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B-3 back seam

LBA

New in Town
Messages
14
Hello guys,

before posting I took a look to other threads but could not find anything about this issue. So just a simple question ....

Looking at photos of original B3 jackets I see that the shape of the seam on the back looks like a reverse "T" letter. Acording to you could the seam on the back also have a straight going down shape ?

In fact I see this difference on ELC B3 "standard" (reverse T seam) vs ".50cal" (straight down seam) version and would like to understand if they are both historically correct.

I suppose so.... but I would like to have your skilled confirmation ....

Thanks !
 

Guppy

My Mail is Forwarded Here
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3,935
Location
Cleveland, OH
Hello guys,

before posting I took a look to other threads but could not find anything about this issue. So just a simple question ....

Looking at photos of original B3 jackets I see that the shape of the seam on the back looks like a reverse "T" letter. Acording to you could the seam on the back also have a straight going down shape ?

In fact I see this difference on ELC B3 "standard" (reverse T seam) vs ".50cal" (straight down seam) version and would like to understand if they are both historically correct.

I suppose so.... but I would like to have your skilled confirmation ....

Thanks !
They are both correct. During the war, they had to be made with smaller panels, to get the most efficient use of the materials possible. The earlier jackets were done with larger panels.
 

LBA

New in Town
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14
Many thanks ...... so it was a war economy need ! Now it's clear, thanks Guppy ....
 

Dumpster Diver

Practically Family
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939
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Ontario
Both are cool and stylish IMO. I couldn't tell you which one I prefer, there are also some later examples with extra gusset panels as well.
 

LBA

New in Town
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14
Yes it's true both are really stilish. I see that ELC with the straight seam on the back is the time worn version. But onestly I don't know if it is worthy to spend more money to have it. I mean just use it and also a standard B3 will look like that sooner or later I suppose ....

Later in my case probably..... you know here in Italy we do not have usually such cold winters !

But I do not mind I look forward to have this jacket since I was 16 years old .... I'm older now and I do not want to wait anymore .... it's time for my B3.

I hope to the size ELC has advised me will give a nice fit. I mean I'll not use great pullover underneath so I hope 46R will have a slim fit on me. Would hate a loose fit ....

By the way. Sometime ago I bought a used 42 R which I'm reselling because of the size. I was expecting the leather to be much more soft anyway instead it is quite stiff. Maybe it's just this jacket or do they are usually like that ? Do this leather need particular care treatment from time to time ?
 

Stand By

One Too Many
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Welcome to the lounge, LBA, and this section of the bar.
Like A2's, the B-3's varied from one manufacturer to another in the war years and each had their own "house style" and, today, it's just a matter of personal preference as to which one agrees with your eye. As long as you're looking at a higher end company of B-3 maker (ELC/Aero/Buzz Rickson etc) and it doesn't have hand warmer pockets, you're assured of getting an authentic repro, no matter the style.
I got my ELC RW B-3 back in 2005 and it's still going strong. Yes, the leather will be firmer at first (especially on the sleeves as, think about it, it's firm HH leather set over new sheepskin hide) and it has softened nicely as the seasons went by. I treat mine with fine quality leather conditioners at the start of the season and again at the end before it goes back in the wardrobe and it has only helped. But that's just me. I like to do that - but others may well say to never use anything on the jacket.
As for the Time Worn look, yes, your jacket will gain a similar look in time (years), but the Time Worn look is nice to have when it's first driven off the lot, so to speak. But just wear yours in as much weather as possible and as often, and you'll be fine. I gave my ELC B-2 cap my own Time Worn look with a light use of some sandpaper on the raised seams and it looks fantastic, and then I did it to my ELC C-3 on the seams and I preferred that too. One just has to be careful not to over-do it and to keep it subtle. But for someone who has the look of a B-3 in their mind - and it looks just like the Time Worn version - and if money's no object and they just want that one jacket, why not? It's there for those who want that look and don't necessarily want to put in the seasons to get that look.
And ELC have always steered me the right way with sizing, so I think you can order in confidence ...
Best of luck!
 
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Dumpster Diver

Practically Family
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My Timeworn ELC B-2 Hat got that way by me living in it for the last 17 years... you can't rush Art!!! ;)

I was 16 When I ordered it, and it was a great experience getting on the phone and chatting with one of the history preservation associates for a long time, they really are exceptional distributors. It was a lot of money for me then I think to buy something like that so it was a big deal, I still am wondering if I got the guts to drop 3 Large and sell off some of my other Jackets and Finally go for it and get an ELC B-3. I've wanted one now for almost 2 decades.
 

rocketeer

Call Me a Cab
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2,612
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England
From my experience of B3s and Eastman repro's their standard jackets come with the three piece back. I have a 17 year old version of Eastman's Roughwear version that has the centre seam 2 piece back, though at that time this was the only other model they made, no 'Time worn' '50 Cal' or whatever they do now.
A lot of originals including Roughwear have the three piece back but none follow a standard placing of the lower panel, some approximately 1/3 way up, others up to half way up though personally I prefer the seam to be in the lower portion of the jacket back with around a 9 ins panel.
As others have said each maker had it's own style, probably dictated by the materials available at the time.
Great jackets, especially when a bit beaten up rather than baby'd all their lives.
Enjoy, J.
 

