Unintended Consequences

This wasn’t supposed to happen. I had no plans to start another project. I just saw some misinformation and just wanted to correct it.

Like many out there I was multi-tasking over the weekend. (ie: keeping myself entertained while doing chores) This time I had chosen to listen to some YouTube videos while cleaning up the dog run.  I have found that many of the videos I watch have enough narrative that I don’t need to watch them to understand what’s going on.

I saw that a guy who calls himself “NutnFancy” had released a video comparing emergency fire starting fuel tablets. I’ve enjoyed some of his camping/adventure videos and thought this would be interesting. The guy comes from a military background, Air Force, so he naturally gravitates to that spectrum of equipment where I prefer the items you find in nature.

Nutn, as I call him for short, loves something called Tri-Ox. It looks kinda like a harder version of Sterno (Camping fuel for cooking) and burns very hot.  In his test he compares this against other survival/camping fuel tablets that are readily found in the camping aisle of your favorite store.

As I’m raking I hear him complaining how hard these other items are to light using a ferro rod. (A rod of metal about three inches long and a quarter inch in diameter that throws off lots of sparks when scraped with a hard metal edge; Like the back of a knife.) I stop and rewind the vid.  Looking at it, I noticed that he didn’t prep any of the survival fuel tablets and that he’s using the rod wrong.  He’s actually pushing some of the fuel tablets away as he swipes down the ferro rod with the back of his knife.  Later in the video he laughs as he realizes that he was not using the fuel tablets correctly and that he should’ve read the instructions.  He then justifies his choice in using Tri-Ox since it didn’t need any prepping and caught fire rather easily.

I thought he was doing a disservice to the other fire starting fuels since they weren’t used correctly. I had one of the brands in my day pack and had used it once for an online camping class.  (Make five fires using man made materials)  I knew it worked and wanted to give an honest review of that product.

So I made a video in reply.

By most standards it is a bad video. It was dark; you just see my arms for the most part; The sounds wavers as I move around; and the angle is off so you don’t see everything I wanted to show.  It also didn’t help that I was using my phone as the camera and propping it up with a selfie-stick and wedging that between the rails of a beach chair.

It’s also unscripted. Very much so.  I found myself saying phrases I’ve never used before, and in parts, I find myself sounding grumpy.  I know that because I was grumpy.  Nutn had made a big deal about being in the wilderness when he did his review.  He voiced his opinion that being “in the wild” made the test more accurate than if it was made in his back yard.  I’ve always had a problem with that line of thought.  I feel that you should practice in the comfort of your own back yard because not only does it give you more time to practice your skills, but the familiarity of your surroundings helps you focus on what you are doing and not what is going on around you.  This gives you the familiarity of the task when you do go out into the field.

I was also a little frustrated by my weather conditions. Nutn had done his testing in the snow-capped mountains of Utah.  I live in Florida.  It doesn’t snow here.  In fact, it was in the 50s that night.  But it had rained heavily for two days, two days prior.  Everything w3as still wet.  How would I show that?  I went to the swale and showed how much water was in it after those days of drying out.  There was a light breeze blowing as well.  I wore a T-shirt with no jacket to feel some coolness as I went about starting the project.

There were some funny moments where I had kneeled down on the lanyard of my multi-tool and had to shift to free it; or when I put the dried Spanish Moss over the lit fuel tablet and had it almost combust into flames in my hand.

The fire went off without a hitch and about the only real regret I had was in not clarifying that I had used the back of the saw in my multi-tool to scrape the ferro rod and not the teeth.   It’s easily shown in the video, but I still wish I had explained this part better.

Oh well, no matter.

After enjoying the fire, I came inside and started processing the film for transfer to YouTube. It took over two and a half hours of editing, saving, converting, and uploading to get the five minute long vide up on YouTube.

I didn’t mind though, once I had posted the reply on Nutn’s video. I had made my point.

