American Bushman

"If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing." —Benjamin Franklin

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Theoretical Versus Practical

I spend way too much time *thinking* about equipment and skills than I do actually doing those things...

I don't think that's so uncommon but I realized this morning as I was working out the "best" way to neck carry a Mora 510 or Basic Carver that I wasn't actually neck carrying it to work out the practical issues.

Working on a "best" tarp suspension is fine but it isn't until you actually USE it outdoors that you can fine tune the idea to handle those things that you hadn't considered while sitting on the couch watching Ray Mears...

I have a few campouts on the calendar now so I really need to stop thinking so much and start DO-ing to work out the kinks beforehand.

Time to get to work...

Thanks for reading,


B

Monday, September 12, 2016

Solo Stove Titan

Here's something I've been playing with for the past week or so. It's the Solo Stove Titan from Solo Stove--a wood gasification stove.

You load it up with twigs and sticks, ignite your tinder, and the gas produced by burning wood is "double burned" through a process called gasification.

This one, the Titan, nests perfectly inside the Zebra 14cm Loop Handle Pot (also known as the Zebra Billy) but you have to remove the bowl. It comes in a stuff sack which is nice because it will prevent the spread of soot once the stove gets nice and dirty.

Solo Stove also offers some lightweight pot options but I already had "old reliable" here so I purchased the stove that would fit best.

I brought 1L of cold water to a boil relatively quickly (VERY non-scientific test) and had plenty of fire left over before reloading and I've tried various methods to overload the canister to see if I could prevent the stove from working properly. Just like fire-building, proper preparation is important (i.e. don't throw big chunks of wet wood in and expect this thing to light with a single match) but having tinder, kindling, and fuel wood WILL lead to success and sub-optimal fuel will burn once you've got the stove running.

I highly suspect that burning charcoal briquettes (or chunk charcoal) would work equally well in this stove and will be trying that a bit later this week so I can do some cooking. You can see down into the stove here as the initial load has burned to coals and the new wood is beginning to light.

I don't have enough time under my belt yet with this stove to know just how flexible it is but I've been impressed so far.

It weighs 16.5 ounces, is made of 304 stainless steel and nichrome wire, and packs down to 5.6" high and 5.1" wide. There are two other sizes (one larger; one smaller) to choose from also.

Thanks for reading,


B

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Not Sure I Remember How To Do This

Recently I learned of the existence of a NEW (to me) version of the venerable Mora 510 called the Basic Carver shown here with the current production 510.

Both are carbon steel and both share the same handle and sheath but the finer point of the Basic Carver will allow you to make tighter turns in your carving while still giving you enough blade to handle most of your bushcrafting tasks.

If you've been reading this blog for a while you know how much I like the handle on the 510 so it should come as no surprise that I really, really like the Basic Carver and have already worked up a method of neck carry so I can have it at the ready when I need it.

Best of all, they're priced like the OLD Mora knives (NOT the Bushcraft line) so you can pick one of these up from a place like Ben's Backwoods for a whopping $10.98US pretty much any day of the week.

Now, DON'T snap them all up before I can get a couple more for stashing around the house, in the car, etc. but DO feel free to get one and put it through its paces. I think you'll agree it's really a fantastic addition to the knife stable and very hard to beat from a value to performance standpoint.

Now I did put my own Scandi edge on it as soon as it arrived but that wasn't because it was dull but rather because I really LIKE to put my own edge on a knife so that any edge issues are on me and it also minimizes the chances that a knife designed and built for performance might have to endure a life as a safe queen. :)

Welcome back and thanks for reading,


B

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Hey There!

Hey!

Anybody still out there?

I finally found some "free" time and was thinking about getting back on top of this thing. :)

What do you think? See you soon?

Thanks for reading,

B

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Working Up a New Machete

If you've read this blog in the past then you know that I'm a big fan of the machete.

I received a standard Ontario Military 18" machete and sheath in the mail today and dropped the point a bit, stripped the black coating with Barkeeper's Friend (BF,) and oiled the blade as patina was forming as I was working from the water and the chemical reaction with the BF. I'm not exactly sure how this project is going to progress but I suspect the handles will be removed and replaced next and then off to get a custom sheath made up.

 Thanks for reading,

 B

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Just a Quick Walk in the Woods


After a full season of cyclocross racing, I finally had a weekend off and got a brilliant idea to invite Dan and Spen (of JRE Industries) to get into the woods for a little chat and hike.

Unfortunately, life has a way of getting busy this time of year and Spen had prior obligations but Dan and I pushed onward and, after a few chats, decided to meet up Sunday morning at one of the old haunts.

I brought minimal gear with an excess of steel (just like always) to show off and beat on a bit. The knives include the Survive! Knives GSO 3.5, SK-4, and the big mama jama GSO-10.

Feathersticks and fires were the order of the day and I actually had to practice yesterday at home to make sure the rust was only on the surface. It took a bit to get the technique right but it came back quickly and was a good reminder that skills you don't lose you may lose.

I also brought along some paraffin-dipped cotton rounds that I had made as part of an Instagram tutorial that solve all the problems I encountered in the past making dipped cotton balls. A quick strike of a firesteel on the spine of the SK-4 produced enough spark to get the firestarter going that was enough to get the feathersticks lit.

What a feeling to be able to light a fire with a single spark again…it's been a long time and I was pretty nervous about just getting out there so getting a fire going with a little preparation and minimal gear was nice. (Sure, it wasn't friction fire but that wasn't the objective today.)

Making feathersticks with the GSO 3.5 and SK-4 (the same size as Survive!'s GSO 4.1) was important but there was some play planned too as I pulled out the GSO-10 and chopped a dead branch to test my technique and the grip on the 10. It took a few swings to get it right but I quickly was popping off "slices" of the branch in single swings.

I won't take a side on the chopper versus axe debate but will say that I'm a BIG fan of these large, impractical knives regardless of weight and always have been. The GSO-10 is thinner stock than any Busse in a comparable blade length but thicker than any machetes you're likely to encounter--maybe 3/16" thick.

It chops though. It bites deep with little effort and the handle was fine for the little bit of chopping I did. It was secure in the hand, didn't jam up my pinky while working, and didn't transmit too much vibration upon impact.

Dan had a chance to use the SK-4 and the GSO-10 and I think he liked what he experienced. He also showed off his L.T. Wright Genesis with the best orange handles I've seen and a Skeleton Key with a great story.

I was reminded of the fun we used to have out there and need to do this more often. Rest assured that I will be updating this blog as I get out there…

Maybe there'll even be a tutorial or two along the way. (I know, I've said it all before…)

Who knows, this time may be different and we'll really get this thing started again. :)

Thanks for reading,


B

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Need to Get Out

Just not much going on these days besides bike racing, housework, and kid activities. I'd sure like to take a weekend off from that stuff to get myself out into the woods to see if I can still do the kinds of things I used to write about.