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Showing posts from June, 2016

It's not camping

Enviously I have watch some bushcrafters go into the bush either by themselves or with a friend and just have a great time. They put some of their primitive skills to work and they make things work for themselves. After watching this one presenter talk about cheap folding knives and various fixed blade knives he recently took a very modest Victorionix and an ax.

The ax was fine for splitting wood. The blade was sharp enough for making feather sticks and so was the pocket knife. He intentionally left his saw behind. I struggle with deciding what to leave at home. Ideally two 4+ inch knives, a saw and an ax. What processing deadfall to the correct length I need a saw. Using an ax takes a lot of energy and time. And if you're processing hardwood it's going to take longer.
In south Florida we do not have that sort of luxury. First of all this summer seems to be rainy. And when it rains here it really rains. You can watch it rain sideways from time to time. Our critters are dangero…

hard boiled egg without the boil

I've watched a number of videos where a bushcrafter makes a small hole in the top of an egg and then sets it into the warm embers of a cooling fire. I've also watched videos where users of the bush buddy or stolo stove have handled their stove while a fire was raging telling stories of how it's not hot. OK, it's hot from about 1/3rd from the bottom to the top.

So I got to thinking, can I hard boil an egg [a] without the boil and [b] without the firepit and [c] without the exploding eggs. I built this contraption to [i] chip a hole in the top and mix the contents [ii] hold the egg close to the side of my solo stove.

There are two loops. The egg rests in the bottom loop and the top loop hold the egg in place. The rod to the right is used to poke a hole and stir the contents. The length of the down rod is also long enough to reach the grid at the bottom of the solo stove.


I wish it would have worked. It usually takes 15 to 20 minutes to hard-boil and egg, however, after 3…

Review: Mora self comparison

Mora is my fixed blade company of choice for what I need; which is basic camping and bushcraft. As for surviving the great Zombie Apocalypse - that's something I do not know or want to think about.

And so I have developed a collection of Mora knives.


Each of these knives is very sharp although the Companion Stainless seemed to be the sharpest from the factory and they are all very pointy. But there are a few things that you might not know so here are some things to note:

The pathfinder, Black and light my fire have 90 degree spines for use with fero rods. For the others you'll need to grind the spine, use the blade edge or get a striker.The pathfinder is 8" and the rest are 4". There is some variation in the 4" bladesThe carbon blades are thicker. Most are 3mm; light my fire is the thinnest and the companion stainless is the median.The blade finish varies across blade type. black, plain or clear coated The sheaths are quirky.  The robust has a knob so you can bigg…

Hammock or tent

That's a tough question and here is how it breaks down:
solo, companion or kids (individual or shared) - solo or companion camping is easy when you're using a hammock. Having younger kids in a hammock poses a number of security and technical challenges.use the hammock as a chair? Depending on the orientation of the camp you might not need to brink a chair or a log to sit on.trees available - if there are no trees for at least a ridgeline then you're going to be sleeping naked, so to speak.disaster strikes and a pole breaks or a rope snaps - most kits have spare parts or you should be able to make it through the night. Chances are good you have spare cordage.does your pack get wet - when tenting there is a good chance your pack will fit in the tent or you might be using it as a pillow. And if not it's in the vestibule. When using a hammock you might tie it to a tree, directly under your hammock, inside the hammock if there is room... but you have choices.ground condition…

hammock camping

One of the things I like about hammock camping is that they appear to be lightweight and take little room in your pack. Granted there is something to be said about the combination of materials that make up a bivy or a small 1-2 person tent that on the whole it might weight more or less the same. By the time I finish this post I hope to compare a hammock to a 1p tent.

First things first, I'll describe the requirements. capacity of 300lbs or more and mosquito netting. I'm skipping underblankets because I live in Florida and underblankets vary in their insulation factor and cost. I'll skip them. And I will make reference to any rain fly from the same manufacturer just in case.

I will be comparing:

Hennessey, these support 350lbs but cost from $250 to $300. Includes everything necessary. And is about 4lbs.Eagles Nest Outfitter (ENO), This model supports 400lbs and comes in three sizes(single $59, double $69 and double deluxe $84). Instead of a net this model is a double with a …

vulcand is dead

You wouldn't know that the project was dead unless you looked at the stale documentation or changelog. And frankly that's a shame because vulcand is smattered all over the CoreOS docs and it seems to be a great idea with the best intentions. There is no doubt that the mailgun team probably uses it or it's libraries to build their own services so in a way I'm jealous that I do not have the insight into the project that their developers have.
What can I say, you're dead to me.

