Saturday, December 26, 2009
Being who I am, I tend to face the new beginning thing as a chance to make a plan for how to best optimise my use of the available resource. I tend to ramble aimlessly if I don't. For the coming year I want to get the broad strokes down, by month....
Jan. - Squirrel and deer are still in season this month. I am going to get out and hunt my backside off (4 to 6 times) and probably all for squirrel. As an overlay to that I have been wanting to do a bit of geocaching and endurance testing. I am going to place a couple of those as well, just to see how they do.
Feb - Squirrel is clear out and Deer goes in the first week this month. Hunting season draws down. I expect it to be unpleasantly cold for the first couple of weeks here. We'll get out sometime in the second half to have the first of 4 or 5 bushcraft days I will have until Sept rolls back around. We'll think of the skills to work here but I am going to go out on a limb and say fire and shelter will be the big ones. Primarily I will be scouting a place to set up a camp site, preset for my getaways when I need them.
March - I'll get out for sure again in March. I am going to institute a tradition of observing my own birthday as a holiday and I'll find something to do. I'll probably start building camp site 1 and see if I can knock it out.
April through June - All questionable here. Ish is do to arrive and I doubt Mrs. Hunter will ever let me out this close to D day.
July - I may only get one day in this month and I will make it a full range day. I miss shooting...
Aug - Bush day and prep.
Sept through Dec - Well, we know what happens here don't we.... ;-)
I am sure the later months will firm up as the year passes. There about a thousand other things I am not going to detail here that will go into making 2010 better. It should be a good year and I am looking forward to it. Cheers, one and all.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
1.Now... I have an excuse to go to the shop and make the sparks and the dust on a day when I usually get bored about 2 in the afternoon. (Woohoo!)
2. I do this sort of thing all the time with other stuff so I know how it goes.
Check out the pic above there. I had this blade ground and on the bench and had just not done anything with it. Turns out, Mr T's intended gift recipient likes to hunt. Bingo! I spent about an hour sanding up to 400 on the flats and the bevel and daaaannng.... nice blade. Seems I got one right and should have made this one up a while ago. Mr T chose to pair it with the coolest spaulted maple scales I have ever seen and one of the 3/8 mosaic lanyard tubes I had in the shop and this is going to be a dandy. I'll be sad to see it go but glad it will get used well.
So for now, off to get wide (er) on the holiday cooking. I'll be fitting scales in about 36 hours. Merry Christmas Mr T., Mrs. T, and Mrs.T's Dad.... I'll have her shaving your arms before new years....
Saturday, December 19, 2009
- Read Ability - 5 of 5 - Ruark's style just works for me. From it I would say you can establish a baseline for my reviews. I like things written like this, if you don't, find the ones I don't like and you'll have what you are after.
- Editing - 5 of 5 - Michael McIntosh clearly did a fabulous job researching, providing background and knitting these together into a really good read. Top marks here.
- Subject Matter - 5 of 5 - All africa, all the time. Nuf said.
- Did I like the Story - 5 of 5 - well told by one of my favorite authors, about some of my favorite things to want to do. What's better to read than that?
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Packing was something new for me. I've never tried to pack and unsheathed blade in a box this big. I had to double wrap it in cardboard. Let's hope it holds...
Sunday, December 13, 2009
I have recently discovered that I have a thing for Scagel knives. Specifically, I love the lines. Combine that with my love of the Nessmuk form and you get something like you see below here...
After doing quite a bit of reading I decided to go with A2 for this blade. It's tougher than O1 steel according to Crucible and has equivalent or better wear ratings. Seems like a not brainer. I am going to get it ready and ship it to Paul Bos after new years. Should be a dandy when I am done....
Here it is profiled out. That's a Turley Knives Big Piney model next to it for comparison there. It's a big one. 11 inches OAL, almost 2 inches thick in the widest part of the blade. This should handle most camp jobs well.
