Friday, December 28, 2012

The Winter Outings

I'm afraid from time to time I get all caught up in life and rush off to have fun and then rush right back into the day to day and never remember to record things.  This time though, I do have a couple of videos from my Bushclass Intermediate stuff...  Neither is all that great but I have managed to get out three times so far and all are recorded.

First up, my first over night in an improvised shelter.  I used some tyvek that worked like a dream.  I knocked out a pile of stuff for the class in this trip. 

It was a good time even if it was a touch uncomfortable...

Next up, the girl and I got out for a day of play and for once I got to pick what we did...  We're big Bear fans in our house so the BG saw was a big hit...

Lastly, I got out to play right before Christmas and got rained on and rained on some more.  Fire was interesting to try but I need to be more disciplined with the prep next time...

Thanks for looking and have a happy new year.  I am hopeful to get more time out next year but who knows... life just keeps on rollin...

Monday, November 19, 2012

Larger Autumn Bushcraft Knife Progress - Knocking the Rust off the Skills

With the weekend upon us and the holidays looming near I was thrilled to get some time out in the shop to mess with things.  Of course, when the blades came back from Peters' and were in dandy shape, well...  I just did a little dance.

Here's the big one all covered in scale and ready for work.

As I have tried to do, given the trouble I have had in the past with this part, I polished the bevels first.  This time I had no issues at all and got it down to a pretty fine edge.

The big lesson on this one is that a 1 X 42 belt on the small grinder is easy to use for polishing.  No major hick ups and all came out looking.. knifey.  :)

So originally, I had planned to make the scales out of Elm.  I even have the wood here...  The more I thought about it though, the more I realized I am way rusty.  In thinking about it I am not sure I have finished a knife in close to two years.  I decided instead to use a chunk of blank ink walnut Dymondwood.  It's cheap, it's tough, and the ink between the layers works like a damned topo map of the grip...

Once I got the blade flats sanded down to about 400 grit oil finished satin the way I like them, I taped up the blade and attached the scales.  My bandsaw was having issues but we got through.

Not so much with the sexy knife look at all.  :)

Anyhow, I used the drum sander to profile the mess down and the grinder to remove the big excess chunks  of thickness. 

Then chucked it up for some shaping.  I really love working scales with a file.  Once they just need a contour it's a bunch of fun to try to get them the same on both sides.

After about an hour of fitting and filing and sanding and then fitting and filing and sanding some more...  It came out pretty well I think.

There's a pile of finishing work to do and some etching which should be fun... since I have never tried before....

Anyhow, more after while.  Time to go pick up kiddos.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Small Companion Knife for the Autumn Bushblade

Something I have always wanted to do and never really tried was making a smaller companion to one of the larger bush blades I made.  Something smaller and thinner and better at cutting small things.  I decided this was a good project for that so last Monday while Sandy blew and snowed outside, I got out the pad and drew this one up.  It's sort of in the same motif and is sort of cute in its ugliness...

I went ahead and made the stencil and got the shape on the steel... I loves me some O1 in 3/32"...

After a scoosh of grinding it was all shaped and the bevels went on pretty easy...

I got er bevelled the rest of the way and the shape refined enough to hold it for a while and make sure I liked it before I moved on..  It seems to work pretty well so far.

I did up the finish sanding and sent it and the big one off the my good friends and Peters' Heat Treat for some hardening (the fu&*) up.  I snapped one more shot before they went off.  It's a bit washed out but you get the idea.  The Elm is really nice...

I think they look dandy... piggyback sheath dandy at that.  I did a quick measurement though and the one slab of elm wouldn't be enough so I got a second one...  :)

I am really looking forward to the weekend if they make it back in time....

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Making Myself Another Bushcraft Knife.. again...

I count myself among the blessed people on the planet most of the time.  I have a great gig.  I work with good people.  I make almost enough money to cover the expense of being me and having kids.... it's a good thing.  Some of the best parts of my life are the friends that I have.  They are all good people who, for whatever reason, all seem to have the knives I have made for myself in the past.  :)  Since I know they didn't steal them, I must be to blame for that. 

Last week, while noodling around on a pad and helping my girl with her evening homework I stumbled onto a shape I really liked.  It's a variation of some that I have done previously and really liked so... I went to it.  I have some 7/64" O1 bar stock left from a previous project and decided to go that way for steel.  After some drawing and tracing and cutting and some more tracing... and a whole bunch of grinding, it popped out. 

