Friday, 7 December 2012

Piers Morgan: 2nd Amendment Scholar

Sorry guys but a deal's a deal: You bought him, you're keeping him.
Twitter feed is HERE

Friday, 30 November 2012

Vintage Firearms: Krico Stutzen .243

Myself and our pal Shooter are off out for the day tomorrow so all the unfinished blog posts will have to wait until next week's 'Horse and Fish day' is over and slept off.
In the meantime Roestalker is selling this rather nice woodland stalking rifle a
Krico in .243, being Roestalker he's made a little video. Myself; being a bit lazy and having a growing appreciation for old rifles I'm reposting it.
Keep warm
Your pal
PS Eat like a Horse and Drink like a Fish - my birthday!

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Andy Richardson: Goose Hunting In Scotland

My pal Andy Richardson is something of a legend amongst sportsman traveling north of the border, with an impressive track record of guiding for lowland Roe deer and Pink-Leg Geese. What a lot of people dont know is that Andy is as handy with a camera as he is with Rod, Gun and Rifle.

Last year Andy and Myself took comedian Paul Merton for a few wee jaunts in the Kingdom of Fife with, err, amusing results. You can read all about it..

How To Get On TV

Fieldsports In Scotland Part One

Recently he's been rifling though his address book to put together a video archive of Scotland's leading sportsman showing their passions and techniques. This time of year the chaps are hard at it Goose shooting over the beet crops.

I'll be posting more of Andy's videos as the series develops.

To join Andy for a days sport, pop me an email [contacts at top of page] and I'll put you in touch with him. Some lucky sports might even have dinner cooked by me waiting for them at the end of the day! and if you're very good we'll take you 'Estuary Rabbit Hunting'.

More as soon as I find the time to write it up

Friday, 23 November 2012

DeerStalking: The Search For Muntjac

 Trigger jerk: and it's sighted 1 sq high at 100 yards!

Shooter: "I've got some stalking! and one of my radiators won't get hot. What    should I do?"
SBW: You had me from stalking, I'm on my way

Because this report comes to you from the real world, not from the fantasy land where rich plumbers exercise their R8's on their way to exercise their R8's mid-week, it was more like "I'll be there soon, to soon-ish, early next month, or how's the month after that for you?" Eventually the day dawned, the radiator got hot, Mr Mercedes joined us and we set off for an evening stalk.

As usual we were plagued by bad omens and incompetence:

Shooter (driving): coming up on the left there's a field with a herd of Fallow, every time I go past, if they are there, I dont get a deer.
SBW and Mr Mercedes: Groan
Shooter: Look! loads of them!
Mr Mercedes: Groan
SBW: Jinx

The ground is a 300 acre walled (but not gated) estate to the north east of London, in an area we'll call Campo de Muntjac. It's home to some Roe and lots of Muntjac. The chaps who run the outfit are very friendly and funny lets call them The Keeper and his pal The Rumbler.

On a short drive across the we startled a small deer, and as we set up the shooting bench we disturbed a Roe. Hmm maybe we've swerved the jinx?

On the estates you're required to prove your proficiently with a rifle before stalking, on your first visit if you weren't asked to I'd take it as a sign of a poorly run outfit. At Campo de Muntjac they have a 100 yard range. Its traditional to make disparaging remarks about ones accuracy and eyesight before shooting. There'll be a good natured understatement competition, and you take your place at the bench. In the US I've been handed a rifle with the words "its hot and ready to rock" in the UK I just cant imagine anyone doing that. The Rumbler set his Howa up on the bags bolt closed on an empty chamber and I took my place at the bench, Mr Mercedes had already shot his super tight group and Shooter was telling The Keeper that I'm a famous blogger, no pressure then.

My sighter was within the 'ring of death' so I ploughed on with the second a definite improvement, the third looked better at first sight but is actually a square low as The Rumbler has sighted his rifle one high at 100 yards

As usual in england while the whole thing is deadly serious, due to our laws against earnestness no one can acknowledge that. As my group had tightened with each shot the guys were well satisfied and proceeded to regale me with the traditional tales of the German/Scandawegen/American who was here last week/ month who was SO bad even thought his rifle/scope cost SO much. Formalities out of the way we split up to take our seats, Mr Mercedes saw another Roe as he was taking his place.

As The Rumbler and I were setting off, who should reappear but our pal Shooter or "bolt-less" as he's also known. Made it all the way to his seat, without the bolt for his Remy. How we laughed.

Our highseat was pretty luxurious, it even had a roof. The Rumbler and your pal settled down to watch the wildlife, after a while there came a strange rumbling sound, like a brewery really. I ignored the first few but after a while I started to snigger and looked round, The Rumbler, for it was he, looked almost apologetic for a moment, but the couldn't keep a straight face either. Much sniggering ensues.

SBW: Are you hungry?
The Rumbler: I ate before I came out
SBW: Have some Chorizo it might settle your stomach

Our picknick was interrupted by the sound of a Muntjac's bark, and coming towards us too! We both glassed and glassed, I offered up a few prayers but Mr Muntjac decided against visiting our clearing and buggered off.

Shooting light faded fast and it was time to make for home. The Rumbler worked the bolt, so we could exit the highseat with an empty chamber and fumbled the round which promptly slipped between the slats of the highseat's floor. I've done this before and I cant tell you how delighted I was to see someone else make the same mistake (mine bounced off the metal rung of the ladder and The Bambi Basher was without mercy in his mockery).

As The Keeper arrived he was greeted with the sight of our butts in the air as we searched the grass under the seat for the dropped round.

The Keeper: You two look as though you're having fun
The Rumbler [pointing at his stomach] Its been awful, terrible rumblings
SBW: I had to give him some of my sausage
The Keeper:  Whoah! too much information!

More soon

PS be sure to check out Shooter's blog HERE

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Birger Stromsheim RIP

Birger Stromsheim, has died aged 101, considered the greatest of the “Heroes of Telemark”. A group of Norwegen hunters who escaped to scotland where they were trained and armed by SOE for their return to Norway. In 1943 they launched a daring raid to destroy a crucial part of the Nazi atomic weapons programme. The sheer audacity of their attempt makes them heros by any measure, the fact that they succeeded is truly remarkable. If anyone can claim to have 'saved your asses in WWII' its Mr Stromsheim and his colleagues.

