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Bushcraft techniques, kit reviews, fire-lighting, motorcycle camping, knife making

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Bushcraft knife in Lacewood - Project No 4

Late last year I bought a very well made blade from maker HillBill as it was a little different from the norm and there was just something about it I liked. After having a good think about what I wanted to handle it in, I chose Lacewood and managed to source some lovely mosaic pins around the same time.

The blade is 01 steel, 3mm with a 4 1/2 inch handle and around 3 inch blade. It is scandi grind with a very micro bevel. It's shaving sharp as my arm can testify.

I decided with the lacewood to go with black liners so as not to detract from the beautiful wood. I also decided to go for a more rounded handle this time, still loosely coke-bottle shaped but a bt more chunky to give a good grip. I also remembered to line up the mosaic pins this time. I went with a smaller lanyard hole with brass tube than I have before due to it's closeness to the edge of the blade and as I like a lanyard hole. As lacewood isn't the most stable of woods for a knife handle I've been told, I soaked the handle in linseed oil overnight which has darkened the wood but is a bit more practical as this will be another user. It's finished to 600 grit then gone over with fine steel wool.

For the sheath I decided to try something a bit different this time. It's British Tan Fiebings dye, with a kind of strip application which I like. I also didn't wet form the sheath this time for a change and used a white waxed lined thread just to be different. I'm not sure of the results but it's growing on me and most importantly holds the knife securely.

Next time I'm going to try some camel bone or stag for a handle and maybe a smaller blade or a folder....

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Honey Stove at the Beach

After searching for a small stove for those times I don't want to lug the Tentipi firebox or Jetboil around I tumbled upon the Honey Stove from Backpacking Light. It arrived safely packaged and with a free bag of Skittles which put a smile on my face when I opened up the parcel. It's basically a few pieces of stamped metal which slot together to provide a simple but effective stove, big enough for a small pan or crusader type cup. All this makes for a very stable platform for making small meals and it's size allows you to use various small twigs or other bits of wood you find lying around.

So, for a first trial we headed to a beautiful, wild beach in East Lothian and set up the stove in a sheltered spot on the rocks on the beach. From the charring on the sheltered side of the rock it appears we were not the first to choose this spot and from the dark marks on the rocks I guess this place has been used for several hundred years to provide a great spot to cook. The amount of limpets and mussel shells make me suspect this has been a good spot for wild food for many years. However, I brought some contents of an army rashion pack I had left over from my last camping trip.

To get the fire going, I used a bit of cotton wool impregnated with a Vaseline type substance with a Light my Fire firesteel and brought a few pieces of dried kindling. Three pieces of kindling were enough to boil almost a litre of water in around 10 minutes which was impressive. Depending on what fuel you are using (you can also use a meth's burner from a trangia), you may wish to have a lid to cover your crusader cup as with any fire outdoors in the wind, ash can find it's way into your brew! The stove burns very efficiently and the various combination you can make it into provide a way of cooking small meals or bigger courses depending on your needs.

Overall I rate this Honey Stove highly and suggest at around £35 it's a pretty good bit of kit which should last many years.