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

Friday, September 28, 2012

Bad Attitude

Sorry for the lack of updates once again...I've been in a mood.

Every morning I sit down and think about what to write and my thoughts turn to a whole host of rants that I figure nobody really wants to hear and so I get up, grab another cup of coffee, and get started on my day away from the blog.

I often wonder, since nobody in my family appreciates those soapbox moments, if you folks ever want to know what sets me off and where I really stand on the perceived "issues" of the day.

We all have opinions and sometimes those opinions can be fairly divisive.  I've never waded into politics, religion, or money because those are the things that seem to cause the biggest, most non-productive arguments and hurt feelings and, frankly, they have no place here.

On the other hand, I could probably go on for pages and pages about the internet "experts" in all things, the rise of the YouTube gurus, and the general misinformation available out there where more often than not people have an axe to grind against some person or manufacturer and use the power of anonymity to push their agenda.

I write this blog much like I live my life.  Say what you want but be prepared to get socked in the mouth for what you say--and believe me, I've been socked in the mouth a few times.  LOL!

Anyway, the 'hawks are in and my supplies are sitting in the garage.  This weekend isn't going to see them done between the birthday parties and the 100 mile bike ride but maybe NEXT weekend...a familiar refrain right?  :)

Thanks for reading,


Saturday, September 22, 2012

FrogLube CLP

I got a package yesterday from Backup Supply full of FrogLube CLP.  CLP stands for Clean Lube Protect and is the type of product I use for my knives, firearms, and bike drivetrains.

Everything I've heard, which isn't much really, about this stuff says it could be the latest and greatest thing for metal protection and I'm about to put it to the test.

I have a small Sebenza that I carry every day that will be getting fully cleaned today and then all the CRK grease will be replaced with the FrogLube grease.  I will also be putting it on the chain and cogs of my cyclocross bike.  This will be more like the wear and tear a firearm would see in a wartime environment because of all the dust, mud, water, grit, etc. that can get into the links of the chain and wreak havoc on shifting and chain life.

Today should be the perfect day to hit the ground running.  We've had plenty of rain that should turn the trails to a muddy, wet mess and 60 miles of that kind of riding will punish any teflon-based lube or the CLP I normally use on my drivetrain.

Being food-safe is nice since my Sebenza sees so much use peeling and cutting up fruit for the kids.  The Militec grease I use in the pivot doesn't leach out (as far as I know) but having a lube labelled
"All natural. Non-Toxic. Environmentally Green" doesn't hurt.

Plus, it smells minty.  :)

Thanks for reading,


Friday, September 21, 2012

Not Just Sharp

Being the father of four, I have my fair share of boxes to open, empty, and break down.  Between diapers, wipes, snacks, etc. there are always bits and pieces of cardboard floating around and I'm always looking for knife work opportunities.

This morning it was time to pull out my S35VN Spyderco Para-Military 2 for box duty and I got to thinking about what it is that makes me really like this design.  It's not just that the knife gets and stays sharp, it's precise.

I mentioned this a long time ago on the Delica 4.  Having a knife that will go where you want it and cut what you want while avoiding what you don't is a big deal.

I could've probably broken down the boxes with a machete or sharpened prybar but I could have cut up the baby wipes inside the box or managed to cut myself on the follow-through.  Instead I have a knife that moves expectedly and precisely and gets the job done quickly.

My kitchen knives are the same way.  It's not just sharpness that matters.  Precision prevents damaged food and fingers (both of which are VERY important to me.)  :)

Some of the precision surely comes from familiarity with the blades but some must also come from solid design on the part of the manufacturer because I've used knives that weren't precise or just didn't handle well for one reason or another and simply got tossed into a box, given away, or in the worst case scenario, THROWN away because I felt they were impractical and potentially dangerous.

And with that, baby nap time is over and I'm off to take care of daddy business once again...

Thanks for reading,


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

So Much Time Spent...

I have spent YEARS building kits.

For some reason, I find it enjoyable to build kits for survival, every day, travel, etc. It goes right along with my desire to plan for anything and everything I suppose.

This morning I'm working on a stripped down kit of the best stuff I can find and then (this is the part I've always done backwards) I'll find a suitable container.  Normally I start with the container and try to maximize the space inside.  This leads to kits that contain smaller versions of items I might normally carry that then don't get used.

I had to light a fire in the rain in humid South Carolina in June with a 2" X 1/8" firesteel and the blade on my Leatherman Micra.  I got it done but it took some concentration and effort and a good amount of determination.  It would've been far easier to use the awl on a Victorinox Pioneer, Soldier, etc. and a nice big LMF Army firesteel (or even a lighter.)

The books say to revisit your kits at least once a year to make sure things haven't gone bad that should be replaced but I find that I'm constantly revamping contents, focus, etc. and so my kits rarely get used as kits because they're constantly being parted out for the newest kit or the newest idea...

I stopped myself at one point yesterday and counted no fewer than FOUR knives on my person and then promptly removed three of them to lighten my pockets.  This is the same thing I intend to do with these kits--take out the backups, make sure the highest quality components are included, and then use the heck out of the kit to make sure the right choices have been made.

How long with this "Perfect Kit" last? Probably not long if history is any indication...  LOL!

Thanks for reading,


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Read the Description, Look at the Pictures...

I picked up a Victorinox Electrician from the fine folks at Knifeworks the other day while ordering my Cold Steel Trail Hawks and everything came in today.

