Winter

EDC, mid March, to mid April 2018

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Categories: Daily-cary-log, EDC, Flashlights, Hanks, knives, Multitools, Pens, Pocket knives, Pocket Watches, Spring, Watches, Winter

Auxiliary truck lighting and 110V wiring. 

I now have a 110V cord hard wired, or permanently mounted anyway, in my truck. Run from under the center of the dash in the cab, out the firewall, and ending in the drivers side inner fender. Should come in handy for any 110V current tools I might want to run off of my power inverter. 


I’ve actually wanted to wire a setup like this in both the front and back of the truck for a while, just never got around to it.

So, Why now? your asking…

Weeeeelllll….

What do you get if I’m bored, not feeling the season, wanting to do something festive, and just plain silly fun, and have a brand new 20′ spare set of Christmas lights just laying around?

😀  😉 

Cut up a couple old cords, one from a dead fan, the other from a dead string of lights, to make a small extension cord. Cord ends wouldn’t fit through the hole in the fire wall, and I needed a custom length anyway, so I put it through, then installed the 2nd end, thus my now permanent cord.


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Dug out the old power inverter I cary in the truck;

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Lots of zip ties;

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And voila!

😀 


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Yes, I know I’m a total redneck… And that I’ll Never live this one down. But its just so freaking cool to drive around! 

One guy that passed me on the 4 lane, as he went by me slowly, his passenger suddenly did a double take as they came up even with my front fender… The guy just about Garfielded himself on the window! Just so hillarious! 

That reaction alone was worth it if no one else noticed… And a lot of other people noticed. Got lots of smiles out of people on our quick trip to town last night. 

If nothing else I “lightened” up a few folks evenings, hopefully for the better… Definitely got me feeling a lot better

Next year I’m thinking I’ll hang a wreath in the middle of the grill, and light it, and run the other lights on out down the full bed length.  😀

Merry Christmas everybody.  🙂

Categories: Adventures, Alaska-Life, Automotive Work, Christmas, Custom, Customized, Decorating, Fabrication, Funny, GetOutdoors, Good Times, Just Plain Fun, MacGyver, MacGyverism, mechanical, Modifications, Sillly, Silly, truck, Truck gear, Winter

New ice tent fix & first ice fishing of 2017

Last summer a buddy of mines neighbor gave him an ice fishing tent… Brand new, in box. The guy had got it as a gift or something, and didn’t need two.. something like that IIRC. But unfortunately the guy was a little drunk when he was giving it away, and insisted on showing my friend how to set it up. 


Uhuh. Broke two poles in the process. And I’m really not sure how… These tents are so simple and idiot proof.. well, I guess not drunk proof.. lol. 

These things operate on a simple tension system, a X of poles, anchored at the outer corners of each wall, and the roof, a pivoting hub in the center attached to the wall. The X is a few inches bigger than the dimensions of the wall, so when you snap it out rigid it bows the wall out against the pressure, and it pops into place and stays under the tension. Super slick and easy. 

He managed to snap off two of the poles from one hub, snapped right at the end, flush with the metal pivot ends that fit in the hub. 

My buddy doesn’t ice fish(yeah, a weirdo, I know…), so he gave me the tent.  I just got around to going and getting it from him a week ago yesterday. 

New poles I found are $10 each plus shipping. They’re 49.5″ long, I hate to think what shipping to AK was going to be. But I figured there had to be an easy fix. 

My buddy thought PVC pipe over the breaks. I can’t remember seeing PVC that small. (3/8″ ID for the pole, 1/2″ ID for the end fitting.)

And I was hoping to not buy anything 😉  

I took it apart and took the end pieces out, headed to the shop. 

I had a plan, would just make a sleeve to join them, set screws to hold them in, long over the pole side for support against it torquing out, or snapping again. 

Didn’t have any aluminum big enough dia, that wasn’t 2″ Dia, so I used a scrap of bead stock brass. Ended up 5″ each sleeve, bored through at 0.375″ and counter bored on one end at 0.5″. Cross drilled, and tapped 6-32 for some brass screws I had. Cross drilled through the end fittings (aluminium), and ran the screws through instead of just against them. 

When you break a fiberglass rod, as you know if you have ever broken a ski pole or tent pole, it “blooms” on the end, sort of a spreading, or swelling to larger dia.

That made it perfect, I fed the fittings over from the opposite end, and it formed a press fit over the expanded area, I had to drive them on, down to the right length to end at 49.5″. Perfect! 

First assembly I had the end of the sleeve too close to the cross pin the ends pivot on in the hub, it wouldn’t fold. Went back and trimmedthem down a touch, now they’re fine. 

