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Archive | Bushcraft

Sharpening Your Edged Tools Outdoors

innerbark outdoors logoInnerBark Outdoors is a YouTube channel that deserves your subscription. They generate excellent reviews and outdoor skills tips including this latest video that shows how to sharpen your knife outdoors both with proper sharpening tools and without. This is the best video that I have seen on this subject.

Wilderness Ironworks – Wilderness Axe

Some people are surprised to find that there are still people forging fine axes, one at a time, the old fashioned way, right here in the USA. One such place is Wilderness Ironworks.

Wilderness Ironworks Wilderness Axe

Their new pack axe, the Wilderness Axe, is quite unique in its size and shape. It has a bit shape that is very reminiscent of a carpenters axe with its more straight cutting edge and undercut bit for fine work. It’s size (7″ head, 4.5″ bit, 18″ haft) is similar to one of my favorites, the Gransfors Bruks Small Forest Axe except the Wilderness Axe weighs about 3/4 of a pound less at 2 1/4 pounds. That is quite light for an axe of this size.

Everything about this axe is hand crafted. Wilderness Ironworks forges the heads and hand carves the hafts. The result is a very attractive axe.

Check out the Wilderness Axe at Wilderness Ironworks.

J. Willard Heritage Tools Update

A handful of you contacted me regarding my previous post on J. Willard Heritage Tools. It seems that the “A Good Axe” Perk sold out shortly after the earlier post was published and those I heard from were disappointed to have missed out.

J. Willard Axe 1

Well, I have good news. J. Willard Heritage Tools has opened up 6 additional slots for the “A Good Axe” Perk. The perk includes a restored axe, lifetime hanging and grinding/sharpening of any wood handled tools, and free shipping on any axe you purchase from J. Willard Heritage Tools. This perk is a tremendous value for a vintage axe that will be of better quality than anything you can buy at a big box hardware store right now. It costs less than a similar axe from Gransfors Bruks or Wetterlings, comes with the grinding/sharpening/hanging service, and it helps build up a business that is restoring a part of our heritage to usefulness

Don’t miss a chance to fund something very cool and get a nice perk in return. Check out J. Willard Heritage Tools indiegogo campaign.

Baryonyx Knife Company

I recently came across Baryonyx Knife Company and I am very glad that I did. They are offering a new and extremely useful level of customer service.

baryonyx knife coThey offer two unique services, one free and one premium, that solve a lot of the problems associated with buying knife, machetes, and axes online. The first is the 7 point hand inspection that everything they sell goes through before they put into stock. Items that pass their inspection are sold in the store. Items that do not pass but are still near perfect and functional are sold as “B” grade at a reduced price. It is important to note that these are not seconds. They are perfectly functional just not up to Baryonyx Knife Co.’s high standards. If an item has flaws that could present a functional issue, they are returned and never even make it into stock.

The second service is an optional “Special Grade” service. The service is available on most items that they sell and each Special Grade is unique to the item, designed to improve it in some key area. Most of the Special Grade services seem to range from $2-$8.

So why is all that useful? Good question. Here are a few examples…

Let’s say you want to buy a Condor Knife & Tool axe or hatchet but you know that, as with any axe, it is best to see them in person to check to see it is hung straight and that the grain orientation is right. At Baryonyx Knife Co. all the axes go through the hand inspection. They have already checked that their axes are hung straight, have proper grain alignment, etc.

This Condor Scout Hatchet has a workable edge but it is still a bit thick behind the edge.

This Condor Scout Hatchet has a workable edge but it is still a bit thick behind the edge.

What if you wanted an Estwing Tomahawk but you knew from your research that the bit is sharpened at an angle that is more appropriate for an entry tool than a survival tool meant to work wood. That is no problem. If you select the $6 Special Grade option, Baryonyx Knife Co. will thin and refine the edge for wood working.

Now let’s say you want a Tramontina machete which are known for being a great value as a survival tool but also known for needing a fair amount of work before they are truly ready to use. The $4 Special Grade option will see that the scales are ground flush with the tang, the edge is convexed, the point is ground sharp, and the spine is squared for use as a striker. That $4 corrects every short coming with the Tramontina machetes and adds some additional functionality.

After the Special Grade treatment, it is thinned and refined. Now it will bite into wood more efficiently.

After the Special Grade treatment, it is thinned and refined. Now it will bite into wood more efficiently.

Those are just a few examples of how Baryonyx Knife Co.’s unique services can benefit you. I can’t tell you how glad I am to come across a retailer like this especially for axe buying. Now if I could just convince them to pick up some additional axe lines and start offering a Kydex sheath making service at the point of purchase, I might never shop any where else!

