Monday, March 30, 2009

Bushcraft Arts and Crafts

I have been putting together a couple of 550 cord bracelets and I thought I'd show them to you. Here are three different variations, the tan one is ready to wear, the combo and the green ones just need a little bit of finish work. I learned how to make them with a tutorial over on Hope you find it interesting and they inspire you to make your own.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

And now for something completely different.

I'll admit it. I am a dreamer. Always have been. It never take much for me to start dreaming about this new hobby or that potential adventure.

A few months ago I started noticing an occasional article in my local newspaper about a local family of four who decided to buy a sailboat and cruise the Caribbean for one year. Wow. So for the past few hours I have been alternating between staring out the window watching the snow flurries blow sideways and reading about a real life adventure in the warm waters and sunshine of the Caribbean seas.

Check it out here. Now, where did I put the classifieds section of the paper and I wonder if there is area any sailboats for sale?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


THE American Bushman, known the world over as "B" is having a homemade fire steel contest over on his blog. Check it out and maybe earn a free JRE sheath for your favorite bush tool!

I also found another birch bark canoe build along. More great stuff!

Two knives

So I guess I have to come right out and admit it.

I am a knife junkie. I can't tell you how many I have; in reality, way to many. Nothing expensive, nothing collectible. But far too many sharp edges to really justify.

However, I thought I'd share a few thoughts about a couple of my favorites. Both are fixed blade, "bushcraft" type knives. All around good cutters, both have a Scandinavian grind on the sharp side, a flat spine and handmade sheaths.

The first is a SWC bushcraft knife that is really similar to a Ray Mears- wood lore type of knife. The differences are pretty subtle, and I don't really know what they are to be honest. But I ordered the bare blade from Steve Cox in the UK, and was really pleased with what I got back. sharp, flawless, it had his initials etched into the handle area as well as the Rockwell readings for different areas of the blade. Shame I had to cover them up with handle scales! I filled out the handle with liner-less zebra wood that was scrap from my hunting bow, and pinned it with homemade mosaic pins. After a bit of filing, sanding and shaping, I am really pleased with this knife. I can get it absolutely razor sharp with my japanese water stones. I finished the kit up with a handmade British bushcrafter style sheath and a fire steel topped with cocobollo wood (that also matches my hunting bow). I hardend the sheath with wax using a process similar to the one outlined by alpharubicon and Old Jimbo. Tough stuff! Steve was great to work with, although I understand his wait time has grown exponentially since I aquired mine. He is also a one man shop who makes knives one at a time, so if you are looking for something one-off or something totally unique, shoot him an email. It may take a bit for him to get back to you, but the quality of knife you'll recieve is top notch!

My other bushcraft favorite is the Enzo trapper. Bought this one a while back from Ben's Backwoods and love it. I got the birch handle kit and it couldn't have been easier to assemble. The scales were pre drilled, the liners pre glued. I simply used some two ton epoxy on all sides, and screwed the pins down snug. A day later I began shaping the handle and before I knew it I had a great woods knife. This one also get razor sharp without too much fuss. A side note here would be that the kit I bought from Ben looks like he no longer sells it, however, he now has more choices for handle woods which you simply by with a knife blank. Ben is great to deal with, by the way, and I'd recommend him to anyone. I finished the Enzo off with a mule deer antler tipped firesteel and a more Western style sheath.

The blade of the Enzo is about an inch(2.5 CM) shorter than the SWC, the grind is a bit more acute on the Enzo than the SWC, and the blade shape is obviously different. I think because of the blade shape I'd preffer the Enzo to the SWC for skinning chores, but other than that there is no clear winner for me.

The knives are neck and neck in nearly all aspects. Both can carve, both can be sharpeded to an absolute razor edge. Both fuzz sticks like no one's business.... both are strong contenders if you are looking for that "one knife" to take into the woods with you.

1,000 year old fishing trap found with Google Earth

This story caught my eye. Pretty cool how technology found something so low tech, while the same technique is still being used (on a much smaller scale) and taught during survival courses!

Fishing weirs on Wikipedia (so it MUST be true!)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Birch Bark Canoe ala Ray Mears

I ran across an amazing series of videos on youtube with Ray Mears helping construct a birch bark canoe. Give it a watch, it is really incredible!