Dumpster Diver

Practically Family
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939
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Ontario
The Store bought time-worn look is for cheaters!!! If I spend that much on a Jacket I'd rather have the enjoyment of the process of a shiny new Jacket gradually breaking in and getting more of my own Life force put into it. That to me, Is priceless. a Good Jacket should look *Loved* more than It should look worn, I'd Just as soon buy a used ELC Jacket and have someone else already get it going for me an save a buck or two while I'm at it..that's the plan anyway wish me luck.

Here's a ramble but It's hopefully a bit of insight into the experience of wearing in a B-3 Style Jacket:

Study the Flaking patterns of an original Jacket and soon you will realize why Sanding the chrome Tan will not produce the desired effect of natural wear such as Cracks and stains to go along with Faded trim, all around breaking it in has to have an equal co-efficiency.

I worked at a printing bindery for about 4 years, nothing put more abuse on my Repro sheepskin Jacket than Driving with it to work and having it kicking around a dirty printing factory with big machines, that's the key of fast tracking. The Jacket didn't start to really get abuse until that point and before I even realized it wow the thing was starting to blow out..You want it lookin' mean..Give it hell, be fearless and it will be literally and figuratively be worn on your sleeve. For that matter I was getting to be pretty beat up myself to be honest. That was a rough Job some 70 hour weeks pulling doubles and switching day's and nights months on end. I felt pretty battered myself. I should have lost a finger at one point...another guy I worked with was not as lucky.

treating it like it's a workhorse will do what would have otherwise have taken a decade in less than half that time, but be warned, you can't undo that kind of hard earned good honest wear. I'd really not recommend it treating it like this, Like a work Jacket. It's really a rugged Jacket but It's main purpose was for warmth...Real wear to a Sheepskin Jacket will bring it to a point where it gets pretty fragile in spots, but that's how it should be. It shouldn't Just Look worn, It should *BE* worn. There's nothing to compare to actual wear on the sleeves that give the Jacket it's character and individuality, Sanding can't recreate that look like it's Just be kicking around as if it was hanging out in a packing tent like a loaner Jacket...anyway I always nurse my Jackets so I mean...That Jacket is prettymuch retired now, It's ridden with patches and I'd Truly have to say it's on it's third Zipper, that's a true measure of wear right there...gauging by that alone should tell you how many hours of wear has been put on a B-3 Type Jacket.

You can Definitely see dramatic Difference in wear to my Original Jackets with wartime replacements over the ones that retained their original Zip.

20,000 hours is about the halfway point of a sheepskins life I'd reckon if you were pretty liberal with having some wild nights in it, But of course if you were in a flight crew you could probably get it looking by 500-700 hours of flight time... probably including wearing it casually between missions of course.

I try my best to walk the line between babying the thing and Living in it.

Again I don't think I got the guts to put such an expensive Jacket through that kind of rigorous treatment respectfully. the repro that got so worn was in the $400 range brand new, It's near a dog blanket now though.

Don't wear it like a costume, wear it like it's a part of you, and she'll take care of you likewise.
 
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WhiskeyTangoFox

One of the Regulars
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157
Location
Iowa, U.S.A.
Well said Dumpster Diver. I understand the attraction of getting a jacket with artificial wear and tear but like you, I feel more satisfied having put the mileage on it myself. When a person drops $1200+ on a new jacket, it is a difficult mental hurdle to overcome...

Noel
 

Dav

One Too Many
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Somerset, England
Just pulled the trigger on an Eastman B-3 actually, the .50 Cal :) I know, I know, fake time worn patina and I totally agree, but to be perfectly honest at my age I don't wish to wait 30 years for it to start looking good. might not be around then.
 

Stand By

One Too Many
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Just pulled the trigger on an Eastman B-3 actually, the .50 Cal :) I know, I know, fake time worn patina and I totally agree, but to be perfectly honest at my age I don't wish to wait 30 years for it to start looking good. might not be around then.

It's horses for courses, Dav and good for you, I say.
When one is fortunate enough to visit and stand marvelling like a kid in a candy store and see all the gear that ELC has hanging in their QM supply tent at RAF Duxford, one's eye just gravitates to whatever is the most appealing to one's own self (and it's all very subjective, of course) ... and mine went to the .50 Cal B-3; Not that I would buy one as I do prefer to get mine the way the aircrews did - that is to say unworn and fresh off the production line - and to put the wear in to them myself with time and weather, but like I said, that .50 Cal has a look unto itself and it's a smasher, and if that's what someone wants, well, I get it and that's fine.
Good luck on the new arrival!
 
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Dumpster Diver

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Yeah, totally, don't get me wrong, Must be all that acetone I cleaned the perfect binder with for all those years!

