Thursday, August 30, 2012

Tips & Tricks- Rub Candle Wax on your Machetes and Axe heads for a durable, water resistant coating

In the photo below: Water beaded up on the surface of a Cold Steel 13" Kukri Machete (left) and a Wetterlings Forester's Fine Axe (right) that have been coated with wax from a paraffin candle. 
(click to enlarge)

For a durable, water repellant finish on your machetes and axe heads, try rubbing a common paraffin-wax candle on them. The wax stays on longer than traditional protectants like gun oil, mineral oil, or petroleum jelly, plus, it won't rub off inside your pack or sheath as easily as traditional oils do.

TIP: It isn't necessary to coat all of the metal with the wax to do this. Just cover most of the surface and rub it in with your fingers. The wax rubs on easily, and once on, provides superior wet weather protection.

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About the author
Jason Schwartz is the founder and senior editor of Rocky Mountain Bushcraft. He is a former Red Cross certified Wilderness & Remote First Aid Instructor, and has taught bushcraft and wilderness survival techniques to the Boy Scouts of America, interned with the US Forest Service, and studied wilderness survival, forestry and wildland firefighting at Colorado Mountain College in Leadville, Colorado. Jason has also written for magazines such as The New Pioneer and Backpacker, including writing the "Tinder Finder" portion of Backpacker's "Complete Guide to Fire," which won a 2015 National Magazine Award (NMA). Email him at rockymountainbushcraft @ hotmail.com (without spaces)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Hultafors considering US axe distribution


Rocky Mountain Bushcraft just got some amazing news! Hultafors Group, owner of Hults Bruks, Sweden's oldest axe manufacturer, is considering entering the US marketplace. They have chosen Rocky Mountain Bushcraft to get the word out about their products and have asked us to review some of their axes in order to gauge public interest.

I have to say that this is an incredible opportunity. I'm excited to be on the cutting edge (sorry, I couldn't resist) of what is sure to be an important addition to the US market. Hults Bruks are comparable in quality to Gransfors Bruks axes, and are highly respected in Europe.

Here is a sneak preview of some of their beautiful axes ahead of our review (thanks to Paul at BushcraftCanada.com for allowing to use pictures from his website).

Can't wait to get my hands on one!

Hultafors Classic Trekking Axe
(click to enlarge)

Classic Hunting Axe

Felling Axe


Thursday, August 23, 2012

How Sharp Should Your Axe Be?


There seems to be a lot myth and confusion on internet forums about how sharp an axe should be. Some say they should be dull. Some say "kind of sharp, like a dull knife". Others say as "sharp as your sharpest knife." So who is right?

Answer- Your axe should be shaving sharp!

Why? I think it's best explained by Mors Kochanski, father of modern bushcrafting, who said in his 1987 book "Bushcraft",

"The inexperienced and occasional users who are more prone to accidents in the first place, often fail to appreciate the importance of a keen edge. All woodworking tools, including axes, should be sharp enough to shave with for effortless, efficient and enjoyable work. Most new axes require from an hour to a half a day of hand sharpening to put them into proper shape. A dull axe is less efficient and more tiring to use. It is also a greater hazard as it glances more readily. An axe should be sharpened on a regular basis, perhaps with every half-hour of use or each time a tree is cut down. A minute spent on sharpening may shorten your chopping time by 5 minutes."

Also, Bernie Weisgerber, author of the US Forest Service Axe Manual "An Axe to Grind" says,

"A correctly honed edge is sharp with no wire edge. It reflects no light. If you followed procedures, your edge should be sharp enough to shave with (Figure 73). I sometimes check the sharpness by carefully dry shaving the hair on the back of my hand. This is a traditional method used in the woods for years. A safer and equally effective test is to carefully put your fingernail (not your finger) against the sharpened edge. The edge should bite into your fingernail and not slide down it.

(from an "Axe to Grind")

In the coming weeks I will be posting some of my techniques for sharpening axes, so keep checking back!