As you might notice, I wasn't big on pictures up to this point.  I have done so many I thought would make it past the initial profile grind but then die because the look or feel like crap.  This one seems to work.  I got the initial grind in place and did some drilling for pins.

The first real goof was here.  The pommel pin is drilled the thickness of a sharpie marker ink line too high.  Not worry though.  I have an alternate pin plan that I like quite a bit.

I have the wet dry sand paper all teed up and ready to roll, once I get some time to sand it out.  It's all grainy right now...  needs some love...

Since this is, by shear course of hapenstance, an Autumn Bush Knife and I wanted to stay with the feeling of the season this year, I decided to go on the hunt for a more muted handle material.  Something a good deal more subtle than a massively figured burl and more sophisticated that Dymondwood. does not disappoint.  Check this out.  I found some stabilized Elm that is what I described to a T.


I also picked up some 1/16" G10 to use as a liner.  I am still on the fence about pins.  Once I see the color in person I'll decide about Brass or something else.

Anyhow, off to do the kid thing today.  Hopefully I get to sand some tonight or tomorrow and ship this one off on Tuesday.  Thanks for looking.


Monday, October 22, 2012

The Lisbeth Project Wraps Up - Duracoat 10/22 Squirrel Rifle

Back in April I started a project to convert a group of spare parts into a squirrel rifle that I could abolutley abuse if needed.  Since nothing matched and some parts were cosmetically marginal, I decided that it owuld be worth the extra effort to try out Duracoat.  I've shown this in previous posts I think.  It was pretty simple to do and the all in one kits Lauer sells worked great.

This week, we crossed the six month mark for curing time for the painted parts.  I decided today was a good day to get to the range and test out full function.  It was a good test. 

The paint held up well.  The rifle places shots where I want and the trigger is superb.  The Weaver scope is probably the best I have used on a rimfire rifle.

It really likes the SKB Subsonic HP's.  I put about 100 of them through it without a failure to feed or a misfire.  The scope dialed in and the last 20 were on target.  I filled up both mags and headed off to the woods.

Sadly by 2 PM or so, there was almost no movement in the trees and none was what I was after.  Chipmunks are no fun to shoot at all...  They are entirely too cute.  :)

I'm sure this isn't her last appearence on these pages but for now, this is all I got.  Next week we'll do a whole day and see how she does.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Bark River Bravo-1: Initial Impressions and Thoughts

I started in the Bushclass certification right around August 5 or 6 of this year.  A big part of my plan to make it work was to use the class to vet out knives along the way.  I had sold a Bravo-1 in July that I sort of liked but really sort of didn't, largely because of the thumb ramp and the way the scales felt during use.  It was a great fit ergonomically but the slick micarta was not really my thing.  Anyhow, after doing some reading about the new ramp less Bravo, I decided I would give it a go.  It's a damned fine looker.  (I've used these pics in other posts here and elsewhere... Sorry nothing new in this one...  :) )  I have had excellent experiences with A2 in factory knives and in customs I have made so I went with it for this one as well.

I took it in the mailing container with the factory packaging still on it during the first trip out with it.

 It didn't even have a fingerprint on it and the folks sent me exactly what I ordered.  It's always a good thing when you head out with it still packed and it's the right knife...  :)  Like I said, it' a looker.  I really didn't like the sheath when it came out of the box but I've used it a few times now and it's OK.  At some point I need to make a dangler up for this one. 

It came out of the box plenty sharp and I set to work on lesson 1 with it.  I kept it to cedar and it handled it like a champ.

Baton performance was rock solid and I had no issues with nicks, bends, edge roll, etc.  The thickness seems good for this sort of work as well.

So far, I can say it's a good knife for bush work.  I've beat it a bit and pushed it some and so far, it has some scratches but no issues.  I like it a good deal.

As a part of the basic class I have also used a BK2 and a BRKT Aurora 3V.  Thus far, this is my fav.  When I head out next to start the Intermediate process, this one is the one going with me.

A parting prep shot from outing #4...  I love this thing...

Negelect, Bushclass Basic Cert Completed, Assorted Outings...

Well, it's done. Bushclass Basic is wrapped up. It took about two months, start to finish and wasn't particularly difficult. If a basic understanding of some outdoorsy type stuff is what you're after, it may be for you. Check it out over at BCUSA.