His Obituary is HERE
Ray mears made an excellent film about the raid first part is HERE


Monday, 12 November 2012

Gear List: Woodland Deer Stalking

Last time I posted one of these Exploriment asked why I hadn't listed the gear I was to use, so here's the kit list for woodland stalking when you're the 'sport' or client. You're not likely to need a Survival Kit in the woodlands of southern England, but a first aid kit is never a bad idea, and if you do actually contact with deer, those latex disposable gloves are a must.

Annoyingly the weather has warmed up a bit in the last couple of days, but so its not really a cold-weather kit or a summer's-morn kit but somewhere in-between.

Boots: While Muckboots are ideal I've hurt my ankle so I've opted for Lundhags Ranger boots as I want a bit more support and, optimistically believe we'll be packing big beast out of the woods.

Gaiters: keep muck and water out of your boot tops. Essential.

Hat: this one has a light in it and came from a bargain supermarket. As well as its camouflaging effect a hat is essential for keeping your rounds together when emptying the rifle. You wouldn't want to drop one from the highseat.

WestWinds Arctic Smock: Windproof, amazingly breathable, waterproof enough, and as quiet as the grave.

Plus Fours: 'old's cool' I know but once you get over looking a complete dweeb [the deer dont care] these are fantastic. Get a pair you'll be surprised how utilitarian they are.

Glue: we'll come to that in a future post

Chorizio: Fatty and Spicy, just what you need to keep you going towards the end of the outing.

Double-Bastard sharp knife: I'm using my 'posh stalking knife' the Falknieven TK6

Head Torch: ZebraLight

Bushnell GPS: borrowed from HunterX

Ear Defenders: for sighting in unmoderated rifles

Binoculars: I'm loving my Eden's and warmly recommend a chest harness over a neck strap. Less than £15/$20 buys you a whole lot of comfort. Or you could make your own in an hour.

Buddhist superstitious string: cant hurt

Base layer: wicking plastic with sent suppression (actually seems to work-who knew?)

Merino wool layer X2

Neck Gaiters AKA Buffs X2: after Rifle, Glass and Knife these are pretty vital, a lot of warmth and comfort in a very small package for very little cost.

Stalking report to follow

Your pal

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Remembrance Sunday

My fascination with WW2 continues, and particularly the Special Operations Executive, where remarkable people did remarkable things before slipping back into the anonymity of civilian life. Last year I told you about my heros Gabcik and Kubis, and the amazing story of their attempt to kill Reinhard Heydrich the wartime governor of what we now know as Czech (home to nymphs of several kinds).

This year its the turn of 'Fighting Jack Churchill' AKA 'Mad Jack Churchill'. My kind of army officer: mad as a box of frogs, bad-ass to the bone, and probably dangerous to know. Honor bound to get you into a shit-load of trouble, but just think of the storytelling afterwards!

Do I have your attention? Ok how about

He made the only confirmed kill with LONGBOW in WW2, yep, a LONGBOW!
Lead the charge by playing the bagpipes too. You can read the whole remarkable story HERE

Today, find the time to raise a glass to the memory of those who suffered so we dont have to, not just the dead but for the wounded who are still suffering, and when ever the opportunity presents itself, in whatever way you can, do something to ease their way.

“No Prince or Lord has tomb so proud / As he whose flag becomes his shroud.” Jack Churchill

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Unboxing Review: Muck Boots FIELDBLAZER

The lovely people at Muck Boots have sent me a pair of their new FIELDBLAZER boots for testing and first impressions are they've made some improvements from the older, smellier, pair I've already got. Muck Boots have had Quiet, Warm, and Dry nailed since the first pair they made. Where theses look like an improvement is they've beefed-up the reinforcement for added support around the ankle and protection for your toes, which I thought was pretty much the only way to improve on the concept.
The new soles are a bit better too, horizontal strakes might not look as grippy, but are far better at self-cleaning than most studded patterns.

I paid cash for the last pair and would happily recommend them for woodland stalking, and especially for any kind of hunting where you have to sit in a chilly Highseat/Treestand.

Thanks again guys

Friday, 2 November 2012

Orvis Customer Service Reviewed

True Story:
I was visiting my 'rents and saw a familiar sight on the kitchen table
SBW: You've got the new Orvis catalogue?
MOB (mother of bushwacker): Yes and they do mens clothes now as well
SBW [wearing a quizzical smirk]: Do they sell anything else I might like?
MOB: Not that I know of

Its easy to mock brand diffusion, to complain that a heritage sporting brand has become a clothes shop with a few rods out the back, my mum was totally shocked to learn that Orvis sell fishing gear.
But seriously people, Orvis' customer service is second to none. No one does it better. If you search the fly fishing forums you'll find example after example of people posting how they were seduced by AN Other brand and how disappointed they were when they needed a repair, and how its back to the lovin' arms of Orvis from now on.

A massive shout goin' out out to Jimmy and Declan of the Orvis store in London's Dover St. Really nice guys, loads of good advice and they proper went above and beyond when it came to sorting out my waders. Customer service done right. Thanks chaps.

More fly fishing adventures soon as your pal SBW and local blogger The Lighthouse Keeper have a play-date with some Grayling.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Stalking Red Stags In Scotland

I've been reading/watching Roestalker's blog for a while now and he's getting very good at filming his Hunting/Stalking. The patience he must have to nonchalantly film for what seems like ages before taking the shot is amazing. Well worth a watch.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Steve Bodio's Eternity Of Eagles: Background

Sometimes we must make concessions to modernity 

For anyone who's already interested in Steve Bodio's An Eternity Of Eagles. Living On Earth has an interview which you can listen to HERE or read HERE

I've been way busy: so not much to report, lots of new blog stuff on the horizon, and some neat new kit to review. In sad news for kit-Tarts everywhere: horror of horrors, due to a strict one-in-one-out policy, I have to chop-in one of my packs in the 80l class to make way for a new arrival. Dreading it.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Halal Slaughter: Questions And Controversies

While out on the town drinking a few nights back I met up with [Lunches With Sharks -you'll meet him later] and a group of his friends I was introduced by LWS  as 'The Hunter'.  I'm accustomed to getting a broadly interested and positive response to being introduced like this. For the most part North london's 40-something dads are in favor of hunting for the pot, and reluctantly approving of pest control. For starters we chatted about hunting in the UK, the number of Deer there are these days, Fox predation, the Badger controversy, all the usual stuff. But where's the fun in that?  Without exposure to new and sometimes surprising ideas there is no learning, no expansion of my worldview. I like the slightly troubling thoughts that take our knowledge in new and sometimes surprising directions, and I like to test them out on other people, hopefully clever people. With that in mind whilst out on the town I've told this story a few times, and the faces people pulled tell me this one is perhaps, not for the hard-of-thinking.