Sorry, only took pics after it was back together… In place, and in use;

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That was a week ago today. I’d been needling another buddy about going fishing some time soon on that Sunday. Day after I fixed this he sent me a message, lake name and date.  😀 This last Saturday. 

So, we’ll before first light we loaded up andheaded out;

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Two hour drive to the lake, short hike across the lake, we’re set up just after dawn. 3.5 hours of fun later; (yeah, so much fun I never stopped to take pics!)

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Little silver salmon. (Stocked lake). We had hoped on some big lake trout or pike that are usually easy in this lake, but they weren’t biting. I ain’t complaining! It was still great!

I came home 1 short of the daily limit! I’d caught 6, but put 1 back. Another guy caught 5 or 6 he kept. The other guy got 4 that he kept, but has a freezer full of salmon, so he let me have them. Had lots more bites we missed, and some that got off half way up etc.. Good times! 

We didn’t freeze either, and actually fished comfortably outside the tent, only setting it up with the buddy heater to wam up once. 5F with a 5 to 10 mph wind. Dreamy weather for a first trip of the season. (Always a bitch to acclimate yourself to the ice, wind, andfishing at -20F for the first trip out! 😉 )

I gotta say that little Victorianox paring knife is THE sweetest fish cleaning knife I’ve ever had. Thin narrow Wicked laser sharp blade, and a great grippy handle. Love it!

Categories: Adventures, Alaska-Life, Fishing, GetOutdoors, Good Friends, Good Times, Ice Fishing, Improviser, knives, MacGyver, Modifications, Outdoors, Winter

New utility knife. 

Been having the idea lately,  related to having a couple Mora knives around, “just how much knife do I need?”

As in, I carry some pretty fancy traditional folders… but a blade is a blade.  In the past I’ve carried a folding razor knife for years, and been pretty happy. Did find that I prefer a longer edge though than that, generally.

Larely I’m also like the idea of carrying a fixed blade, right now opening a folder in the cold/snow/gloves is being annoying.

But the low cost Mora is too big for easy carry. So I want a Mora, only smaller…

I thought I’d see what I could find fixed, small, low cost, just your general disposable who cares type knife.

First thought was a small steak or boning knife from Old Hickory. They’re great steel, a popular knife to modify for woods use.

Saw on a forum, a guy(in an amazing blast from the past, I knew this guy on another long dead forum about a decade ago!) using a Victorinox boning/butcher knife (sometimes called/sold as a “rabbit knife” ) as a small field knife.  Small, low cost but Vics great steel. Nifty!

(Guys name is Spork, now on BCUSA, his pic, stolen by me.)

 But it being a little bigger than what I’d like for a general use knife, I suddenly remembered some small Vic steak and paring knives we had when I was a kid. They were a great cutter, always wicked sharp, but small and light.

Turns out I’m not the first to think of them for out of the kitchen use. Someone had beat me too it in a way, they’re popular in some circles as cheap disposable self defense knives. 

I find a knife(any knife) for self defense, quite honestly a stupid idea, but this helped because it shows these in nice sheaths! Kydex sheaths! More on that in a second..

For $5(inc. Shipping!) I can’t go wrong!

Amazingly a Victorinox paring knife costs less than an Old Hickory paring knife!

I can buy a kydex sheath for these things for from $20 to $35…  For a $5 knife. I don’t think so Tim! ;)

These are stolen from various places on the net… I’d give credit but can’t really remember where.( Kydex sheath for victorinox paring knife can be Googled, and should show where… that’s how I found them. )




I REALLY hate pressing kydex, but for $10 max in materials I already have, I’ll do it for this. ;)  

So, semi modular neck sheath will be seen here soon. :) Meant to do that in the shop last night but got side tracked.

And yeah honestly this won’t change what folders or anything else I carry or use… I like them, and that’s reason enough to use them. :) 

 But the thought concept/experiment of “all I need is sharp steel, not fancy steel” is fun to play around with every now and then. :)   that’s how I got my first Mora years ago.

And I had previously been wanting a small light field fixed blade anyway, so I might be finding it. We shall see!

 This really does seem great so far for a general utility blade,  both EDC and woods.

3.25″ blade, 4″ish handle.  Honestly still a little bigger than I had in mind. Seems they’ve changed in the last 20 years, little  bigger than they used to be, maybe 10% or 15%?

 

With Spirit for scale;

Will see how it goes, I can always re-grind the blade, and trim the handle.

Blade is thiiiiiinnnnnnnn. 

I thought it needed a fob. :)

Had this chunk of shimmery green acrylic pen blank in the shop, had previously made a bead from it, seemed fitting, so I made it one.

