New Gear

New, cheap day packs.

I needed…

wanted…

uhhm…. yeah 😉

Lets say, saw a need for 😉 a couple light packs, to fill out gaps in capacity capabilities for day bags.

My main and favorite grab and go day bag for several years now has been a Black Diamond 16L pack. Its small, light, durrable, and can really be stuffed with day trip/hike essentials.

But it’s on the smaller side at times. Two years ago I acquired a 25L TNF (The North Face) Vault as an upgrade for those times.

It has the room I need on average, for day trips. But it has two problems; it has a stiff structured back panel that is a great idea, but horrendously uncomfortable.

And it’s bright red.

No matter what they say animals can and can’t see, I see little to no way of proving it… So I have a hard time taking bright colors on hunting trips.

On the other hand I find camo pointless, but thats another topic for another time. 🙂

So, I wanted another mid sized 25L to 35L pack for day hikes and day hunts, that wasn’t brightly colored.

And I also wanted a pack between that size, and the big 65L 3 day trip pack I have. An overnight day trip bag that wouldn’t be heavy or waste space. Mainly for my summer weight camping gear, where I don’t need the room for my 20° bag or many, if any extra clothes. Went with 45L.

I ended up with a claimed 35L that I’d say is around 20L maybe 25L actual capacity. And the other, claimed to be 45L, around 30L, 35L absolute max.

Not optimal. But then, for $10, and $15, shipped, respectively the small and large, I can’t complain much. 😉

It was worth the risk, and while not exactly what I needed, they’ll help out. I’ll just still need to find something in the 40L to 45L area for a summer time overnight trip bag.

For the smaller, I went with green, so I’m comfortable with it for hunting trips.

Draw closure top, with top flap. Pocket under flap.

And one ob the top of the flap;

Standard stretchy side pockets;

The outer sleeve pocket on the frontvis the same stretchy material.

Nice straps;

Grab handle leaves a little to be desired;

And, the nifty feature I liked, the inner pocket on the top flap is double zippered;

Turn the pocket insige out, roll the bag into it and zip;

Will make neatly packing it in my main hunting trip bag/dry bag much easier!

Overall it seems well built, and while light weight materials , also seems like it will be durable enough. Time will tell.

For the other, since it was planned as a non hunting hike pack, color didn’t matter much. So I went with something I liked, and something I’m garranteed to not lose when I set it down.

So sue me, I like purple. 🙂

It is 2 main compartments, small side mesh pockets, and a tiny zipped one on the front. And a bottom access area, that when fully opened/pressed out to capacity almost fills the whole main compartment! Bottom easy access for sleeping bag? Or ive seen the same made for shoes.. I’m sure ill find a use, but its a little odd in its size.

Chosen for it’s everal cord locked bungee attachment points, compression straps, and bottom straps that I liked the look of for hanging my tent on.

This one is heavier materials than the other, has a more solid feel to it.

I want to say it feels more solidly built as well, but that might be an illusion of the heavier materials. As I said above, only time will tell how they survive, but I’m thinking theyll be fine. 😉

Great wide padded straps;

Hip belt comes mid gut on me, like most do and is deathly short… I’ll probably cut it off. Nice adjustable/removable sternum strap though!

And I was pleasantly surprised by this;

First time I’ve ever seen a heavy dedicated carry handle on a backpack! And it still has the usual carry/hanging loop too.

Overall, I’m pleased for $25 total. Hell, I think I’d have been pleased with just the purple one for that much, or a little more. 🙂

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Categories: Backpacks, Camping, Camping gear, Field gear, GetOutdoors, Hiking, Hunting, New Gear, Outdoors | 1 Comment

Slingshot Ammo Pouch

I needed an ammo pouch. Saw a nice one, flat bottomed to sit up nice, on Jas Townsend for $6, but they get $10 for Alaska shipping. Nope.
And besides, if I make the slingshot, I should make the pouch too, right?
Digging around in the shop looking for one set of leather pieces I’d bought, and found some others I’d forgotten. Knew I had them but had forgotten how big they were… it’s thin split garment weight deer hide. The tan a bit heavier.
Went with the light tan for the pouch, the wine for a tie cord.
Wanted the round flat bottom for it to sit up nice. Had to figure out how to do that as I went.
Punched holes with an awl, and stitched round the bottom, then up the side seam.
Turned;
It sits!
Forgot to measure for thus first, lucked out and got it perfect, I cam just get a paw into it to dig stuff out. Only sizing I did was trace around a Min wax stain can plus 1/4″, then a height that looked nice..
Made a sliding knot for a cinch closure lock. Works good.
Categories: Custom, Fabrication, Field gear, Leather, New Gear, Sewing, Slingshots | 1 Comment