Check out Baryonyx Knife Company. They have more than just axes and machetes. They have a full line of knives, sharpening and maintenance products, the manliest hand made soaps you have ever seen (I’m not kidding), and more.

J. Willard Heritage Tools

Walk into any hardware store and check out their axes. I can tell you exactly what you will find – axes made with poor quality steel that is too soft to hold a proper edge, too thick through the cheeks to ever cut well, lacking a finished edge, on a handle that is either soul-less fiberglass or bottom of the barrel hickory with terrible grain structure. We have all heard the saying, “They don’t make them like they used to.” I suspect that whoever coined that term, was talking about axes.

J. Willard Axe 2

Thankfully, there are still plenty of high quality vintage axe heads left from a time when America knew how to make them and there are still people who appreciate them. Most importantly, there are still people who know how to sharpen and hang them (to hang an axe is to fit a new handle), restoring them to usefulness.

One such person is Jeremy Dillon of J. Willard Heritage Tools. He restores vintage axes and resells them on Ebay. His restored axes come ready to work and they often sell at prices similar to what you might pay for a hardware store axe. These axes have already served as tools to a previous generation and with a little care they can serve the next generation.

He would like to expand his operation so he has started a crowd funding campaign with a pretty modest goal of just $1700. There are some VERY nice benefits available to backers including lifetime sharpening and hanging of any wood handled tool (very valuable), a restored axe along with lifetime sharpening and hanging, a day of forestry training from Jeremy, and more.

Check out J. Willard Heritage Tools on Ebay. Consider helping out on their indiegogo crowd funding campaign.

J. Willard Axe 1

Review: Gearward Compact Survival Cord

It was kind of hard to take the paracord out of my EDC bag and set it aside. I have been carrying it for years and it has come in handy numerous times. I suppose that, like most guys who like to be at least a little prepared, I was used to having paracord with me and it was going to take something pretty exceptional to displace it. In my case, that something exceptional was Compact Survival Cord from Gearward.

Gearward Compact Survival Cordage

Overview

Compact Survival Cord comes in 3 different configurations each wound on a special spool that is part of the success of this cordage. They are listed below from largest to smallest:

  • Small – 50 feet of 600lb break strength Technora line
  • Mini – 50 feet of 200lb break strength Kevlar line
  • Micro – 25 feet of 200lb break strength Kevlar line (sold in pack of 2)

The cord comes pre-wound on a plastic spool that has one hard plastic side and one flexible plastic side. The flexible part can be folded to open or close the spool. I’ll expand on this later in the review.

Observations from Use

All three sizes are FAR more compact than a comparable amount of paracord. This alone could have bumped paracord out of my EDC bag but there are even more advantages to explore.

The spool that this cordage comes on is part of the magic of this package. It makes it so easy to carry and work with this cord. As I mentioned above, it can be opened and closed via its flexible plastic side. This ensures that you have full access to the cord when you need it and that it doesn’t unravel in your bag when you aren’t using it. It can also be used to keep the working end accessible by closing the flexible side on the end of the cord. I really appreciate that when my hands are cold.

Gearward Compact Survival Cordage Closed Gearward Compact Survival Cordage Open Gearward Compact Survival Cordage Retained Working End

The “Small” size, which is the largest of the bunch, has the highest break strength of any of the cords that Gearward sells. The Technora line is half the diameter of paracord but stronger, more resistant to heat and other environmental factors, and lighter in weight. In spite of all that, it was the least useful to me in part due to its larger size. I don’t use the cord for many applications that really push its break strength so more cord in a smaller package is probably more useful to me. I would love to see Gearward offer a Kevlar cord option on this large spool size.

The Mini and Micro sizes are most useful to me. They are both extremely compact and both packed with 200lb break strength Kevlar cord. The Kevlar cord is extremely versatile. It can be unraveled readily into three separate strands, each with a break strength of around 60lb. These single strands are more than strong enough to serve as lashings in a survival shelter and well suited to be used in gear repairs if you also have a sewing needle in your kit. The Micro in particular is small enough to fit an Altoids tin style survival kit with plenty of room to spare for other items.

Gearward Compact Survival Cordage Scale

Wrap Up

This is a fine example of something that is greater than the sum of its parts. The spools are good. The cordage is good. Together, they are great. These are lightweight, compact, and extremely functional. It may be sacrilege to the cult of EDC but these might just stand a chance of bumping paracord from your bag.

Check out all 3 sizes of Compact Survival Cord at Gearward.

Cross posted from JerkingtheTrigger.com

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