Archive for February, 2009

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,


Firesteel Techniques

Posted in Tutorial, Video on February 25th, 2009 by admin – Comments Off

Here it is folks, my FIRST video:

I hope you enjoy it.

Thanks for watching,


Let’s Make a Pot Stand/Burner

Posted in Tutorial on February 21st, 2009 by admin – Comments Off

Let’s make a pot stand/burner for our 12cm Zebra Billy Can. This pot stand/burner is a project I’ve done in the past but now I need to make a new one because the old one has been lost for some time. This project will allow you to heat your billy can with a Trangia burner, fuel tablets, or a wood fire.

Things you’ll need:

So let’s get started.

Here is the new silverware sorter next to my well-used 12cm Zebra Billy Can.
Use the Sharpie and straight edge to lay out the opening you’ll cut in with the Dremel. I liked the shape of Mungo’s more than my original so made mine like his.
The Dremel is used to make quick work of the cutting. Fortunately, I’ve done this before and have learned from my mistakes. I still managed to break one cutoff wheel into a million pieces. I like to cut opposite sides to prevent the cutout from springing loose too soon.
The silverware sorter fits nicely inside the 12cm Zebra Billy Can with just enough room to slip a plastic bag in between to keep the mess contained. Since the sorter is a bit taller than the billy I’ll put the lid upside down under the billy before slipping the whole assembly into a stuffsack (again, to contain the mess.)
I stuff the silverware sorter full of newspaper, fatwood, and whatever other tinder I can find to get it ready for burn-in. This process will cook off any coatings left on from manufacture and it should burn up any tiny metal slivers left from the cutting process.
A few strikes from my firesteel into a cotton ball gets this party started. I shove the now-lit cotton ball into a depression in the newspaper, like a sideways bird’s nest, to get things going.
Now we’re cookin’. You can see the metal has discolored from the burn-in and it’s sooting up quite a bit inside (thanks to the fatwood.)
Once you’ve got your fire going nice and strong you can feed it larger pieces of wood like so. Push the ends in as the sticks burn much like you would feed a star fire. This allows you a longer burn with less maintenance.

Here I’m feeding the fire some pieces of knotty birch I just happened to have laying around.

Once my fire’s well-established I like to capture some of that heat. Today it was about melting down some snow to make a cup of tea. It takes a massive amount of snow, which contains lots of air, to make enough water for even one cup.

I’m not saying it can’t be done, but it’d be far easier to go prepared into the woods with a bottle or two of water.

Once the burn-in is done and everything is cleaned up you can see the difference between a new silverware sorter and my new potstand/burner.

Now I’ll toss this into a plastic grocery bag and stuff it into my 12cm Zebra Billy Can and fill it with goodies for my next trip to the woods.

And that’s all there is to it.

Now I’ve got a pot stand that’ll last for a good long time.

I look forward to seeing what you come up with. Send me pictures and I’ll put them on the site.

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,