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

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Got a Package Yesterday

I got this box from Ragnar at Ragweed Forge yesterday for a project I've been planning and working on for a bit. That's 15 Mora 510s.

I mentioned just a week ago that I was in a sharpening mood didn't I? These 510s need some attention out of the box to get the bevels as flat as they can be but then they'll be ready for some refinement.

The plan is to take these knives to different levels of finish on the sharpening and then do a comparison at various cutting chores to find out what finish lasts the longest, which cuts the best, etc. If, for example, a 600-grit finish on the bevels was good enough then spending the extra time to take a knife to 2000 grit would be time better spent elsewhere.

I have a hypothesis that I'll be testing over the next several weeks once I get these bevels flattened on my DMT Coarse stone.

Stick around, this could be educational.

Thanks for reading,


Thursday, June 25, 2009


I'm working on an article but finding it tough to get enough time to do it well...

I may have to switch the format of the blog to a more article-driven / less daily-posting type if I can't get on and post daily.

I've got some new stuff to show you, some trips planned, and a tutorial or two in the works...

Soon (like after July 4th) I should have more time available to get back into the routine of posting, taking pictures, and the rest.

Thanks for sticking around during this slow period,


Saturday, June 20, 2009

In A Sharpening Mood

I've been putting new edges on the kitchen knives today and am now on the prowl for something else that needs a new edge. I'm not having any luck...too much time spent IN the house and not enough in the woods.

I'm putting out a call to the neighbors to see if anybody wants their cutlery sharpened. I'm getting desperate here. :)

My current setup involves an old two-sided coarse/fine oil stone that rests in a bath of mineral oil until time for use. Once I'm done it gets lapped on a DMT Extra Coarse stone and then back into the oil.

The edges are coarse enough that they'll slice through whatever I put under the edges but a quick strop keeps the edges polished enough to prevent what might otherwise be daily or weekly sharpening.

The edges will pop hairs and slice a carrot paper thin. It's nice to have knives in the kitchen that can be taken to such a thin edge while still remaining some toughness. My field knives are a bit thicker to handle any abuse I may throw their way.

Anybody use a special setup for sharpening in the field? I'm thinking about cutting down this stone and dropping it into a DeCon container for field use. The container has a snap-on lid and it's watertight so it should keep the oil from getting everywhere. The JRE Industries field strop just rolls up and drops into the bottom of my pack and it's loaded with the good stuff (Black Magic) which gives me just the right amount of polish while still keeping the edge a bit toothy.

Ah well, off to find something else that might need a new edge...

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Firesteel Failure

Over the weekend I had the head come clean off a Light My Fire Army Firesteel and it got me thinking about the repercussions in the field.

I was striking the firesteel with the spine of my knife when the rod simply fell out of the plastic head and into my tinder bundle. If that'd happened at the same time as my spark set fire to the tinder bundle I would've had to make a quick decision about whether or not it was wise to reach in and risk a burn to retrieve the rod.

As much as I love the Army Model firesteel I think one of the rod blanks from JRE Industries or Going Gear might be a better option. I drill out a hole on the blanks and run either a split ring or cordage through the rod. This gives me a solid purchase on the rod and I don't have to worry about it coming off as the rod would have to split at the hole before failing.

The JRE rods in particular are especially low profile and I can drill the rod and run a piece of ball chain through it and it'll drop in a pocket or even in a wallet. The Going Gear rods are the other ferrocerium/mischmetal formula and come in many sizes but I think much smaller than the Army size (3/8" diameter?) is getting a bit too small to drill a useful hole. There are, of course, other methods to attach smaller rods but we'll go into that another time.

Now don't think the head coming off the firesteel is a real deal breaker. A few drops of super glue or epoxy into the head and a few hours clamped up has prevented repetition of this problem. I've had two or three heads separate from the rods but each time a spot of glue fixed the problem permanently.

I'm not giving up on my LMF Army firesteels just yet...I may even pick up a couple more to keep in reserve for when I wear this one out. LOL!