If you've read a bit of this blog you'll already know that my preferred outcome for my dinner is that the animal was just mooching along, minding its own business, when out of nowhere an arrow or bullet severed a major artery and the animal was already dead when the bang or twang reached its ears. For me there is no better way for the animal to meet its end. The way for most food animals in the western world is, er, slightly different. It's entirely acceptable to have the animal severely traumatised, then stunned, before being skinned alive-ish. There is little time for compassion in industrialised animal husbandry. There is another method, one that people have heard of, disapprove of, yet seem to know little about. The intersection between wilful ignorance and distain has proved to be an interesting hunting ground in the past, so I thought I'd shine a flashlight into the chasm of my own ignorance and learn a little more about how other cultures relate to their food. Starting with Islam.

When you ask the average English or American person about the practice of Halal slaughter, they start pulling faces, and words like 'barbaric', and 'sickening' are used. The speaker is seldom able to describe exactly what they are objecting to, just the feelings the very word 'Halal' evokes. Occasionally you meet someone who'll tell you "they just slit the animals throats"this statement is accompanied by a look of distaste. Hmmm anyone for wilful ignorance with a side order of distain? I dont know about you but that just about makes me drool with curiosity. We have found the edge of the map. I have to know more.

Here's a video made by some chaps who are adherents to the Muslim faith, demonstrating their slaughter practice, and giving their explanation of the effects that they believe make up the process. It's not particularly graphic, part one of the video deals with the method of submission so no blood is spilled.

What interests me about the practice we're shown is the neurological effects, and particularly the resonance between the slaughtered and the slaughter-man. The practice of keeping the animals together as much as possible makes a lot of sense. As a herding animal the goat will obviously be much more relaxed when in a herd setting - where many eyes and ears can keep a look out. Separated from the herd, the animal wants to rejoin the group as soon as possible, going into distress until its reunited.
The slaughter man we see obviously takes his responsibly to the animal seriously, he seems un-hurried and benign towards the animals, there's no beating and shouting. As he intones the words of his religious conviction he seems lost in a revery, which then seems to affect the goat, it calms right down.
Its as though once disorientated by being tipped onto its back, and having it's head pushed back, the goat takes its que from the slaughter man who is exhibiting great calmness. As he covers its eyes, and strokes it the goat really does look so relaxed that it could doze off at any moment.

"these animals are Bilingual they always know the name when its mentioned no matter what language and they always feel the heart of that slaughterer if he belives in that word or he dosent"

The first part I'm not yet convinced by, but the second part is looking at least plausible. Most people who hunt will tell you that they believe animals have a sense of our intention, go out without a gun the place teams with game, the same walk with a gun nothing about, a common theme in stories from woodland stalkers is 'I was watching the deer from a hidden place, when a dog walker yapping on the phone wearing a fluro cagoule walked into the scene and the deer ignored them'. Just as many hunters report having a sense of there being hunt-able species in the area, it would seem animals have a sense of there being predators in the area. If this is true (its at least anecdotally true) the slaughter man has obscured his intention by going into his revery.

Lets turn this on its head for a moment; if he's made loads of threatening noises, banged a stick on the ground in between whacking at the animals with it, the separated the animal from its heard before of and ministering more of the same. He would have pushed all the buttons that tell the animal to be hyper alert. Instead by pushing the other set of buttons: he's basically hypnotised the goat.

How would you like your dinner to die? Is this what you were expecting? What other traditions do you think I should be investigating? I welcome your thoughts and comments: have at it.

More of the usual nonsense soon enough, thanks for reading

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Book Review: Steve Bodio's An Eternity of Eagles

A while back I reviewed Stephen Bodio's haunting eulogy to Betsy Huntingdon and pion to New Mexico 'Querencia'. HERE. So I was delighted when a very nice lady wrote to me to say that I was on the review list for Steve's latest work 'An Eternity of Eagles' .

I first came across SB a few years ago when he started to comment on some other blogs, I started to read his blog, and in conversation another blogger (who I had just complemented on his writing) said
"but we all wish we could write like Steve B". As Steve's blog was largely notes to friends and in-jokes I searched for some more of his writing, found this piece about a trip to the Steppes to hunt with Egales and Kazakh tribesmen, and was hooked. Steve's other works have included highly rated studies of fine shotguns, Pigeons and Long Dogs.

The 'An Eternity of Eagles' is quite different to the works I've read so far, it could be thought of as a tour not of some far-flung lands but of a library collected during many many years as a student of Falconry.  It lands pretty squarely between scholarly tome and coffe table book, and is none the worse for doing so. For the casual reader there is a touch more detail than they might be expecting and for the budding Raptor obsessive a tantalising glimpse of where future reading could take you.

“There is so much brute wisdom, sophisticated science, blood magic, and flat out terrific prose in Stephen Bodio’s writing that he makes me think of Merlin, educating Arthur by turning him into other animals for a while. An Eternity of Eagles is worthy of its great subject, which is not only eagles but the earthbound mortals who marvel at them.”
—Jonathan Rosen, author of The Life of the Skies: Birding at the End of Nature

I was going to type up a few choice examples from the book; or try to give you a compressed version of the chronology of our ancient relationship with these fascinating birds, the evolution of the practices of training and hunting with them, and their roles as totems in so many disparate cultures. But instead I'll make you this offer. Buy the book, if you've read it and dont like it, I'll buy your copy off you and give it to someone who will appreciate it.

More Soon

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Deer Crossing Donna

The Deer Crossing Warning sign (W11-3) is used to alert motorists in advance of locations where unexpected entries into the roadway by deer might occur. Size is 24" diamond shape and easily read by deer and motorists alike
A couple of posts ago I asked Deer Collision What Next? Prevention is better than cure right?

The LSP has found a woman on the internet who has all the experience and commonsense required to stop this from happening to other people

Donna has been in three separate accidents involving Deer, she feels its irresponsible to put the signs up on the highway or the interstate. She would like to see the signs moved, so the Deer 'know where to cross'

No one seems to be listening to her. I feel her frustration.


Crazy is as crazy does
Your pal

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Review: Fallkniven F1 v's Fallkniven TK6

I've had an F1 for a long time, as you can see I've used it, abused it and anticipate continuing to use it in the style to which its become accustomed for many years. The TK6 hit the door mat a few months back [read the unboxing review HERE] and I thought you might like to hear a bit about the differences.