I got a few people to look at it and two responses to it on his page. Just as I expected.  What I didn’t expect was to get a subscriber of my own.  I had made this video just to point out a different point of view and result.  I had not planned on anything bigger.

Now I’m wondering if this is something I should pursue? I like being outdoors and teaching new skills. It would easily fit into my blog as well.  But would you like it?  Is it something you would like to see as a semi-standard on this blog?  Will you find the subject interesting?  Bushcrafting/camping is big on TV right now, but is it over done.  I’m no master.  I’m just a student learning as I go.  I would be showing you what I learned and how I learned it.

Are you interested?

Here is the video I made and beneath it will be NutnFancy’s video so you can see how mine fits in relation.

Just let me know what you thing in the responses   I’m curious to what you think.

My video

NutnFancy’s review of fire starters

 

 

The Knife Fight

It’s fun to get obsessed.  Dive down into that dark rabbit hole of the unknown and come out like a champion with a treasure.  My latest obsession is finding the perfect pocket knife.

Pocket knives are a deeply personal decision and every choice tells a lot about its owner and the life it leads.  The choices are dizzying.  Blade size, blade metal, serrated or smooth, shiny – satin – flat, clip point or tanto, plain or fancy, number of blades, weight, cost… the list goes on and on.

It doesn’t even have to be a knife either.  Multi tools are every bit as common and offer their own advantages and disadvantages.

But for me it has to be a knife.  I recently owned a Smith and Wesson folder and enjoyed it.  I used it hard and it never failed.  I recently gave it to a friend.  She works landscaping and really needed a good knife.  I have a Leatherman Wingman that I use for my day job, it works ok but in comparison to blade length and overall weight, it’s just not what I want for everyday carry.

So with the question of what to get, I dove down the rabbit hole.

I had a general idea of what I wanted and what I wanted it to do.

I want a non-serrated blade around four inched in length.  I want a solid locking mechanism that will keep the blade locked in position even if I “hammer” it with a stick.  I want a decent thickness to the blade to prevent it from snapping under hard use.  It has to be easy to sharpen and hold its edge for a decent time.

I want to be able to cut thick rope and twine with it, chop little branches if needed, whittle wood, spark a ferro rod, split broom thick sticks to smaller kindling, and cut leftover meats without tearing.  I might even use the pommel (bottom end) of the handle as a hammer or bottle opener.  (They sell Coke in glass bottle here.)

As you can see, this is not going to be a show knife that is pulled out of the pocket at parties to impress the neighbors.  Uh-uh.  This is going to be a hard working tool full of scars and stories.

I’ve been doing research for a few weeks.  It’s one of my favorite things to do because it lets me day dream about the possibilities and discover products I never knew.

My Smith and Wesson Knife was roughly the same size as a Buck 110 Hunter.  The classic pocket knife.

buck-110-folder

My wife has one.  She keeps it tucked away in a kitchen drawer for safe keeping.  I like the idea of us having matching knives, but also appreciate our differences.   Besides, we have matching wedding rings.  How matchy do we need to be?

But Buck does have some other interesting offerings:  The Bantam and the BuckMax Large.

110BantamBuckliteMax

These knives have the same blade length as the 110  Hunter, but with different grips and blade widths. (The Bantam is a little wider than the 110 and BuckMax.)  If I do get the Bantam, the one on top, I’ll have to find a different color. Orange camo is so not me.

Besides Buck, there is Ontario Knives with their RAT II.

Rat 2

It’s a slightly shorter blade, but very good in all other desires.

Another is the Gerber Freeman Guide.

gerber_freeman_guide_folder

This one has a metal pommel that could work as a bottle opener and has a good blade length.

Or I might just go with another Smith and Wesson.  They have a model called “Cuttin’ Horse” that reminds me of a smooth bladed version of my old knife.

Smith_Wesson cuttin horse

Any of these will probably work, but I am not going to deny myself the pleasure of checking them out and deciding for myself.

That’s the best part of all.