New Gear

Selective hearing protection? Alpine MotoSafe ear plugs, part 1.

One more new item, that came in yesterday, arrived all the way from the Netherlands. (Couldn’t find a stateside dealer that had the model I wanted, so I ordered direct from the manufacturer. Could actually only find two dealers in the USA anyway! )
As part of my healthy hearing concept, along with adding the face shield onto my motorcycle helmet, I started looking for better, more active hearing protection.
The problem with foam ear plugs is the constant outward pressure they use to seal, it’s uncomfortable and makes my ears sore after a days commute both always.
But I didn’t want to jump in and invest in the full custom molded ear plugs.
And both styles tend to be full sound suppression, so you end up sealed off from your surroundings, with all sound deadened. There are rubber plugs that only filter out harmful sound, leaving conversation or traffic hearable, but I’ve never found rubber plugs that seal worth a damn, or that aren’t like the foam, and too tight. (For instance ear buds tend to drive me nuts and make my ears sore).
Anything that has custom molding and also let’s through lower conversation type sound frequencies are really spendy.
Then I found a half way product;

https://www.alpinehearingprotection.com/product-category/motorcycle/

They are a sound filter, supposedly they cut the frequency of wind noise, but allow traffic and conversation sounds through. Also, the rubber tips are semi-custom forming, in a thermo form rubber; Every time you insert them, your body heat softens them and they custom fit to your ear canal, sealing without outward pressure.

I figured why not, if they work then great, if not, then I’m only out around $20… A risk that I thought was worth it.
They have several variations for different activities, and two specifically for motorcycle riding. A “Tour” version, and a “Race” version that is a little stronger/higher decibel rated. I opted for the race version. At only a few decibels difference, I figured if they work as advertised to cut only wind noise, and leave other sounds, I still wanted as much protection as possible.
So far, in limited fit tests I find them a LOT more comfortable than foam plugs, and more than a lot of rubber plugs and ear buds I’ve had too. I won’t say they “disappear” to where I don’t know I’m wearing them, but I’ve only had them I for 5 to 10 minutes so far.
Have not gad a chance to ride with them yet.
Bug I can say that they let in conversation level sounds really well, and actually without loud sounds, seem like they do very little. But they did cut out the sound of my truck exhaust more than they cut out talking.. Not a lot more, but more.
I’m reserving and conclusions for after I test them with the noise they’re made for; wind.
They come with a little zipper pouch for carrying, and I sprung the few dollars for a hard key chain style carry case, and a safety cord that keeps them tethered together.

My only complaint so far is that the insertion tool they come with, a little plastic thing that’s supposed to grip the plug, and you use it as a handle to insert them, then turn them slightly in your ear to help them seal; It doesn’t snap onto the plugs, it’s far too big, and thus can’t be used… So I can’t really grip them to rotate them upon insertion.
Not sure how much, or if this effects how they seal/work. Will find out either way how they work though, as soon as I can.
Will let y’all know how it goes. 🙂
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Categories: Adventures, ATV, ATVing, Field gear, Motorcycles, New Gear, Preparedness, Riding, Vehicles | Leave a comment

Glasses!

N

ew gear!
A buddy gave me some cash for my birthday, and after a little deliberation, I went for getting myself something I’ve needed for a while now with part of if it.

Yup, I g

ot new sunglasses

!

You might recall that my good pair got broke while hunting last September.

Been wanting, but putting off new ones since then. But the last couple months as its gotten brighter and brighter coming out of winter, I’ve really needed some.

Also needed new clear safety glasses for work, and new shooting glasses…
So I killed 3 birds with one stone;
5 interchangeable lenses! Impact safety rated for work and shooting, 99.9% UVA and UVB blocking.
I figured I can only do one of the three activities/concepts at once, so a fast lense change every now and then wouldn’t hurt, could be the best way to go.

Turns out it really is a fast easy change too!

They’re not sold as polarized , but so far the copper and smoke lenses both cut glare like they are!
Came with keeper cord, a micro fiber bag for carrying one separate lens, a nifty 5 slot micro fibre/plush sleeve that separates the lenses, 5 lenses in smoke, copper, orange, yellow and clear, and a neoprene case for all of it.

To me that was a steal for $32 (local price; Online you can find them as low as $19.99, but before shipping. ) especially since it is 1/5 what replacing the last ones could cost IF I could find a pair (discontinued model).

It’s even cheaper than the last safety/sun glasses I had, a smoke black pair from 3M, they were $45. They lasted me about 4, naybe 5 years, and are still useable, but some of the marks on thd lenses are getting pretty annoying.

They’ve been backups in my truck for a while, but now in my bike bag, a last ditch pair.

Those by 3M are what I was going after to get again, when I found the Radians.

Anyway;

Here are the frames sans lenses, and then changed to the smoke from the copper shown above. Only takes maybe 45 seconds, a minute max to swap them.

Adjustable temple/earpiece lengths and soft bridgr pads, plus super light weight= really comfortable.

So far I’m using the smoke for general wear, and changing to the copper, which is a deep orange/amber with a pink tint, for riding the bike. After a few minute my eyes adjust and take out the pink tint, then the amber does like other brown/amber glasses I’ve had; Hightens contrast and boosts depth perception.

Only time will tell how the other colors will work but so far I’m really enjoying them.

Categories: EDC, Field gear, GetOutdoors, New Gear, Summertime, Sunglasses | 1 Comment

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. 🙂

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

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

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

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

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

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

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