Monday, December 7, 2009
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Here it is with a long bit of 550 attached to go around my neck. This seems to work very well if I am out just moving around with no kit. I need to get some time out with them both and I'll decide if the execution is all I thought the idea could be... ;-D
Sunday, November 29, 2009
I decided to go with 16th inch pin stock to pin the scales. As is pretty common on my knives, it's also got a 1/4 inch lanyard tube. We had to make a trip yesterday so I took it along and tempered it up while the girl played like a wild person, descended of monkeys...
Ah... light straw. The color that says 59/60 HRC. We likey. I agonized over the scales for this thing for ever it seems. I finally decided that the rosewood was just too pretty, and honestly too cheap, not to use on this. So last night I cut them out and fitted them up. Epoxy doesn't mix well in the cold so I brought it all in and glued it up in a vice overnight.
Friday, November 27, 2009
So pictured below here is 'the bear', so named mostly because if it's shape. As size goes it's not all that long but has some serious mass in steel. It's 6.5" long and 1.5" wide. Made of 5/32 O-1, it's packing all sorts of weight. I did a full distal taper on the blade and reduced it pretty dramatically but it's still not something to drop in your pocket or on your toe. It is, in fact, going to be a necker when I am done.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Well gang, here it is. I was out and about today for the first time what seems an eternity and I was rigging for squirrels. I spent a few days working out the things I was sure I would need for 7 or 8 hours out plus the usual FUBAR bag stuff and came up with this.
From left to right, top to bottom there we have:
- My musette bag. Handiest thing I have used in a while. I need to mod the shoulder strap a bit and she'll be set.
- On top of it there is the FUBAR bag. Inside are the compass, emrg blanket, spare fire thing, my headlamp / beacon, all my first aid gear. The bag itself is a zippy cabelas thing that works very well.
- My Gerber sliding saw. Fantastic for making tree branches not poke you in the back...
- The skinner I bought from Lance Okendon. (click here to see it) Great knife.
- Gerber Multitool. Also great gear thing.
- My $10 walmart poncho that has lasted 4 hunting seasons now.
- 25' of 550 paracord
- GPS - Garmin eTrex. Don't leave home with out one...
- My Altoids tinder box. (today populated with the sure thing... cotton in Vaseline :-)
- 100 rounds of Aguila 38 grain hollow point subsonic ammo
- My Ruger Mk III target which is also hell on squirrels...
- Spare mag
- My German canteen & cup combo thing I got for $2.
- A sling I bought on bushcraftusa.com that I am still playing with. Today I threw a rock and didn't hit myself in the junk. It was a good day... :-)
Mostly I packed it up to see how it would carry and how it would do in the serious cedar thickets on the farm. All was well as far as I can see. No gear lost, damaged or otherwise abused. In addition, not noisy at all which is a plus for hunting.
On the upside, got to use the fire gear when I discovered that some of the lame neighbors has set up a deer blind on the folks place. Pretty funny how fast canvas will take a fire once you hit some good tinder with a spark.
About the only thing I need to add going forward is the MRE I forgot to pack. What you don't see in the pick is the Tim Horton's bagel I stopped and grabbed for lunch on the way out this morning. I was munching while shooting pics. It really gets no better than this.
When deer season kicks off for me finally ( I know the rest of the state has been at it for 6 weeks already) I know how I am packing. Replace the Mk III with a Thompson Encore I am set. I did scout 'The Spot' today as well. Assuming I make it, I may actually get another one this year.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
For a while now I have been wanting to put together a couple of really nice two knife sets. Each would be something like a bushcrafter and a small game thing in a nice double sheath with a firesteel. I am going to use these for that. I have the firesteels ordered and all I need to do it get the time. Seems doubtful until year end at this point. Ah well.... always something. I am going to get some designs on paper and see where it lands.
Take care and more soon. Thanks.
Saturday, October 31, 2009
First and foremost, as soon as I can get a day out of the office, possibly as early as 11/23, I am going squirrel hunting. Odds are what I will do is hike to my favorite, remote patch of hardwood. Gather up some tinder and make some tea and sit and wait for a whole day and probably shoot nothing. Sounds perfect to me.
