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

Monday, September 28, 2009

Fallkniven S1

I borrowed the "sheath sample" Fallkniven S1 from JRE Industries on Friday and used it quite a bit over the weekend and will also be putting it to the test when Jake, Laura, and I go camping this coming weekend. Now, if you've read this blog for any amount of time, you know I'm really an F1 kind of guy and the S1 takes essentially the F1 handle and adds a bit of blade length and a bit of blade thickness. The materials are the same (laminated VG10 blade and Thermorun handle) so I know what I can expect from the blade.

I've been carrying the knife in one of JRE's Gundy prototype sheaths since I picked it up and it carries easily being hardly noticeable until I need it. The sheath, despite being rained on and run over, holds the knife very securely and a quick jog into the woods yesterday did nothing to shake the knife loose or even cause a rattle.

The S1 blade shape differs from the F1 with the inclusion of a long swedge giving the appearance more of a bowie knife than the very survival-oriented look of the F1. The two extra finger-widths of blade give me more options when it comes time to split branches but the long swedge means I've got less real estate to bang on with my baton. It still works just fine and the thinner swedge near the tip will throw excellent sparks from a firesteel once I get it squared up a bit more.

The point, again due to the swedge, is much thinner than the F1 but I experienced no edge damage or failure while driving the knife point first into some sticks and twisting to split them for a fire. (What I mean to say, if Dan and Spen are reading, is that I sliced paper, peeled an apple, and then gently washed the blade before putting the knife down for a nap on a feather pillow...)

If the weather clears up a bit today I'll try and snap a few pictures. We were outside last night building a small fire so I could test the edge on the S1 while making feather sticks and splitting down kindling and fuel and the sky turned dark, the temperature dropped 5 degrees or so, and the wind picked up. Rain started to fall and then thunder and lightening came. This morning doesn't look much more cheerful but I figure the sun must come out at some point. I'll be ready.

Thanks for reading,


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Say No More!

I think the picture says a thousand words...

Congratulations buddy! Your first fish.


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Running an Experiment (Survival Kits)

I was playing around with some basic survival kit items last night and got out the FoodSaver vacuum sealer and sealed up a kit. It includes water purification, signaling and navigation, firestarting, a fishing kit, a knife and sharpener, and more. It's also small enough to drop into a cargo pocket.

Being vacuumed, the kit doesn't rattle around at all and the bags are clear which makes it easy to see everything inside.

My concern with vacuum sealing my kits has always been the toughness of the bags. If my knife is sealed inside how am I going to get to my kit should I need it? You can't tear it open with your hands.

I'm going to put together a kit, get out the video camera, and go out and try to get into it and use the items inside without using anything I've brought along.

I think I can abrade the package enough to get inside but won't know for sure until I try.

They make some sort of sliding coupon cutter with a covered blade that might make a handy addition to the kit. I like to leave a long "tail" on my vacuum bags so I can cut them open, do whatever I need to do with the contents inside, and then reseal the bag. I could drop an eyelet in the "tail" and then attach one of these cutters for very little extra weight. I'll just need to see if I can find the cutter that I remember.

Look for more on this project here in the next couple of days...

Thanks for reading,


Thursday, September 17, 2009

New Fallknivens: F2, F3, and F4

In recent weeks I've managed to build my collection of Fallkniven F-series knives. Yeah, there's a whole SERIES of knives. There's the F1 which I've written about at length and then there's the F2 fishing knife and the F3 and F4 butcher/kitchen knives. The F2 is the same thickness as the F1 (4mm) with a fillet knife profile and slightly longer blade.

This knife (the F2) is much more robust than a standard fillet knife and the thicker blade stock loses the flexibility common in most cheap fillets. I'll admit that I haven't used this one much yet as it went straight in the mail to MBHanzo for a kydex sheath as it'll get used in wet environments more often (I hope.)

The F3 and F4 are of thinner 2.5 mm stock with longer blades are are much more suited to butcher work or filleting larger fish. The F3 is the butcher and the F4 is the long thin fillet. The F3 was used exclusively last night to prep dinner and it worked just fine. The laminated VG-10 steel easily held up under the strain of slicing chicken thighs and quartering shitake mushrooms.

These two knives (F3 and F4) are more likely going to be sharpened with a diamond or ceramic steel than with a stone because of the curves in the edges. I'll let you know how that goes once I have to touch up the edges.

The reason they're all F-series knives is because all of them (F1, F2, F3, and F4) use the same handle. If you find the handle of the F1 comfortable then you'll very likely find the rest of these knives comfortable. The F3 and F4 must have a slightly thicker handle to accommodate the thinner handle stock but that thickness is added to the inside as the overall thickness is the same as the F1 and F2.

Jake's got a fishing tournament coming up in 9 days and maybe we'll have an opportunity to give the F4 a test.

Thanks for reading,


Monday, September 14, 2009

My Other Love

So, I was busy again this weekend. I spent all day yesterday reconnecting with my other love, all things cycling.

I started competitive cycling in college and, as a poor college student, had to learn how to fix and maintain my own bike because I couldn't afford all the trips to the shop for parts and repairs. I have a mechanical mind so fixing the bike always was a real thrill and joy.

Getting in enough mileage to be competitive around here is just impossible with my schedule so the bikes have been hanging on the wall since we moved into the house two years ago. Now that Jake is starting to show an interest in learning to ride, we've been working more and more on getting out as a family to get him used to the idea of moving and balancing and pedaling.

I took him for a spin last weekend and on our last lap of the neighborhood I cranked it up and pulled the chain apart. The extra pounds around my midsection added to my ability to generate power was apparently too much for the bike. We walked home.

What I had discovered prior to walking up the driveway was not good. My wife's bike would neither brake nor shift and now the chain was broken. What I had was a big two-wheeled paperweight.

Yesterday I overhauled the shifting system and the braking system and repaired the broken chain. It took me longer than usual because I'm rustier on turning wrenches than I am on bushcraft skills. Now, however, the bike is as good as new and shifting is crisp and braking is solid.

Sarah will ride for a short time in the trailer now so I think daily rides are going to become part of our routine to get her used to longer and longer trips until we can really enjoy our time out more.

Thanks for reading,


Friday, September 11, 2009

Happy Birthday MEM!

35 right? Happy Birthday!


Where were you?

Eight years ago already...hard to believe.

I was sitting at work oblivious to any of the morning's activity. My wife and two month old daughter were in New York (upstate) and were supposed to be flying home later that day. Then I heard someone come in talking about how a plane had flown into one of the World Trade buildings...

My thoughts turned to some single engine plane and terrible pilot error. Terrible news but nothing to stop me from doing my job.

Then reports of a second plane hitting another of the towers...

Coincidence? Seemed highly unlikely. It was more like the plot of a movie.

Those moments are as clear in my memory today as they were as the events unfolded.

So much has much has been said and written...

I'll never forget.

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Been Busy...

It seems like it's been forever since I last updated the blog...

I got started with spoon carving and have now done a handful of spoons and moved on to refining my fuzz stick making. I filled a five gallon bucket last week with fuzz sticks that are just waiting for the first Autumn night campfire.

I'm carving so much that my hands are constantly cramped up and I've got some new calluses forming on my hands. It's GREAT!

Sarah and I sit on the front porch waiting for the kids to get home from school and enjoy the afternoon sun that comes right in on us. I carve or whittle and she just plays with her toys while the music plays in the background.

So far this year has really been a bust as far as my trips and classes have gone. The daily grind doesn't look to be letting up any time soon so the front porch carving is about as close as I'm going to get to a vacation until Jake's scout pack has their first campout in October.

Thanks for reading,