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, December 12, 2013

My Kuksa

My kuksa smells like coffee and coconut oil…

Where else but here would you ever hear such a thing? :)

The return to "bushcraft phase" means a return to some of the old bits of kit I have neglected in the past couple of years including my kuksa. It needed a bit of attention to bring it back to its former glory but a few coffees and some coconut oil have it back to where it should be in a day.

As a matter of fact, I pulled out a block of maple that I've had sitting around and started laying out another kuksa pattern and even started the first rough cuts on it yesterday.

I don't know when I'll find the time to sit down and work on it but having the first few saw cuts made will help keep me committed to the project.

I don't honestly know how long this "phase" will last but I figure I'll just ride the wave as long as I can and keep writing as long as I have things to write. Hopefully you'll come along for the ride.

Thanks for reading,


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Is the "Bushcraft Phase" Coming Back?

After a couple of very busy years with changing focus and effort, things might finally be starting to swing back toward the bushcraft skills and gear that got this blog started so long ago.

My attention lately has been drifting back to Zebra Billy Cans, Gransfors axes, Fallkniven cutlery, wool blankets, and even crooked knives. Just this morning I ordered a left-handed hook knife from Del Stubbs…

Maybe it's the weather; maybe it's the slightly more relaxed days now that cyclocross season (for me) is over. Whatever the reason, once you learn to do more in less time you can fill voids relatively easily.

I still don't have any grandiose plans to do anything spectacular but baby steps in the right direction are still getting me from here to there.

Heck, I've posted more to this blog this month than I have in the 4th Quarter of 2013 right?  :)

Thanks for reading,


Monday, December 09, 2013

Sharpening Obsessed

After years of learning how to freehand sharpen, I think I've finally got enough steps worked out that I can take a dull knife to razor sharp in a short amount of time but I still like to keep tweaking to see if I can do it faster, more efficiently, or just better.

The recent addition of the LED work light (the supernova blast in the corner) has really elevated the final steps when used in conjunction with the loupes. Edge inspection has leapt forward and polishing/refinement definitely has improved.

This may look like a mess to you but there are knives, strops, compounds, stones, loupes, and plenty of light. There are even a few Sharpies in a couple of colors because sometimes black just doesn't jump off the edge at me like blue or green can.

I am a diamond paste convert and find it really cuts fast and puts a high-polish on the super steels like nothing else I've ever tried. Even the 1-micron stuff cuts fast (relatively) and leaves a mirror edge even under magnification. The DMT Dia-Paste works really well and I'm going to try the paste from Graves someday soon.  I'm working on an idea that would use the coarse grit paste on leather earlier in the sharpening process to see if it speeds up or slows down the finished result.

I'm NOT a fan of edges that take a long time to refine and polish as most of my knives are used for rougher work like breaking down boxes, cutting up food, and opening packages and just don't deserve hours on the strop when a 600-grit edge is suitable for the majority of the tasks and takes very little time to complete.  Plus, I've talked about doing some professional sharpening in the past but I've found that I'm SLOW to get the work done and (Matt knows) I'm even slower to return the knives…sorry.

None of this really works with the convex edges but it could be adapted pretty easily.

The best part about using the diamonds is the ability to cut everything from 1095 to S35VN to 3V and M4.

Thanks for reading,


Thursday, December 05, 2013

Revisiting an Old Friend

After a text conversation with Mike of Grindstone Cutlery, I had to pull out an old friend and see what it was that made it such a favored tool.  The Fallkniven F1 has been my "go to" blade for a long time now and this one, my first, has seen plenty of wear and modification. 

 The handle fits my hand well, is thick enough without being too thick, and the rubber is tacky enough to be secure when wet but hard enough to be comfortable during extended use. The lanyard hole position has never been ideal but the low-profile paracord loop I use has never bothered me much.

I had actually forgotten that the handle ripped and had to be repaired once upon a time. The superglue fix has held up extremely well over time and is visible but not perceptible to the thumb during use. Dripping the glue in during the repair has also sealed tight the small gap between the handles and the tang.

Now that it's out, I think I may have to go get it dirty this weekend. It's about time...

Thanks for reading,