*Anyway sorry for the Thread hijack.*

I will add this much more to it, I've been babying my last couple Bomber Jackets profusely in the prospect of getting a better dollar for them on dime when It's time to finally flip them and put that coinage towards an ELC B-3...I'm REALLY going to have to hussle up to fund that project, mayyybe I'm Just a bit Jealous or something. Ah well, I'll get there I Just have to want it bad enough, you know? my Ex Talked me out of getting one (This was like in 2006), I don't know why...hmmm wait a minute, come to think of it she convinced me to get a Joint bank account and one day when I didn't have money on my Debit card buying like a cup of coffee or smokes or something I checked and discovered my account was totally Drained of around a thousand bucks, mind you that paying rent and bills, That money was saved for over a period of seven months, when I finally asked about it, turns out she'd put that money towards a new car and never mentioned anything about that to me...her dad thought that was pretty amusing...it was at that moment when I realized I didn't even have the money to pack my bags and get a train ticket out of that situation, that is called being Railroaded I'll never forget how she lost her nerve on me for wanting a B-3 Eastman...now I can see her plan all along. Let me tell you it was something of a life experience with that one.

Anyway, Nick I'd love to see some photos of your .50 Cal Jacket when you get it!
 
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rocketeer

Call Me a Cab
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2,612
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England
I could never 'Baby' a jacket to get a better price when sold, I just would not get the enjoyment out of the thing. Not to say I treat them badly but I don't care about them getting the RWT or stuffing my hands in my pockets during a cold spell.
About the only thing I would not do is stick pin badges into a bike jacket these days. As teenagers we all stuck pins of various bikes we hd ridden or wished to own but now leave that to the Ace Cafe Queens.
As to Eastmans (Marino wool?) B3 with that bronze concho, is that based on something I have missed in a film? I have seen a few old 1940s 50s films featuring bikers wearing ex flight gear but never with a concho on the pocket.
 

Dumpster Diver

Practically Family
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939
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Ontario
I hear ya, I'd love to play hardball with my Jackets too. But If I buy an $800 Jacket for half that...then wear it only a couple seasons and sell it for $500 then I've done alright.

If I buy a $400 Dollar Jacket for $250 and sell it for $300 after it's got me through the winter for half a decade then I'm on my way. I've gotten a fair amount of enjoyment out of the thing one way or the other.

I'd love to rock them hard, but I've been living on minimum wage so that being said, this time around I'm taking it easy on my assets. It's going to take a lot of hustle to get there...when at long last I earned that ELC B-3 you know I'm gonna Enjoy it for all it's worth.
 

LBA

New in Town
Messages
14
Hello guys !

It's nice to read all your replies that really help me in clearing my mind about my future B3 !

In my opinion, yes it's true; it's definitely nice to get older with your jacket day by day and see how you both get a time worn look together ! So my first feeling is for a "standard" B3. No need to explain you and in this forum the charm of a "pretty used" jacket ....

My only hesitation, with respect to the .50cal B3, is that to get such a kind of charming look I'll probably need a light year, because here in Italy the windows of opportunity to use a B3 can be not so many, unless I would start to sleep outdoor with my jacket on... during winter ! :D

Going back to the .50cal B3 I see also that coherently with the early year production even the sheepskin is slightly different and a bit darker (yellow-brown) with respect to that of a late production B3 (standard version reverse T back seam) am I right ?

Thx again

P.S. By the way I'm also taking into consideration "almost new / slighty used" B3 sz46R ... see my thread within the classifieds !
 

Dav

One Too Many
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Somerset, England
Going back to the .50cal B3 I see also that coherently with the early year production even the sheepskin is slightly different and a bit darker (yellow-brown) with respect to that of a late production B3 (standard version reverse T back seam) am I right ?

I haven't met the jacket in person yet but I believe that to be the case, part of what swayed me actually.
 
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15,216
If I may piggyback on this thread as well, I have a B3 related question as well.

I just bought one and it's pretty worn out at places (elbows, mainly), to the point that the top coat has mostly disappeared. The jacket is perfectly healthy otherwise but looking at the jackets you guys have, I was wondering if there's anything I can get to restore that nice, shiny top coat?
Or what would be the best thing to use to cover the worn out spots? Would brown shoe lotion do the job? Wax?

Don't care much for how it turns out, got the jacket dirt cheap and just wanna restore it a bit and prolong its life.
 

Cooper A-2

Practically Family
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926
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France
If I may piggyback on this thread as well, I have a B3 related question as well.

I just bought one and it's pretty worn out at places (elbows, mainly), to the point that the top coat has mostly disappeared. The jacket is perfectly healthy otherwise but looking at the jackets you guys have, I was wondering if there's anything I can get to restore that nice, shiny top coat?
Or what would be the best thing to use to cover the worn out spots? Would brown shoe lotion do the job? Wax?

Don't care much for how it turns out, got the jacket dirt cheap and just wanna restore it a bit and prolong its life.
Hi
guess if some photos can be made available, some precise advice will come for sure.
Love the B-3's
 
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