An Axe Man’s Bucksaw Part 3

The entire build, in order, more or less; 🙂

I could go through everything I did here in long descriptions, and pictures, but it’s not really necessary, and probably not that interesting either. But here is a general run through. 🙂

  • Pick out a piece of 1″x8″ x 5′ oak
  • cut out the pattern
  • trace it on the wood
  • Jig saw one upright
  • Sand the contour
  • Trace #1 to get #2 the same
  • Cut, sand #2
  • Measure and mark for the mortises
  • Round the edges with a router
  • Cut pilot groove on blade end to guide cutting the blade slots
  • Locate blade mount holes, drill
  • Cut blade slots
  • Cut the mortise on #1
  • Rip the cross bar from the board
  • Square and measure it all for proper cross bar length vs blade length mounted (crucial for proper end angles when blade under tension, and good looks)
  • Cut and fit the tenon on #1 end
  • Cut #2 mortise and tenon
  • Test assemble
  • Find cord for windlass(I was out of 550! Finally found some heavy clothes line cord..)
  • Trim scrap to use as temporary windlass bar
  • Tighten it all up and do a test cut(worked!)
  • Cut thinning profile on cross bar
  • Sand cross bar, and route edges
  • Re-assemble
  • Discover binding in tenon joints, trim
  • Re-trim/fine tune joints
  • Assemble and do a test cut again
  • Find that I over trimmed the joints, it will now start to slip from a H to a parallelogram-ed H under tension. (Rounded the wrong corners too much; you need the Top corners of the bar end and tenon tips rounded for slip, but the bottom corners left square for rigid support, so the can only pivot in at the top, but not out at the top!)
  • Discover that if it slips, the windlass slips down the bars, loses tension and it falls apart.
  • Discover, by clamping the cord in place under tension, that, thankfully, If the windlass doesn’t slip down when it flexes out of H shape, it doesn’t collapse!
  • Locate for windlass cord supports
  • Cut pins from 1/4″ copper rod,
  • Drill and press fit copper as cord supports.
  • Re-assemble, tighten, test cut 7″ birch log.
  • Success! (With one about 1/8″ of flex at the joints out of square- good enough)
  • Decide the scrap your using as a windlass bar works great, no use to make another one
  • Trim, round, sand the windlass bar.
  • Disassemble, wood burn the saws name, and my product line name on the side.(not selling it, but figured, meh, why not? )
  • Also burn in witness marks to identify/match mortise and tenon joints in their matched pairs for proper future assembly.
  • 2 day break to get stain and oil finish.
  • Counterbore for recessed T nuts
  • Install T nuts, pin in place with tiny Brad nails
  • Install keeper ring on windlass bar
  • Turn down bolt heads, and threads to fit in wingnuts, making wing bolts.
  • Test the stain, find it won’t penetrate the oak dark enough, skip using it.

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Part 4 coming soo. 🙂

Categories: Adventure Metal Works, Backcountry, custom-made-tools, Field gear, New Gear, Outdoors, Saws, wood processing, Woods tools, Woodshop, Woodwork | 1 Comment

An Axe Man’s Bucksaw part 2

I’m proud of two big things on this project;

One being design and execution. The basic mechanics of the saws are really, well, basic. Two uprights, a center cross bar, blade at the bottom, and a Spanish windlass at the top.

And the cross bar being mortise and tenon jointed to the uprights, to provide up/down pivot so that the windlass can tension the blade, but have no twist of pivot in any other plane or axis.

Simple.
I looked around the Web for ideas, since there are a LOT of these out there, for sale, and home built designs.

But I basically still had to design, engineer and build it from scratch.

Lots of time with measuring, squaring, offseting, re-squaring, and making sure both ends matched.. Etc.

The other thing I’m really proud of, is the fact that I’d Never, Ever cut a mortise and tenon joint before. I did one test mortise on scrap(which sucked!) before I cut on the first saw bar I’d just spent 3 hours making. Yeah, fun. 😉

Cut by hand, chisel and saw. Turned out exceptionally well, if I do say so myself!