I bought my F1 both in the states; and a while back, so it was a serious bargain - the knife I chose it against was a Gerber LMF which has also gone up in price over the last few years and now looks like very poor value for money. Whereas the F1 is still at least two or three lifetimes worth of knife.

The TK6 on the other hand is pretty much the same price as it was when it first came out. Not cheap, but with a few notable exceptions, quality seldom is. By staying the same price while other knives have gotten more expensive, in real terms the TK6 has actually gotten cheaper [you can tell yourself].

The F1 is a survival knife: so its for making firewood and shelters

The TK6 is a hunting knife: so its for dismembering beasts and cutting up snack foods.

Both knives are designed in Sweden by Fallkniven and made in Seki City Japan. When the F1 came out VG10 was a rare 'super steel' it's still super [and it's still steel - ber boom] but now you can buy a VG10 knife for $40, and there are other makers also offering laminated VG10 blades, so the rarity has died off a bit. VG10 is a fantastic steel for edge retention - I once gutted, skinned, and butchered a Fallow doe with a Spyderco Urban without needing to refresh the edge, that's a steel that holds an edge. At 59 HRC its a hard blade, the edge is more resistant to folding over, but obviously hardness is often accompanied by brittleness - I've chipped the tip of my F1 more than once, the first time splitting a stick and the second time dropped point first onto a granite worktop - although here the F1 beats any non laminated blade as the lamination takes care of any concerns about cracking or bending; I've prised floor boards up with mine and hit it with a brick hammer, it's still rocking on. You can see Fallkniven's testing HERE. And my reviews of the F1 HERE and of Fallkniven's sharpening service HERE. After a few years of using the F1 I wouldn't hesitate to recommend one.

The TK6 is a different beast; a shorter blade in the drop point style, made with a blade of '3G' (which is  Fallkniven's proprietary name for a lamination of  VG2-SGPS-VG2 steels) that is first hard to blunt and then hard to sharpen. At 62 HRC, SGPS is a very hard steel. So much so, that for me at least, Diamond Stones are a must. I've long wanted the TK6 as the next step in the search for my 'little-big-knife' a sort of field-scalpel on steroids. I love it, the blade shape works, there is just-enough handle, and the edge holding is other worldly.

Fat blades are not 'slicers' and never will be, so I wouldn't class either as being a very good kitchen knife, the TK6 being much better as the blade feels narrower. The F1's massive strength comes at the cost of always feeling a bit 'fat in the cut' whereas the TK6 feels a lot thinner. With the absence of any nearby Deer Stalking opportunities, when The Lighthouse Keeper and myself Fished the Usk, I prepared two Squirrels and skinned a road kill Pine Marten, here the TK6 really found its niche, its the most convient skinning knife/field scalpel I've found yet: Superb!

Enough blade length to prise away hide, but still short enough for a tip-protected cut when first opening the animal up. So no need for one of those silly "look at me I'm a hunter" gut-hooks.

I know I'm a Fallkniven fanboy so in the interests of fairness I have to have a bit of a moan about the fit of the TK6's handle, neither design has the casting quite right but somehow I'm more inclined to give the rough and ready F1 a pass and say that as part of the premium Tripple Krona range the fit on the TK6 is a bit of a let down. This isn't such a big deal for me as it's always been my intention to customise a TK6, it has the steel and blade shape I want, and some of the other features I'm going for aren't available off the shelf. If you were set on keeping the factory handle a bit of work with a scalpel and some sandpaper would sort it out, but you should bear that in mind before you order one. That being said, I seriously love mine, it's a lot of that perfect knife I've been looking for.

"There is no 'perfect' knife but you'll have fun looking for it" SBW

"There's no bore like a knife bore" Raymond Mears

The custom project, some huntin' with raptors, and air rifles, some stalking, and of course more kit reviews on the way.
Your pal

Eddie Huang: The New Anthony Bourdain?

From the ever brilliant VBS Chef and writer Eddie Huang goes on his first hunt, comes face to face with his dinner's demise and learns that [raised] Rabbit tastes like a cross between Chicken and Gator.

Could he really be 'The New Anthony Bourdain'?

More Soon

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Falconry In English Idiom

English language idioms derived from falconry
These English language idioms are derived from falconry:
ExpressionMeaning in falconryDerived meaning
in a batebating: trying to fly off when tetheredin a panic
with bated breathbated: tethered, unable to fly freerestrained and focussed by expectation
fed upof a hawk, with its crop full and so not wanting to huntno longer interested in something
haggardof a hawk, caught from the wild when adultlooking exhausted and unwell, in poor condition; wild or untamed
under his/her thumbof the hawk's leash when secured to the fisttightly under control
wrapped round his/her little fingerof the hawk's leash when secured to the fisttightly under control

rouseTo shake one's feathersStir or awaken
pounceReferring to a hawk's claws, later derived to refer to birds springing or swooping to catch preyJump forward to seize or attack something
to turn tail[Fly awayTo turn and run away

I've been off sick for the last couple of days, and spending the time wisely have spit it three ways: watching films of Birds of Prey, reading websites about Birds of Prey, and sleeping.

One of the many great things about Falconry is that the written history of the sport is so diverse and there's so much of it. It's been years since I read anything written in the older forms of English so it's been interesting [read challenging] to get back into it. Of course the marvel of English is the way the language constantly evolves to suit the needs of the speaker, taking words from other cultures and languages, and idiom from popular culture. Today there is an financial advice website that advertises itself on TV with an aristocratic Meer Cat who ends every explanation of the company's services with the word "Simples". It's become a popular way to end 'explanations' and 'discussions' on web forums.

Back in the day, when folks flying Falcons was a common sight, these phrases entered the language and are still with us today. There is at least one example missing from the Wikipedia list and I'm guessing a few more? Let me know in the comments when you think of them.

My Addition:
To 'Hawk up'       
 Meaning in falconry                                                                   
The sound of a hawk expelling the indigestible parts of a meal
Derived meaning
Clearing phlegm from the throat

More soon
your pal

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Deer Collision - What Next

It's that time again, on both sides of the pond as the weather cools the deer become more mobile, extending their wanderings in search of extra calories, and the chance to pass on their genes. Sadly for many of them their end will not be at the swift unseen hand of the hunter, but in collision with a car or truck.

