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Bill Kelso. Whats happening?

wittmann

Active Member
Last week i finally got the reply from BK, whose inquiry was sent by me 15 MONTHS AGO........:rolleyes:
I think it's normal at BK, if you're wondering how is the process, just try to write Andy 2 or 3 times within one week, normally he'll wirte you back.
 
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Cocker

Well-Known Member
If you read this thread here
you will learn that Goodwear's button hole machine was damaged and he could not fix it for a long time, months.

If you had a jacket on order with him and he was delaying, would you expect him to tell you the reasons why he is delaying e.g. that his machine broke down and that he doesn't know if/when he can fix it? If he told you that, wouldn't you panic and immediately want a refund? If so then why would he tell you? And if he cannot tell you that then what other reason would he have to come up with to explain the delay so that you do not worry? and then again why would he lie? So, the answer is maybe not to tell you anything, i.e. postpone his reply to you. OK you have an order with him but he is not obliged to tell you what kind of problems he is facing. It's your money, but that is not your business. So I 'd say we better leave those guys alone and not push them so that they can do what they do best.
I'm sorry but this is absolutely non sense to me. Indeed, it is my money, and as pointed by other, if he doesn't deliver in time, or if something happens that he knows will cause delay, I expect to be advised about it. If I was advised about it, I'd have no problem waiting longer until the machine is fixed. If I had long delays without any explanaition, I'd for sure ask for a refund and would go somewhere else for my jacket. I'm sorry, but that is simple basic customer service. When you pride yourself in doing some of the best jackets around, this is the basic service level that I'd expect.
 

dinomartino1

Well-Known Member
From the BK website

According to the hype, good wear jackets must be vintage inspired and therefore second rate.

"How good are your jackets in comparison to other high end reproduction makers’ jackets?
We always believe that the best repro is a combination of 3 things. Fit, leather quality and details. There should be no question about the fit since we use original patterns which endured the test of time. Also, we use the best leather money can buy so can’t go wrong with that either. We are obsessed with details and will construct jackets with extreme attention even to the last detail. Remind you, the Devil is in the details.
That said, we GUARANTEE that you will find our jackets (both A-2 and Civilian) to be better reproductions of the originals than those made by ANY other repro maker WORLDWIDE. The reason is simply that although others may use original patterns and correct hardware, their leathers are completely off as they use the tanneries’ modern leather offerings and not leathers tanned in the vintage way, like we do. As a result, no matter how well made, their jackets will appear clearly different than originals (simple side-by-side comparison with originals is enough to show that), so a more suitable description for them would be “vintage inspired” and not exact reproductions of the originals like ours are.""
 
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dinomartino1

Well-Known Member
Totally agree, the problem is many are irrational about some of the makers to the point of idolatry, just because they make good jackets does not excuse them from the norms of society and some respect for the people spending considerable amounts of money with them.


I'm sorry but this is absolutely non sense to me. Indeed, it is my money, and as pointed by other, if he doesn't deliver in time, or if something happens that he knows will cause delay, I expect to be advised about it. If I was advised about it, I'd have no problem waiting longer until the machine is fixed. If I had long delays without any explanaition, I'd for sure ask for a refund and would go somewhere else for my jacket. I'm sorry, but that is simple basic customer service. When you pride yourself in doing some of the best jackets around, this is the basic service level that I'd expect.
 

Julius

Active Member
From what I have seen many makers have difficulty to get the color and the finish right. For example, look at that recent thread with the original Star A-2 vs ELC dark seal Star A-2. Maybe their pattern is right but the color/finish is completely off, so that makes two completely different jackets. And yes, if the leather looks different than the original, I wouldn't call it an "exact reproduction" so I don't know where that puts Good Wear.
 

dinomartino1

Well-Known Member
From the BK website

"What about your Victory horsehide? Why is it so expensive?
Victory horsehide is made of the highest quality Italian Full Grain vegetable tanned leathers. It comes from a high end tannery in Italy who produces horsehide by using only with the best quality raw hides available. The tannery has revived a vintage tanning recipe to tan it. Victory horsehide is 100% natural and hand made from start to finish. Absolutely no chemicals are used in its production. It is even dyed naturally without the use of dyes. It has THE most natural and best looking grainy texture that you will ever find anywhere and at any price. Its high price relates to its superb quality, its scarcity, the handmade process, the brand of the tannery and of course the long duration of its production which can be around 6 times longer than that of other vegetable tanned leathers. Victory horsehide is the absolute best in horsehide in the world and has no equal. The second best is far behind it."