The second one even press fit at first cuttings, no trimming needed!! (The first one took 10 minutes of fit/test/shave/test/carve/test/whittle, to get to work, then it was a touch loose…)

Now I know why my Dad hated doing them, and always wanted a power tool for it! I was never taught to cut these, not that I remember. He never got the tool till late in life– he just avoided the joint style.

I actually got him one that attaches to a drill press a couple years before he passed away. It didn’t exactly fit his drill, and he never got to use it before he went. I have them both here, but ironically, I preferred to learn to hand cut them. I’ll get the tool setup at some point soon, but so far, I like doing them by hand!

I Was a bit ambitious in part of my joint design; I copied ones I saw a guy on YouTube do, where the end of the bar is rounded, and the face of the mortise is curved to match. So that when it tensions, and the end bars angle, it simply rotates the two curves on each other. A cleaner look than with straight bars, where the angling would leave gaps.

THAT was fun to figure out the geometry on, and then cut in… Oi.

I didn’t get them perfect, but they’re pretty dang good, if I do say so myself.

Categories: Adventure Metal Works, Axes, Backcountry, Camping gear, custom-made-tools, Field gear, GetOutdoors, New Gear, Outdoors, Saws, wood processing, Woods tools, Woodshop, Woodwork | 1 Comment

An Axe Man’s Bucksaw Part 1

This obe is otherwise known as The Moon Saw. That name to be explained later though. 🙂

I’ve been wanting to do this project for a couple months now. Took a while to get other things out of the way… Pressing household maintenance like broken water tanks, and no running water kept cropping up! (Among other little things that Eat time).

I knew I wanted to do a 24″ saw, so I went and picked up a blade early last month. I actually got a whole swede saw. A blade was $8. A Fiskars saw with the blade was $11. Yeah, might as well buy the $3 saw with it, and have it!

Then it took a month for me to get time, and some shop space made to do it.

I neded some large paper for patterning another project, so I sat down and started drawing designs. I could have gone with dead simple straight side/handle bars, and been a LOT simpler and easier…

Bug I figured if I was going to do it, I might as well do what I liked.

The one I built is actually the second design I had drawn, and while the other was thought out over 3 days, this one I drew and finalized in 10 minutes. And liked it more!

(Original design on left, axe style on right)

You can see where the name comes from, if you notice the fawns foot handle ends, and “S” shapes. I had my hatchet handle on the bench at the time, and was holding it, such a nice grip; So I traced it, reversed it, traced again, and blended the contours some.

Simple!

More to be seen soon.

Categories: Adventure Metal Works, Axes, Backcountry, Camping gear, Field gear, GetOutdoors, Hunting, New Gear, Outdoors, wood processing, Woods tools, Woodshop, Woodwork | Leave a comment

Chest holster re-strapping V1.0. 

Thought I’d post an update. Been wearing the new holster I got a couple months ago off and on for some work, and short hikes.


Have some setup issues.

They have it, as set for left hand draw,
Holster sits basically horizontal, grip left, muzzle right.

Shoulder strap run from top of holster (by hammer) up over RIGHT shoulder, down across back, under Left arm to bottom of holster(behind grip/by trigger).

The the chest strap runs around you, through a loop on the back of the holster.

Holster free floats on the chest strap, held up by shoulder strap.

When you go to draw, to keep holster from sliding left, you have to grip with the off side hand. 

Also while walking/working, it naturally drifts left, rotating the shoulder stap on your torso, sliding on chest strap, till under the left arm. (To where you cant grip the gun to draw without sliding it back to center chest with the off side hand.)

Because of shoulder strap placement/tension it can’t slide to the right.

Basically, the tension is backwards.

While hiking with it like this, every time I repositioned it (about every 150 yards!) I thought about strap direction and buckle placement, being pretty sure I could reverse it to the left shoulder, but still be left hand draw.

It actually was as simple as I thought. (Amazing)

I now have the shoulder strap run from top of holster(by hammer) over my LEFT shoulder, across back, under Right arm.

Now it gets different.. that bottom right end of the shoulder strap I connect to the end of the CHEST strap.

Chest strap goes Left, and Down through the loop on the back of the holster, then BACK to the Right, and around my back, to the Left bottom of the holster. 

So the pull to the left is now resisted by the tail of the shoulder strap, and the chest tension. If it slides, it will be down to the right. So even if it does move, it could go a ways before I couldn’t draw.