  • Do take note of deer warning signs, by driving with caution at or below the posted speed limit. Such signs really are positioned only where animal crossings are likely. 
  • Peaks in deer related traffic collisions occur October through December, followed by May. Highest-risk periods are from sunset to midnight followed by the hours shortly before and after sunrise. 
  • Be aware that further deer may well cross after the ones you have noticed . 
  • After dark, do use full-beams when there is no opposing traffic. The headlight beam will illuminate the eyes of deer on or near a roadway and provide greater driver reaction time. BUT, when a deer or other animal is noted on the road, dim your headlights as animals startled by the beam may ‘freeze’ rather than leaving the road. 
  • Don't overswerve to avoid hitting a deer. If a collision with the animal seems inevitable, then hit it while maintaining full control of your car. The alternative of swerving into oncoming traffic or a ditch could be even worse. An exception here may be motorcyclists, who are at particular risk when in direct collisions with animals. 
  • Only break sharply and stop if there is no danger of being hit by following traffic. Try to come to a stop as far in front of the animals as possible to enable it to leave the roadside without panic.

If the worst does happen, or you are first-to-the-scene when it's happened to someone else, here's the drill.
  • First of all, stay calm.
  • Avoid contact with the deer, its hooves or antlers.
  • Call the emergency services or ask another driver to do so.
  • Set up road flares [or warning triangles] if you have them in your emergency kit.
  • Contact your insurance policy provider.
In the USA not all insurance policys cover Deer Collision so it maybe a good idea to check with the lovely people at to see if its worth getting cover in your state.

For a more detailed look at the issue in the UK see the excellent

More soon

PS There's more read Deer Crossing Donna 

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Fishing The River Usk Pt7

The last tangle of the trip

Some observations on the noble pastime that is Fly Fishing:

Fly Fishing is - Fighting your way though the undergrowth and thorns in expensive plastic trousers, carrying a really expensive stick that's so fragile it might as well be made of glass.

Fly Fishing is - buying or making a steam-side Special Effects department in miniature, and then using spider webs to tie the creations onto the line, while sitting in cold water, often in the dark.
From where I'm standing Fly-tying looks like a hobby within a hobby, apparently their are guys who have 'had to' build whole extensions on to their houses just to store the inevitable collections of fly tying materials. Some of which are collectable.

The moment just before the F±§k@R is cut off, and the whole process started again

Fly Fishing is - Relaxing by unknotting spiders webs in the half light of and overgrown stream. Practiced mainly by gentlemen of advancing years 'middle youth', who have finally acquired the patience required for all the untangling, the money for all the kit and caboodle and the time off.
The sport then serves mainly to remind the practitioner he needs reading glasses.

Fly Fishing is - Where the romance of craft and the precision of science intersect; it speaks of a past where men we'd like to be, men from a bygone era, make things, things of staggering precision, and make them in sheds. So that, armed with their creations, when time and financial tide are right we can re-hatch into ourselves as boys, all penknives and baseball caps, poking sticks into the water, and conjuring up visions of what might one day be.
Get anything? Some bushes, a soaking, spent a lot though!

Fly Fishing is - watching good intention turn to pragmatism as one fishless day turns into another
The Lighthouse Keeper [day one]: Oh no SBW, Dry Fly is what it's all about, that's the real thing
The Lighthouse Keeper [day three]: Lets do some nymphing!

Fly Fishing is - A school of fishing so up-itself that it can become, [once a collection of bit 'n' bobs have been bought - at at £4.98 each] any other kind of fishing (float, lure) without even noticing, yet still remain disdainful of them.
See - just like Abercrombie and Fitch

Fly Fishing is - The search for the simple life, the search for a time when we were grubby but happy, enthralled by the simplest things; following the movement of a ball of fluff as the currents tumble it down a streams meander, the flicker and flash of a tiny fish made from Peacock Feather, seeing that same feather-fish become the new kid on the block as fry, tentative and observent, surrounded it until the biggest and blodest of the fry muscles its way past the onlookers to break its teeth on the feather-fishes brass head.

Annoyingly the true pure simplicity of it all can only be revealed at vast expense. Often without the involvement of fish.

More soon

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Fishing the Usk Pt6

So you've been reading about our adventures fishing the Usk, and you're thinking of coming to the UK to fish, or you're new to fishing and you're wondering how things roll 'stream-side'?

All The Gear - No Idea
There is no greater fear in the heart of the British [I know, this time I'm including them - as its the same for them too] Outdoorsman than to be branded with this epithet. In other countries a man fishing with his new £800 fly rod, in his £600 waders and £500 wading jacket is probably admired for his financial success or profligacy with a credit card, looked up to as someone who has invested seriously in the sport.

Here he could be rendered the lowest of the low with just a few words: if he was really good all you'd have to do is look  at the ground and say 'Tackle Tart' or if he was anything less than world championship standard, 'All The Gear - No Idea' would do it. Once dismissed like this I'm not sure there would be any way for him to bounce back without living on the riverbank for the next year, eating only fish he'd caught, but caught only after repairing his rod with Pine Pitch and parts culled from an abandoned washing machine.

For the real 'Aficionado' look your gear would look something like this:
Your Jacket: should look like it was; dived from a dumpster or belonged to your grandfather.
Your Waders: should be mainly made up of patches.
Your Rod: can be as expensive as you like, you may know the name of the brand, but certainly not the model and you should have a story to go with it about how you got it in a trade with some fool who thought they could buy their way into the sport but has now taken up something else, letting you buy the rod for 10-15% of its sale price.
Your Reel: anything more than 60% of the original finish left on the reel. We have a name for people like that.
Your Hat: like the dog dragged it in, and preferably you'll be seen using it as a dogs bowl at least once during the day.

Your Fly-Box; if you must insist on using a bought one, it needs a crack in the plastic, but better still a very old tabacco tin, preferably of a brand no longer sold.

Now we get to the difficult bit, how to conduct yourself. Any kind of success must be down-played, but the opportunity must also be used to demonstrate your ethical superiority. That 20lb fish was ' reasonable' but obviously was released to breed and so others could enjoy the majesty of caching it. However unworthy they may be. Where visitors from more expressive nations often come unstuck is that we have very strict rules banning: earnestness, gushing, emoting and talking about yourself. To prevent social disgrace where others would use the above, we use that most British of traits Understatement. If in doubt feign dry, deadpan, indifference at all times.

