May 01 2012
Bringing the Chouinard Expedition Sewing Kit Back From the Dead:
Some Promising Leads in the Search for a Suitable Collet Chuck
If you’re a regular reader, you may remember my earlier article about the Chouinard Expedition Sewing Kit, a tidy little package of make-and-mend essentials that (sadly) is no longer sold—and which I’ve been hoping to bring back from the dead.
It turns out I’m not alone. While sewing kits certainly don’t excite the same degree of interest that costlier items of gear do, the Chouinard kit seems to have acquired something of a fan base. But attempts to reconstruct it—mostly for the benefit of envious lookers-on who want one of their own—have foundered on the need to locate a suitable lightweight collet chuck (#9 in the photo above), a critical part of the equally critical sewing awl:
I couldn’t find anything that fit the bill. Which led me to broadcast this request for assistance:
Do you know of a similar collet chuck—something that could grip a heavy-duty needle with enough authority to permit quick and easy repairs in thick fabrics? If you do, please give me a heads-up.
And Randall Ijams proved a better sleuth than I did. In short, he came through with some promising leads. Here’s what he had to say:
This is what I found after 3 hours of research.
I would like a tool to grip a needle for repairing thick material like the collet found in the Chouinard Expedition Sewing Kit (no longer offered). The closest tool I could find is called a pin vice which is a pen that has a collet at one end. Requirements: single end, 0-0.125," light weight, small (less than 3" long), two double end reversible collects, 3-cut collets.
The top two below would be my choices, but I do not know if they have a 3- or 4-cut collet. And I would prefer them to be smaller, too. There are some collets for the dremel that only have a shaft but it would require drilling a hole through the shaft for the cotter pin.
- • Pin Vise With Wood Swivel Head 0-125"
- • SE Pin Vise, Swivel Head
- • SE Swivel Head Pin Vise
- • SE Mini Swivel Head Pin Vise
- • CML Supply Pin Vise with Swivel Head 0-.125" (0-3mm) Capacity
While none of these is a perfect fit, so to speak, they come a lot closer than anything I came up with. A clever DIYer might well be able to hack one of the pin vises to produce what’s wanted, and if you’re that person, please don’t be shy. Let us all in on the secret. Universal acclaim and the undying gratitude of millions…er…well…OK…at least half a dozen die-hard outdoorsfolk await the craftsperson who brings the Chouinard Expedition Sewing kit back to life!
- • “Can You Help Me Recreate the Chouinard Expedition Sewing Kit?”
- • “Sew What? The Chouinard Expedition Sewing Kit Makes It Easy”
- • “A Look Inside a Paddler’s Ditty Bag””
Questions? Comments? Just click here!