Muzzle end is also held by the chest strap. And because the chest strap and shoulder straps tension each other, once set, it can’t really drift very far either way.

So far as I can tell anyway. Will walk a couple miles with it and see.

Still needs work, but it’s better!


It even ended up with the tension right so the lower end of the shoulder strap is lower away from my arm and arm pit, more comfortable and crowds my arm less when moving. On the other side it tended to pinch and pull at my underarm. 

The only problems I see, are if it does move around, the gun/holster is semi fixed in line with it all, and it tensions through one end of it… As it moves one strap will tighten as the other loosens. So it’s going to chinch/tighten around me in one place or the other, and be crushing… 

And there is the other problem. With this set so it works, the chest strap is pretty tight… and rather crushingly uncomfortable already. 

I know I should be able to set this up so the weight and tension is all on the shoulder strap, and the chest strap can just center/position the gun on me and hold it semi loosesly..

What I’d like to try is;
The chest strap run from muzzle end of the holster, or the loop on the back, but a fixed atachment, not slidding, and around to the lower left corner of the holster as I gave it now. And the shoulder strap as I have it now for top of holster run over my left shoulder. 

But then attached to the center back of the chest strap.

Either floating or fixed at that joint. I think fixed would get the effect I want.

Will have to play with it some more, and see… need to find the 2 or 3 Big safety pins I have so I can pin this up how I want it before I cut/sew/ add/modify anything.

But as it is, it’s a lot better!

Pics to follow in another post if I can find someone to take them while I’m wearing it..

Categories: Alaska-Life, ATVing, Backcountry, Customized, EDC, Field gear, Fishing, GetOutdoors, Guns, Holsters, Modifications, New Gear, Outdoors, Theory/Thoughts

For warm dry knees! 

Got a new item recently. Well, 3 items actually. 

After my moose hunting trip this fall, a sleeping pad I’d borrowed to take was misplaced. Wasn’t in my gear, and when the boat was unpacked, it wasn’t found. We figured it blew out of the boat on the long drive back, and hoped someone found it on that winding mountain road– If I lose something, I at least hope someone gets some use fromy it, that it’s not wasted.

And I’d just obviously get a new one for the guy I borrowed it from. 

I did go buy a new one. 
Couple weeks went by before I got to take stuff back to him. 

In that time, my buddy cleaned Everything out of the boat. 

He found the padd, said literally it was stuffed so far up under the front deck a hurricane wouldn’t have budged it! 

None the worse for wear, I returned that pad to my friend, intending to return the new one, get my much needed $45 back. I did think about trying to still give my friend the new one, but he wouldn’t have accepted it if the old one wasn’t lost.. 

After using the first padd in an emergency, sleeping on it on Cold front deck on the boat on the river one night, I was sold on it, figured I’d get myself one like it before next season. 

Just didn’t really want to spend the money now… Didn’t get around to trying to return it till after the return period had ended. Oops.

In that time period I’d been also looking at small foam pads, after seeing someone at BCUSA carrying a sitting pad in their day bag. Found something I never knew anyone made; kneeling pads! Some for camping, some for gardening, work etc. 

My dad used to cut sections from the old 1/4″ closed cell foam sleep pads for kneeling to work, but I’d never seen anything sold for that. 

I’d started carrying chunks of cardboard in my truck box for roadside, job site etc kneeling, sitting, laying etc on cold or wet ground. Realized I should have had a foam one like dad used to make in the truck years ago, just never thought of it! 


You can see where this is headed, right? 

Since I have it, but don’t need the padd for sleeping till next summer, and can pick up another one then if I need it (I actually use a Klymit V-luxe air pad the most); In the mean time I can save myself the cost of keeler pads. 

I’d also found another great use for that pad on the hunting trip, as a chair pad. Took my folding canvas camp chair along, and it was great. But as id found before, sitting too long in one of those in cool wet weather, especially with a breeze can freeze your back and butt; its just cold canvas your sitting on, stays cool and bleeds heat fast.. I laid the pad in the chair and with a light sleeping bag over my legs was very comfy for early and late river vigils waiting for bulwinkle. :)

I did this last week a few days before ice fishing… I use the same chair for that activity, and sitting in that chair even with winter gear on can royally freeze your ass in a wind on a lake @ 10F or colder… 

So 30 seconds laying the new one in a chair to measure length needed for seat and back, then another 30 seconds with a pocket knife, cutting along the thin fold line. One chair pad made! 

