Wednesday, April 23, 2008


I have been thinking about inukshuks lately. I don't know why. So I set out on a little walk in some local woods to see if I could build one. How hard would it be with the predominant type of rock around here, rounded river rock? Well, to make one only took me twenty minutes or so, but as you can see, it's not very big, pleasing to the eye, nor was it stable. But it was fun. I will be on the lookout for better materials on my walks, I'd like to have one in my garden this year.

If you don't know what an inukshuk is, here's the rundown, straight from wikipedia:

Inukshak, also spelled inuksuk, is a man-made stone landmark or cairn, the inukshuk may have been used for navigation, as a point of reference, a marker for hunting grounds, or as a food cache. Often times when presented in human shape, inukshuks point the way along a trail, to a good caribou hunting or fishing area, or a place to cross a river.

Inukshuks are depicted on the Nunavut flag (a province of Canada), on the 2010 Vancouver Olympic games logo and the 1996 Rush album Test for Echo.

Pretty cool, huh?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


I am about halfway through another great book. It is my first one by Bernd Heinrich, and it may not be the last. I love journals that chronicle a year in the wild, and Bernd's "A Year in the Maine Woods", as you might have gathered from the title, does just that. He lives in a cabin with no electricity, no running water, living simply. Sounds good to me. Bernd is a professor of zoology at the University of Vermont, as well as a member of the Maine Sportsman's and Maine Running Halls of Fame. His observations of the natural world around him are making me really look forward to reading. I can see why he has won nature writing awards. One of my favorite quotes is also highlighted on the back cover, "the subtle matters and the spectacular distracts."

Saturday, April 19, 2008


I have wanted a canoe for quite some time. Honestly, though, it is something I have put off for several reasons. One being cost... canoes tend to be expensive for the amount if use I would give one. Another is storage. My lovely wife and I live in a little cottage with nowhere to really store a canoe. And last but not least, Idaho is not known for it's excellent canoing. Although we do have a lot of lakes, they are mostly high country back woods type of lakes and not the Boundry Waters type that are so conducive to great canoing. But still I wanted a canoe. Then I stumbled upon a newish boat building technique called stitch and glue. Cheap? Easy? Fast? sounds like it is right up my alley! First I found some free parogue plans. This was looking good! A couple sheets of plywood, some epoxy and scrap lumber and I can build the U.S.S. Nessmuk!

Further poking around, however, found me more of a traditionally shaped canoe. Grant's lightweight plywood canoe plans only set me back $14, and I was able to print them out right away. I have a couple more things on the "to-do" list before canoe construction actually begins, but I think I should get to it early this summer.

One final picture to view the actual size. I like the red, but I am thinking a nice sage green would be in order for my little craft.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Whisper Stik Review

The traditional archery community is a small one. Dedicated hunters and shooters of recurves and longbows compromise a small fraction of the total bowhunters out there. There is a ton of custom bowyers out there, most of them make the bows part time. Whisperstik bows are made by Jim Lund in Coral Michigan. Recently He graciously allowed some tradgang members to pass around some of his wonderful bows. I received the 60" mojostick recurve.

I took it out into some nearby woods for a proper evaluation. When evaluating a bowI look at several things. Are the glue lines even along the length of the limbs and around the riser? I hold the bow in my hand and notice how it fills my grip. I notice the round over of the fiberglass and how well the overlays and limb tips blend into the fiberglass. I turn the bow around in different light sources to look for any machining marks not sanded away. And while I can't second guess the bowyer on his vision of a riser block, I do look at the overall aesthetics of the wood used, the grain lines and the combo of woods used. Wisperstik knocked this one out of the park! The performance and craftsmanship are top notch. The price tag was left on the bow as it has made it's way across the country and the asking price of $530 is a great deal.

The bow I received was 60" AMO, 45#@28", and Jim used Honduras rosewood for the riser andash for the limbs. The limb core looks like osage, the riser overlays are rosewood and ash, while the limb tips appear to be black phenolic and elk horn. Clear glass was used and the bow was supplied with a two bundle fast flight string, beaver hair silencers, a stringer and a bow sock. The bow has a black leather grip, tied up and finished with eight yellow and black beads as well as a suede leather strike plate.

Glue lines along the length of the bow are terrific, consistent throughout. The entire bow is finished well, I could not find any flaws or toothmarks. The riser flows into the limbs very smoothly, it simply fades into nothing, and this is one of the toughest parts of building a supremely beautiful bow.

The limb tips are reinforced to allow for fast flight strings. The shield-shaped overlays are a nice touch. String grooves are one of the harder parts to get even and smooth and Jim did a great job here.

The shape of the grip is a bit unusual but I found it comfortable and most importantly, repeatable shot to shot. It filled my hand nicely and was secure both in shooting the bow and in general carrying positions.