I had this brilliant plan to carry the Electrician and a Leatherman PS4 for the normal duties around the house.  (Sure, I'd probably still carry my Sebenza or Umnumzaan but those'd be more for personal enjoyment more than anything else.)  I thought about throwing a lanyard on the Electrician and the Leatherman so they were easy to retrieve, easier to spot if they got set down, and easier to hang on to during use.

Can you see yet what's missing here?

It clearly shows on the site and it is not included in the description...there IS NO SPLIT RING on this model.  Oops.

I chose the Electrician over the Pioneer because of the addition of the second blade and the removal of the rarely-used can opener.  Sure, I've used it a few times in the past on my Pioneer/Soldier but I don't use it as often as I could a dedicated blade for scraping, opening boxes, and other chores that would potentially compromise the main blade.

Normally I'm a guy who really pays attention to the details.  This time...not so much.


Ah well, live and learn I guess.

Thanks for reading,


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Who's Up for a Project?

I've been burning the Midnight oil reading this thread at Bladeforums about modifying the Cold Steel Trail Hawk and am already 24 pages deep.

This seems like a fun and fairly inexpensive project to undertake over a weekend to go from something bone stock to something fully custom that could go from old school traditional all the way to high tech using the same platform.

I already ordered up two of them from Knifeworks and hope to see them before the weekend so I can get started on one and document the process.

Have any of you done one of these and, if so, do you have any advice for someone doing it for the first time? Things that worked; those that didn't...

I'd definitely be interested in hearing more about it and will continue to read the thread at BF to see where the projects go...

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Where Has He Been?

Yeah, I know posting has become sporadic again...been busy.

I rode my bike 102 miles on Sunday, started swimming again after nearly 15 years on Friday, and have done a few short distance runs (2.5 miles give or take) to mix it up.

I already switched out the Swamp Warden for my Sebenza (old habits and all that) and things are finally settling back to our version of normal around here.

The kids busted out the hammocks yesterday and I showed them how to hang them and also how to put them away.  Now they can do it without my assistance (mostly) and they've picked their favorite spots to do some reading in the afternoon before practicing their instruments.

Oh, the craziest thing I've done since my last post is to get rid of cable.  No more TV in this house.

Too much time spent in front of the TV with too little on made the kids zombies and it had to go.

It's 6:30 in the morning, I've already been swimming, had my first cup of coffee, and nobody in the house is up yet but me.

Ah...peace and quiet.

Think I'll go start some laundry--because I'm a super exciting kind of guy.  :)

Thanks for reading,


Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Pocket Fixed Blade?

Yeah, never one to be under-knifed, I'm toying with moving a small fixed blade into the pocket for a while.  I've done it in the past and found it to be very useful and inherently safer than using a folding knife.

The downside? Half as much knife or twice as much pocket real estate required to carry it.

I've got an ESEE Izula and Izula II and a Swamp Rat Swamp Warden and Rodent Solution sitting here asking for a shot at the pocket knife job.  The Izula II and Rodent Solution both have handle slabs, the others do not.  All are in kydex or plastic sheaths to maintain the lowest possible profile.

The Rodent Solution is a lot of knife in a small package but, at 3/16" thick, it's really too much knife to consider tossing into a pocket unless it's one on a bag or backpack.  So, that leaves three choices...

The ESEEs are made with Rowen's 1095 and have a long track record of toughness.  The Warden is Swamp Rat's proprietary SR101 (52100 rebadged I think) which also takes a beating and keeps on...eating?  :)

The knives are all non-stainless and I've managed to put some patina (some will call it rust) on each of them through use so some care will have to be exercised if these knives are going to ride in a pocket during the remaining days of summer with the high humidity and better than average chance I'll be sweating on those 90-degree days.

Right now I'm leaning toward the Swamp Warden but it's going to require some modifications to improve comfort during extended use.  It's squared up all around so the edges can bite into the hand after a while and could benefit from some rounding without losing the ergonomics of the design.

That's really going to muck up the coating though so maybe I'll strip it and see how it can really handle the job...

We shall see.

Thanks for reading,


Saturday, September 01, 2012

Well Prepared or Insane?

Sure, it's a fine line...

Why carry a high-end knife if you back it up with a "beater" to do all the hard work?

I'm working this morning breaking down boxes and find myself using my Spyderco Para-Military 2 in S30V with a DMT/JRE edge (as described a few days ago) for all the cutting chores while my Sebenza is clipped to my pocket.  Hmm...that's wrong.

I normally carry a "good" knife in one pocket and an easily opened and closed loaner in the other--something along the lines of a Victorinox Pioneer for those folks who might actually need a knife but aren't forward-thinking enough to have one.

I learned long ago that a locking knife isn't ideal for those people because they'll try to close the knife without unlocking it regardless of locking mechanism and, eventually, someone will injure themselves either forcing a lock or just walking around with a locked open knife.

Don't get me wrong, the Sebenza is getting plenty of use but it's mostly food prep and not the kind of work that will tear up an edge and a blade finish in short order (usually.)

I wish I could tell you that it was just because I was so well-prepared because I tend to live my whole life by the PACE acronym:

  • Plan
  • Alternate
  • Contingency
  • Emergency
but it's really just that I enjoy carrying and using these knives and sometimes I just can't commit to one or the other in the morning so I grab could, I suppose, make the argument that two wasn't enough to cover the four plans listed above.  Right?

Off to find two more knives...


Thanks for reading,