Ten Essentials

I'm not certain who "they" are but they made some recommendations pertaining to the top ten essentials. They also said that they were transitioning from specific recommendations to systems.

navigationsun protectioninsulationilluminationnutritionhydrationfirst aidrepair kitfireemergency shelter I'm not sure what they are trying to protect themselves from. By including insulation and sun protection that might suggest a 4-season kit. By naming these systems they are leaving the actual selection up to you. Where I struggle with this list is the overlap with the 5-C's. cutcordagecovercontainercombustion These are no less "systems", however, by saying CUT it's clear you need a knive, saw and/or an ax. A knife could be included but it's closer to 7 degrees instead of obvious. In the 5-C's cover starts with your clothes and expands out from there to include some sort of shelter.
I've been meaning to look into the 7-Cs.

UPDATE - I was watching ALON…

20 things to carry ... maybe not

As I've mentioned a few times; I'm going hiking and I want to take a few things with me. Some things I will check and others I will carry on. There are a few items that I think are sketchy so I have followed up with the TSA directly.

In the meantime I also read this article and while there may be some good advice in there it's also worth putting on your thinking cap or at least shipping your tools instead of checking them. Here is the list this person presented Dec 2014.
Anything I mark with an OK is still subject to change and interpretation from the TSA. scissors - NOT OK - there isn't any circumstance where this would be ok.first aid kit - MAYBE depends on what is in it. Needles and scisors are not permitted without a letter from your doctor550 paracord - OK, I would be inclined to include a few large zip ties too but that's not my job.water purification tables - OKwater filter - OKcollapsible water bottle - OKextra socks - OKBIC disposable lighter NOT OK, it doe…

going for a walkabout

I have been prep'ing for a 3 hour hike near Mt Rainer with my wife and two young daughters and taking lessons learned from the recent Orlando tragedy and similar events in the mountains I wanted make sure I was ready for what might come our way. Because as innocent as a body of water seems or as well paved as a street or hiking trail might be; animals so not know or follow our rules.

That said I have put together my first ruck. I happen to be using a 30L EarthPak drypak because it's yellow and I imagine highly visible. It's also waterproof and so carrying clothes, poncho, gloves, hats and things that need to be dry until used. I also have my five Cs at the bottom.
One thing I have discovered is that the bag itself is heavy and when I added my Cs it got even heavier.
The contents: 100ft Cordage and 4 zip tiesnylon work gloves4" mora bushknife10 aluminium stakes10x10 lightweight tarp with stakes and some cordage10x10 lightweight blanketreflective blanket100pc first aid k…

charcoal lighter fluid or something else; healthy alternatives

Following up on a previous post about my solo stove and the national parks; and my inability to start a fire. Let me add to that a video I watched for removing tree stumps.

I have a huge stump in my backyard that I want to remove. The fastest way to remove the stump is to rent a stump grinder and get to grinding. The easiest way is to pay someone else to do it. But this fellow said that the easiest way to do it myself.... drill a bunch of holes from the top down and evenly spacedpour vegetable oil in the holeswatch the stump over the next few months topping off the oil (he used a gallon in total)Then he placed a bag of charcoal on top of the stump, opened it up, poured more vegetable oil on the coals, added some loose paper, and then some more oil. It started up right away. So that got me to thinking. While I was going to make tinder from cotton balls and Vaseline I've decided to transition to cotton or jute twine and hand sanitizer; and now maybe vegetable oil. The benefit is that…

Solo Stoves the worst purchase I could have made

Some months back I was unsuccessful building a fire in a proper fire pit. The wood was wet and the humidity was high. I had not read anything on processing wood or prep... now a few months later I have a solo and campfire stove. I've used them to cook and make marshmallows in my backyard. And I've read and watched everything I could on fero rods, friction fires and even some Survivor.
And then it finally set in. We are going for a 3hr hike with the kids and I thought I would make a temporary camp so we could set a tarp, blanket, small fire, and just enjoy the moment. And then in a moment of clarity I decided to check the fire conditions. It has been a particularly dry season and so even though it received 38 inches of rain annually there are forests that are dry meaning no campfires.
You cannot imagine my disappointment.

