Wednesday, 30 May 2012

The Bushwacker Had lost His Considering Hat

I'd been in morning for my lost hat, I'd hoped, I'd moped I'd even ordered another one. When Andy posted the good news on Facebook, 'Look what the dog dragged in!'

More soon

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Book Review: The Lure Of The Falcon

If you like your humor understated and if you've ever found yourself enthralled by small creatures in wild places try this one on for size, its a boy-meets-nature memoir with a difference.

Boy meets nature, boy finds broken Kestrel, boy mends Kestrel, boy takes Kestrel with him to boarding school, boy takes Kestrel with him to WWII. Boy and Kestrel are captured by the Germans, boy and Kestrel escape from POW camp, boy and Kestrel are captured again, boy and Kestrel......

We were thrust at bayonet point into a room on the second floor and lined up infront of a large table littered with papers, telephones,typewriters and other official impedimenta. Behind the table, wearing civilian clothes peering at us through rimless glasses, sat the flesh and blood embodiment of the villainous Gestapo chief that I had seen in scores of films. With pasty face and soulless eyes he was about as alluring as a bird eating spider. As soon as he saw us there before him, bearded filthy and rheumy -eyed with weariness he started barking questions in the approved hollywood manner.
Suddenly his tirade which had sounded like a succession of bursts from a bad-tempered machine gun ceased in mid-volley and I saw our  inquisitors cobra eyes fixed on me  - where a slight but obvious bulge appeared in my ancient jacket just above the waistline. He threw back his chair and, moving with surprising speed, hurled himself round the table and grabbed me. One podgy white hand dived inside my jacket, in search no doubt of the pocket radio he suspected to be concealed in my bosom. there was a slight upheaval, followed by a yelp of pain. He recoiled and withdrew his hand which was dripping with good Aryan blood.

 Cressida had struck her blow for freedom. Now surely Nemesis would strike me down. Feeling if I felt anything, that i really had nothing to lose except life itself I put my hand to my jacket. Cressida scrambled aboard and I withdrew her into the daylight.  There we stood Cressida and i exposed to the full fury of this powerful representative of the third reich.  I glanced at Cressida , her hackles raised, her wings hanging as she mantled, her eyes glowing like red coals. the expected revolver shot never came. I looked at the Gestapo officer who had retreated a few steps,  his pallid face was if anything whiter than ever. I glanced at the armed escort, the henchmen behind the table all were speechless but when I looked longer I saw that they were inarticulate with ill-suppressed laughter.

Well worth a read

more soon

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Monday, 21 May 2012

Unboxing Review: Fallkniven TK6

[Drum Roll] For the first time in the history of the SBW blog, ladies and gentleman, bushcrafters, hunters, foodies, boys and girls: something from the 'I Want One' series has actually dropped on to the doormat! I know! I can't quite believe it myself! My friends at Eden Webshops have been kind enough to let me have a Tripple Krona 6 to play with.

The Totally Objective, Scrupulously Fair and Unbiased bit 
The TK6 is one of the lesser-spotted Fallkniven's. I know a few people who want one, but no one who's seen or handled one, and I'm guessing that's because of where they fit into the Fallkniven range. Most of us started by buying an F1 and then looked at the range and either went for something bigger as a camp knife (S1) or the WM1 as a neck knife. The now 'hens teeth' 'posh F1' with the Micarta handle is highly regarded, the TK2 is a bit more 'Bushcrafty' so the TK 5 and 6 haven't found as much traction with the knife buying public in the UK.

I've always wanted a little-big-knife; something smallish but very strong, I tried the Bark River Mikro Canadian II - loved the blade shape but loathed the fit and finish, and found the blade just a bit too small. There are lots of nice folders out there, not many of the nice ones currently within budget, and the hassle of taking them apart to clean them after beast-processing duty kind of puts me off.
Truthfully, despite what I might say from time to time, I'm not done accumulating fixed blades!

In the hand - first impressions
Petite. Petite yet muscular. The TK6 feels quite heavy for it's size, and is sharp enough to pop hairs off my arm going with the lie of the hair! Very Sharp!! There's a noticeable palm swell that I'd not picked up looking at the pictures. The bolster-to-blade fit is seamless. The fit between the Thermorun and steel could be better although it wouldn't be a big job to sand it out.

Total length: 6.9" (175 mm)
Blade length: 3.15" (80 mm)
Blade thickness: 0.18" (4,5 mm)
Weight: 120 g (4.2) oz
Steel: 3G which is  Fallkniven's proprietary name for a lamination of  VG2-SGPS-VG2.
Hardness (edge): 62 HRC - yep sixty effin' two!!
Handle material: Thermorun AKA Grippy Black Plastic
Sheath(s): Fold-over black leather or Zytel (a cast plastic)

The TK or Tripple Krona [three crowns] series are a celebration of Swedish knife design and are somewhere between Fallkniven's more utilitarian knives [F1-S1 ect.] and the ultra high-end Northern Lights series. The Fallkniven design philosophy is immediately present; super trick steel, and a thick laminated blade, with a convex grind.

The 3G knives have a reputation of being slow to blunt and then equally slow to sharpen. Being a lamination of three pieces of steel they are incredibly strong allowing the use of very hard steel in the ore without the risk of cracking. The centre section of the lamination obviously forms the cutting edge and is Super Gold Powder Steel, a super trick steel from Japan that can be hardened to 62 HRC. Which is A LOT harder than most knife blades so its not going to lend itself to easy field maintenance. But on the upside it should still be sharp by the time you get home.