Thanks for reading,


Happy Birthday Jake!

The big Six this year huh buddy?!

Happy Birthday!


Monday, June 15, 2009

Day at the Lake

I spent yesterday at my parents' lake house and got a chance to build a fire using my knife, firesteel, and found natural tinders. Everything was wet but I did eventually get things going.

Along the way I got a chance to use my new axe performance tuned by Brian Andrews at Off the Map Outfitters. It saw more use splitting wood than it did anything else and I even managed to knock off the top corner on a nail hidden in a piece of wood. (Off to the sharpening stone today...)

I tended the fire for most of the day and used that axe hard throughout and never developed any hot spots or blisters.

It was nice to get away from the day to day for a short while and I got to exercise my inner-pyromaniac too. :)

Thanks for reading,


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Hey BCB!

One more thing I forgot to mention, the folks at GoingGear are going to toss you an additional prize for your Custom Firesteel Awesomeness!

I'll email you the contact information. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. :D



Monday, June 08, 2009

Firesteel Contest Winner!

Congratulations Backcountry Bowhunter! You've received the most votes for your custom firesteel.

I'm happy to see that lots of entries got votes showing that our tastes all run in different veins.

Thanks for your efforts and creativity everybody!

BCB, drop me a note and let me know when you're ready to get in touch with the boys at JRE Industries to collect your prize. :)



Sunday, June 07, 2009

Just a Few More Hours to Vote

Just a couple more hours until Midnight and then we'll have a winner in the Firesteel Contest.

Make sure you cast your vote.



Friday, June 05, 2009

Swanndri: I Think That Did It!

Well, I'm facing a bit of a personal crisis. I think the Customs invoice I received today may be the straw that breaks the camel's back.

I have placed three orders with Swanndri in New Zealand and have been hit with hefty Customs Duties each time. This time it was for $83 and change on a $200 order. That's a hefty additional charge no matter the quality of the gear.

Add to that the fact that the latest shipment was made entirely in China (yes, Kiwi bush shirts made in China--go figure) and you've got one supremely unhappy customer.

I think I'm pulling the plug on my relationship with them. I haven't contacted them to complain about this invoice from US Customs but the last time, after a mistake on THEIR end, I simply received a store credit with an expiration date.

Sure, I've got enough Swannie gear to last the rest of my days so this isn't as big a decision as it could be but I think it's enough to prevent me from placing a fourth order with them.

That's just my opinion.

Thanks for reading,


Thursday, June 04, 2009

Full Day Plant Intensive at Briar Patch

George is having a full-day plant intensive class this weekend.

This is a chance to learn about edible and medicinal plants and then implement your new found knowledge with a dinner prepared with what you've foraged.

I think he's moved all the students to Sunday which is the day I'm planning on heading up anyway.

Maybe I'll see some of you there.


There's 20.

This morning I stepped on the scales and I'm now down 20 pounds since I started tracking my weight on May 1st.

That may seem like a lot to some but I can assure you it's just a good start. I can certainly tell the difference when doing things like climbing the stairs or going for a walk--it's just easier.

Not having the time to acquire and review new gear or get into the woods has but a real crimp on my blogging activities but it seems to be a good distraction from the constant draw of food.

I've replaced the junk food (mostly) with healthy choices and eat probably four or five servings of fruit and four or five servings of vegetables every day.

Sarah and I are finding our stride and I hope soon to have a better routine down so that I can start to plan things. She's sleeping better at night, eating more and more consistently, and she's getting a regular nap schedule.

I've got a long way to go but I'll keep you updated when I hit any significant milestones. :)

Thanks for reading,


Monday, June 01, 2009

Firesteel Contest Voting

Okay, the firesteel contest is closed. Now we've just got to pick the winner.

HERE is the link to the gallery.

I'll keep the vote open until Midnight on June 7th (one full week) and you can vote by posting a comment here with your favorite.

Good luck.