Following this are two of my three favorite events in all of the US: Thanksgiving and Ohio Gun Season. I have the 454 Encore oiled, sighted, and ready. Bucks beware. If I see something over 4 points , it's going in the freezer.
After that... well... I am not sure. One thing I do know is that I will be finding a reason to get out into the open spaces about once a month going forward. I've recently discovered a place on the web call bushcraftusa.com and I have to tell you, I am excited about the things I am seeing there. I have worked up a laundry list of things I want to do and learn over the next 14 months and all but two have nothing to do with hunting. Not that this is good or bad so much as I feel like a decent hunter. I want to be a good woodsman (for lack of a better word) in terms of both skill and rigging. So let's get that initial list of goals written up here and see what it looks like:
Gear - I think most guys are hung up on this aspect of things. To be fair, as hunters go, I was too. My rifles are a testament to it. Given that I need to put these goals in the forefront.
- Establish a one day kit that fits in a shoulder bag and weighs less than 6 pounds (no including the axe). This rig needs to contain:
- Two meals
- Shelter (poncho)
- Fire starting gear
- Dry socks
- Emerg blanket * 2
- 50 ' paracord
- F A kit
- Knife set
I figure if I can get that working I am off to a good start and we can build on it for larger trips.
Next comes the start of the important stuff. Let's go big picture first...
- Trees. I need to know a lot more about trees. Given that I'll set a goal to be able to ID each tree I run across while out and about in Ohio by this time next year. In addition to that, I'll see if I can know which is good for what. It's a tall order however it has the advantage of being cheap to do. :-) Trees are in every park, info about them is available everywhere on line. Good stuff.
- Fire. I need to know more about fire. So, let go at it like this: I will know what goes into a tinder bundle and where to find it. I will gather it and assemble a tinder bundle and use it to build a fire with a firesteel. Also, I will make a firebow and learn how to use it.
- Horticulture. I know nothing about horticulture and I need to know more. The simple fact is I know so little about this it's nearly impossible to formulate a goal. Let's start with identification of species. I'll figure out how to ID plants and document them then research what they are good for. Should take forever. :-)
- Cordage. This is an easy goal to establish. I'm going to make some. Oh yes, I will know how.
- Shelter. I need to learn more about this but I am not sure we can put a goal around it for this year. I'll make it the first stand by goal.
This ought to keep me posting for the next year or so. I'll document the progress as I go and see if the objectives need to be altered. Big up to the guys at BCUSA for setting up. Just great folks and nice site. It has really sparked my interest.
Anyhow, have a look...
I am liking the way the scales finished up. I really like the handle shape.
The flare on the end really did what I hoped it would. I can hold the handle on the end with a really secure grip and when I have my hand mid grip, it provides this nice sense of security on the back.
I need to get a sheath made and sharpen it up. I am thinking this will be the primary bus implement for my light kit and find a place in my heavy kit as well. Also, If you haven't yet, go to bushcraftusa.com and read about what you're missing out on. :-)
Next up... I'll have a go at a Khukuri. That should be fun.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
I decided to go with the Amboyna I had in inventory. So far it is coming to get very well. I'm not sure if I made this again I would pimp it quite as much as this one it. For sure, I prefer 1/16th inch pins to 1/8th. They just look nicer.
On the other hand, bling or no, it looks pretty durable and feels that way too. Once I am back to where I can breath again I hope to shape it up into something a lot more ergonomic. So far it feels nice in the hand even with the squared off scale edges.
I am thinking I will keep this one. I like it very much. Probably give it a go in the bush after I get it done and have some time to get out of the office. I miss my life. :-)
Saturday, October 24, 2009
I am waffling between some Dymondwood I have that will be tough as nails and I like pretty well or going with some of the spaulted maple burl I have stabilized. Either way, 1/8" brass pins, 1/4" thong tube, mosaic pin this time. Red epoxy, red liners. Should be gorgeous.
