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Wednesday, 13 July 2016

The Importance of Distinction

Here are two inflorescences from two different plants, one is edible one is not..can you tell the difference between them and what they are?
It's relatively easy to differentiate between whole plants but it's much more difficult when you only have part of a flower, even more so when you have to choose between them for a particular reason.. Make sure you know your stuff, don't guess.. if you're not sure then don't use them.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Mora Garberg UK release

The much anticipated Morakniv Garberg has just been released in the UK at a cost of £110, that's roughly $160 !!!! Are you kidding me Morakniv???, that's the same price as a fully made custom knife, as a matter of fact it's dearer than some custom makers! I've always been a supporter of Mora knives but that price is just crazy, Mora can take a long walk off a short pier.. stick to the Mora companion!

Monday, 4 July 2016

Hultafors Bushcraft Outdoor Knife - the OK4

Davy gave me a great present during the week, the new Bushcraft knife from Hultafors. As Mora has been saturating the market with outdoor and bushcraft knives lately it was only a matter of time before Hultafors got in on the action too and their new Outdoor knife is superb.
They refer to it as the OK4
It's carbon steel at 59-60 RC, it's 8 1/2 inches long with a 3 3/4 inch blade which is 3mm thick
here you can see the really beefy blade, I'm sure comparisons will be made with this knife and the new version of the mora robust with the shorter fatter blade.
the handle is very comfortable in a number of grips and is plastic covered with a textured rubber.

it weighs in at 109.2 grams or about 3.84 ounces.
It's got an electrophoretic coating ( whatever that means !) on the blade to protect from rust but the bevel coating will wear once it's sharpened. The sheath is the standard plastic sheath but it comes also with a Cordura belt loop that will fit belts up to 80mm or about 3 inches, it also has a woven elastic ferro rod holder that will take rods up to 8mm diameter, although you DON'T get a rod with it you will need to add your own. the price is very competitive and I'm hopeful that Hultafors will develop new designs of outdoor knives and expand the range as Mora have done.
By the way ... A very happy and peaceful independence day to all our American freinds.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Condor Bushlore Blade Blank

I was never a fan of Condor knives after buying a few original ones which were nothing more that pry bars, well it seems they've upped their game and the new Bushlore blade blank is a lovely piece of steel.

it's a little over 9 inches long and it's supposed to be 3mm thick but it's just short of this, still it's relatively cheap and it fits nicely in the hand
I decided to handle it with a bit of wild cherry I had harvested and had been stored away for a couple of years
a very simple tapered handle and sanded smooth to 400grit
a couple of coats of linseed oil just to make it basic and non fancy, to me it has a sort of old world mountain man type feel to it so..
.. I made a sort of old west type sheath to go a long with it, seems to work well, to me anyway.
and the last thing was to refine the edge to make it like a laser, it takes a great edge, I'll look forward to using this one.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Taking it too seriously ??

I think bushcrafters often take themselves way too seriously, really we all need to have a sense of humour and be able to laugh at ourselves a bit more, don't take things to heart, learn a little, kick back and enjoy the journey....if you start taking it all too seriously and you start getting frustrated or annoyed over things then it's time for a rethink and to look for a way to bring the fun back... this guy is a master of bushcraft parody, makes me laugh every time I watch his videos..hope you enjoy.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Furtherance to the Bowdrill Debate...

This bowdrill discussion doesn't seem to be going away with both sides offering pro's and cons for it's purpose, I'm not going to labour the point so I'll let this article be my last on the matter..
It seems I'm in a minority on the matter on the importance and sacred elevation given to fire by friction, ironically a lot of the people who revere it so much have confessed to never succeeding at this method, go figure!
I don't see it as the be all and end all of fire methods and I'm happy to fight my corner on that. I've done enough courses were instructors seem to ram the method down your throat going on and on about how special and sacred it is, some even seem to relish the idea of watching people struggle with the method, I suppose it's one of the reasons why I dislike it so much, I've seen people get laughed at and practically humiliated by 'instructors' who were 'teaching' the skill I've even seen instructors get frustrated and angry when people couldn't manage it, there's been times when I've actually stood in to help someone in front of the teacher... not cool.

Anyway, one of the pro's main arguments for bowdrill is that it gives you a better understanding of trees and wood types, well that's to do with woodcraft, that's not firecraft, also they say that it allows you to think about tinder bundles, their construction and therefor help in the creation of fire, that's a hollow argument that doesn't hold water, so to speak, 

from left to right, bowdrill ember, charred punkwood ember, amadou ember, charcloth ember, plain punkwood ember. 

See the above picture, (apologies for quality, it was taken on my phone quickly before all the embers burnt out) I can't make this any more plain, a bowdrill ember is just that, an ember.
Do embers have to be treated differently because of how they're created, do we have to use different tinder bundles for different embers, do we have to use different tinder materials or a different construction method because of how we created the ember? No we don't, all embers are treated the same regardless of how they're made using the same types of tinder bundles..
The bowdrill ember was willow on willow, the charred punkwood, amadou and charcloth were jasper and steel, and the punkwood was a ferro rod.
These embers still have to be taken to flame then the fire created and maintained. Every step after the initial ember is created is exactly the same regardless of how the ember was made, therefor to say that a bowdrill particularly makes you more aware of firecraft is wrong, as I've said previously that's woodcraft, that is using the right woods in the right condition to be able to help you make fire, it's the wood selection and condition that is important, every step after that in the creation of fire is identical.
So many people now have it in their psyche that it's the ultimate bushcraft skill, well hardly! But the idea of bowdrill is constantly preached to the exclusion of other more important skills like tree and plant ID, bowdrill is just another string to your bow (pun intended).
The method is also self limiting in that you have to achieve a particular posture to help you perform the task, some people for one reason or another can't do this, it's a ludicrous idea for this method to dominate firecraft the way it does, don't be taken in by the modern bushcraft urban mythology that it makes you a better bushcrafter, that's nonsense, it's just one more method, that's all..practice it, yes, but don't be consumed by it, chances are you will never ever have to resort to fire by friction in a survival situation, other wilderness skills are much more important, keep this were it belongs, on the back burner.
Bushcrafters in general tend to be quite intelligent, I think. Well they have to be really, when they're in a situation they need to think and act quickly, they practice continually and are able, by nature, to improvise, adapt and overcome nearly all situations, it's that broadminded attitude that makes them the intellectually aware individual that they are, giving more credence to bowdrill than it deserves just makes you blinkered.

Sunday, 5 June 2016

A day with Positive Futures

We were recently asked by a charity called positive futures if we would take some young Autistic kids out into the woods for the day and we were only too glad to help. However I was so busy doing stuff with the guys that I got hardly any time to take pictures though we did manage these couple at the end of the day...
we started the day with fire, they all managed this easily and were brilliant at it, then we did some backwoods cooking which they seemed to enjoy, ( well at least Adam went back for seconds!)
then we built a shelter
here they are all proudly displaying their new home!
A great time was had by all and they were a pleasure to work with, hope we see them again soon.