Friday, March 13, 2009

New bushcraft knife

Krein knives just came out with a new knife called the XL bushcrafter.

Straight from the horse's mouth, so to speak:

When I designed the standard length Bushcraft I was trying to build a more compact knife. Something that you wouldn't leave behind because it was too big or heavy. I think I met my goal. With that said there was a good bit of interest in a Bushcraft with a slightly longer blade.
So I sat down and did a little redesign work. I made a few Bushcrafts with 1" longer blades. While I like how they turned out, it seemed that a slightly longer handle would compliment the longer blade. The new XL Bushcrafts have a 1" longer blade and a 1/2" longer handle. This makes for a much larger feeling knife.

The overall length is right at 9" with a 4 1/8" blade. Blade thickness is 3/16" and they are full flat grind

I have 2 with green canvas micarta with black liners and 2 with amber canvas micarta with black liners. They are all O-1 tool steel that I heat treated in the shop. They also all have the ultra-light option (skeletonized blade under the handles to decrease weight). They come with a multi position kydex sheath with a large Tek-Lok, or a nicely done oiled leather pouch sheath.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Missing pictures

I was reviewing some older blog posts today and noticed a few pictures were missing.

Apologies. I'll see if I can find them.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Survival vs. Woodsmanship

I found a great article called "when things go wrong" about the priorities to live by and woodsmanship/bushcraft compared to "survival." Check it out here, and while you are there, browse around the rest of the website. Loads of great information, articles, videos and pictures.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Carp-Diem Boat project

About a month ago I started working on a boat. A completely handmade wooden boat. It has been something on my future projects list for quite some time. I scoured the internet for just the right boat, I bought a couple plans, but there are loads of good, solid, basic designs for free. Although my Dad, who lives just a little ways away, has a well stocked woodworking shop, most of what I found could be built with more simplistic tools such as a jigsaw.

I found a small flat bottom skiff-dingy capable of being rowed, paddled or motored along.

Perfect for bow fishing for carp. I am really looking forward the the Idaho Traditional Bowhunter's Carp-ie Diem bow fishing outing!

It fits in the back of my rig for a quick trip to a local bluegill pond or is light enough for solo car topping.

I modified the plans a little and added higher sides and shortened the overall length just a little bit, but it remains to be seen if this will be a one man or two man craft.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

In praise of the lowly bandana

Recently I found a thread over on about your four favorite bushcraft items. Of course, a knife, firesteel and axe or saw were on nearly everyone's list. A hank of 550 cords would also be up there.

But my choice might be a bandana.

There are hundreds of uses for the little 20" square of cotton (sometimes the only cotton I take with me into the woods). I am reminded of my earliest "bushcraft" book, one I have possibly read more than any other book, the Boy Scout Manual. Scouts around the world typically have a bandana around their neck. I think I prefer a square bandana to the scout's triangle, but either way, the uses are only limited by your imagination and the situation.

Sling, sunshade, waterfilter, mosquito net while sleeping, dishcloth, headband, napkin, tourniquet, tie your hair back ( for those of the long hair persuasion), blow your nose (hankie), "lunchbox", evaporative cooler (roll it up, dunk it in water, tie it around your neck. It will cool your jugular veins and carotid ateries nicely), travel identification (give everyone in your group the shame color and waer them, or tie one on your luggage), placemat, camera lens or sunglass cleaner, tie extra stuff to your backpack, a "Punky Brewster" bracelette, carry foraged goods (mushrooms, berries, shells, rocks....), dust mask (old West style), sweat wiper, tear soaker, belt (I might need more than one), bandage, washcloth, potholder, sleep blindfold (my secret to travel, along with some earplugs, I sleep like a bay anywhere), fly swatter, gift wrap, head and neck sun protection (try tucking it under your hat, Lawrence of Arabia style), dog coller, ice compress, mark a trail, use as a "terrible towel" to chear at a sporting event, signal, water filter, neck gaiter for cold mornings, and possibly my favorite one I found while browsing the internet.....

"disguise your voice on the phone."