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

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Kuksa, Noggin, Canoe Cup

Today we're headed to the local Woodcraft store to see if they've got a good block of material for carving a cup.

They're called kuksa, noggins, and canoe cups (among other things) and I'd really like one but don't really want to pay big money to get one when I am confident that I can make one that suits me so long as there is suitable material.

I might just make a matching spoon while I'm at it.

I'll be detailing the process from drawing out my idea on the block, rough shaping, carving in the bowl, finishing, and as many steps in between as I can capture.

I need to get my supplies in order today so I can get this started ASAP in order to have something to show off at the next campout.

Thanks for reading,


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Just Havin' a Little Breakfast

Sitting here this morning eating some left-over bannock from last night and sipping on my umpteenth cup of coffee while catching up on everything that happened last night.

I'm not a huge fan of bannock and find it a bit too biscuit-like for it to NOT be a biscuit. The kids, however, LOVE it and eat it up with peanut butter, honey, jelly, or sausages. I'd prefer some kneaded dough so I'll be trying something different with the next batch.

Oh, I think today is Les Stroud's birthday for those of you who have followed him through books and television. Happy Birthday Les!

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Take Care of Your Feet

I'm sure you've heard and read it hundreds of times but it's no joke. Take care of your feet.

You'll be pretty bad off without them...

I recently had my stride analyzed after having some problems with my ankles and it turns out my left foot is "sloppy" and required some correction. Some expensive tennis shoes later, I'm working on fixing my stride and taking some of the stress off of my ankles.

Unfortunately, it makes my feet HURT! The shoes feel like they're bruising the soles of my feet and every morning it pains me to walk down the stairs for that first cup of coffee.

Add to that the fact that I either wear Teva sandals or go barefoot during soccer practice and the inevitable cleat stomp on my toes makes the TOPS of my feet hurt.

I hobble around here day after day wishing that things would progress a bit more quickly but I am comforted by the knowledge that the temporary soft-tissue pain in my feet is a sign that the shoes are doing something to help me from having problems with the bones and connective tissue in my ankles down the road.

Thanks for reading,


Saturday, October 16, 2010

New One from NWA Knives

This one just arrived yesterday from Nick and I'm really excited to get this one out and get it dirty--hopefully today between soccer and a dinner reservation.

The knife is a combination of his LEK design in the same size as the Sierra Scout (Bladeforums Forum Knife.)

It comes with a hand-stitched leather dangler sheath with a firesteel loop that'll hold a Light My Fire Army model firesteel.

5" of cutting edge
5" from front of handle to tip
10" OAL
5/32" thick A2
Green Canvas Micarta Scales with Red Liners
Thumb cutouts on the front of both scales for better purchase in chest-lever grip

I'll try and get some more pictures that better show Nick's attention to detail when I get out with it.

Thanks for reading,


Friday, October 15, 2010

Didja Ever...

do something so silly that you wonder how your brain allowed it to happen?

I have. LOL!

Recently I was testing out the functionality of my iPhone and the app and found later that I'd ordered 5 different Bushcraft books (including TWO of one) from resellers just as easily as one could make a call.

So, I've expanded my book collection by 5 even though I already had all of the books. Now Jake's got his book collection started and, along with a copy of Cache Lake Country, he should be set for some good reading over the winter.

Thanks for reading,


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sharpening Setup

They say a picture's worth a thousand words.

I have mentioned in the past that my new ultimate sharpening setup consisted of the DMT Diasharp Coarse and Fine stones and I've now invested in the full set from XX-Coarse (120 Micron) to XX-Fine (3 Micron) with a homemade strop for finishing.

For most everything I sharpen, I use the Coarse followed by the Fine and then strop and call it good.

This whole process takes just a minute or two and a knife will go from what some folks consider sharp to tree topping hairs from my arm.

I picked up all the extra stones for those times where I have to take an old, dull knife and bring it to life or when I want to really refine the edge on a knife to a high polish.

The old dirty towel goes in my sharpening box along with the green Sharpie (I can make it out better than black) and the shelf liner (under the Extra Coarse stone in the foreground) which helps keep the stone gripping the table top or counter where I'm working. The CLP is what I currently use to clean the stones. It really lifts out bits of metal that I've somehow missed when scrubbing with other products in the past. It does leave a bit of residue on the stone but the slight lubrication it provides just makes the stones cut slightly slower than they would otherwise.

The number one reason why I like these stones is their ability to cut any steel I put on them. I've had some issues with S30V and 3V in the past and these stones take them down just like 1095, 5160, O1, or A2.

I'm not going to spend copious amounts of time sharpening a knife to get that "perfect" edge because it's going to get marred the very first time I use it but I have been keeping the fine stone in the kitchen to touch up the edge on my Wusthof Santoku every few minutes just because I can. A single pass on each side is all it takes to keep that knife scary.

I haven't been using this setup long enough to know if I'm finally set but it sure feels like it could be my long-term solution...

Thanks for reading,


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

More thoughts

I'd like to put together a "gathering" at some point here in the Midwest. I'm thinking Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, or Wisconsin.

The long weekend seems to be the ideal duration (3 days) so I'd stick with that. We're too far into hunting season to do much before the snow falls this year but if there's interest, I'm going to push forward on getting something on the books.

I need to shoot more videos.

I want to provide another data point for all those knife and steel "tests" out there. I see plenty of threads on Bladeforums comparing and contrasting 3V to INFI and there's so little actual information that I'm going to take my knives in both steels and pit them head to head in a bit of non-scientific work.

I'm going to pair with a knifemaker to make MY knife.

I'm working with a few knifemakers to offer you pass-arounds as I've mentioned in the past. I just got too busy to push this idea through to completion so now it's back on the list.

I'm going to do a "4 Seasons" style walk through my local woods so you can see how my local area changes with the seasons. The first walk will probably be soon to take advantage of the changing leaves and to set the hike and photo/video locations.

Overall, I'm going to have to kick this blog in the pants to get things interesting again. It's just been too long and I've spent too much time working on it to walk away...

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Of Habits and New Directions

The past few years have really focused on the outdoor skills and gear evaluations and those will continue as there ALWAYS seems to be something arriving in the mail.

However, I want to work on some different skills going forward.

First, I want to learn how to can/jar for long term food storage. I have some idea how it is done but have never done anything of any real size. I know you can can everything from meat and eggs to veggies and fruit but I've just never done more than canning my own made from scratch hot sauce.

I still carry my cameras everywhere and am always taking notes of what we see and do but the habit of sitting down and writing has been lost. I will try to remember to sit down every day and give you something new to read but I can't promise that it'll always happen without a subtle reminder. :)

The weather has changed, hunting season is upon us, and I'm going to try my hand at bowhunting as soon as I get myself a bow. I've talked about this for a long time but finally have the funds set aside to do something about it. It may be this week that Sarah and I get to run up to the archery store for some guidance.

I hope to see you again real soon.

Thanks for reading,