"I want to help give guidance and recommendations to many traders and
business professionals who I believe in, based off their experience, expertise,
and fine high quality accouterments, and who I use in my encampment
and/or wardrobes." -Corey Lefkowitz (aka Dogfish Briggins)
First off, Will Smithy King of www.kingsforgeandmuzzleloading.com is one of the best traders and craftsman around. His unique artistic ability is without a doubt amazing. Yet, it's his values and morals is what shines. Not many traders call you back and keep an open communication line when doing a custom order. Will Smithy King is always honest and his work is beautiful. If you’re looking for custom weapons from the 17th through the 18th century, Will “will” amaze you. I own several weapons from Kings Forge and Muzzleloading: a cutlass, tomahawk, and a box lock flintlock with a custom curly maple stock. If you’re like me and love curly maple, Will Smithy King is the best.
Next, meet Pete and Wendy Plunkett, owners of www.middlesexvillagetrading.com. I buy many 17th and 18th century smoothbore pistols and muskets from Middlesex Village Trading Company. These guns are great for re-enactors and theatrical use, can shoot live loads or just black powder, and are safe. I own a lot of these weapons which add flavor to my encampment. These black powder guns are very affordable and many people customize them. Next time you’re looking for a flintlock, give Middlesex Village Trading a call.
Here is a hard to find item: a cocked hat. I recommend this next proprietor because of his attention to detail and his ability to create a top quality cocked hat or tricorn. Meet Jeff MacKay, owner of www.captjackspiratehats.com. I own 3 of his hats. My girlfriend and other living history friends all own one or more of Jeff’s tricorns. Jeff has an easy to use website and his creation of many hat styles and colors is large. He can create just about anything you may want on a tricorn. Jeff also makes a wide range of other piratical effects. I own several tricorns from 2 other companies, but I mostly wear my “Capt Jacks Pirate Hat” the most. You will be amazed at Jeff’s craftsmanship.
Here is a link that I highly recommend if you’re looking for top quality footwear: www.shraderbootmaker.com. John Shrader is a very unique individual with over 40 years’ experience as a cobbler. I have spent endless amounts of money and time on period footwear over the years (having flat feet, size 13 EEE). All reenacting shoes have hurt my feet until I found John Shrader, so know there is hope! I recently had the opportunity to meet John Shrader in Santa Rosa, California. Let me say this: Shrader BootMaker is, by far, the best. Not only does his footwear look period correct, but these shoes and boots are extremely comfortable. I can wear my shoes and boots all day and never complain about soreness. Shrader boots are for the serious reenactor. These are top-quality, and anything that is top-quality can be expensive. But it’s worth every penny for comfort. There are many options, styles, and colors one can have done. So do your homework before you call John so you know exactly what you’re looking for. John Shrader is very familiar with history and culture -- especially with footwear. His knowledge and expertise is top notch. Personally, I will only go through www.shraderbootmaker.com for my future living history footwear. I currently own 2 pairs of high tongue buckle shoes and 1 pair of thigh high 17th century boots, but am planning on having more custom items made soon.
Next link I want to recommend is www.mutinymagazine.com. This computer magazine gives many people an opportunity to see what's happening in the pirate community with great articles and helpful information about many topics. Subscribe to this magazine and see all the fantastic ideas and colorful layouts.
While exploring this website, also look for www.orderofleviathan.com. This is a crew of honorable people who help make our pirate community a better place by giving back in many different ways. I am a proud member of this organization, and support it anyway I can.
The next time you’re looking for pirate art, look up Don Maitz at www.paravia.com/DonMaitz/. Don’s artistic ability is epic, and he uses many people within the pirate re-enactment community in many of his paintings. If you are a living history enthusiast, you may have seen Don Maitz’s art in National Geographic magazines or on Captain Morgan Spiced Rum bottles. Don also painted my image on a playing card series called “Pirate Cards”, where I am the 6 of spades within that deck, called "6 Shooter". Check out Don Maitz and his colorful piratical paintings!
Finally, Say hello to Kyle Harris. If you’re interested in weapons and armor, than you need to talk with Kyle Harris. Kyle’s experience with 15th thru 18th-century, living history battle weapons is outstanding. His ability to create and produce edged weapons and armor is amazing. His knowledge and understanding of period related accouterments and history helps him create phenomenal pieces of art. I personally own several weapons and effects that Kyle has made me over the years because his keen eye and imagination are unbelievable. If you’re planning on armor or a sword, contact Kyle Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org in Grass Valley, California. I highly recommend him.