Saturday, October 31, 2009

So they call this stuff bushcraft eh? Sweet....

So, I've been tied up at work for ever it seems but the end is in sight. For the next two weeks I am going to be on-call and then, culminating like the head on a giant yellow zit, the last weekend of my hell is an all night thing at work. The good new though is that after that, I am pretty much clear until January. With this knowledge in mind, I've started plotting the remainder of 2009 and the first half of 2010. Let's run through it a bit...

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:
  1. Two meals
  2. Shelter (poncho)
  3. Water
  4. Fire starting gear
  5. Journal
  6. Pencil
  7. Dry socks
  8. Emerg blanket * 2
  9. 50 ' paracord
  10. F A kit
  11. Knife set
  12. Camera
  13. Hammock

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.

Well, it's done. I've posted it a couple of places around then net and it seems that the world is polarized into two camps: Those who dig the Nessi form and those who don't. I am in the former camp....

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

Scales on and rough shaped

It's been a while and I thought I would post up where I got this project too before my head cold turned into some debilitating sinus portal to hell... (ugh)

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'm trying something a little different on the pommel on this one. I am going to flair it out so it can be gripped further back more securely. We'll see if I can pull it off. Lots of shaping yet to do.


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. :-)
Take care.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Catching up the Nessmuk and on to the Heat Treating.

I am so far behind on everything these days. I've finished the grind on the Nessmuk. The original buyer backed out on me so I guess I get to finish is as I see fit. :-)

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

Nessmuk Grinding

I got the profile work done, for the most part anyway, today and went ahead to the grind. It took some work but things are set up now. I got new files but the old one seems to still be cutting. We'll use it a while longer.

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.

Steel for the other blade should be in tomorrow or Sat and I will get that blade all set up as well. Work is improving and if it keeps up, I may have a life back before Thanksgiving... just in time for deer season...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Nessmuk Go Time

Well, a few days off and back to it. I wasn't kidding. It's time to make one of these. I just love the things. I've decided to build it as a part of set. I got the youngster in bed and set to profiling.
I got cut out and rough ground. I touched it up on the belt sander and it smoothed out pretty well. I'll fine tune the profile tomorrow. I want to look at it a bit. Here's how it came out compaired to the drawing I made.


The bottom guy there is the one I will make to go with it. The steel is on order and should be in in a day or two. Off to bed now. Busy days ahead...

Saturday, October 10, 2009

A nice day out, seldom as they are anymore....

Holiday weekends are a real plus in my book. The seem to provide the sense that extra time makes it OK to take an additional vacation day and make a long weekend, longer. I got lucky this week and did just that. What else is there to do with extra days besides go hunting? :-)

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 by Col. Jeff Cooper, USMC (Ret.)

I love to read Jeff Cooper's stuff. I don't always agree with him but I like the way he makes his case. As an argumentalist, he understands both the strength and weakness of his arguments and where the rationale ends, he sees that it all just about his beliefs at that point. Having said that let's talk about this book.

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

Belt Knife Completed

Well, it's done. I am pleased. The finish sanding went well and the wood took the tung oil with no issue.

Wet sanding on the blade left it a nice matte finish and all that's left now it sharpening. I may even do it. :-)

I do want to make a sheath. I'll have to make sure I have enough leather and go for it. I guess it may also be time to do somethings around the house before I get the boot from the Mrs.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Getting my grip on... Buckeye Style

Well, I decided given the perfect weather and nice day with my girl to spend my day letting her play around in the front yard while I glued bits of wood to my belt knife... ;-) I ruined a set of black ash scales yesterday and decided, in keeping with the spirit of this project, to try a different way to make the things fit. I had this old set of buckeye burl scales I had ordered on eBay and gotten ripped off over and I figured these would be good candidates.

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.

It escapes me how we ever got along without drum sanders. I just love setting my drill press up to hyper-spinning speed and watching the thing work square shapes into not square shapes. Does my heart good. I have all but the final sanding of the contours done. Only 9 or so hours later... I don't wonder where my days go anymore...


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.


Signing off now, before I get divorced over this silliness. Take care...

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Belt Knife WIP #2 - Finishing and Heat Treating Day

I have got to get something else to do. This is a serious issue for me. It's about 10 till 2 and I am just wrapping up a day of working on this knife. I figured since I had the day off and it was raining, why not. Anyhow, the grind is completed. I spent a fair amount of time sanding and de-scratching blade flats to day. Also put on some file work. Not sure how it will look in the end so no pics yet... Here are then, all ready to start normalizing.




No normalizing issues and so I paused for dinner. A friend came over and we talked knives and knife making for a while. He's all interested. It was darned fun, like watching a kid in the candy store. He was all excited by the double can forge spewing blue flames. When the fire brick got pink, he got even happier.


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.

Quenching went without issue and the blade cooled nicely. I took it down to the bench to sand...



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....




Here we are coming out of the over about 10 minutes ago, all nice and straw colored. I am digging it but now I am going to bed. What a great day.