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

Saturday, May 30, 2009


I'd like to discuss tracking today and I don't mean the kind where you're following an animal's sign to determine where it may have gone and what it may have done. I'm talking specifically about how a knife follows the path you're trying to follow.

My tracking superstar is my newest Spyderco Delica with green G10 handles. I think maybe it's a Delica IV (4) but don't know for sure. The point is modified from the original design and the new tip tracks exactly where I want it. I've used this knife extensively since receiving it and can't find a single thing to complain about.

I use it when doing detail cutting as I know it's going to go where I expect and want it to go without missing a beat. I use it to cut drywall, I use it when cutting tape off of wooden parts to assemble new furniture, and I use it cutting leather for strops. This knife would excel at field dressing and skinning game.

I can choke up on the knife and put my index finger immediately behind the tip on the spine but control isn't compromised when holding the knife back entirely on the handle. That says A LOT about a knife.

I've finally worn down the edge enough to need maintenance and this knife has taken a BEATING! VG-10 does okay. :)

I've got another one up for sale on the Bushman Sale page on JRE but I'm having second thoughts. I LOVE this knife.

Thanks for reading,


Friday, May 29, 2009

Unanswered Email

Those of you who have emailed me recently, I haven't forgotten you. I'm just completely swamped with projects (not the fun blog-related kind but the boring everyday kind) and haven't had a chance to reply. I will though by the end of the day today.



Thursday, May 28, 2009

Seen These? Snow Peak Hybrid Cookset

REI has an exclusive on the Snow Peak Hybrid Cookset. It looks like a clever combination of a custom Guyot Designs bowl and two of the three pieces from the Snow Peak set I have.

My set has three pieces (two bowls and a frypan/lid) and they've taken away the smaller bowl and replaced it with a short spork and Guyot Designs squishy bowl which appears to be a custom size to fit the larger bowl.

Sarah and I are going to head down to REI this afternoon to have a look at them to see if they're an improvement over the set I've already got.

It's certainly a clever combination of materials to save weight.

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Firesteel Contest

Last week for the firesteel contest folks!

If you're still thinking of entering the contest this is the time to jump.

I'll have pictures of all the entries posted on Sunday for your perusal and vote.



Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

Take some time today to remember those who serve and have served. We in the Bushman household are truly thankful for all the sacrifices you've made.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

A to Z Bushcraft on DVD

On May 28th, Andrew Price will be releasing his A-Z Bushcraft on DVD.

You'll be able to get your copy HERE for a donation.

Purchasing this DVD will give them the funding to put together the next A-Z project.

I've really enjoyed his short segments and think it worth the asking price so I'll be picking one up and would ask you to consider doing the same.

Thanks for reading,


Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Last night I felt a tickle in my throat and thought little of it because I'm still on antibiotics for the second round of strep throat. Well, it's not nothing...

I spent the night hacking up a whole mess of nasty and feel terrible AGAIN this morning.

How'd I manage to get sick three times in just a few weeks and AFTER the weather turned for the better?! I've felt bad for so long that I've forgotten what it is like to feel good.

On the up-side, I've shed 18 pounds so far...

Thanks for reading,


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Fallkniven F1 Maintenance Day

Well, I've done it. I chipped my F1 yesterday while using the wrong tool for the job.

So, today I'm removing metal with a coarse stone and then I'll get it sharp again. The dings aren't terrible but they're right in the middle of the straight part of the blade and cutting will go much smoother if I remove them rather than just sharpen over them.

I'll admit that I enjoy spending some time working over my blade from time to time so this isn't a hardship. I just wish I hadn't forced myself to remove excess material when it didn't need to be that way.

Thanks for reading,

EDIT: This whole project has only taken maybe 10 minutes and the knife is as good as new--with a few little marks to remind me of the work this knife has done. (I said they were little dings.) :)


Friday, May 15, 2009

The Green Pharmacy

Ever since I finished the Herbal Preparations Class put on by Briar Patch and The Mustard Seed I've been reading the books on George's suggested reading list and one in particular, "The Green Pharmacy" by James A. Duke, PhD and to say I've been blown away might be an understatement.