"You seem to be blowing your own trumpets a lot and putting yourselves on a pedestal over other manufacturers, isn't that bad taste?"
Every single statement made in our website is absolutely true.


I heard your customer service is the worst. What do you have to say about that?
If you can find better service from others you are encouraged to shop from them.
 
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Greg Gale

Well-Known Member
Yeah, that guy certainly has a peculiar style. If you want him to reply, say something bad about his jackets, then he'll flood you with messages :D I agree that if you spend a lot of money you need at least a minimum of communication, that's basic decency.

This being said, even though I never owned a BK, to me it looks like he's one of the best repro makers, if not the best. So if you want the best, you need to bite the bullet and live with whatever customer service he offers. (I once corresponded with him, he always replied within days)
 

Officer Dibley

Well-Known Member
From the BK website

"What about your Victory horsehide? Why is it so expensive?
Victory horsehide is made of the highest quality Italian Full Grain vegetable tanned leathers. It comes from a high end tannery in Italy who produces horsehide by using only with the best quality raw hides available. The tannery has revived a vintage tanning recipe to tan it. Victory horsehide is 100% natural and hand made from start to finish. Absolutely no chemicals are used in its production. It is even dyed naturally without the use of dyes. It has THE most natural and best looking grainy texture that you will ever find anywhere and at any price. Its high price relates to its superb quality, its scarcity, the handmade process, the brand of the tannery and of course the long duration of its production which can be around 6 times longer than that of other vegetable tanned leathers. Victory horsehide is the absolute best in horsehide in the world and has no equal. The second best is far behind it."
Hardly the way hides were selected during WW2 !!!
 

Julius

Active Member
yes, first and foremost example is US Athentic
the jackets from all the makers are there and can be compared to originals...
 

dinomartino1

Well-Known Member
I am by any means no expert on how the jackets where originally made and I assume different companies had different ways of paying workers, but you would expect that some of them would have been paying the same as most of wartime contracts for the the US military were, that is the workers being paid by piecework or bonuses for many items they could make in a day. These jackets where not meant to last 70 years just for the duration of the war. I think it safe to assume the cutters and sewers where trying to make as a many as the could each day to make their bonus.
Getting hold of an original and copying it and saying that is a perfect recreation of the companies contract jackets does not hold up to scrutiny if you approach it logically. It means your are copying a jacket made by an individual machinist lets say Ruth, was that Ruths 10th attempt at a making a jacket or her 100th. Was the jacket made at the end of the shift when the Ruth just wanted to go home and rushed the job or in the morning when Ruth was paying more attention to her work. Maybe jackets made by different machinists jackets are slightly different as well.

If you want the truest possible replica it would have to by made by sewers who only make type of contract jacket and make as many in one day as they possibly can, I doubt if anybody [ me included ] would want of those but that's how it would have to be done
 
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Smithy

Well-Known Member
Hardly the way hides were selected during WW2 !!!
Exactly right.

Wartime A-2s were chrome tanned and pigment finished. To my knowledge none of the so called "top tier" repro makers tan their leathers exactly the same way as originals.

All of the top tier jackets are also finished to a much better standard than virtually all originals. Most originals will have pockets slightly out of alignment, imperfect stitching in places and in some more extreme cases even offset collars, etc.

We've talked about this time and time again here. None of even the high end repros are exact facsimiles of their wartime equivalent. At best they are well engineered homages.
 

dinomartino1

Well-Known Member
Are your leathers vegetable tanned of chrome tanned?
All our leathers are vegetable tanned except the goatskin and lambskin which are chrome tanned.