About the author
Jason Schwartz is the founder and senior editor of Rocky Mountain Bushcraft. He is a former Red Cross certified Wilderness & Remote First Aid Instructor, and has taught bushcraft and wilderness survival techniques to the Boy Scouts of America, interned with the US Forest Service, and studied wilderness survival, forestry and wildland firefighting at Colorado Mountain College in Leadville, Colorado. Jason has also written for magazines such as The New Pioneer and Backpacker, including writing the "Tinder Finder" portion of Backpacker's "Complete Guide to Fire," which won a 2015 National Magazine Award (NMA). Email him at rockymountainbushcraft @ hotmail.com (without spaces)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Survivorman returns to the Discovery Channel!


In the wake of the recent cancellations of "Man vs Wild", "Man, Woman Wild" and the departure of Dave Canterbury from "Dual Survival", there hasn't been a lot of good news to report in the field of survival/bushcraft entertainment lately. Thankfully, there's something good to report finally-- Survivorman is returning to the Discovery Channel!


Sunday, August 12, 2012

BLOG UPDATE- 8-12-12

Dear readers,

Just a quick update.........

After writing somewhere north of 50 articles and reviews over the last several months, I had to take a much needed break. During this time, I've also been helping some local wranglers get equipped with traditional axes, along with some custom leatherwork so that they can carry them safely while horse packing. Definitely a fun job!

I've also been experimenting with some new wilderness survival tricks for an upcoming article. I'm really excited to share what I've learned with you, so keep checking back!

Our next reviews include the Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet, US-made Kelty Varicom Bivvy/Sleeping Bag System, US-made Gregory Denali 105 Backpack, Wetterlings Universal Woodsman's Axe, plus our main "Made in the USA" Wilderness Gear article. I've also updated the "Outdoor Books" link with some great books that I consider essential for any budding bushcrafter. Many more to come!

I'm also happy to report that Rocky Mountain Bushcraft has surpassed 73,000 pageviews since December, along with over 400 Twitter followers- thank you readers! We've been having major problems with our Facebook page since we put it up, but if you want to "Like" us, this function does still work. Click HERE to like us!

Cheers,

Jason

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Wetterlings releases new "Universal Woodsman's Axe" for Bushcrafters- Update

Swedish axe company Wetterlings has released a new bushcraft axe called the "Universal Woodsman's Axe." It has a rather unusual configuration in that it has a 1.25 pound hatchet head attached to a 24" axe handle. The head has a shape similar to a Carpenter's Axe, another unusual design feature.

I'm hoping to get my hands on one soon to see how it performs, so keep checking back for an update.

August 9th, 2012 UPDATE- Good news- Garrett Wade Co has offered to send me a Universal Woodsman's Axe for review. As soon as I receive it I will post some first impression pics and begin field testing. Cheers, Jason

(photo care of garrettwade.com)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Wilderness First Aid Tip: Use the powdery coating on Aspen trees as an emergency sunscreen

If you're out in the Western high country and need an emergency sunscreen, try wiping the powdery coating from the bark of Aspen trees on your skin. It has an SPF of 5 and could prevent you from getting a severe sunburn.

(click to enlarge)


About the author
Jason Schwartz is the founder and senior editor of Rocky Mountain Bushcraft. He is a former Red Cross certified Wilderness & Remote First Aid Instructor, and has taught bushcraft and wilderness survival techniques to the Boy Scouts of America, interned with the US Forest Service, and studied wilderness survival, forestry and wildland firefighting at Colorado Mountain College in Leadville, Colorado. Jason has also written for magazines such as The New Pioneer and Backpacker, including writing the "Tinder Finder" portion of Backpacker's "Complete Guide to Fire," which won a 2015 National Magazine Award (NMA). Email him at rockymountainbushcraft @ hotmail.com (without spaces)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Spectacular shot of firesteel being struck

As dusk was settling in yesterday, I managed to snap this photo of my knife striking a firesteel into a pile of pitch shavings. Note the molten balls of rare earth metals bouncing around.

(click to enlarge)