Garlic (Allium sativum,) also known as Russian Penicillin, has antibiotic, antiseptic, and anti-fungal properties that make it a powerful companion at home and in the woods. I took garlic oil pills all last summer in an attempt to deter ticks and it did that job plus, looking back, I spent all (if not most) of the summer free from illness and I wonder if that had something to do with the consumption of garlic on a daily basis.

There are herbs that can cross the blood-brain barrier and, according to Dr. Duke, be applied in the form of a decoction or infusion to your shampoo, and potentially help with the symptoms of Alzheimers. Don't believe me? Get the book from the library and give it a look.

I've been using the Plantain and Thyme balm we made at the class for a tear in the bottom of my foot and it's been working wonders. I've always had problems when my feet get wet and it's still early in the barefoot season and one misstep during a rain storm left me with this little gift that keeps reminding me of its presence when I walk.

The thyme is antiseptic and antibiotic so it'll help fight off infection while the plantain Plantago major speeds repair of the damaged tissue while also preventing inflammation and providing antibacterial protection. The balm base is simply bees wax and olive oil mixed in a ration to suit the user. The base is moisturizing the surrounding skin while the herbs go to work and in a single day I've actually seen an improvement.

If you can get this book at the library, give it a look, if you cannot, it's still worth the cover price (or give it a look at your local bookstore.) It's been quite an eye-opener.

Thanks for reading,


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Dream Products

While I'm dreaming up my Top 10 list I've been thinking about pieces of gear I own that I'd like to see slightly modified to be my ultimate and the two that really jump to the front of my mind are both by Fallkniven.

First, I'd like to see them add a larger stone to the lineup. A DC5. It'd fit into a kit still but it would also be more substantial. More surface area means easier sharpening (for me anyway) and it shouldn't be that hard to increase the size of the DC4 by an inch. (Not that I really have any clue how they're manufactured or how easy/difficult it is to change the dimensions.)

Second, I'd like a larger F1. The same knife with an extra inch of blade length. That would make the blade around 4.8" and the handle could be lengthened slightly to maintain the proper proportions and balance. Make it out of 3G and I'd be dancing in the streets.

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my F1 and DC4/DC3 and wouldn't trade them for the world but slightly larger versions of those two bits of kit would be superb stuff.

What would you like to see?

Thanks for reading,


Edit to Add:

Some folks ask me why I link to and write about JRE Industries so often and I think this has something to do with it. First, they're my friends. Second, when they show me one of their new products and give me an opportunity to use it, they will listen to my feedback and sometimes incorporate it into the final product.

When a manufacturer listens to the customer and makes changes to improve the form and/or function of an existing design that means an awful lot to me and I want to let others know who the good guys are.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Hunting Binoculars Reviews

I've added a new link to the blog today.

Best Hunting Binoculars is a site dedicated to testing and review of binoculars, spotting scopes, and rifle scopes.

I've always been a fan of good glass but just never really knew how to determine what was the best bang for my buck. I have had good luck with purchasing known brands like Nikon, Canon, Leupold, etc. but there may be some better options out there for less money.

The other day there was an article on digital camera binoculars, an item I didn't even know existed, and now I am intrigued and looking for more information. (It's a slippery slope to be a gear junky...)

Give it a look.

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Back in Town

We made it back from NC successfully and then I felt a familiar sensation in my right ear which moved to my right tonsil overnight...that's right, I've got Strep Throat AGAIN! just two weeks since I had it last.

The upside to being sick is that I've lost some weight. I'm down 15 pounds already and plan to keep it off as I improve my fitness for the field.

Unfortunately, this strep is progressing just like the last time and this may be the last day for a few that I feel like even getting out of bed.

I found this great video on YouTube this morning on making a netting shuttle using a piece of wood and a Victorinox Farmer:

There's so much to bring you up to speed on if I could just get the energy to write...

Thanks for reading,


Thursday, May 07, 2009

Hello From Charlotte

After a busy morning full of travel we're in Charlotte, North Carolina for a few days to attend a wedding.

I hope to get out a bit while we're here. Anybody in the area?


