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, January 16, 2010

Fehrman Shadow Scout Testing Write-Up

Okay, the hands are thawed enough to type and the gear has all been cleaned and dried.

I headed out this morning to put the Fehrman Shadow Scout through some tests as I had intended to do last weekend. This time I got it done.

The first thing I did was get a fire started using some prepared tinder and striking a firesteel with the spine of the Shadow Scout (SS.) I really didn't expect that the SS would work because the sharp edges have all been chamfered and/or rounded to remove them but it actually worked great. My tinder gave me some problems but after slowing down a bit and reminding myself to prepare the tinder better it took a spark within just a few strikes and we were off to the races.

I had used the SS to split some sticks to get to the dry inner wood and a few pieces of fatwood. I used these to get the fire going and then quickly moved up to some split red oak I had on the wood pile. I tend to use two methods to split wood down to more useful sizes for this kind of fire. First, I will pound the knife tip into the stick and give a good twist. This will tend to pop the wood along the grain. Second, the baton comes into play.

Both methods can test an edge through some lateral force and the tip first method really tests a knife's tip strength. I actually won't do this test with just any knife. I started doing it for the Fehrman First Strike test and have used it from time to time since then when I think a knife is up to the task.

I carved some fuzz sticks. The knife's edge is almost too polished to really bite into the wood but it did an admirable job once I fine tuned my technique. I had to go to two hands controlling the blade to get nice tight curls but I could easily start those curls with my firesteel. Looking back, part of my difficulty may have stemmed from the fact that I'm carving on seasoned, frozen red oak. That's some hard stuff.

I tried the knife in a variety of grips and found the small guard to be a bit of a hindrance from time to time. While striking the firesteel, it was really poking me in the hand but it was also a real asset during some of the harder testing as it locked the handle into my grip.

I chopped and the SS did a fine job on the frozen wood. It's clearly not in the same class as larger blades like the new Edmondson chopper but it does well for it's size and mass.

Most impressive, like the First Strike, is the condition of the edge after a day of chopping, cutting, slicing, batonning, and driving the knife into the frozen ground. It's spotless. I stropped it on my pant leg and it'll still easily pop hairs from my arm.

It's almost ridiculous.

Thanks for reading,



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