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Friday, 10 February 2017

NIBC Late Winter Meet

Although this was a simply kick back relax and meet new people meet we did manage to get a few little things done too.
I found a pile of dead and rotten willow on the forest floor and set the challenge to see who could get fire from it using friction. Myself and Gary have often used this method before and although it was tough we managed it. Ciaran had never used this technique before but..

Succeeded after a short time.

Shea tried on Friday then all day Saturday then finally achieved his goal on the Sunday..what tenacity from such a young man, 13 years old and managed the firebow from less than ideal materials on a very frosty morning all because he never gave up. Very impressive.

And you can see here just how white the area was from a heavy frost that morning..
A great time was had by all and it really good to see some new friends along for the first time too.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Cardboard oven

Davy was experimenting with a cardboard oven out in the woods recently and it worked incredibly well.

Simply covered in tin foil with some charcoal in the bottom

It successfully cooked pizza and even an apple crumble !

What ingenuity !!

Friday, 30 December 2016

Unusual Natural Tinder - Wasp Nest

Not really the sort of thing you would normally go for while its inhabited, but once the wasps have flown then nature provides us with something very useful
the way the wasps make the nest they've practically given us a whole ball of paper!!
They chew up wood pulp to break down the fibres and then build the most incredible house
and inside you can see where the grubs live, what a fantastic construction.
This one was the size of a watermelon so it will provide vast amounts of tinder for use with a ferro rod once dried.

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Happy Christmas 2016

A very happy Christmas to everybody and a peaceful and loving new year

Friday, 23 December 2016

Using the spine of your knife as a ferro rod striker - Bad idea.

I'm sure we have all used the spine of our knives as a ferro rod striker but for a while it's been puzzling me why I have to re-square the spine every now and again and why the square edge doesn't last long after continual use, I put it down to steel wear, just like the edge of your knife needs to be re-sharpened then so would the spine, but recently I started thinking about this and it hit me.. The reason the spine wears and gets less effective over time is simply that we are damaging the temper of the blade each time we strike the ferro rod. Lets face it, a ferro rod burns at around 3000 degrees Celsius, although it only burns for a very short time that initial burst of heat is enough to damage that area of the knife, I've found that stainless gets brittle and chips and carbon gets soft and wears or rolls,
this is a carbon bladed knife , if you look closely at the spine edge you can see damage to the square edge, every time you strike the ferro rod, the heat damages the temper and causes the edge to get softer

and a stainless blade which is much more noticeable, this is a victorinox farmer, you can see what fewer than a dozen strikes of a ferro rod has done to the spine of the saw blade. Being a thinner blade heat isn't dissipated as much and therefor the damage is more dramatic, but over time all blades will suffer.
Your knife is your most important piece of kit, treat it well, get a proper striker for your ferro rod and use your knife for what it was intended.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Sea Rocket

Although said to be commonly found around our coasts, I have found it more commonly along the western Atlantic seaboard. It's a pretty wee plant with pink or sometimes white petals and succulent leaves and is a nice winter coastal edible, though can be found at most times of the year. It's got a sort of radishy mustard taste which is to be expected from the crucifers I suppose and is certainly much stronger in taste than the cultivated salad rocket, apparently the root is edible too though I'm reluctant to dig up a plant unnecessarily just to try it.

It has a medicinal property in that a poultice is supposed to help heal infected wounds and cuts.
The flowers are supposed to represent the colour of mermaids tears!

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Terava Jaakari Puukko - The Garberg Killer

I've had this beefy puukko for about 6 months now and already I can see a number of people online comparing it to the Mora Garberg with one guy on youtube actually calling it the Garberg Killer.. it seems like this epithet it catching on!
The knife comes in 2 sizes a 110 mm blade and a 140 mm blade, the smaller one is quite similar in size and design to the garberg as you can see in the picture above, the blade on the puukko is 4mm thick but has a typically high Finnish bevel with a secondary micro bevel which makes for a very resilient edge indeed, I find that the Jaakari puukko outperforms the Garberg on virtually every test I've done, and to those who think it necessary the blade is full tang carbon steel as opposed to the stainless of the Garberg.
But the best point of all, it you just buy the knife on it's own it's only a third of the price of the Mora, I can see why it's called the garberg killer!