So while my skills and knowledge are still valuable I won't be using them on this hike. And instead of buying my solo stoves I should have purchased a jet…

sharpening stones

The first sharpening device I had was a rod that came with a cheap kitchen knife set I bought at the grocery. There were no instructions and my knives were never as sharp as when they were unboxed.

Later I bought some Pampered Chef knives with the integrated sharpening case. They were NEVER as sharp as the day I first used them. Now the blades are useless with missing chunks.

Recently I purchased:

smith's pocket sharpenerworksharp 4-in-1morakniv sharpening thingDC4 and a Nagura after watching Mitchand then after practicing and forming my own opinion I bought a DMT systemand at the same time a CC4 and Worksharp honing rodlaskey puck First of all technique: pick your edge's angle depending on it's use. Camping 22.5 and kitchen 18 degreesgo slowgo slow and even pressurepick a coarseness based on the current edge quality and sharpnessalways hone and stropif you're going to use your knife to eat then no chemicals reviewing the tools...
The pocket sharpener was useless. The di…

sharpening stones

The first sharpening device I had was a rod that came with a cheap kitchen knife set I bought at the grocery. There were no instructions and my knives were never as sharp as when they were unboxed.

Later I bought some Pampered Chef knives with the integrated sharpening case. They were NEVER as sharp as the day I first used them. Now the blades are useless with missing chunks.

Recently I purchased:

smith's pocket sharpenerworksharp 4-in-1morakniv sharpening thingDC4 and a Nagura after watching Mitchand then after practicing and forming my own opinion I bought a DMT systemand at the same time a CC4 and Worksharp honing rodlaskey puck First of all technique: pick your edge's angle depending on it's use. Camping 22.5 and kitchen 18 degreesgo slowgo slow and even pressurepick a coarseness based on the current edge quality and sharpnessalways hone and stropif you're going to use your knife to eat then no chemicals reviewing the tools...
The pocket sharpener was useless. The di…

GDC - gerber daily carry

I really like my Ganzo. It was a recommendation made by Joe Robinet. In the meantime I  have destroyed the blade trying to freehand sharpen it... and I've also managed to partially recover the blade; but that's another story. In the meantime I wanted a second blade preferably one with a glass break but the only vendor on Amazon is taking weeks to deliver. So I've given up on them.
Fast forward I was also looking for a US made EDC and Gerber is one of those quintessential US brand names. They are also branding Bear Grylls a decidedly non-american. But Les Stroud was taken and also non-American. 
And so was born GDC. Gerber Daily Carry.

My understanding is the green ring is part of the GDC branding and as such there may be a few things missing here like the money clip. I'll not be reviewing the Gerber website. So let's look at these items. belt tool- I guess it's for the person who wants to be branded GDC. The buckle and the belt are integrated. And since there is…

Rancher - not smooth enough

I really want to use Rancher. Rancher rounds many of the edges I get with OpenStack, VMware, VirtualBox and others. Of course you have to decide whether you want to push around containers or push around an OS with package managers and scripts. In my opinion both Docker and Rkt are preferred.

Rancher is supposed to give yo a console similar to vSphere or vCloud. I'm not sure I care and I think I'd be happy with a CLI implementation.

In the meantime I have a number of moving parts that I call requirements. [a] I need to have gitlab running in the environment [b] a private registry [c] and drone or jenkins. I tried to launch gitlab according to the catalog description but it failed. I just do not have enough information whether it's in the package or Rancher I do not know. But it is not as simple as I had hopped for.

Day hike

I was thinking about taking my family on a day hike in the Olympic National Forrest but as I started to review my 5-C's and my BOB-Essentials I quickly lost track of the cost of my Day Hike kit.

cutcordagecovercontainercombustion Keeping strictly to the 5 without redundancy I found: light my fire Mora and Steel $27550 paracord $610x12 ft tarp $5Nalgene 32oz bottle $11 and a 96oz bag $18The light my fire includes a fero rod but I would probably add some Jute twine $3 So for $70 I have an almost complete survival pack without the pack. I selected a $34 nylon folding pack for shipping reasons and not ruggedness. Free shipping with Amazon prime and I'm at $104. From a survival perspective there are a few missing items: ax and a sawrain gear and personal blankets or a tentstainless bottle or pot to create water But now thinks get complicated because it's a day hike and we have to consider the forest conditions before starting a campfire or lighting a Solo-Stove. And so some items …

where is my private browser based IDE?