"The understatement rule means that a debilitating and painful chronic illness must be described as 'a bit of a nuisance'; a truly horrific experience is 'well, not exactly what I would have chosen'; a sight of breathtaking beauty is 'quite pretty'; an outstanding performance of achievement is 'not bad'; an act of abominable cruelty is 'not very friendly', and an unforgivably stupid misjudgment is 'not very clever'; the Antarctic is 'rather cold' and the Sahara 'a bit too hot for my taste'; and any exceptionally delightful object, person or event, which in other cultures would warrant streams of superlatives, is pretty much covered by 'nice', or, if we wish to express more ardent approval, 'very nice'."
From 'Watching The English', by Kate Fox. [Bright girl, not a bad read.] 

An antique shotgun of staggering beauty and fascinating provenance is "this old thing", a supermodel = not a bad looking bird, a vintage Porsche = 'my hack' and/or  'I'm keeping it on the road', a handmade suit would be 'the uniform' and a man who owns as far as the eye can see is 'a farmer' or even better understating the understatement 'a bit of a farmer'.

Another nation with understatement rules is of course Japan [aka the Britain of Asia]. I once asked a japanese girl how the notoriously polite japanese people cope with the english trampling over their social sensibilities. She smiled kindly "It's not your fault you're a barbarian"

More soon
Your pal

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Fishing The Usk Pt5

The true sportsman needs neither game laws nor bag limits, nor does the securing of a license make a sportsman. He must be moderate in his kill, find part of the pleasure in being afield, and in observing the lives of the denizens of the streams and wood. Many of our best days are those in which a large catch was not made.
"Uncle" Lloyd Taylor
No fishing excursion is complete without an emergency trip to the fishing shop, so when The Lighthouse Keeper's waders self-destructed we made a pilgrimage to SportFish in Hereford. The shop is vast, they have a casting pool out the back, but due to my scrappy and short range casting I could have practiced indoors the shop is so big.

The enthusiasm of the fly shop guys is something to behold, this is a job for people who basically couldn't do anything else, because there's only so much talking about fishing that is aceptable in other more conventional workplaces.

As we patrolled the aisles it quickly became apparent the scheme is a simple one:  loads of tiny gadgets and accessories that you can get in the door for pennies and sell for £4.98 so you can take at least a tenner off every one who comes through the door, but if they want to spend £100's you can then take some of the pain away by 'throwing in' a pile of stuff with a nominal value of £40-50 without it actually costing you more than a few quid.

By the time you or I are in the shop everything they sell seems like a duress purchase, without which we have no hope whatsoever of ever catching a fish. Cunning.

Shop guy: Have you tried a Czech Nymph?
SBW: One or Two
Shop guy: Fantastic aren't they!
SBW: Sixteen years and two kids later she's still speaking to me, most weekends.

It turns out that Czech Nymphs are a kind of fly that isn't a fly, they are for catching fish under water where Trout do most of their feeding, and therefore TLK considers them un-sporting. Until day two without having caught a fish, when they suddenly become worth a special trip to the fly shop. But hold your horses/park yer pony if you do decide to use Czech Nymphs you'll then need 'Strike Indicators' which are basically little floats, so 'fly' fishing has now become float-fishing just in miniature. So much for the simple life. The sodding things are £5 a tube of 5; two out of five broke while being put on the line, with the next two flying off into the bushes on casts one and four. The whereabouts of the fifth remains unknown. On our second visit we find that they also sell coloured thread in a cute little tin that you can add to the leader knot to make an unbreakable strike indicator. "That'll be £4.98 sir."  Another £4.98.

Shop guy: [having just sold TLK set of waders] What about your mate, does he need anything?
TLK: Oh I think he's got most things
Shop guy: Tackle Tart is he?
TLK: You could say that.

The man who coined the phrase "Money can't buy happiness", never bought himself a good fly rod!
Reg Baird

There's more

Friday, 14 September 2012

Unusual Fly Reels: Franco Vivarelli

 Saw this the other day and though of the Usk, a reel that uses the drag to coil a spring which in turn takes up line. Very neat and tidy for wading through the thick stuff.

Made by Franco Vivarelli carbon fibre, Alloy, or even wood, weighing in at 103g [3.5-ish ounces] not the lightest reel in the world, but certainly the most 'gadget' so far.
More soon

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Fishing The River Usk Pt4

Look everyone SBW's rod is overshadowed by Lord Hereford's Knob

Every hobby starts with a hat, when stalking deer hats keep you warm and give you something to catch the rounds in when you unload the rifle, when fishing they keep off the sun [and more usually the rain]. Here I'm using a Sombrero as a training aid, the brim largely prevents overhead casting, entraining me in the art of the 'scrappy side cast' which will may put a fly under the overhanging bushes and trees which line the banks of the tributaries.

Opps that's another half hour untangling!

While we're on the subject of untangling I'm not sure if fishing causes divorce but its certainly one of its benefits, various chaps we invited to join us were 'mysteriously' busy after expressing initial enthusiasm.  As we canvased our friends looking for accomplices to join us on the trip, I noticed a new found unpopularity; with our talk of new GF's and fishing trips we were perhaps sounding a little too much like an escape committee, or at the very least Rebel Forces. To be crushed under the jackboots of the Empire.

For those of you who value a committed partnership AND fishing here's a few words of advice:

It’s a stunning summers morning. Three guys are fishing a Trout stream

Guy One:
“You have no idea what I had to promise the mrs to be here. I’m painting BOTH the kids rooms next weekend.”

Guy Two:
“That’s nothing I’m weeding the garden, BEFORE I reorganise her mother’s garage”.

Guys One and Two:
“What did you have to promise”?

Guy Three:
“Suckers, same as last week, I just set the alarm for 3am when it goes off I give her a nudge and say her Frolicking or Fishing? She said ‘Wear a hat, it’s cold out there’”.

On the subject of 'Conchita has left me' and hats. For those of us of a certain age, the Sombrero will always be synonymous with the now much missed 'Bandit' bar of our youth. Remember this one?

More soon
Your pal

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Fishing The River Usk Pt3

Catch a snag or catch a fish? Well there's a surprise its another snag!

As we were leaving our first nights camp at Pen Pont we chatted with the Lady of the House, who kindly wished us well with our fishing as we waived our goodbyes.

SBW: We'll follow you on Facebook
LotH: I'm sure you've better things to do
TLK: Trust me, he doesn't

The fishing opportunities in the Brecon's are absolutely the stuff of fly fishing calendars, you can fish  tumbling frothing gravel beds, weirs - both natural and man made, and the pokey streams and tributaries that feed the Usk and the Wye.

