1940s-50s Cal Leather CHP

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by Kubatu, Feb 28, 2021.

  1. Kubatu

    Kubatu One of the Regulars

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    Just got this in mail today, so I wanted to share here in a bit more detail than in the new arrival thread.

    After hearing about Cal Leather for a long time, I started searching for my own in the fall of last year. I consulted with @JMax, one of the resident Cal experts here. He sent me several suggestions, including this one. The pictures supplied were not the best, and once the seller sent some more, red flags started to pop up. Weird spots with odd stitching, some cracks on the sleeves and collar. Plus, the jacket was just dirty. I moved on and ended up buying a used Vanson CHP2.

    I liked the Vanson CHP, but...it's not a Cal. So finally I gave in to the itch and offered a very low price to the seller. He accepted and I got the jacket two days later. True to the pictures, there was cracking and weird stitching. One of the sleeves had a hole at the cuff. But things weren't all bad: the satin lining was new, and the zipper had already been replaced. It fit well, so I sent it over to Dena at Great Leather for cleaning, conditioning, and a redye. If there had been a notable teacore effect, I might have held off on the redye, but it was fading to an ugly gray instead. At a certain point, wear and patina don't look that great, especially when the leather hasn't been treated very well. Anyway, Dena did a great job. I think the jacket looks fantastic after the whole process, and she fixed some other areas that needed stitching, as well as the cuff tear.

    The cracking itself is still there, obviously, but I'm okay with that. I'm optimistic that with good treatment from here on out, it'll hold up. The structural integrity of the leather is still solid, and Dena did not feel like it needed additional backing. I do know buying something with cracking on it is not everyone's cup of tea, however.

    The jacket itself is likely from the 1940s or 1950s, dated by a diamond Talon (the only original zipper on the jacket). It's the standard Cal Leather CHP, but it also has a third chest zipper. I probably won't use that, but it is pretty unusual. I don't notice them often on Cals. It weighs about 6.5 lbs. What is particularly neat about the jacket is the graininess of the leather. The entire front portion of the chest is bumpy. I've attached a picture of my Vanson CHP in comparison. Granted, there's a significant difference in years on these jackets, but the surface texture on the Cal is something else.

    The first picture is one of the pictures the seller sent me, and the second is a picture of my Vanson. From there on, its just pictures of the Cal.

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    Even though it is wildly impractical in the South, I'm very tempted to look into getting brown or blonde shearling collar made for the jacket. We'll see!
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2021
  2. JMax

    JMax I'll Lock Up

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    Stunning. Dena brought it back to its glory days. Wow. That grain is amazing. The epaulettes are not as common on the older Cals. Couple the epaulettes with the chest pocket and this is not a Cal you see every day. Heck, even with just the chest pocket it isn’t a common jacket. I recall @ton312 owned a beautiful one and sold it for some good loot.

    I’m jealous man. This is absolutely amazing.
     
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  3. dannyk

    dannyk One Too Many

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    Glad you could make this one work out so well. Looks spectacular.
     
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  4. JMax

    JMax I'll Lock Up

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    I keep looking at the grain. This is what “grainy” jackets with “grainy” leather from every current maker aspires to achieve. Most fail. How’s that for hyperbole... Lol.
     
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  5. TREEMAN

    TREEMAN One Too Many

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    SWEET !!
     
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  6. TooManyHatsOnlyOneHead

    TooManyHatsOnlyOneHead Practically Family

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    you know I'm a Cal fan boy, so well done. Just wow. This is yet another iteration of the basic Cal design. The 3 I have are:

    Straight Zip no belt loops but side laces
    Cross Zip no gussets
    Cross Zip w/ gussets

    So now I've seen yours with the gussets and epaulettes.
     
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  7. ton312

    ton312

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    Dang man that is stunning!!! Jmax is right, I did have this jackets twin, well maybe cousin (mine had a two way Talon front zip, a well executed replacement). Wasn’t in this condition though. This guy looks mint! Rare beast, Cal with a chest pocket and gussets plus epaulettes.
    Was the best fitting Cal I ever had. The rest is history. Congrats man. Keep that bad boy! Cherish the cabin!
     