What is your Liberty horsehide?
Our Liberty horsehide is specifically made to be an exact 100% match to vintage (WWII era) horsehide. The development of leather that matches the horsehide used in WWII jackets was done in a “scientific manner” by our tannery. (Some imbeciles were amused with the term “scientific manner” because they ignore that tanneries employ full time chemists [i.e. scientists] who are occupied with the making and analyzing of formulas used for tanning and the application of leather finishes). The task of recreating those leathers exactly is not an easy one. Proof of that is that nobody else has managed to recreate the look and feel of vintage leathers exactly until now. It took us 7 long years of efforts but we finally made it. We developed Liberty horsehide for the purists. Those who look to buy exact replicas of original vintage jackets. With this leather we literally resurrected vintage leather jackets and can now offer you jackets that look exactly like NOS (New Old Stock) unworn vintage jackets. This means that jackets made with this leather will appear the same and will also age the same way i.e. will quickly show edge wear and the finish will fade in the same way like vintage jackets. This is by no means a defect of the leather. We put a lot of money time and energy into recreating these effects. Liberty horsehide is something special that nobody else in the market can offer. Other makers use various kinds of leathers but their jackets never look right. They look nice but do not look like original vintage jackets. The leathers they use do not resemble the originals. We too have tried various other leathers before and of course the jackets could make came out beautiful but something was missing. It was the real vintage look. No one was able to provide that. Not until now. Liberty horsehide is tanned in the vintage way and will age just like original jackets did. Daily wear of about 6 months, or less, will be enough for the jacket to show aging of the same kind encountered on originals.
 

dinomartino1

Well-Known Member
I did not want to hijack this thread to let's slag off Kelso but they are his claims, he states they are 100% the truth, others can make their own judgments about whether he condemns himself with his own words.
And I think he makes very good jackets.
I bought one of his early jackets in 2012 for $390. It was a rough wear made out of very thin and soft Italian horsehide, now a few years later I sold that to someone on the fedora lounge, that was back when most people wanted thick horsehide so this guy was really taken back about how soft and thin it was. He contacts Kelso who tells him he would never make such a jacket of such inferior quality, it must have been made by someone in China faking his jackets [his overinflated ego could not let him admit it was his jacket] so the guy wants his money back.
I was able to do a google search and found the original ebay listing and I stiil had the record of my payapal payment to him for the jacket so I was able to prove it was really his.

A-2 jacket Rough Wear 27752 by Bill Kelso
You are looking at a Rough Wear 27752 previous generation reproduction by Bill Kelso Mfg. The jacket is a size 42 in brand new condition. It is made of seal brown supple horsehide and sewn with olive drab 100% cotton thread. Features a Conmar zipper repro by Ideal. The knits are russet color and made of wool. The jacket measures as follows: Pit to pit 23, back 25 1/4, shoulders 18 1/2, sleeve 25 1/4 (measurements include knits). This jacket is a faithful reproduction of the Rough Wear 27752 including the trademark collar and epaulet and is a slim and comfortable cut. Other details include the double barrel installed collar hook, cotton covered collar snap fasteners, winged star and inspector's stamp, and also size and lot tag under the pocket flap. This is the chance to own a decent quality repro, we have not put a reserve price on this. Our current 27752 jackets retail for $680. We ship worldwide and are customs friendly.

All i can say about BK is that he really loves A2s and makes top quality jackets, now I have never met or spoken to him in person and I can only go by what used to go on here when he was still a member.
He seems a nice and reasonable guy until you offer the mildest criticism or correct him in something he was wrong on.
Something in his makeup makes him unable to respond in a rational manner, he will take it as the gravest personal insult and will go into a near psychotic rage, he simply cannot accept he is ever wrong.

None of that should matter though if you want to buy a jacket from him, your not going down the pub for a pint together.
 
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Micawber

Well-Known Member
I wonder if his ears are burning? Wonder if he will respond in his inimitable style on his FB group....
 
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