Log Cabin Shop purveys a variety of historical arms and goods

Published Feb. 3, 2006
A customer can enter the Log Cabin Shop wearing sneakers and a T-shirt, and he can exit clad in fringe, leather, fur and moccasins, armed with a Pennsylvania long rifle, ready for the 18th century. The Log Cabin Shop, north of Lodi, Ohio, purveys reproduction arms and accouterments to black powder shooters and historical reenactors who portray people of the 18th-century eastern woodland frontier and the early 19th-century Rocky Mountain rendezvous.
Brothers Rick and Dan Kindig run the store, a legacy from their grandfather, who collected Indian relics from around the country.
“This is my grandfather’s farm; it is land that has been in my family since the early 1800s,” said Rick Kindig. “Our family was the second family to own the land since the Indians. My father started the business in the family home that used to sit here between the store and the road.”
Although his father, Wes Kindig, initially did some business from his home, the official starting date was 1940. He moved a mile down the road and built the log cabins, said Kindig. Wes built a new log cabin for the family home and bought a pre-Civil War-era log cabin in Ashland County, tore it down, moved it to Lodi and rebuilt it. That cabin, on U.S. Route 42 north of Lodi, housed the first Log Cabin Shop.
Kindig said his brother and father, while he was away at college and the Army in the late 1960s, moved the store north to its present site, refinishing the old farm’s horse barn. “Over the next 20-some years we’ve added on three times,” he said. “The latest addition was the gun room, about eight or nine years ago.”
The main departments in the store stock guns and supplies, leather, reenactors’ supplies and books. The gun department sells complete muzzle loading guns, parts and supplies, such as wooden gunstocks and flintlocks for those who wish to build a gun from scratch, or kits by companies such as Traditions or Lyman. Also for sale are powder horns, cartridge cases and pouches, ammunition and tools.
The leather department stocks furs of wolf, coyote, raccoon, fox and more; deer, elk, buffalo, sheep, goat and cow skins; leather lace; leather-working tools and supplies and patterns. Motorcycle enthusiasts, said Kindig, buy leather to make saddlebags and other gear. Medieval reenactors from the Society for Creative Anachronism make clothing, shields and armor.
Reenactors can completely outfit themselves with authentic clothing, personal accessories, and camp and trail items. Historical clothing and patterns for Indian, frontiersman and military dress allow the reenactor to dress correctly for the period portrayed, whether buying assembled garments or starting with linen thread and cotton or linen fabric. The Jefferson shirt, for example, is a four-button collarless shirt made from Osnaburg cotton, and the Shenandoah shirt is similar but with buttons top to bottom. Both are appropriate for 18th-century wear. Broadfall breeches are made in knee length and full length for the same period. A pewter thistle medallion, a replica of those worn by Rogers Rangers on their tams during the French and Indian War when they patrolled the frontier, along with campware, cookware, beads, porcupine quills, buckles and many other items, contribute to realistic historical portrayal.
New and used books cover every detail of Indian history and crafts, frontier settlement, military history, historical fiction and Scottish history. “We’re stocking about 800 new titles,” said Kindig. Books on dress and crafts give specific instruction on correct historical outfitting. Used books are sold upstairs in a library-like atmosphere, with a couch and table and chairs, and for $1 in the rummage room, ranging from history to modern fiction. The rummage room resembles a garage sale or thrift shop, with furniture, dishes, old typewriters, old projectors, saws, records and much more. The book department includes Celtic and historical music on CD and cassette, books of Scottish and Irish songs, dulcimer instruction books, fifes and pennywhistles, and mountain dulcimers assembled and in kits. Children’s toys include wooden log cabin sets and other wooden toys.
The gun room museum dedicates two walls to guns made by Ohio builders, such as a civilian rifle made by Anthony Swaidner of Salem, who worked from 1830 to 1870 and was apprenticed to Andrew Petit; and Samuel Small of Lisbon, who lived from 1814 to 1902. “There were something over 600 known makers in Ohio in the 1800s,” said Kindig. “We have a five-volume set on Ohio makers.”
Another wall displays U.S. military pieces; the earliest is a 1770 British Brown Bess musket used in the Revolution, and the earliest United States-made piece is a 1798 flintlock. Also displayed are hunting pouches, powder horns, beaded Indian moccasins and pouches, and arrowheads.
Visitors can bring in guns to determine the builder and age by comparing to the store’s stock, and personnel will give appraisals and restore guns.
“We have a range behind the store open to muzzle loaders any time the store’s open,” said Kindig. “Cost is $12 per shooter per day. We have 25- and 50-yard lines.” The shop holds no formalized matches as in the past. “We might reactivate that program,” he said.
The store sets up shop at historical shows, such as Great Trail Festival near Malvern. “About 10 percent of sales volume is from shows,” said Kindig, “which are beneficial more for advertising, renewing acquaintances, being out there, reminding people we’re still there.”
The store plans to reactivate its class program, run by Alan Gutchess, who worked at Colonial Williamsburg and Sauder Farm and Village. Gutchess will teach long rifle construction, carving and engraving; and tomahawk, 18th-century trade silver, hunting pouch and moccasin construction. Dates are not yet set.
“Smoke and Fire News is a great beginning point for someone wanting to get involved in reenacting,” said Kindig. It is sold at the store and is available at 800-766-5334 or http://www.smoke-fire.com.
The Log Cabin Shop is on U.S. Route 42, 8010 Lafayette Road, Lodi, Ohio 44254, just north of U.S. Route 224. The phone number is 330-948-1082. A catalog is available for a fee and will be sent upon request. It is available online at http://www.logcabinonline.com.

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