I have a few requirements for a browser based IDE:

git, mercurial, and/or fossil supportbrowser based robust IDErunning in a docker container in my datacenter or in my DEV serverand optionally CI/CD integration There are many browser based IDEs to choose from and some of them are awesome. Cloud9 and nitrous come to mind. I don't mind paying for it although the price needs to be reasonable and I would like to be able to collaborate too. There is something to be said about running an IDE in a remote system but there are many drawbacks. Any promise of security comes to mind. If you're in this business and you're listening... you need to make a container version available that I can run in my private servers with the same cost structure as the public cloud offering. You cannot protect me or my source. My environment may or may not container production information or data that is private and I'm certain your TOS is meant to protect you and not me.So in the order that these I…

Amazon is not the low cost leader

I know this is not Amazon's problem but check this out. I was looking for a tarp/rain-fly and not making any progress because the price and it's weight seem to be related. The biggest and lightest rainflys sell for more than $150. Tarps, on the other hamd, are heavy and meant for more permanent structures. So when I found this one I was pretty excited even thought I wanted a different color and slightly larger still. And that was when the price was $68 on amazon.


After I had added it to my wishlist I kept searching and returning to Amazon time and again. And then it happened. I noticed it was actually being sold through Woot. I'd been a fan of Woot in the early days so why not check it out. And so I did.


It's the exact same product and $10 cheaper including shipping. What's particularly annoying about this is that Amazon is Woot's parent company so why not offer the same price?


I wish I knew what this was all about. I like to order on Amazon 'cause everythi…

Rebuilding a Modern Datacenter

If you had to build a new and modern small enterprise datacenter what would you do? VMware, OpenStack, or baremetal with containers, appscale, appengine, heroku, cloud foundry ...?

I like VMware because it's rock solid. As a company they seem responsive and proactive. If you install VMware on trusted ready hardware then things just work. Unfortunately things also get expensive. There are also a few failures there too. For example VMware's orchestration does not like chatty systems as it favors long running and casual deploys.

I cannot say enough bad things about OpenStack. In the end mgmt was drawn to it because it was a shiney new and presented as free alternative to VMware. In the end it was not free and might cost as much if not more when you consider it's new and the chex-mix of the IT world. Someone always spits out the peanuts.
And yet you have to support it all. OPS people might not have been drawn to it at first but then after all that time spent learning and creat…

how to get your knife very sharp

I've been watching videos for weeks now and each is about as boring as the one prior. Many begin and end in different places and while the demo knife is sharp enough to kill a piece of paper there are often times only partial explanations.

First and foremost, know your tools. At this moment I have a Faulkniven DC4, Nagura, and a worksharp 4-in-1. And I have no idea what the ratings are... and this is an important point.... because I have a Faulkniven CC4, WorkSharp ceramic rod and DMT 300, 600, 120, 8000 sharpening kit on order. On the one hand it's all a waste of money but I'm trying to increase my awareness and understanding.

I think starting at the beginning means starting at the end. How should we define sharpness without a machine which can measure it, or observer the blade angles and the materials with some sort of formula... contrary to a previous post where I criticize blogger and vloggers for killing forests; they just never explained what they were doing.

The pap…

you do not know what sharp is

I've been watching "how to sharpen your knife videos" and there is a lot in common.

choose an anglestroke until there is a burr along the entire edgeif you cannot get the burr then switch sideswhen you finally get the burr start counting, alternating and reducing the strokesstart with coarse only if the edge is damageduse a ceramic rod between grit and strop places where they differ sharp when you can cut papersharp when you can shave your arm hairhow many strops strokeshow fast to strophow much pressure against the stonecare for the stonewater, bio-oil, honing oil or none at all One thing all these videos have is that they cut paper. Usually an 8.5" x 11" is torn to shreds like an Errol Flynn movie. One fellow even cut a paper towel. What's next a tissue?
Let's look at the following pictures. These images are taken from my test paper with 4 different knives. Mora Companion, Schrade42D, Mora Black, Ganzo 738. Two of these knives have never been used and t…

"now what that does" is the new "so"

A Ted talker once said that the word 'so' was use by technical people as a power word. One to inject a pause and a sense of authority. And while I was watching a bushcraft video the young presenter said "now what that does" and I about fell out of my chair, stopped the video, and started writing about it. I suppose there were so many different ways to write the transition and so that was his choice.