I hardened it twice trying to get it down to where it needs to be. The toaster over is on the fritz and won't hold 400 any more. It wants to hang out at 450. Had to switch back into the house. Mrs is very happy about that.
Just wanted to get it documented. I have three working right now and I'll post the others when I get them further along.
Friday, October 16, 2009
The angle thingy says we're cutting at 10 degrees. We'll see I guess. I am struggling with the scales right now. Not sure what I will use, though I am feeling Dymond wood because I want it to be tough and last.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Saturday, October 10, 2009
I am pretty lucky, as I think I have said before, to have family that owns a few acres still covered in woods. I figured with deer season approaching and this being what I think will be last day out until after the Turkey day, I would squirrel a bit and scout for deer.
I got a couple a squirrels pretty early and after cleaning them decided I had done enough for the cause of feeding the world with tree rats and decided to just have a look around. Recently, I have started reading quite a bit over on the bushcraftusa.com site and wanted to have a go at a few things I have seen there. It turns out, playing with fire is fun. I took some steel wool and cotton balls coated in Vaseline and made myself a fire. I wish I had taken a tea bag or two. Would have been fun. Live and learn I guess.
Along the way, I bumped into Mr Turtle here. I hear they make good soup but I was just not in the mood to clean any more game so I decided to MRE it up instead. Mr Turtle gets a pass until next time.One of my favorite parts of hunting here is getting up on the hill and looking out over the cedars into the valley. There's a deer track there and the view is just spectacular in the fall. I wish I were going to get out more but work is calling and sometimes being a grown-up sucks. There's always December I guess. More on that later. :-)
Thursday, October 8, 2009
To Ride, Shoot Straight, and Speak the Truth is really two books. One is all about the mind set and skill of a firearm enabled warrior for the core of his ideals... and brother, this guys is hard core. You may not like it but you have to respect it. This guy would stand his ground in the face of certain death. It's to admired and respected and the book bears this out. Agree or not with the ideas, Col Cooper is the man. The second half of the book is all about Jeff Cooper the hunter and more specifically Cooper the Buffalo hunter. There is no book, anywhere, the does the job of discussing this subject better than the stories contained here. They are frustratingly short. Given the skill behind them, I was just left wanting more. What a good read for the hunter in you... So to it then:
- Readability - 5 of 5 - Cooper writes in the King's English. He's grammar and style is impeccable.
- Editing - 5 of 5 - I doubt the editor had much to do after this was written, however there we no mistakes. None.
- Subject Matter - 4 of 5 - Some of the rah rah dead criminal stuff bothers me a bit but only to read it. All in all, top notch stuff. I wanna go to Okavango. ;-)
- Did I like the story - You know, this should just be listed as an automatic 5 if I am typing it here. I loved this one as well.
If you are looking for a good read on hunting and shooting, this is good place to go. This is also a good view into the mind of Cooper and a good litmus test to decide if his work is for you or not. I loved it. Excellent read.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Wet sanding on the blade left it a nice matte finish and all that's left now it sharpening. I may even do it. :-)
Sunday, October 4, 2009
The initial fit went without incident on the second set. I drilled them singularly and then pinned them to drill the thong tube and all seems in order with the world after that. I mixed epoxy and got some clamps and went to it. 3 hours later, everything was set up enough to begin profile sanding. Again, completed with out incident and contouring began.
The file work is looking very nice and I think I will be pleased with it just the way it is. I am really pleased with this project so far. I will probably give it as a gift this holiday season but until then, I'll pack it around a bit and see what it's good at. The next one may be something special.
Saturday, October 3, 2009
I paused a couple times during the actual run-up to hardening to check the blade. Dude was ecstatic about the mid to light orange color it was turning in the heat. That is just hard as heck to photo. Here's the blade all hotted up in the forge.
and it came clean quite nicely. My only fear at this point is always dropping the blade so I move to the oven and got tempering moving. My shop oven is on the fritz so I had to use the kitchen over. Mama will be happy about that. Nothings says lovin like that burned oil smell....