all ways.

Doug,
Dont forget about Jan Berger from Germany. But he's the only one I know.

Indyguy
07-03-2006, 07:43 AM
I plan to be as authenic as I can get and not have to sell another child to do it, the first one was a flop.:)

I thank everyone, I do not want to name names as this hobby is so small that
I would run into some one who I named and that'd be it, I try to burn no bridges.
I found out that the imported Trowsers are not at all as good as I thought, they tore up the first time out.Right in the crotch, but I saw some others who had the same problem but it was not the first time out for theirs.
As for knowing History I know what I was taught and what I was able to learn from the 100 or so books I own about the CW.But history is changing everyday and this post with be history tommorrow, see:)
The item I started this post asking about is really my Jacket an Unlined sack coat from a sutler row sutler.
I have some muslin to line it with and the button holes, Finally got to it:) altho machine cut were left unfinished so I thought that I would finish them by hand and maybe help the look of the garment. but it does not look that far off.
You hear so many things in this hobby about what is right and what is not that you can easily spend $1000's before you get to were you want to be, or were you should be without getting flamed at events.
I think mostly it's about accepting someone for what he is, just the same as you someone who for whatever reason has chosen this as a hobby.
I will have to say that this has been the most/best uniform discuussion I have had and I learned alot. The knapsack I especially thank you for the links I read them and have signed up over at the AC site. So thanks Again I will try to remember to take b4 and after pictures of my coat to post and see what you all think.

cosgood
07-03-2006, 08:58 AM
Will,

To get down to the nuts and bolts of your question. While re-doing the button holes etc.. of your coat may improve the appearence to a degree, you still have several problems with the "sutler" rown variety of coats, trousers etc...

The correct material is just one facet of the solution, but also the construction and yes the pattern. Most repro uniform items offered by the run of the mill sutlers do not use the correct pattern. These items basically look similar to the originals, but are not close when comparing the two. Here's a good example: Sutler row trousers, pattern wise dont have the high rising back like they should and are cut more like modern day trousers than that of a pair of trousers from the 1860's include the wrong material and construction and you have more of a costume garment than a good repro.

My advice since I gather you already have purchased all your items, is to improve on what you have by resewing them. And at the same time, piece by piece replace items. The first few items to be noticed are your hat and coat, so start there and work your way down.

Anyhow I hope you find this information helpfull.

Casey Osgood
The Sappers

skamikaze
07-03-2006, 11:04 AM
alright. if your question was leaning towards, "can i take cheap stuff i already am stuck with and fix it up?" then yes, in most cases you can.

if you meant "should i buy cheap gear with the intention of fixing it up?" then no. you are much better off buying from a reputable sutler.

i started out buying cheap and still have a lot of that gear. i fixed up the stuff i could and basically loan out my less authentic gear to newbies who want to try the hobby. since my wife and i can sew fairly well, we have dissasembled some of my old uniforms and reswen them by hand, making correct alterations and etc. I would not recomend this as your main way of aquiring new gear. this is just somehting we do on our own. they are still of poor materiel BUT, if you read a lot of accounts from early war volunteers, their first batch of uniforms were often shoddily made and poorly contructed. one soldier charecterized the material of his first coat as "a villainous compund, the refuse stuff and sweepings of the shop, pounded, rolled, glued and smoothed the the external gloss of the cloth, but no more like the geunine article than the shadow is to the substance." thats pretty much how i feel about the first sack coat i bought, which is now a bed for my mom's two cats.

Indyguy
07-03-2006, 11:14 AM
The pattern seems correct based solely on what I find in the Echos of Glory book and some CW patterns I have from James Country Mercantile. I believe the fabric is however the wrong weight, because the trowsers wore out so fast.
I am purchasing some hand sewn(at least those that can be seen) Trowsers made of 21oz Kersey wool from a maker in Gettysburg, I do not know the name of the maker as these were being sold from a 2nd party, these are new and appear to be of good quality and pattern (SA type?)
I got into the hobby with about $250.00 for my Uniform and about $200.00 for leathers all new.
Iam a hat freak and have many different hats, most I don't wear as they aren't proper for my impression. The two I do wear are my green private purchase Kepi, which is what the 35th and 61st(2nd Irish) was issued based on historcial documents at the Indiana state archives. and my Forage cap which I took apart and sewed back together to give it more character and some flair. I have a cheap pair of sutler brogans that I love dearly and work fine. However I have a pair of Missouri? brogans I boght used that fit like all ******************** and don't get much wear.
I am so new I still have yet to purchase a weapon which is my next "big" purchase.