The riser overlays blend smoothly into the fiberglass. Absolutely flawless Jim! Again, one of those very hard pieces of bow construction to get right.

The bow shoots where you want it to, is light in the hand, extremely quiet, shock free... in short, everything you could want in a recurve. Surf on over to Jim's Whisperstik website. You won't be disappointed. Thanks Jim!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Out and About

I woke up this morning and decided I needed to get out... I had a couple things I wanted to do and the days don't get much better, weather wise, than today...

I saw a bald eagle across the river. Fairly rare around here during this time of year. We do get some every winter, from mid November to early-mid March when the ice breakups begin happening up North. I watched him for a while and decided to take a picture. Of course, this is when he decides it's time to leave...

I also saw a woodpecker and an osprey. The woodpecker is a little hard to see against the grayness of the cottonwood trunk.

And the osprey made his presence known with his unique call. Good place for fishing brother, the Boise river flows through a deep channel along this stretch and the gin clear water was broken by an occasional trout sipping a midge off the surface film.

One of my duties out on my walkabout was to review a bow, so I took a lot of pictures and just generally wandered about. Spring is here, one of top four favorite seasons! It was a little breazy, the sun was out and I soaked up its warmth, as did these flowers...

I also wanted to do some head to head competition of a couple knives. I love my Kellam Puukko. Probably the sharpest knife I have ever had. After being battoned through a evenings worth of firewood, it still shaves. I also am in love with my Jarvenpaa Puukko. It has a pseudo Scandinavian grind and great ergonomics for my small hands. Currently it is my favorite and I used it to start a little fire to heat some water for a spot of tea...

Hang with me here, I am still getting a hang of moving the pictures and rearranging everything.

Just like I thought, the Kellam cut easier with it's extreme sharpness (and all I have had to do is strop it now and then) but the Jarvenpaa just seemed more comfortable. I also like the Jarvenpaa's sheath better. It has a snug fit without being too tight and being a dangler type sheath it just works for me. The fit and finish on the knife is perhaps a bit utilitarian. The end cap is ground down but not polished and the edge is a bit abrupt, as is the wood to ferrule junction. The curly birch is great and has a nice warmth to it. I should also mention I cut off the "fishtail" on the sheath's bottom junction.

I also played around with another one of my favorite knives, my hunting neck knife. I bought it from the famous G. Fred Asbell here at the Trad West Expo a couple years ago. I made up a little sheath for it and included a little ferro rod/ magnesium fire starter. It is always on me in the backcountry... I can start a fire or whittle a squirrel trap if need be and the necklace provides some 550 cord if I need it.

I'll leave you with this, until next time, get out there.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Getting the hang of things....

slowly but surely. I noticed the pictures didn't post where I thought they were going to, and since today I have some time (actually I have too much time, but that is another story)... so I thought I'd post some pictures of a bow I recently made and just try to figure out the pictures-post relationship.

About a month and a half ago I received an order for one of my bows. The fella wanted zebra limb vineers, birds eye maple riser, red accents, 55#@28", 64"AMO.
Fresh out of the form:

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Little hike

Got out and stretched the legs some today. About three miles round trip, 1500 foot elevation total (650 up, 650 down). Grabbed six geocaches, none were great hides, but it is always fun to find them. We found our "official" 200th cache, and I say official because we have found lots more that we didn't or haven't logged.

The good old Garmin Geko 201 was reliable as always, and really the only piece of gear we used.

Here is a shot of the scenery from our resting point. There was a fire that burned through the area just two years ago, the fire break is still evident... it looks like a faint road coming down from the saddle. It is easy to tell where the fire was, look for the areas with no sage/ buckbrush. Anyway, good hike, too much sun, and not enough sunscreen.

We also passed an old home of some sort. Sometimes I come across some history like this and wonder what stories have been lost.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

picture test...

Just trying to figure out how to post pictures, this is my first attempt.. I knife I made, bubinga handle with homemade mosaic pins. Damascus blade, spearpoint, bushcraft style blade, minus the scandi grind. Also made a sheath in the British bushcraft style as well as a cocobolo topped firesteel.

Friday, April 11, 2008


So, now that it has been half a year, lets get this puppy rolling. ..
First off, a big thanks to American bushman and his blog for the inspiration. For some of my further inspiration, check out my must read list or click into some of my links.

I am pretty excited about knives at the moment. I have always loved sharps, I can vividly remember my first knife, a stainless or nickel cheap thing, it had a small sheeps foot type blade and a nail file. My cousin Joey and I proceed to cut the back of my parents lazy-boy chair to hide our toys in. Never thought my parents would think to look behind the chair and see the gash...
My latest user knife is a Kellam Puukko. Love those puukko type blades!

Thats it for now. Great first/second posts, I know, but hey, I am just getting started. Much more to come, more excitement, build a longs and fun to come