And no, none of it is zombie green…I HATE that fad!   I just get tired of the cliche neon orange or red for outdoor visibility. Went with green for bright but Different. 😀  

Categories: Custom, EDC, knives, Modifications, New Gear, Outdoors, Theory/Thoughts, Winter, Woods tools

ATV plow, first use. 

Got 4″ of powder last Thursday night, finally enough to try out the ATV plow! 

I built the mount, and had it all ready in early October of 2016. But the night I finished it, and went to test ride with it mounted, is the night the clutch went out. I didn’t know what to do with the clutch until spring of 2017, so the wheeler and plow sat unused all winter. I never got to try the plow until this weekend!

SO, Anyway, I used the Prairie to plow my yard and driveway Friday. Works great!

One small section of drive plowed;

Took about the same amount of time as it does with my truck… Truck moves more in one pass, but takes more time to maneuver…

The wheeler is smaller, easier to turn and has better visibility. But not as much power or blade size to move a lot at once. 50/50-90 kinda thing.  I’ll break it up from now on, truck for large bulk areas, wheeler for the tight spaces, trimming up. 

Did have one problem. The plow doesn’t have an upward stop for lifting the blade… Just where you stop the winch. So if you go too far, it just keeps pulling. Sometimes it’s hard to tell if you have it all the way up or not. 

Broke some welds on the mount pulling it up too far.  Will need to re-weld that, and make some sort of positive stop that hits the bumper or something, so I can tell for sure when to stop the winch.. 

I’m thinking just a upward angled bar braced off the plow, that would hit the bumper, and be a solid stop I’d feel. Maybe have it high enough that I could see it… Something like that. 

Got the main mount piece with the breaks inside melting/drying out now, will get it done and back on in the morning,  so I can plow the new 2″ or 3″ tomorrow afternoon. 

I’m really not surprised it broke… I’m only semi professionally trained at welding, still not real good at it, and this was done with a rather light welder for steal this heavy… 

 And it was being torqued at this area by a 2000# winch, with about 3′ of leverage added… It simply tried to hinge on the welds and sheared them, and is now hinging/flexing others.

 Looks like I missed welding straight across the back edges too, which would be a lot of loss of strength against pull in this direction.. Whoops.  

I’m actually happy it broke where it did. This piece is a 2″ receiver hitch mount, that goes into a 2″ receiver tube mounted on the wheeler. Breaking at the female side on the wheeler would have been a Lot bigger of a pain to fix! 

And the plow itself hinges onto this piece. Breaking the plow side would have been worse too, mainly for being able to get it into my heated shop where the bigger welder is set up, and I’d probably have gad to do a lot more re-engineering if part of that broke.

All in all, if it was going to break, it’s the best area for it.

This time I’ll full box all 4 edges where the two pieces stack,  maybe drill a couple holes in one and plug weld it down to the 2″ square tube… Maybe add a cross plate above the tube. And use a much bigger welder for more penetrating heat.

Yeah, apparently forgot to paint it against rusting before I parked it last year too… 

Anyway, onward to custom plow mounting 2.0!

Categories: Adventure Metal Works, Alaska-Life, ATV, ATV Accessories, ATVing, Automotive Work, Custom, custom-made-tools, Damages, Fabrication, GetOutdoors, Modifications, Outdoors, Scrounging, Vehicles, Welding, Winter

Grousing around, Oct 2017

Grouse hunting… 
My first time out.

A friend and I have been trying to get out to do this together for about 2 years now, finally got to go. 

Ended up with his teen son along, and got two other friends to go, one that has a fancy German hunting dog.

We even put it off a week, last minute plans from last Monday so to make sure one guy could go… Turned out great, we got a few inches of snow in the week, make the birds more visible on the ground!

I borrowed a buddies 12ga auto shotgun to take since I don’t have one.

2.5 hour drive south to a 70 acre private property plot we have access to(Church bible camp) just north of Mt. Denali, and the foot hills of the Alaska Range.

 2.5wonderful hours hiking around in clear  5F weather, fantastic company and country… 4,000 grouse tracks everywhere. Millions of rabbit tracks.
Some fox and lynx tracks.

We’d talked about other game, and unfortunately lynx is closed until Dec 1st, but fox is open, and rabbit, and I was hoping to see a rabbit.   

And I wouldn’t have argues with getting a fox pelt either to be honest!

 Hiked 2.5 to 3 miles in flat country trails, open forest and fairly thick brush/black spruce country.

$$$ fancy hunting dog tracking all over the place. Really cool to see that, finally. (Friend has been trying to get me out to see the dog for almost 2 years now.)

Never saw an (game)animal.
No, take that back… we saw one camp robber. Lol.