Anyhow, I have some more time now and some new gear in the bag to try out. I am hoping to get in some hunting too. I'll see if I can do a better job of writing something, now and then. So here's something. This is my vid for my fourth outing and was my overnight outing. It was fun but sort of sucked. I'm glad I was able to come home to a bed... :)

Thanks for looking and take care.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Bushclass Outing #2 - My Not So Hard Woodsman's Firechain

Monday this week I was fortunate enough to get out into the weeds for a nearly perfect day in terms of weather and having some fun. With all of my Bushclass tasks and electives out of the way, it's time to do some outings. The first was kind of a flop because my girl wanted to go along and then, after we got there, wanted to leave. :) For the second one though, she was in school... and I had a new BK2 to beat on. Anyhow, here ya go...

As always, thanks for lookin. -JP

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The stars align and the Bushclass Odyssey Begins: Lessons 1, 2, 3 & 12

It's been a trying couple of years for me.  My back is in and then it isn't and then it hurts and then it works again...  The wife and kids are a constant but not unwelcome burden in terms of free time (I do love them so but getting away with two kids under 10 is just a challenge of epic proportion)... it makes it tough to get out and do things.  Finally though...  FINALLY... things are coming back together.  I am pretty stoked.

In recent months I have been forced to take a hard look at my gear.  There was too much of it and nothing was really just spot on to what I wanted in terms of function.  There was lots of 90% stuff but nothing I just knew was superb for my needs.  As a result, I have sold a bunch of it and started the hunt for the things and will be what I want and need and will work the best.  In one case in particular, that meant selling nearly every knife I owned and starting again. ( and pocketing some $.  I spent to much...  :) ) I was lucky enough to discover that Bark River has started to make some of the Bravo-1's without the ramp.  This knife is superb and right on what I hoped it would be.

My New Bravo-1 (The green in the handle is the tree behind me reflecting...)
  I've also been forced, through a lack of mobility and endless hours of sitting and watching kiddos and so on to come face to face with what I really wanted to do with the time I do have available.  In the end, the same principle applied.  I have spent a year, amassing days off to get out to squirrel hunt in the fall and I missed a few months of outdoor time...  I think that will have to change.   There needs to be a more regular dose of the outdoors or I think I will be missing too much.

To that end, I decided I should find something to go and do.  I wanted a reason to get outdoors that was fun and could help put things back into persective for me.  I turned back to hunting and oranizing that was fun.  I have quite a rig field tested and ready to ride in 3 weeks.  That worked until I realized I really didn't want to kill anything any more.  I know how to if I need to and I'll go shoot a few this year and probably fry them up or something but beyond that, I am just not into it that much anymore.  I would way well rather use a camera.  This left me in an interesting spot.  You know, I soured on the whole bushcraft thing a while ago... it just got tough to deal with all the semi-stupid macho guru crap I saw going on everywhere and I couldn't let it go.  I just had to walk away and for a few months I did... but it slowly crept back into my life.  I found that I had to make peace with the idea that the only person who really needed to know what I was thinking was me and actions were what things were all about... not gurus and assholes.  Losing site of the Internet as a resource and trying to make it into a community that could substitute for friends was a mistake for me.  Once I was able to put it in perspective it got easy, quickly...  :)  This, in turn, leads us to bushclass on

I like to learn things and I like challenges.  It's foolish to think that any knowledge is wasted and the guys who set up that online class have the knowledge and are sharing it.  It was a big tick on the learning curve for me to learn to split the lesson and from the people in the class.  Said another way and in more general terms... If you want to know a thing and you have to stand with some guys you like and some you can't stand so that you can learn that thing, what would you do?  I know what I decided.  So, I reupped the supporter thing to be allowed dump my excess gear and started the lessons... and so far, they are fun as is the lack of piles of extra MOLLE pockets and knives.  ;)  I have space again.

So, to the first outing and the lessons... 1, 2, 3, & 12 all sort of rolled together for me because it's the sort of thing I do every time I am out... although I have never made this many shavings before lighting the fire...  :)

Lesson 1 - Make a hat full of shavings

The barkie handled it, no sweat.

Lesson 2 - Light 5 man made tinders.

It's a hornedous pic but they are all burning... more or less.  :)

Lesson 3 - The twig fire;  Make enough prep for 2 fires and use a brace and platform.
Shavings from #1 and tinder from #2...

and the fire in full tilt burn with the remaining prep...
  Lastly, Lesson 12 - Bannock

I'm afraid I over did the baking powder... it popped off the lid.
And the finished product.  Not perfect but with Maple Syrup, all things are possible.