I know I'm being a little critical since he's probably not a screenwriter and it seems spontaneous. But there is something to be said about trying to generate credibility... So when I write tech posts I try hard to make sure that my transitions are smooth, easy and fun to read.

Have fun with the video.


where was my knife made

One of the things I hate about Amazon is that you can never tell where a thing comes from. Was it manufactured or sold in the US or some other country? In particular I purchased some cordage which, after the fact, took nearly a month to arrive because it was coming from the APAC.

Now recently I started looking for a new EDC knife and as I was looking at the Gerber site I determined that not all of their knives are made in the US. So I started looking for a folding knife that was US made and the first stop was Gerber. It seems that only two modes are made in the US and they cost $150 and $350 respectively. I agree that part of the cost is due to the high-end nature of the individual knives and the other part is labor. I supposed there is nothing wrong with that too, The sad reality is that the US knives are beyond my price range and a competitive knife will probably be crappy as they have to cut corners somewhere.

SOGs new knives for 2016 are in the same vein. They have a few more mode…

Review: Morakniv Bushcraft Pathfinder

I really like Mora's knives. Granted I have not tried anything outside their bushcraft brand but so be it. In recent days I have been practicing my sharpening skills and frankly that's just another center of pain but that's also another story. However, while practicing my sharpening skills I have also been testing my blades and sharpness gauging (very unscientific paper cutting, hair shaving and feathersticking).

So it's time to talk about my Mora collection and the first one up is the pathfinder. I like the pathfinder in that it's a 6.75" blade and in the saw+big blade+utility blade (meaning no ax) configuration it can do some chopping although it does not have much mass and certainly some splitting where you'd hate to damage your utility knife.

While my reviews are not meant to compare the good and bad of the different knives... My Bowie is nearly 10" and my Schrade F37 is a mere 6"... and the Mora pathfinder is actually 6.75". The usable …

Review: Benchmade HK Knives Ally Knife

There are a couple of things to like about this knife but not enough as an EDC.

PRO:

lightweightlow profilesmooth one handed openwith caution a one handed closereasonable blade length for an EDCglass break CON: serrated edgechamfered blade spine and lock release is uncomfortableno edge for fero roddon't leave it in a hot cargrip Let me detail the CONs because if you already like the knife there is no reason to look passed that.
I take issue with the serrated edge because it's just one more thing that needs to be cared for. If you've ever sharpened a knife to near razor sharpness now you have two blades to sharpen. Yes, it's just more work and plenty to do with your down time in your tent. **I did a featherstick test with my HK and it worked nicely. It grabbed the wood and created multiple feathers with each stroke. I then created grooves in the wood that made the finer feathers. Re-positioning the blade from stroke to stroke was a little more challenging and required mor…

knots

I've printed this sheet and put it in my ruck. While I've been practicing every once in a while I need a reminder.


The names of the knots are: prusik - used to slide the knot along the ridge linebackhanded hitch -  this type of knot let's you tighten the ridge line because the working end works almost like a pully. I've also used a taut-line hitchtimber hitch - meant for the static side of the ridge line. I also use the bowlinebowline - for attaching to grometstaut-line hitch - for the adjustable tension side of the tie-downreef knot - joining two segmentsfisherman's and double fisherman's - joining two rope segments

learning new tricks with vim

I have tried many times to learn emacs and each time I am reminded that in the early word processing days there was WordStar and everyone else. The best features in WordStar were [a] started fast [b] handled he largest files [c] key strokes made sense. For example; marking the beginning and end of a block was: CTRL+K - B ... move the cursor and then CTRL+K - E to set the end of the block. Now when I look at vi/vim I get these same experiences. Sorry emacs not even your vi emulation mode is good enough.

And so I learned something new about vim this morning.  I had to search and replace multiple times over the same selection of code and for years I would just reselect the code in the manual way. A quick google search returned a hella cool key sequence I was not aware of.

g v

This key combination will reselect the previous visual selection.

sharpening stones

I was watching a bushcraft demonstration of sharpening a bushcraft knife using a Nagura and  DC4. And having no appreciable skills sharpening knives I bought these stones right away.