Now, it was mid day by the time we got down there after we worked out some issues, drive was slow because of hairy roads in places…

We honestly figure the birds were all up in the trees roosting by the time we got out there, and once a spruce grouse is in a spruce tree it’s invisible.

But it was a fantastic trip regardless of not shooting anything! Really was fun just getting good out and enjoying God’s creation with some friends.

I didn’t actually take the shotgun after all. Talking to my friend that I’d planned this with,  he didn’t have one either, so he and his son would be with .22 rifles.  

I remembered that last year when we started talking about going, I bought a new Skinner sight for my Dad’s(now mine) Browning SA-22.

 Figured it was a great brush gun, it’s super small, light, and short,  points fast, be a dream to carry. It’s also a take down gun, for easy packing.

Also knew we’d be in Super dense cover at tines, and that 12ga is Loooonnnggg. Be a bitch to swing in the brush..

So I took the .22.
And it did pack and carry marvelously!  Do need to get a sling mouth set on it to make it a little easier, in thrvthick stuff (bith hands free)and a dedicated short pack case for it.

One other friend was supposed to have a single shot .410 along, but couldnt find it, so he had a 12 ga. pump.  Figured the other guy would gave a 12ga. But he chose to just wrangle his do for us.  But we did end up with one shotgun in the mix, for any fast flight shots.

The country;

The group minus me and the dog;

Two friends;

Same two friends in this shot, if you can find them… even the relatively open forest was hard visibility beyond 20 feet!

Tracks;

The .22;

Something cool (I think) I started doing with another tube fed gun, a Ruger MKII magazine makes a great speed loader. Just push the rounds off one at a time. Easier than a hand full of loose ammo. 

Cutlery that I took for cleaning animals;

The red Mora fixed blade I bought that morning… Had to take one guy to grab a hunting license before we went.

I was walking around the sporting goods store while he got it, killing time,
and was amazed to see real Mora knives for sale with the fishing gear!  Never seen them locally before, just online.  Even stranger, it’s in a small home town shop (one of a kind,  not a chain store).  Even though I do have a couple already, I couldn’t pass it up for $9.99 😉 

Anyway, still a great day without the birds, and the season is open all winter. Thinking I’ll start taking a .22 along with ice fishing trips etc. Never know what you might see! 

Categories: Adventures, Alaska-Life, Backcountry, GetOutdoors, Good Friends, Good Times, Guns, Hunting, New Gear, Outdoors, Sentimental, Wildlife, Winter

This week, April to May 2017 transition, EDC, and Alaska outdoors.

(No, I haven’t taken up snus. Needed a tin for my gum, got tired of the cardboard packages getting mangled, crushed, wet, etc. These tins are durable and have a rubber seal; water tight.)
Alaska state bird is out in full force;

Went boondocking, checking out some river roads one day, grabbed my 380 for just in case… Should have had something bigger since it’s late enough I know the bears are out, but this was handy. Thankful I had it on hand when I had an… let’s say odd, encounter with a two legged animal… Not threatening or dangerous, but, disconcerting, and.. odd. The gun was reassuring. 

Yes Very few of these EDC pics are different,  or not much different… If it works, it works, and I don’t change it often.

Mr. Peter Cottontail, showing a start to his summer clothes.

Bloody Big moose track on a sand bar

Along the Middle Fork of the Chena. 

And along the North Fork (also the Chena)

Look close, you’ll see three swans in this slough;

Categories: Adventures, Alaska-Life, Daily-cary-log, EDC, Guns, knives, Outdoors, Spring, weather and seasons, Wildlife, Winter

A good spring day. 


Was another outside work and play day yesterday. Got the snowmachine unstuck.  Snowshoed a trail (over it twice, double wide)to pack snow for the machine through deep powder,  so I can haul firewood tomorrow(a buddy and I dropped and bucked trees yesterday). 

Carried the .22 rifle(Marlin model 39, made in 1951) while on the snowshoes in preparation for a bird hunting trip with a friend this Saturday. 

Did some bushcraft firecraft, and had a cookfire. Dinner was my last caribou steak grilled with some fried tater slices and hot tea at the fire.  Plus regular chores of getting firewood split and in for the house. In the 20s all day. Last few days have been 20s and 30s, but Monday night/Tuesday morning was the first night to stay at or above 0F. We’ve turned the corner, spring really is here I think!

Backwoods Knives sheath knife, Lee Reeves nessmuk hatchet, Plumb cruiser axe. The prep work tools for my little warming and cooking fire this afternoon. 

Categories: Adventures, Alaska-Life, Axes, Guns, hatchets, knives, Outdoors, weather and seasons, Winter, wood processing, Woods tools

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