There're quite a few more lessons and I am continuing to work on them  With any luck, I'll have this polished off by Thanksgiving.  Of course there are more to do beyond the basic cert but one step at a time....  :) 

And if you find yourself looking for something to learn but feel like you really don't want to deal with the drama / BS / ignorance that sometimes rears it's head in a forum envrionment...  Try to notice the guys who are doing and not talking and follow them.. and if they offer to teach things, learn them.  Then go play with your real friends and thank the online guys for their time.  It's what they do.  :)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Countdown

It's a synthetic boundary with no more significance that the other 89 days remaining or the 120 that have gone before it since the season ended in January however, it still makes me giddy to see it cycle over.  For the first time this year we can say it's less than 90 days until season starts again.  Thanks to iPhone countdown app, I could mark the moment with a screen cap.  :)  (The wife whispers "Nerd..." under her breath and walks on...)

I think to celebrate, I am going to get Lisbeth out to the range today.  The paint has 7 days left to full cure but I think it will be OK...  Or maybe I'll just fit the new recoil pad and watch golf....  Who knows....

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Maxpedition Versipack Jumbo: My Hunting Pack Setup

So let's go into this by setting some expectations and levels so we all know where I am coming from.  In 2009 / 2010 I really hosed my back up badly.  (Pinched nerve, no walking, no bending, 4 months of PT, hosed up...)  Since things have gotten better, I have conducted what I regard as a holy quest to find the most useful kit carrying solution for my days hunting in the bush.  It needs to be something that doesn't let me pack anymore than I need, holds everything I want it to, and can be as adjustable as is possible so I can move it around if discomfort appears.   The other requirements in play were the standard ones I had for hunting packs when I started out on this some time before the back injury thing:
  • Does not interfere with shouldering a rifle.
  • Fairly tough design and construction.
  • Easily accessible without unhooking and dropping the pack.  (This is all about magazine changes and water while I am moving)
  • Semi muted coloring.  (no dayglow green, etc.)
  • Enough space to carry what I regard as the essentials for a full day out:
    • 2ish Liters of water
    • Shelter (currently a 5 X 7 tarp)
    • First Aid Kit
    • Emergency Kit
    • Food for 8 hours  (usually 3 chunks of jerky and a granola bar or two)
    • Cordage (6 - 4' 550 cord)
    • a cup and small heater for making instant Starbucks.  :)
Along the way on this journey I have bought, packed, and used a Noatak Gearslinger, a Colossus Versipack, a Falcon II pack, a water bottle carrier (small and large), a Kelty waist pack, a Versipack Jumbo S-Type, and an ALICE pack.  I have tried them all and all have failed enough that I decided to keep looking.  The Falcon pack is a solid performer in the bush but for hunting, it's not so good... and it's for shorter framed folks.  :)

About 2 months ago I picked up this bag... OD Green, garden variety Jumbo Versipack.  I flirted with Condor and other knockoffs but the durability associated with the constrction I have observed in the Maxpedition bags has been superb and the $20 savings just wasn't enough to move away from them.

It turns out that the waist strap can be adjusted to fit someone beyond the 130 lb waif Maxpedition uses as a design target.  I ordered some footage of 1" Polypropylene webbing and modified the existing configuration.  Now it works like a charm.  In two field tests, each of a day's length, I have had minimal issues with achieving the functionality I am looking for this with this pack.  The shoulder strap can get annoying around th collar area but with some adjusting, it works.

The load out wound up like this on my last trip...

Left to right that's my tarp and cordage, my OFF!, a Mora 2000, the red bag is the emergency kit (PJ cotton, firesteel, etc), two packs of jerky, the Nalgene bottle that fits in the external holder, the Nalgene bottle and nester cup that fits in the bottom of the bag, and my first aid kit.  Packed in the CCW compartment is a rescue blanket I use for ground cover.  I did add a double mag holder on the forward pocket. I have a flashlight and a leatherman Wave multitool packed in there and the MOLLE attachment is rock solid.

I have three more test runs with this set up planned before the official season kicks off.  I have some minor tweaks for ground cover and some other stuff but I think this just about set.  I'll post up more as I go.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Lisbeth Project: A Boyd's SS Evolution and some Duracoat

About 2 years ago I lucked into a factory second Boyd's SS Evolution stock.  At the time I sanded it a bit and just slathered it in Tru Oil and set about making something from it that I never finished.  When I sold off some barrels and actions last fall, this stock became a spare part.  Given the nature of the current project, it seemed like a perfect fit here.  So...