In the demo my mentor used the DC4, and a little spit to create a slurry from the Nagura. And after he was finished he wiped the DC4 on his pant leg and said one could use the Nagura directly on the blade. As I started sharpening my EDCs I noticed that the Nagura was getting stained. Luckily I bought the stone on Amazon and there is a way to ask questions from the seller.

From what I understand from the seller's response the slurry was the right approach. There is a need to keep the Nagura flat. Then again that might mean using a second stone to keep the Nagura flat. It was also recommended that the Nagura be carried in it's box (not with my purchase) or in a ziplock bag.

In the midst of the confusion I also purchased a WorkSharp.


Keeping the blade at the correct angle is simple enough. At some po…

Bug Out Bag

A bug out bag is defined as a bag that you might keep in your vehicle or close to the door such that if you have to go into survival mode or at least have the best chance ... you need these things.

The bug out bag shopping list came from this video.

Rule of 3s - Survival
In any extreme situation you cannot survive for more than:
3 minutes without air3 hours without shelter3 days without water3 weeks without food.The 5 Cs covercutcombustioncontainercordage **If you have the technical skills and the time to execute then all you really need is cut and container. You can make everything else depending on the environment. And some tools simply make it easier or are time savers.
I have an amazon BOB List. It's a nearly complete shopping list. It's not the cheapest but it is almost complete in that it's meant for bugging out and not camping. I have a few other lists but no need to be distracted by them. (the wish list does not indicate quantity but there are a few items that need to…

Honey who stole my Machete?

My gardener or someone lurking in my backyard stole my machete and it's pissing me off because I need it to trim a tree that just keeps growing back. That aside, the Silky Gomeboy with large teeth was put into service and it's awesome. Any after watching a few more episodes of Alone on  the History channel I think there might be a bigger one that I might like better.

Review: Schrade SCHF42D

As I started outfitting myself for my next unscheduled camping trip I started watching bushcraft videos trying to decide what features I wanted in a knife. With a little foreshadowing many of those check boxes are gone.

Assuming I was going to use a saw and a bushcraft knife to process wood my list looked like:

full tangcordage loopnon-serrated edgebalancednon-foldinglarge blade (5") At the time I was on the fence between the Mora and the SCHF42D. At the time I was not able to determine if Mora was Morakniv. There were other vendors selling other knives that were so similar and I was already seeing ghosts on eBay and Amazon so I went for a less common route.
In hind-site the blade is coated but it's not textured so there is no additional friction but the blade was not sharp from the factory. I've managed to put an edge on the blade and it fulfills the bullshit paper test but it is very hard to sharpen. My Smith's Pocket sharpened started off ok but is now sharpening un…

is your knife sharp?

I have a growing collection of camping knives and axes that need to be sharpened and I have no idea if they are sharp. I also have no skills when it comes to homing one blade or another and I certainly have no idea what angle my blade is and what angle my pullthru sharpener is or how to know any of that on a standalone stone.

I watched someone sharpen a scandi grind and that seems to make some sense. The best part of the blade itself acts as a guide for the stone. Also the stones seemed to be small enough that you can get up and personal with the knife and stone. Scandi grind seems more forgiving.

But then this yahoo on YouTube was getting all trash can about pullthru sharpeners. Noe he might have had a valid point but as I practiced with my Smith's pocket sharpener and then performed the paper test (not the phonebook) as he did... I had mixed results.

if my paper holding hand could vary the back pressure against the blade The front to back angle could be 90DEG or the tip down or t…

feather sticks

Bushcraft and survival experts have spent considerable time telling me about product and less time about skill. I'm still having a hard time sharpening my blades. And along came feathersticks. Most of the time knife demos include:
jam the knife into a tree and stand on the bladestriking a firesteelchoppingcutting paperease of sharpeningand my favorite the featherstick The problem with featherstick examples is that most bushcrafters make feather sticks in their sleep. Recently I reviewed a number of different knives and I did the featherstick challenge only to fail. Just a few minutes ago I tried to use mu HK folder with serrated blade and failed. Then tried my Ganso folder with a straight edge and after 3 attempts I finally reasonably good for the amount of time.
There are a number of factors that play into a novice featherstick: blade shape and thicknessblade edgegripbalance Feathersticks seem to come in many varieties. 90, 180, 360 degreethin and tight, thick and loose, or a combin…

make it for the masses?

watching "Expedition Overland" on YouTube the trekers were talking about the Toyota vehicles and manufacturing and the Baja 1000 in context.  The quote, paraphrased, if the truck were manufactured for the general population then where would the extreme trekkers go? So Why not just make it for them all?