The TK5 comes with Cocobolo scales, personally I'm not a believer in Cocobolo as a material for knife scales, some people are allergic to it, and in comparison to other timber it's just not that good looking. I want my knives for field use, not as drawer queens that are just for looking at and occasionally fondling.  I've always wanted to pimp one so a TK6 with its Thermorun handle seemed like a better bet.

You can have a choice of Fold-Over leather or Zytel sheaths. I know the fold-over sheaths have both their fans and detractors, I'm not that fussed either way myself. The Zytel sheaths are truly spectacular in their fuglyness proving that even utilitarianism can be taken too far. There is a whole cottage industry devoted to making sheaths for Fallkniven knives, with some of the guys, like Martin Swinkels, making really nice work. My plan for the TK6 has always been to pimp it out and give it a matching sheath.

Value for money
Sure Fallkniven are asking quite a lot of money for what is basically a mass produced knife, the F1 isn't the crazy bargain its once was, but is still a lifetimes worth of knife for around a days pay.
The TK6? Yes you could buy a very nice knife from one of the less well known makers for the same money, but you wouldn't get the laminated super steel. The TK5's price puts you within reach of a true custom knife bespoken to your requirements. But as the knife I most wanted to commission would be a TK5 clone anyway and G3 is only available from Fallkniven I'm using the TK6 as my starting point.

As regular readers will know I don't really care about the initial purchase price: I've been cash rich and [as now] I've been cash poor.  When I've had the money I've been pleased to be able to afford good kit, when I've been broke I've been pleased that I have good kit.
Some of the good kit that I bought a while back is now two and even three times what I paid for it. My pal The Northern Monkey said no to an F1 at forty quid back in the day, and now they're a hundred and twenty, expensive is relative, quality isn't.

I'm planning on the TK6 being 'another lifetimes worth of knife'. So having used up the other 'value is what you get' mantras in previous posts I guess I'll just have to repeat the words of a man wiser than I

'I spent most of my money wining and dining northern tarts, [and buying boutique outdoor gear]. The rest of it I just frittered away.'

Edenwebshops sell all the cool brands of knives, and somehow are quite a lot cheaper than most suppliers, very nice guys to deal with, warmly recommended.

Better go and put that first heart-wrenching scratch on it.

More soon

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Lansky Knife

To christen the iPhone and enter the world of mobile blogging/the 21st century here's a micro review of this workhorse from Lansky. And a very capable tool it is too

More soon (that's so as SBW jnr writes his review)

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Monday, 14 May 2012

Golden Eagle Snatches Knife

From the "whodathunkit" files: Dutch wildlife photographer Han Bouwmeester had been cutting up some meat hoping to bait a Golden Eagle into snapping range when the bird swooped and snatched up his Mora 510 and made off with it. At less than a tenner for the knife, a small price to pay for the shot of a lifetime!

The Daily Fail quote him as reporting
'I was happy with the absolutely cracking and unique picture. The eagle is holding it exactly as we should do with it. What a crazy once in a lifetime moment this was.'
More soon

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

The Mindful Carnivore Book Tour

You know those blogs where the writer raises some question about food, animals, or human relationships with nature, and engages readers in an interesting conversation? Well, our pal Tovar Cerulli has started a lot of these conversations, and written the excellent book "The Mindful Carnivore" which I have read, thoroughly enjoyed, and shamefully not yet reviewed yet, is takin'it 'on-da-road'. Yep you can meet the blogosphere's hunter/philosopher for yourself! If I had the cash I'd fly out to join in the fun, every event promises to be one of lively debate, and inspirational mindfulness. With your chance to pick up a signed copy

Hopefully he'll get down to Texas and we can arrange a side-by-side picture of him and the LSP.

More Soon

Monday, 7 May 2012

Bullet Art: Elephant

Made for the Detroit Zoo using Bullets and Gold Leaf. By the artist Mary Engel  ” Elephants have become endangered due to the “gold” of the elephant, its ivory tusks. The bullets which make this sculpture are beautiful but menacing, as they remind us of humans’ destruction of exotic creatures".

Bell would have approved

More Soon

Friday, 4 May 2012

Unboxing: Orvis Battenkill Fly Reel Review

Not too expensive and hard to beat for value for money.

It's easy when looking at the stunning range of reels available to get carried away with admiration leading to lust, leading to 'drawer-queen-itus' where tools that are 'too nice to use' become art objects. I sold my [semi] custom knives years ago. I love the machinists art, I'd love to own a few of those exquisite reels you see in the Fly magazines; turned and milled from aircraft grade titanium, but I'd have them covered in scratches by the end of the first trip. So for me the workhorse of reels. The Orvis Battenkill. Not too expensive, well made with a satisfying click to the drag, and a durable finish.  In fairness the finish has been kept to 'tolerable' in a trade-off to keep the price down, although I have it on good authority that the Trout are indifferent to paint or polish.

Anything that comes with a service diagram (with part numbers for ordering spares) is better than something that doesn't. If the manufacturer believes that me, joe punter, is capable of taking it apart and putting it back together it has a hope of being reasonably well made.

I've got the 5/6 size because I bought my whole fly rig as a set second hand, but after all ITS JUST AN EFFING BOBBIN TO KEEP LINE ON so you can go down to 4 weight or up to 7 weight.

Good value, from a company with an amazing reputation for customer service. I honestly cant see myself buying another one in the foreseeable.

More Soon