American Bushman

"If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing." —Benjamin Franklin

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Working Up a New Machete

If you've read this blog in the past then you know that I'm a big fan of the machete.

I received a standard Ontario Military 18" machete and sheath in the mail today and dropped the point a bit, stripped the black coating with Barkeeper's Friend (BF,) and oiled the blade as patina was forming as I was working from the water and the chemical reaction with the BF. I'm not exactly sure how this project is going to progress but I suspect the handles will be removed and replaced next and then off to get a custom sheath made up.

 Thanks for reading,

 B

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Just a Quick Walk in the Woods


After a full season of cyclocross racing, I finally had a weekend off and got a brilliant idea to invite Dan and Spen (of JRE Industries) to get into the woods for a little chat and hike.

Unfortunately, life has a way of getting busy this time of year and Spen had prior obligations but Dan and I pushed onward and, after a few chats, decided to meet up Sunday morning at one of the old haunts.

I brought minimal gear with an excess of steel (just like always) to show off and beat on a bit. The knives include the Survive! Knives GSO 3.5, SK-4, and the big mama jama GSO-10.

Feathersticks and fires were the order of the day and I actually had to practice yesterday at home to make sure the rust was only on the surface. It took a bit to get the technique right but it came back quickly and was a good reminder that skills you don't lose you may lose.

I also brought along some paraffin-dipped cotton rounds that I had made as part of an Instagram tutorial that solve all the problems I encountered in the past making dipped cotton balls. A quick strike of a firesteel on the spine of the SK-4 produced enough spark to get the firestarter going that was enough to get the feathersticks lit.

What a feeling to be able to light a fire with a single spark again…it's been a long time and I was pretty nervous about just getting out there so getting a fire going with a little preparation and minimal gear was nice. (Sure, it wasn't friction fire but that wasn't the objective today.)

Making feathersticks with the GSO 3.5 and SK-4 (the same size as Survive!'s GSO 4.1) was important but there was some play planned too as I pulled out the GSO-10 and chopped a dead branch to test my technique and the grip on the 10. It took a few swings to get it right but I quickly was popping off "slices" of the branch in single swings.

I won't take a side on the chopper versus axe debate but will say that I'm a BIG fan of these large, impractical knives regardless of weight and always have been. The GSO-10 is thinner stock than any Busse in a comparable blade length but thicker than any machetes you're likely to encounter--maybe 3/16" thick.

It chops though. It bites deep with little effort and the handle was fine for the little bit of chopping I did. It was secure in the hand, didn't jam up my pinky while working, and didn't transmit too much vibration upon impact.

Dan had a chance to use the SK-4 and the GSO-10 and I think he liked what he experienced. He also showed off his L.T. Wright Genesis with the best orange handles I've seen and a Skeleton Key with a great story.

I was reminded of the fun we used to have out there and need to do this more often. Rest assured that I will be updating this blog as I get out there…

Maybe there'll even be a tutorial or two along the way. (I know, I've said it all before…)

Who knows, this time may be different and we'll really get this thing started again. :)

Thanks for reading,


B

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Need to Get Out

Just not much going on these days besides bike racing, housework, and kid activities. I'd sure like to take a weekend off from that stuff to get myself out into the woods to see if I can still do the kinds of things I used to write about.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Sometimes Life Gets In the Way

Yes, I've been intending to come back here and write.

No, I haven't really done much worth writing about but I have acquired some bits of kit that might be worth reviewing.

Finding the time in between kid activities, training, housework, and everything else life throws at you is difficult and when it does present itself, my motivation is usually directed more toward sitting down and taking a deep breath than it is toward the blog.

I have re-upped the website registration for another 3 years so I should probably do something with it.

I also noticed this morning some 30 comments awaiting moderation so I'll get on those shortly. Not sure why the site isn't sending me email any more but I'll dig into it and see if I can't be a bit more active here.

Right now I'm sitting here with my coffee, the kids are asleep, my wife is on a morning training ride, and the house is quiet. That doesn't happen around here much. LOL!

Life is good so I won't complain but some days the "Have To's" can get in the way of the "Want To's" and those days are too numerous to count around here.

Thanks for sticking around and checking in. I'll try to do the same…

Thanks for reading,


B

Sunday, January 05, 2014

2014

First off, Happy New Year!

I spent some time over the holidays thinking about what I wanted to accomplish in 2014 and re-starting this blog ranked high on the list. (Getting back to my hunting and fishing trips as well as time at the range too…)

I will try to make it a point to get at least one article a week posted up here if I can.

Life is still offering up plenty of distraction but making the writing a priority should help me maintain a bit more focus than in the past couple of seasons.

I have some new ideas, some old ideas, and would like to actually revisit some past locations/projects/tools just to give you an update.

After losing 75 pounds (yeah, crazy right?) my perspective has definitely changed in some areas.  :)

My head has definitely been stuck in the sand for the most part in the past 24 months or so but I'll get back up to speed on what the boys at JRE Industries are doing and what new developments Mike at Grindstone Cutlery has come up with since he's always tinkering with the way things are done and tweaking materials, construction, and processes to improve what he's doing.

I'm going to go back to the meat and potatoes of the blog--the hiking and photography.

Just not today…it's COLD out there and none of my warm clothing fits any more. :)

See you around soon.

Thanks for reading,



B

Thursday, December 12, 2013

My Kuksa

My kuksa smells like coffee and coconut oil…

Where else but here would you ever hear such a thing? :)

The return to "bushcraft phase" means a return to some of the old bits of kit I have neglected in the past couple of years including my kuksa. It needed a bit of attention to bring it back to its former glory but a few coffees and some coconut oil have it back to where it should be in a day.

As a matter of fact, I pulled out a block of maple that I've had sitting around and started laying out another kuksa pattern and even started the first rough cuts on it yesterday.

I don't know when I'll find the time to sit down and work on it but having the first few saw cuts made will help keep me committed to the project.

I don't honestly know how long this "phase" will last but I figure I'll just ride the wave as long as I can and keep writing as long as I have things to write. Hopefully you'll come along for the ride.

Thanks for reading,


B

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Is the "Bushcraft Phase" Coming Back?

After a couple of very busy years with changing focus and effort, things might finally be starting to swing back toward the bushcraft skills and gear that got this blog started so long ago.

My attention lately has been drifting back to Zebra Billy Cans, Gransfors axes, Fallkniven cutlery, wool blankets, and even crooked knives. Just this morning I ordered a left-handed hook knife from Del Stubbs…

Maybe it's the weather; maybe it's the slightly more relaxed days now that cyclocross season (for me) is over. Whatever the reason, once you learn to do more in less time you can fill voids relatively easily.

I still don't have any grandiose plans to do anything spectacular but baby steps in the right direction are still getting me from here to there.

Heck, I've posted more to this blog this month than I have in the 4th Quarter of 2013 right?  :)

Thanks for reading,


B