If you've only ever fished reservoirs and stocked ponds, this will be a revelation to you, stalking without deer or rifle, stalking truly wild fish, in their truly wild habitat. I took a an 8ft 5/6 weight, which was OK for the more open sections but next time I go I'll be using a 4 weight no longer than 6ft and if I can afford it something smaller too.

Word to the wise - studs, felt soles or better yet Studded Felt soles are a must. Or then again you could just sack the whole 'fishing' bit off and just go for an invigorating impromptu swim like I did.

The Wye and Usk foundation have made a really great job of making these waters accessible. They publish a 'Passport' to the area with fairly detailed maps of the beats, and a Roving Voucher Scheme where you can pay-as-you-go by dropping tokens into boxes at the start of each beat.

The Wye & Usk Foundation is a charity concerned with restoring the habitat, water quality and fisheries of the rivers Wye and Usk.

The Foundation is more than just a lobbying organisation: through a series of partnership projects, we are raising significant sums of money to remedy problems such as habitat degradation, poor water quality and diffuse pollution, barriers to fish migration and over-exploitation of our fisheries.

In 2000 we became a registered charity with the following objectives:

To conserve, protect, rehabilitate and improve the salmon and other indigenous species of animal and plant life of the rivers Wye and Usk, their tributaries, streams and watercourses and the banks, riparian lands and catchments of the river.

To advance the education of the public in the conservation of rivers, river corridors and their animal and plant life and the need for conservation, protection, rehabilitation and improvement of such environments.

More about our trip to come

Monday, 10 September 2012

Fishing The River Usk Pt2

After packing and re packing my kit we finally left London for the first part of the trip, we were to stop off in Cardiff (the capital of Wales) to spend the night with old friends. Cardiff is an amazing city that's still in the grips of a massive regeneration program where the bay has been reinvented as a leisure destination, sadly that means the usual chain restaurants, but the setting is nice.

Somehow on the way home from the pizza and beers I acquired a Sombrero.

The next morning we set off proper, driving up into the hills of Brecon. The countryside offered it's usual delights, roadkill, people who thought leaving the car's hand (aka parking) brake on would be prudent, people who thought if they got there quick enough they'd be up for a prize, and farmers who just like to shower the road with shit because they can.

For our first night we camped in the garden of  Pen Pont  a very nice country house that has evolved over the last 350 odd years with each generation adding wings, annexes, and remodelling to suit their needs. You can stay in the house which looks lovely, we were on a more restricted budget so it was camping for us. For those of you with an interest in traditional architecture you can find a very good history of the house and the family HERE

How's that for Bushcraft?

By the time we'd got there, set up the camp and sorted out our gear we'd long missed the morning rise by about six hours. So we started with the time-tested tactic of enthusiastically thrashing the surface of the water. Within moments we'd both seen fish jump, near-ish to our flies, buoyed by these early 'near-wins' enthusiasm turned to over exuberance as it so often does. Sigh.

Unable to find the other old approach shoe that I'd earmarked as a temporary 'wading boots' I'd chosen a pair of Neoprene stalking wellies as my footwear, if I'd set out to provide The Lighthouse Keeper with a high comedy moment as I slipped from rock to rock before plunging into the depths they would have been the perfect choice. Not my intention, but he seemed well-pleased with the outcome.

Now shivering slightly in the dying light I wasn't going to let a soaking dampen my spirits or dull my enthusiasm so I paused to tie on a new fly and watch TLK casting, I was just admiring the fluid motion of his back cast when I was stung on the back of the head, as my hand instinctively rose to the afflicted area, a sudden searing pain was accompanied by the amusing sight of TLK suddenly stumbling forward into water deeper than the height of his 'waist waders'. The forward motion of his cast had been suddenly interrupted by the line snagging and then snapping causing him to lose his balance. By this time my hand had reached the back of my head, where I found his fly neatly embedded, its broken tippet hanging down my back.

With the score for the afternoon at:
Soakings 1.5
Fly strikes on other anglers: 1 [direct hit]
Fish hooked 1
Fish brought to the net 0

We called it a day, heading for the relative safety of the campfire.

More Soon

Eden Binoculars Review

'I don't know how many guides I've met who dressed in rags, lived on wallpaper paste and government cheese but who owned a pair of $2000 binoculars" David Petzal

There is a much held view that expensive glass, for your hands or atop a rifle, is a waste of money. That 'OK' and 'quite good' are all you need. I wasn't convinced. I used to do a spot of stalking with a chap who had a couple of pairs of mid-range binos, his pair were rubbish and the 'client' or 'sport's' pair even worse. Then last summer in the Kingdom of Fife, my pal Andy had fifteen year old Swarovski's that were a revelation to me, binos as they are on TV! You can see right into the trees! 

I've looked and looked; on eBay - they'll set you back the thick end of £500 and a new pair is £1,600+. The Zeiss and Leica alternatives aren't much cheaper. Zeiss now do an entry level range from £650, very nice, but they just dont have the bomb-proof feel that Andy's had after fifteen years of very rough treatment, guiding and keepering in all weathers. 

"Clients are too fussed about their rifles, you've got to see the animal first, with these I've guided clients to animals they couldn't even see through their Tasco scope on their custom rifle" Andy Richardson

I went to the camera store and took a look through the £150 glass. Pointless. Once you've seen through glass brightly it'd be like setting fire to the cash without the fun or Youtube hits. So there I was sitting at home, with piles of junk recovered from lofts and basements across london, hopefully cataloguing it all in preparation for a big sell-off to finance the glass, when and email came through from a chap in the knife business. 'Would I like to take a look at the glass he's now selling?'
He tells me 'Eden have teamed up with a manufacturer to bring out glass to a bird watcher's standard's of colour reproduction at a web sales only price point. '  
My first thought was, 'give them a once over and then sell them to add to the money for proper glass'. He seemed confident in the product 'write anything you like about them, or dont write about them, your choice'. 

That was three months ago. 

I've used them in every condition I can, across valleys, through hedgerows, in English woodland, in the dark recesses of the Welsh tree farms, and scanning the sides of tower blocks. Then I've been into every binocular stockist who would let me do comparison tests [and been chucked out of one that wouldn't], while I'm not saying they are exactly as good as the top-flight Austrian glass, they are very very close. I'd have them over the entry level Zeiss's which are more than twice the price. I've given them to photographers and cameramen to test: they talked gobbledygook about colour saturation and edge definition - I didn't really understand - but they seemed delighted.  If you are, as I was, about to suck-it-down and buy some posh glass, have a look at these first. You wont be the only person shocked to see how far Chinese glass has come on in recent years. 