I'm not sure what that means exactly but I can see a parallel in software development. Just think about it a bit.

Amazon.com FAIL again

Some months ago I was counseled by a reader when I complained that an order I placed took 3-4 weeks to arrive even though the advertised delivery date was just a few days. The reader suggested that Amazon.com resells items from China and by the time it enters the "shipping system" it can take weeks in customs etc.

Several months ago I ordered some new tent stakes that never arrived and Amazon was nice enough to refund my money without asking or even alerting me. It's a goo thing I was not going to climb Mt Everest or something.

Several weeks ago I order some more stakes and several types of cordage. And again they have not arrived on time and their new dates are ridiculous. I'm sure that Amazon will eventually refund my money but this is just the worst customer experience one could have.

I realize that Amazon needs to grow by some percentage every year but adding disreputable or fly by night re-sellers is not the way to improve the bottom line. I would also add that …

Review: Schrade ax and Morakniv ax

My motive is described here. In this review I'm not comparing the two axes but suggesting that they are complementary.

The Mora is a 17oz camping axe with a small blade and a good handle. With the shape of the blade and handle the power is delivered on target. The blade was sharp from the factory and I was able to create a featherstick out of the box and because of the handle material and the size of the tang the balance was fine. It's one ax that has multiple overlapping uses with some bushcraft knives. Not that it really matters but there is a coating on the blade and the noncutting edges are slightly smooth so there will be no sparks from here.

The Schrade Survival ax comes with a sharpening stone and a firesteel. The blade is coated, however, was able to strike the firesteel. Also the Schrade Ax is nearly 2lbs giving it some heft. The handle of the Schrade is almost 4in longer than the Mora. The steel seems to be protected in the handle. While the ax was awkward when used …

Review: Schrade SCHF45

My motive is described here.

The Schrade Bowie knife is a big knife with a huge blade. I'm not certain what benefit there is to this blade design but I decided to buy one because if the settlers in the 1700 could survive on this knife, as I channeled Davy Crocket and Daniel Boone, then I could find a use for it too. I was also thinking an ax was not necessary and that the Bowie could do that job.

I tried processing some birch wedges but it was impossible. The wood was much too hard and going against the grain in any direction only served to dull the blade. I never got to batoning, with the grain, but I imagine it will work great and put into service might fall some standing deadwood.

Unlike the previous Schrade this one has a gunmetal colored blade that might be a coating but is not textured. The 90 degree spine took the firesteel on the first try.

Finally the sheath is hard plastic or poly-whatever. There is no drainhole so it will become a cup if it's raining and it requires…

Cooking an egg with a solo stove

Earlier today I watched a bushcrafter cooking eggs by tapping a hole in the top of the egg scrambling the contents with some sort of a stick or metal wire and then placing the egg on a bed of coals. He knew that the day was done when the egg top exploded. That got me to thinking.Recalling an earlier presentation a bushcrafter placed a cup of water next to his solo and while it never achieved a rolling boil it did in fact yet warm enough to make a cup of tea. This got me to thinking about hanging a Contraption off the side of my solo and placing the egg in the contraption hoping that radiation from the top third of the solo would then be able to cook the egg thoroughly.Finding the wire into two Loops for the top and bottom of the egg took no time at all period starting the fire was also pretty painless. 30 minutes into the heating cycle it appeared that the egg yolk and egg white had turned opaque. In fact after 30 minutes of cooking the egg was just under a soft boil. I cannot imagine…

Review Schrade SCHF37

Most reviews I have watched lately compare one thing to another thing, however, I believe that bushcraft or camping knives can be a very personal thing. They say that in the worst of times it's the knife that can get you out. (or something like that).

I'm going through my knife collection one at a time... and in no particular order:

The SCHF37 was supposed to be my workhorse. When I made the purchase I was going to use my ax and saw to bulk cut my wood. Later I though the ax was over rated. Then the time came to prepare some wood and light a fire and I noticed a few things:

feathersticks are requiredax is still requiredbatoning is not for all blades and is hard workgassification stoves need 2 - 4 inch sticks. Processing will take a while because you have to get the wood to a sufficient length and width and so about the SCHF37 it's heavy which makes the last stage of processing easyif it's not sharp the hacking requires a lot of energythe coating severs to increase fricti…