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  8. Kubatu

    Kubatu One of the Regulars

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    Really, I think the condition is all on Dena. It didn't look awful when I got it, but it definitely needed the cleaning. Now it's ready for a new adventure.

    And yeah, I'm already trying to think of ways to add on to it! I want to look into getting it fully kitted out, with a belt and shearling collar.
     
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  9. Mandarin

    Mandarin A-List Customer

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    Fantastic job!
     
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  10. tmitchell59

    tmitchell59 My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    Very nice restoration. Brown "wear through" or Tea Core is not always attractive or even that common on older jackets It was never the intention of the makers to motivate wear through. Police use jackets would be retired. I own old jackets that look like this Cal. I actually prefer that my older jackets to be as nice as possible. Some brown out others don't. All in the tanning.
     
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  11. tmitchell59

    tmitchell59 My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    Perfect!
     
  12. tmitchell59

    tmitchell59 My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    This is a distinctive jacket. What year are these? Do these features tell more about the jacket? I have a very similar Ralphs-Pugh jacket as far as the leather, very distinctive. The Restoration has certainly added glory to this gem. I learn with each Cal posting. This jacket certainly appears to be worth the effort.
     
  13. ton312

    ton312

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    I figured mine was a later “golden era” cal. Maybe early 70’s? The best cal I had was a bare bones straight up classic LAPD. The HH made LW feel like Carl Budding lunch meat. I have never before, nor since, had anything like it. Paper clip style zip, it was a just past Star glove era from what I could gather. Couldn’t really wear it. The hide was phenomenal though. One of the few jackets I’ve purchased knowing full well I couldn’t wear it.
     
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  14. tmitchell59

    tmitchell59 My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    I neglected to re-read your comments and before pictures. What type of zipper is this?

    reminds me of this Ralphs-Pugh horsehide jacket c.1950?
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  15. tmitchell59

    tmitchell59 My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    I've heard you speak of this jacket. I received a Cal in my first trade on the forum. A fellow who was on his way out. Sold me the Cal, a couple of other jackets I don't recall. I still have the Brooks two piece back CR he just gave me. He also tipped me off on Taubers jackets. Then he disappeared. I've been haunted since.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2021
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  16. Kubatu

    Kubatu One of the Regulars

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    The back designs have distinct features, but I definitely see the similarities, especially in the grain. California / west coast seems unparalleled as far as vintage jacket maker regions go.

    The zippers are a big jumble. Main chest zipper is Lenzip, while the sleeve zippers are Conmar and Serval. Three pockets with zips on the chest. One is connected to an unlabelled circle, another just to a strip of leather. The final zipper on the top chest pocket, which is not always found on these jackets, is a diamond Talon zipper. That's my only way of dating this to the 40s - 50s.

    @ton312 I seem to remember you getting a collar added to one of your past Cals, perhaps the twin of this jacket. Did you ever get a belt added on? I'm not sure where a good place to search for them is.
     
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  17. TooManyHatsOnlyOneHead

    TooManyHatsOnlyOneHead Practically Family

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    Buy one from the Cal store. I've seen them in person. They are awesome. Not sure how much though. Sort of a thick braided material.
     
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  18. handymike

    handymike I'll Lock Up

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    Go see Cal!
    7A1C358B-F678-4234-A5AE-91EC24508355.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2021
  19. JMax

    JMax I'll Lock Up

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    Look for Sam Browne belts. Cal sells theirs for $200. You can find them in different widths at cop shops from around $50 up to about $100. If you want the basket weave style without the heavy dutiness of the a true SB belt, there are options on eBay.

    I got a heavy duty SB belt by Don Hume on eBay for $30. But that was a good deal.
     
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  20. TooManyHatsOnlyOneHead

    TooManyHatsOnlyOneHead Practically Family

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    late night TV watching in my childhood flashing before my eyes LOL
     
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