Then what was left I cut into two equal sections, also cutting on the folds. Go two kneeling/sitting pads, one for my hunting/camping/hiking gear, and one for the truck. 

It was so warm last week for ice fishing I didn’t bother to take the big chair pad along, just took a small one. Never needed it, it was so warm, and the fishing was so good I spent a lot of time standing anyway. 

Anyway, it was still in the cab of my truck last night, got home late, 40F out (!) light wind, clear sky, stars out and Lots of northern lights. 

I killed the yard lights, grabbed the pad and sat on the tailgate of my truck to watch the show. 40F ambient is great, but a metal tailgate will still be 0F or colder after a week if that and freeze yer ass off! But with the pad I was dry and toasty. Size was good too, enough to sit on comfortably, but not huge to store. 

Gonna need two more pads now… One to keep as a sleep pad, and another to make more kneelers, for other uses/places/vehicles. 

It is/was a Therm-a-rest Z-Lite pad BTW. 

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Thermarest does make a sitting pad, shorter than the sleep pads, and cheaper at $15. Same design, same materials. It would have been too small for the chair pad I wanted, but I might get a couple of those for making more kneelers. Think I can get two of this size kneeler from one of those. 2 for about $15 ain’t bad!

As it is now, two sit/kneel pads and a chair pad that could be used as a short sleep pad isn’t bad at all for $45! 🙂 

Categories: Backcountry, Camping gear, Custom, Customized, Field gear, GetOutdoors, Ice Fishing, Modifications, New Gear, Outdoors, Preparedness, Truck gear

Three knives, and some hot plastic.

Been sorta sick, no energy at all since Tuesday. Doing nothing was about to drive me nuts. Figured what the heck I’d head to the shop and try something that’s been on my mind all week. 


Finally got around to doing a sheath for that Vic paring knife. Made at an angle, for neck carry, left hand draw. As seen as if wearing;

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The back;

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Not perfect, the tension could use adjusted a little, it’s super tight to draw. But snaps home good, and ain’t going anywhere. Will see how it does in actual carry before I try to loosen it up any.

Also, an idea I had while sitting around killing time this week, with two items that were on the table at the time.

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My second JW Knives Bandicoot 2.5 and a cool little file karidashi made by a friend being about the same size seemed like they’d make a nice minimalistic carry paired together. Started out with opposing angles for individual grips for draw, but having to add a tension screw ruined that; ran out of room.

Had to re-heat and repress this sucker about 5 or 6 times to get it to work. Lol.

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It is 3 layers of kydex, and I’m glad it was the thin stuff, the eyelets I have were almost too short as it was!

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I’d planned it with the three, but tried it with just two outer layers once I had them formed, when I started with two different opposite angles for thetools… It Almost had enough support and tension to leave out the center layer, but not quite.

Tension isn’t perfect, you have to finagle aroundwith the Bandicoot to get it back in right, but itholds and works. 

As a side note, since I had it close by for all evening in the shop, that ‘dashi got used as kydex deburing and scrapping tool for all holes, melted foam(whoops), etc. Great little scraping edge!

And one more. Found this knife in the house a few days ago, was one my Dad had. IIRC he got it at a yard sale a neighbor had about a decade ago, because of the ship scrimshaw(dad loved the big sailing ships) never really used it for anything. 


Not my preferred style of knife except the wicked trailing point clip blade.. Never have seen much practical use for thus style/grip. Then again, it’s pretty comfortable, and damned sharp, figured why not? I’ll try it for a edc utility knife, and maybe put it in my hunting gear to try ad a skinner… What have I got to lose? 🙂

Doubt it’ll be any super knife, it’s a Frost Cutlery, and marked “surgical steel japan”, meaning probably 440A… or 440B.. but like I said, it was sharp, and I got an even more wicked edge on it now, can’t hurt to use it. 

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I remember it having a cheap sheath but couldn’t find it. So… it got added to the docket for kydex work tonight. 

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Will make a backing piece from leather later, planning on a simple belt loop for horizontal carry. 

This one took about 4 pressings too. And a second back piece; pressing both to fit the blade didn’t work out. 

I no longer Hate working with kydex, and it’sgetting easier… Sort of… But I won’t say I’m too fond of it either. 😉

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Categories: Custom, Customized, EDC, knives, Kydex, Modifications, New Gear, Sheaths

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