Fehrman Shadow Scout Testing

Posted in Gear on January 16th, 2010 by admin – Comments Off

(Click thumbnails for larger images)

Write-up coming soon…

Thanks for reading,


Charlie Edmondson 1095 Chopper

Posted in Gear on January 13th, 2010 by admin – Comments Off

It’s here! The blade I grabbed off of Bladeforums is finally here!

The box arrived via FedEx this morning and was taped up securely. I quickly pulled my Moose (does that sound just so wrong to anybody else?!) and went about “skinning” the box to get at the goodies inside. What I found was an 18″ zippered case with a broken zipper. It would only open about 2″ and I couldn’t get the teeth lined up for the first minute or so to get at the knife inside.

Talk about frustration. Finally I got it fixed. Then I realized that Charlie had put a cork on the tip of the blade to keep it from poking out during transit but it had been jostled loose and the tip of the knife had punctured the zipper pushing the teeth out of alignment. It also looks like the tip has been flattened just a hair but nothing that won’t sharpen out the second or third time around.

Anyway, here are the specs:

Hand forged 1095
5/16″ thick at the base of the guard tapering to the swedge
8.75″ blade length
5 3/8″ handle
21 oz. / 592 g
Bocote handle

(Click thumbnails for larger images)

The initial impression is very good. I really like the handle and it reminds me of an axe handle quite a bit. The swells really fill the hand and are right where I’d want them. The extra length is nice too because I’ll be able to bring my hand back for extra power when chopping.

The rough forged finish on the blade really strikes a chord for me. I like the pitting and roughness that says “Hand Made” and there is a nice faint hamon on the blade from the heat treat/tempering process. I’m sure the blade will patina nicely as I use it more and more.

Fit and finish on this piece is excellent. There are no gaps or rough spots where there shouldn’t be gaps or rough spots. The spine is nicely squared and throws a shower of sparks from my firesteel. The swedge isn’t sharp but could be very quickly with a coarse stone. The edge is sharp like an axe and is probably ideal for heavy chopping but I think I’m going to refine it a bit more once I’ve used it the way Charlie set it up.

Now, I’ve got to get in touch with a sheathmaker. Got any recommendations? :)

Thanks for reading,


Top Ten #1: The Axe

Posted in Gear on May 3rd, 2009 by admin – Comments Off

Given the choice of just one item to take with me into the wilds it’d be the axe I would choose. Of the many axes I’ve tested and used the Gransfors Bruks Small Forest Axe (SFA) has been my favorite. It came sharp out of the box and has held an excellent edge through extended use and required no modification to be useful.

Gransfors axes aren’t cheap by any stretch of the imagination but they’re very good quality from top to bottom.

I give the handle a coat of Linseed Oil every couple of months and the sheath has needed nothing more than an occasional brushing to remove surface dirt to keep it in service. The head gets oiled after every outing and I strop and/or sharpen the edge after every use to keep the edge where I need it.

With the SFA (or any axe) you’ve got a hammer, a chopper, and a cutting edge. I can use my axe to take a piece of standing dead wood all the way down to a friction fire set. You can use the bottom corner (or top for that matter) of the axe to carve the initial depression into the hearth board and making the notch with an axe is easier than with a knife as long as you remember to watch your fingers. You can even choke up on the head and use the bit like an ulu for food prep.

An axe will feed your fire, put a roof over your head, and can even be used as a weapon in a pinch. If it could purify water it’d be the ultimate survival tool. (Sure, it can feed the fire that boils your water to make it potable…)

I’ve used my axe to make tent pegs, trap parts, firewood, a platform bed, a roughed out spoon and bowl, and much more. It’s been used as a hammer to pound in upright supports for a fire reflector, driven in pegs to hold logs in place for a primitive shelter, sunk wooden wedges into dead tree trunks to split them, and even pounded a few nails.

I’m by no means an Axe Man but I’ve used my axes enough to know that they’re my ultimate tool and that they’d be the absolute last thing I’d give up.

Of course my environment is much more suited to an axe than the jungle or desert would be but that’s why this is a Top 10 list and not a Top 1. :)

Thanks for reading,


Altoid Tin Pocket Kit

Posted in Gear, Tutorial on February 27th, 2009 by admin – 5 Comments

I constantly struggle with the decision to carry more gear in order to be better prepared or less gear to streamline my pockets and prevent the jingling and saggy pants associated with over-gear-itis.

After spending some time looking at the Altoid Tin survival kits that are everywhere on the Internet these days it occurred to me that I could use one of the tins to carry the gear I’d like to have with me in a way that avoids pocket tangles and limits me to a maximum amount of space while offering a great deal of flexibility in choosing the contents of the tin.

This is the Altoid Tin as it goes into the pocket. I’ve put my EDC items in the tin to keep them from banging around so much in my pocket.
The first layer inside the tin is about two feet of neon yellow gaffer’s tape. I like gaffer’s tape better than duct tape because the adhesive doesn’t seem to break down over time like duct tape can. It also comes in bright colors like neon yellow, blaze orange, and neon pink which makes it much easier to see in the woods.
Below the gaffer’s tape layer is the meat and potatoes of the kit. This is the stuff I use most often. I’ve got a Victorinox Farmer, Army Firesteel blank, and Bic mini lighter in this layer.
Down one more layer you’ll find a DMT Fine credit card sharpener which I’ve glued to a loaded leather backing. This piece is put in diamond-side down to prevent it from wearing out the layer above through friction. The leather may, over time, polish the items but nowhere near as much as a diamond stone would.
Here’s the diamond plate side of the sharpener. I put a piece of paper cut to fit the tin under the diamond to keep it from abrading the inside of the tin. This piece of paper could also be used to leave a note or to scribble a phone number, grocery list, etc.

The Altoid Tin allows me to carry this gear compactly without the pocket clutter that used to drive me so nuts. Now I can just drop the tin in a shirt pocket (or coat pocket) and have what I need available but out of the way.

I’ve still got a tiny bit of extra room but not enough to toss in my Fox 40 Micro whistle so it’ll have to go on my keyring.

Thanks for reading,


Fehrman First Strike Sheath Pictures

Posted in Gear on February 15th, 2009 by admin – 1 Comment

Well, he’s done it again. Mike Billman of Grindstone Cutlery has sent me another Box of Awesome and this rig was in there. If I were to rate them, I believe BoA 2 was actually more awesome than BoA 1.

The Fehrman First Strike is an awesome end of the world (EoTW) type blade to begin with but Mike’s kydex has made this the knife to grab in a Red Dawn type scenario. I’ve got a firesteel, cordage, and an extremely tough and extremely sharp tool at my disposal. I can use the ranger band for emergency tinder in a pinch and I could easily mount a Photon Microlight on this sheath like I’ve got on my Fallkniven F1 sheath.

The same box (the actual BoA) has gone back and forth now twice and will be headed back to Fort Wayne as soon as I can find more tools to send Mike’s way. He’s having as much fun coming up with sheathing solutions as I’m having playing with the finished goods.

The First Strike is a phenomenal setup but it’s STILL not the most awesome thing I’ve received in a Box of Awesome…more on that in the near future. :)

Thanks for reading,