Wednesday, May 06, 2009

In Plain Sight -- Be Creative

The firesteel contest has got me thinking about not only custom handles but also the clever ways those firesteels can be carried.

Here are a few of the methods I've seen, read about, or tried.

1. A small firesteel can be inserted into a hollowed piece of paracord and woven into a hatband.
2. A cork handle can be shaped to fit snugly inside the handlebar on a road or mountain bike.
3. A bit of epoxy and you can mount a firesteel inside the downtube on a camera tripod.
4. Toss a small firesteel into your match case.
5. Make a necklace and turn your firesteel into a bead or charm.
6. Epoxy a small firesteel inside the earpiece of your sunglasses/eyeglasses.

As a firesteel junkie I admit to carrying more than one firesteel most of the time and using these methods makes it less obvious that I'm addicted to mischmetal. :)

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Briar Patch Full Day Plant Class

George is hosting a day-long plant class on June 6th and 7th (two sessions) up near where he held the Herbal Preparations Class a few weeks ago and I'm planning on attending. As I understand it we'll cover as many plants as we can cover during the day and then prepare a meal using the things we've found.

It sounds like a fantastic opportunity to continue expanding my knowledge of plants and wild edibles. Plus George's presentation style makes it easy to take away mountains of information while being educated AND entertained. I have pages and pages of notes from the Herbal Preparations Class and we only took about 20-30 minutes to talk about some of the edible and medicinal plants growing right around the shop.

I've got some video from that class but I'm going to need George's permission before I post it up on YouTube and here on the blog. It will give you a good taste of how he teaches though.

Maybe I'll see some of you there...

Thanks for reading,


Sunday, May 03, 2009

Top Ten #1: The Axe

Given the choice of just one item to take with me into the wilds it'd be the axe I would choose. Of the many axes I've tested and used the Gransfors Bruks Small Forest Axe (SFA) has been my favorite. It came sharp out of the box and has held an excellent edge through extended use and required no modification to be useful.

Gransfors axes aren't cheap by any stretch of the imagination but they're very good quality from top to bottom.

I give the handle a coat of Linseed Oil every couple of months and the sheath has needed nothing more than an occasional brushing to remove surface dirt to keep it in service. The head gets oiled after every outing and I strop and/or sharpen the edge after every use to keep the edge where I need it.

With the SFA (or any axe) you've got a hammer, a chopper, and a cutting edge. I can use my axe to take a piece of standing dead wood all the way down to a friction fire set. You can use the bottom corner (or top for that matter) of the axe to carve the initial depression into the hearth board and making the notch with an axe is easier than with a knife as long as you remember to watch your fingers. You can even choke up on the head and use the bit like an ulu for food prep.

An axe will feed your fire, put a roof over your head, and can even be used as a weapon in a pinch. If it could purify water it'd be the ultimate survival tool. (Sure, it can feed the fire that boils your water to make it potable...)

I've used my axe to make tent pegs, trap parts, firewood, a platform bed, a roughed out spoon and bowl, and much more. It's been used as a hammer to pound in upright supports for a fire reflector, driven in pegs to hold logs in place for a primitive shelter, sunk wooden wedges into dead tree trunks to split them, and even pounded a few nails.

I'm by no means an Axe Man but I've used my axes enough to know that they're my ultimate tool and that they'd be the absolute last thing I'd give up.

Of course my environment is much more suited to an axe than the jungle or desert would be but that's why this is a Top 10 list and not a Top 1. :)

Thanks for reading,


Friday, May 01, 2009

Where'd He Go?!

I'm sure that's what some of you are wondering. I kind of wonder where the week went myself.

I set up my camera to shoot some pictures of my first piece of gear for the Top 10 articles and that seems to be where I got stopped cold. LOL!

Even now I'm sneaking onto the computer to give you this update...

There's an awful lot of real work to be done these days and it's really cutting into my blogging time.

On the up side I'm planning a campout with Jake and Laura in the coming weeks so we'll get a chance to get out there before the bugs get too nasty.

Hang tight. I'll be back soon with plenty of good stuff...

Thanks for reading,