Now, does anyone want to buy a pair of unused Campagnolo brakes from the 80's? A collection of comix? For you madam a fire surround? Sir! Perhaps a ......

More soon
PS For more thoughts about glass from a blogger who actually spends time afield Hodgeman knows

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Poo: By Any Other Name

I found this one, where 'someone' had burped it up while sitting on a hay bale scanning the field for the next victim. Which animal left it behind? Answers in the comments section please.

Your pal

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Chad's Querencia

We know him as Blogger, Bird hunter, Dog bloke, and Ditch fisherman. But in another life Chad would be the enigmatic [read grumpy] proprietor of a second hand book shop: but not just any second hand book shop, this book shop would be within moments of fine, fine, Trout streams, some of which would be blessed with runs of Sea Trout and Salmon. Deer Stalking would be on the doorstep too, with long seasons for ghostly Roe, and a never ending season for Muntjac. Rabbits and Squirrels could be taken any morning, as the shopkeep turns helpful pest-controller on his morning constitutional. Did I mention the micro-brewery, but a few footsteps away?

Well Chad I've found it for you, Hay-on-Wye is the town for you.

More soon
Your pal

Monday, 3 September 2012

Escape Velocity

Exit postponed due to missing 'wading shoe'. Any ideas?

Fishing The River Usk Pt1

Unlikely as it may seem, especially to regular readers: myself and The Lighthouse Keeper are making our way westwards to fish the River Usk a Brown Trout stream that rises in the notorious Brecon Beacons. The Brecon's are an exceptionally handsome range of hills in Wales that have been the making or breaking of many a military career. I've been up there a few times over the years and the place is usually thick with squaddies being beasted along by their PT instructors. Who will, amongst other choice incentives, be offering age-old moto of the Brecon experience "if it aint raining it aint training!"

While the poor young recruits are suffering it, TLK and myself will be living out our Trout Bum fantasies; drinking whiskey-laden coffee for breakfast, eating fried things, and growing Abercrombie and Fitch style stubble.

A few mobile posts to follow and then a full report on our return, in the meantime more military cliches HERE
Your pal

Picture credit

Gear Freak, Kit Tart, Blogger

" I know nothing else that so restores the buoyant optimism of youth as overhauling ones kit "
Horace Kephart 1906

"Um-errr, I think I've got everything"
SBW 2012

More soon

Monday, 27 August 2012

Poo; A Photographic Study

As many of you are are also amateur naturalists this won't sound as strange to you as it perhaps would in less inquisitive circles.

Taking a walk on the marshes:

Elfa: What are you doing? You're taking pictures of Poo!
SBW: always! Poos I have known, loved, and photographed
Elfa: if I'd known you were interested I could have stopped flushing the toilet

More soon
Your pal

Saturday, 25 August 2012

A Street SO Posh....

That Arugula AKA Rocket grows from the cracks in the paving! Who'd a thunk it?

More foraging and fishing to come, and of course that long awaited rabbit hunt


Sunday, 12 August 2012

There's No Auction Like a Firearms Auction

If you're like me and already have too many hobbies, look away now. 

Apart from inane eBay searches, charity shops and locked unit auctions there aren't too many places that you've consistently got a shot at a bargin with.  A lot of the gun auction sites  basically have people selling off their pride and joy, so they're pretty clear on the upper value of their guns and rifles. That leaves the physical auction houses which are amazing troves of treasure, the Purdy, Rigby and Rolex end of things is a bit crowded but the 'Pikey' and 'Ephemera' end is where the magic happens anyway.

How many great stories are in this lot? Estimate is: $150 - $200

A build-yer-own Rigby kit AKA a 7mm Mauser with tidy wood work and a knackerd barrel, is estimated at  $100-$200 sounds a bit vague as an estimate to me, run $40 up the flag pole and see if anyone salutes it. Or thinking again what about "re-barrel it and start competing in Service Rifle!" Go on, you know you want to.

Pre-war Nazi Ammo? Est. at a measly $50-$80 the clips alone are worth that.
[He tells himself]

I was pretty taken with one of these for £200 the other day. If it opens at $30 (£19.36) in front of the wrong crowd it's not going to have too many takers. If I was in Florida I'd be all over it.

As the buyers at the gun auction are squabbling over the high-end stuff a lot of 'working guns' fall through the cracks, but wether you're in the market for a dinner-getter or an heirloom, searching for 'hunt'-ing ephemera is lots of fun and will occasionally throw up real bargain-of-a-lifetime finds like this stunning signed photo....
Look everyone, its the boring one out The Avengers and him off the coffee ads. Yours for £4!

What did I bid on? Not telling.

More soon

Review: Spyderco Sharpmaker 204MF Ultra Fine

If you're the kind of person who has one of those annoying 'wheel sharpeners' for your knives best to stop reading now, as either you don't care about edge durability or you dont yet know what it'll mean to you. I'll concede that 'wheel sharpeners' can achieve a sharp [ish] edge, but never a durable edge.

 I know its frustrating to start with, but by working your way through a set of stones you get an edge that is far more robust and with enough patience far far sharper too. It took me ages to be able to get even half decent results on a set of stones. While I was practicing I used and reviewed the Spyderco Sharp Maker, which with - a very small amount of practice/following the instructions, will give you excellent results. The Sharp Maker is absolutely the perfect sharpening system for Spyderco's blade geometry; works surprisingly well on axes, and is very safe and handy for broadheads: it took me a while to get good results from thicker convex blades like the F1, but its excellent and intuitive for any flat-ish grind.

What you get is a box that does double duty as a stand/handle for the hones, setting them at 40 and 30 [giving you grinds of 20 and 15] degrees for blade sharpening, 12 degrees for scissors and flat for an improvised bench stone. Comes with course brown and fine white hones which make short work of carbon steel and are hard enough for stainless' including the 'super steels' like VG10 ect.

I've always wanted a pair of the Ultra Fine hones but they used to be crazy money so I never took the plunge. They've come down in price a bit lately so I ordered some from the chaps at Eden Webshops and two days later they were on the door mat.

Puta Madre!


Yes sir I can boogie

They're good, really good, they take you to a whole new realm of sharpness, and considering the sharpness you get from the fine hones, that's really something. To illustrate the point my TK6 has a cutting edge in Super Gold Powder Steel hardened to 62, the fine stones made very short work of restoring the factory edge.

If you've already got a Sharp Maker, get a set, these you will love. If you haven't yet got a Sharp maker you've only yourself to blame.

More Soon