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, May 26, 2011

I Went Big

"Go Big or Go Home" is a phrase I've heard and/or said from time to time.

Well, yesterday I went big with regard to machetes and I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to go back.

For years I've been telling people that the ideal machete for my use is a cut down Ontario 18" Military Machete trimmed to about 16" and convexed with a squared spine.

I got a 22" Ontario from Machete Specialists and the extra reach and weight may push me from a shortener to a full-length-er.

As with any Ontario of recent production, it's going to need lots of TLC to bring it up to a useable state. This one has about 4" of unsharpened steel in front of the handle so I will round the spine, square the edge-side, and then square up the rest of the spine.

Actually, the first thing I'll do this morning is strip off the black coating with Bar Keeper's Friend. Then I'll probably tweak the handle to take away the gap between the scales. Once that's all done I can start on the steel modifications.

I'll try and take some measurements and weights before I start this project so I can give you a good comparison before and after.

Thanks for reading,


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Movin' On Up

I was recently appointed to the Park Board here in the village and we had our first "walkabout" meeting yesterday where we toured four of the local parks.

On my application, I talked about the need to educate local residents about what sort of amazing resources they have available and, believe it or not, that's the same thing a recent survey told them. So, I'm going to start working on cataloging the resources at each park and trying to build some sort of curriculum that I can use to teach kids and adults about the natural areas in their parks.

On top of that, we're responsible for things like repair and replacement of equipment and, unfortunately, cleaning up graffiti which was a big problem this weekend.

As always, my big push is to get people involved and invested and I'm going to continue to push that agenda because, frankly, having a small handful of people from throughout the village and the good folks at Public Works isn't enough.

Seeing the problems the village is facing from the Emerald Ash Borer to the continued invasion of buckthorn and garlic mustard shows just how short-handed we are. Widespread problems need to be addressed on a widespread scale and the residents are going to have to step up if we're going to remove these problems from our village.

Fun times ahead...

Thanks for reading,


Monday, May 09, 2011

Science Baby!

I went out yesterday with the kids and bought a microscope.

The one we chose was the illuminated pocket microscope with magnification from 60X to 100X. It runs on 2 AAA batteries which power a small LED.

I got it to inspect my edges but the kids have already found it highly entertaining for everything from looking at the surface of my leather strop to the skin of an orange to the structure of a leaf. Imagine the shrieks when we catch our first bug!

For $12 US, it's a little fidgety but getting the controls sorted out was pretty easy and now I have it set up where I can just set it down on a blade, move the viewfinder toward the cutting edge, and see what I'm doing right and wrong.

I have been trying to sharpen a Sebenza for months (on and off) and never really got it where I was happy with it but couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong. After a quick inspection this morning, I could see the ragged edge and made a few minor adjustments to my technique, a quick strop, and BOOM! now it's sharp--scary sharp.

I couldn't make out the difference in the quality of the edge at 20X with a loupe and the extra light really showed off the ridges still present in the surface of the steel.

Now the edge feels as sharp as I'd expect S30V to feel and it is sharp finally. Now let's see if it'll hold up as well as my Spyderco Paramilitary (also S30V) has.

Thanks for reading,