After I got the trigger group assembled, I decided to put the whole thing together to see how it fit, etc.  It looked like this

It handles fast and sites well and the only things I really didn't like, given the into the woods purpose of this beast, were the scope and the stock color.  Fortunately, Lauer Custom Weaponry has the answer...  Duracoat.

I have always been a fan of muted colors and greens.  There's one in the list that just does it for me so I ordered it for the stock.  ACU Deep Gray Green.  Check it out:

Over the course of the last week or so I stripped the tru oil and sanded the stock down and this morning, it was go time.  I pulled the butt plate and suspended it outside on the swing set.  (If you're going to use this stuff, ventilate like crazy.  Outside is better...)

Three coats of the shake and spray kit later it looked like this....

It has a little run on the bottom of the grip and I may have bumped it on the cheek piece on the other side and tried to fix it..  :)  But all in all this was easy.  Watch the youtube vids if you are going to go this way.  They help a bunch.

Anyhow, the packaging says 3 to 4 weeks to fully cure so it's hanging in the basement until June 9 or 10.  Next up is the duracoat for the assembled action...  I still need to pick the final colors....  :)

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Lisbeth Project: A Custom 10/22 Squirrel Gun... Step #1 :)

I have been cleaning off my bench and sorting out leftover parts and so on for a while now.  Aside from figuring out that I have more stuff than I can get into one cleaning session, I was also able to assemble most of a 10/22 from the leftover parts I have from previous builds.  I see it as a sure sign I have done this sort of thing with the little Ruger, too many times... 

I had a Rimfire Technologies hammer from somewhere and a Power Custom sear that I pulled from an action for some reason and the dozen or so other parts it takes to build the trigger group.  Basically, I just needed to make sure I wasn't missing anything so, I went to it.  I was able to get the safety installed without losing the plunger or the spring (yes, I was happy) and I discovered I was only short a sear spring and sear pin.  I dialed up my good friends at and 3 days later, it was time to assemble.

First, I installed the magazine and bolt releases without any trouble.

Trigger, sear, and disconnector fully assembled and spring loaded.  The short cheater pin is very helpful.  Use it to assemble and insert into the trigger guard and then feed the full length one in...

Once it is installed.  Volquartsen trigger, Power Custom sear, stock Ruger disconnector...

The hammer and bolt release lever spring installed with out a hitch too.  I also got the trigger return plunger in without shooting it across the room.  This went pretty well.

Installing the extra power hammer spring on the spring strut was a bit more of a challenge than I expected but in the end, it worked and I was able to finish up the assembly. 

It has a good deal of pretravel which is OK for me, given that this one is a hunter.  Having some take up in front of the break point is a good thing in my other squirrel gun.  It seems to break crisply and is a marked improvement over the factory set up.  We shall see...

Next up...  The Stock and it's mods.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Rifle Range Monday!!

So sometimes I get the urge to go shoot just to make sure I still know how, but almost always I have something else to do...  but not on Monday.  I planned it a full month in advance and steered everyone away from that day.... and it worked...  :)

I took what I have figured will be my two primary squirrel implements along because I wanted to get some trigger time on them and because I wanted to make sure they were still dialed in.  I had some trouble hitting about beyond 30 ish yards last season with the 10/22 and sure enough, 1/2" left and a little low at 25.  I adjusted it up and it seems to be working as well as always.  Someday I may even clean it. 

The Marlin 917V was an unknown for me given my last attempt (and failure) to sight it in (without a bench).  The truth is I had to do some reading about the trajectory to discover I probably want it to be 3/4" low at 25 yards.  I am thinking I will take this along for leaves off, late season hunting.  It makes sense.  Movement is tough.  Shots are longer.  I think it will work.  I may even take it out before then but the darned thing is heavy.

It does have some taccuracy in it though.  :)  That's 5 at 50.  I do like this rifle.  If you look at the embankment in the photo below here, you can see the 100 ish yard line where I went to work on all of the exposed orange bird fragments I could find.  I can say that if I did my part, the turned to dust...  :)

All in all a good day in pursuit of the set up for next season.  By my count, that leaves us 149 days and a wake up call....  :)