Saturday, September 10, 2011

Squirrel Day #1, 2011 - The Great Wet Hunter...

It was a day of firsts for me this past week...  Most notably, I spent Tuesday morning under a tarp, hunting.  I have always avaoided the hunting in the rain.  It just never seemed worth it to me.  The I got one of these 5X7 taps from Etowah and I have to say, I won't avoid it nearly as much any more.  What a great morning.

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The Marlin and the new gearslinger pack worked perfectly.  The rain and wind were no problem at all and both are no worse for wear after the fact.

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I was set up on the north side of squirrel alley.  Pretty well had to concede the 100 degrees behind me I couldn't see through the covering but that didn't make it any less interesting.  By way of a story then, I went out a while back to get comfortable with the 980 and to make sure the sights were on and so on...  I pulled the scope off in frustration and went open sighted and had great luck.  With that experience firmly entrenched, I had it seems, forgotten why I went with a scope in the first place.  It turns out that in low light, I just can't see like I used to.  I had four shots before 9 AM and missed them all.  It's a sad day in my house.  I am old and out of practice.  :)
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Anyhow, like I was saying, the rain was with me all morning and the sound of it on the tarp was just the really relaxing sort of thing guys like me need on a day off.... punctuated with sounds of close in gun fire...  :D  Once the rain moved on though, the wind started.  Once that happen, goodbye squirrels.  The acorn blow got blown out of the tree, still attached the branch.  It was just windy...  sunny too and that was good, but windy.

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I circled back in midafternoon and  waited on my den trees in squirrel alley for an hour or so.  The tree rats were holed up and not moving, not that I blame them at all.

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So I can pretty well sum up the day in this image.  Wet on wet, no squirrels, and wind blown....  Still though, beats doing actual work.  Always better than that.  ;)

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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Making a new Bushcraft Knife

Note:  If you are looking for how-to / tutorial type posts for bushcraft knives, click here.

A while back, after the Thistle project was all done and I had learned what I set out to learn there, I started making notes about what I thought the next itteration of knife to come out of my shop should be.  I put together a list of my favorite things about the knives I have made and kept for my own and some of the ones I have done for others.  Finally, I also consulted Ray Mears writtings about his woodloore knife design.  After all of that, the knife on the bottom here popped out on paper.

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After some more thinking and compairing my notes on different types of steel and what I should use to make this, I settled on 1/8" thick, 1 1/4" wide O1.  (I know.  It's a shock.  A knife maker using O1 steel...)
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I set up a quick stencil and traced out my blade.  Being the excitable type, I went ahead and ground it out.  The profile made me pretty happy so, on we went....  :)

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After some time in the grinding jig...

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and then some more time....  :)

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and a good bit of sanding... it was off to heat treat at Peters'.  We're shooting for 58/59 HRC.

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After 10 painful days of waiting, it was back home and all hardened up.  Time to sand and scale...

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Alpha knife supply has some awesome looking blackwood.  I had Chuck send me a bowie block, split into scales.  If you ever want some different looking wood that is tough as heckles, blackwood is for you.

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I traced and cut them and then fused them on some 3/32" black G10...

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and then it was glueup time. 

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After 24 hours of vice time, I took the belt grinder and removed a bunch of material back to the slightly oversized shape I was looking for.

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Sadly, just after I finished up with this and showered I started wheezing and had to set it down for a while.  The dustmask worked but the dust was too fine and there was too much of it.  Just a little made me all tight in the chest.  Once I get a cool day, I'll finish er up... outside.  :)

Thanks for lookin.

-JP