3rdUSRedleg
07-03-2006, 12:49 PM
Sir;

In good faith to a fellow reenactor who wishes to improve his impression and is open minded.....
I would wish to donate a few items to help you get started.
Please email me at rhdepot@epix.net

reb64
07-03-2006, 01:11 PM
I beg to differ somewhat, no one has the exact correct material. Some are closer to dead on than others, such as Mickey Black mouse grey jean (I have compared to original) . And besides Federals were issued "********************" too weren' they, like blue felt, jean etc.? Coats that bled blue, etc etc. Having the best there is to buy doesn't necessarily make you the most authentic.

VaTrooper
07-03-2006, 02:10 PM
Having the best there is to buy doesn't necessarily make you the most authentic.

Thats quiet possibly the only thing we'll ever agree on.

VaTrooper
07-03-2006, 02:31 PM
I would wish to donate a few items to help you get started.


Kewl! Free Stuff! I'll take this.


http://cgi.ebay.com/Civil-War-Era-Canteen-Strap-Combo_W0QQitemZ6636416254QQihZ012QQcategoryZ13961Q QssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

Indyguy
07-04-2006, 03:26 PM
If I heard correctly the uniforms that the Federals got were just sweepin's and whatever, at least at first, and this is in many diaries.And it is were we got the word shoddy.

TeamsterPhil
07-04-2006, 07:45 PM
<inserting tongue into cheek>

How has this thread progressed so far without a mention of the famous Coach McCoach?

<removing tongue from cheek>


Phil

bob 125th nysvi
07-04-2006, 08:47 PM
Is that to avoid selling the child you can get everything you need to start by selecting top grade items along with a less expensive "mainstream" mix and up grade items as you have more funds.

For example what do people see first?

Coat pants shoes weapon accoutriments.

What do they not see so close up

socks, suspenders, shirt underwear.

A good musket can be had for a decent price and defarbed latter.

But if funds are tight then hat and coat first. Poor quality leather goods were COMMON as delivered by war profiteers.

A nice "patina" on tin wear and your musket is going to hide a world of sins.

You can easily upgrade your impression by NOT bringing a lot of things guys bring.

Canned food (like chili), gatorade, a full tent, a pillow, furniture, coffee pot (boil it in your cup), etc. etc etc.

Then upgrade items as you feel necessary.

Another thing to remember is that EVERYTHING you get new LOOKS new. A soldier only had new gear periodically issued and then never a full kit at once. So piece meal replacement will look authentic.

Best advice on a limited budget is work outside in. If it is going to get a lot of viewing be as authentic as you wish, if someone is going to see it once a weekend for 5 minutes then don't worry a lot about it until you can afford it.

Bob Sandusky
Co C 125th NYSVI
Esperance, NY

theknapsack
07-04-2006, 08:49 PM
Phil,
Don't get me started on that guy...
Will, (hey that rhymes!)
Wrong link for the ONV site, here's the right one: http://oldnorthwestvols.org/onv/index.php

cblodg
07-04-2006, 08:50 PM
Is that to avoid selling the child you can get everything you need to start by selecting top grade items along with a less expensive "mainstream" mix and up grade items as you have more funds.

For example what do people see first?

Coat pants shoes weapon accoutriments.

What do they not see so close up

socks, suspenders, shirt underwear.

A good musket can be had for a decent price and defarbed latter.

But if funds are tight then hat and coat first. Poor quality leather goods were COMMON as delivered by war profiteers.

A nice "patina" on tin wear and your musket is going to hide a world of sins.

You can easily upgrade your impression by NOT bringing a lot of things guys bring.

Canned food (like chili), gatorade, a full tent, a pillow, furniture, coffee pot (boil it in your cup), etc. etc etc.

Then upgrade items as you feel necessary.

Another thing to remember is that EVERYTHING you get new LOOKS new. A soldier only had new gear periodically issued and then never a full kit at once. So piece meal replacement will look authentic.

Best advice on a limited budget is work outside in. If it is going to get a lot of viewing be as authentic as you wish, if someone is going to see it once a weekend for 5 minutes then don't worry a lot about it until you can afford it.

Bob Sandusky
Co C 125th NYSVI
Esperance, NY

Bob;

this is probably the best advice I've heard in a while. It gives the right impression, you don't have to have the best first. get what you can afford, when you can afford it.

Chris

VaTrooper
07-04-2006, 09:29 PM
Yep,
And for folks on a tight budget used gear is a good way to save cash.