As some of you know, I have been expecting a few items to arrive by mail, and the fact that one arrived yesterday and the other today makes it feel like a mini-Christmas. Actually, one of the items is my main Christmas present, so in a way it really is a little extension of Christmas for me. 🙂
Let’s start with the item I received today. It’s the new camp knife I ordered from Finnish craftsman Ilkka Seikku and my main Christmas present. In one of my first blog posts, I described my ideal camp knife and showed the one I was using at the time. My new camp knife is a modified version of Ilkka’s original BushProwler design. The modifications include a longer blade, a slight convex, a cow horn bolster and a “hidden full tang”. What I mean by this is that the knife almost has a full-width tang (as in sandwich tang), but the entire tang is contained within the wooden handle and is secured with two rivets. This gives me the advantages of a full-tang knife (strength for light prying, batoning, (eventually) joint separation etc.) and the advantages of a stick tang (minimal skin-to-metal contact on the handle for comfort in very cold weather, “warm” feel etc.). Design modifications like these will naturally add a bit to the price, but considering Ilkka’s already-low base prices, you get a LOT for the money. To be honest, I’m not sure how he charges what he does, considering what goes into making the whole package!
Blade material: Spring steel (differentially tempered)
Blade length: 15 cm, 6″
Blade thickness: 4 mm, 0.16″
Blade height: 27 mm, 1″
Blade grind: Slight convex
Blade shape: Slight drop-point
Blade tang: Hidden full tang
Blade finish: Forge finish with mirror-polished bevel
Handle material: Rowan wood, dyed dark for rustic look
Handle bolster: Cow horn
Handle spacer: Leather
Handle attachment: Two rivets
Handle cross-section profile: Egg-shaped
Sheath material: Cow hide
Sheath color: Dark brown
Sheath insert: Carved wood
Sheath design: Modified BushProwler (differences: stitched up the back, firesteel loop on back)
I received the knife earlier today and haven’t had a chance to do much with it except fondle it in my office and cut paper (it’s sharp :D), but you can be sure I will put it through it’s paces. What I can say at this point is that it fits perfectly in my hand, balances well, locks securely into the sheath and is a beautiful overall package. Stay tuned for a field-testing report very soon!
By the way, the bat symbol on the sheath was devised by the maker, and he likes to put it on the sheathes he makes for me. 🙂
Last year, Perkunas from Perkele’s Blog and I made a trade for some gear/services. I sent him a Roselli leuku that I had done some small modifications to and also threw in a modified Mora No. 1 with a laminated blade and leather sheath, some paracord, a small belt pouch and a few Euros.
In turn, he was going to make me a wood stove for my kota/teepee shelter from scratch. The stove arrived yesterday, and I am more than pleased! It features good solid welding, a black paint coating, a nice grate inside, a big ash pan, a big flat area on top for cooking with pots and pans, threaded bolt legs with .308 shells as the feet and a hinged door with an antler handle! What a unique item. The body itself is about 30 cm x 30 cm by 40 cm (12″ x 12″ x 16″). The door hole is about 14 cm square (5.5″). It weighs about 8 kg (18 lbs.), so it’ll be easy to transport on my gear sled. I am VERY happy to have this stove and can’t wait to crank it up on a frigid winter day and bask in its warmth. All I have to do now is get a smoke pipe for it. It is things like this, hand-made-by-a-friend things, which can’t be purchased in any store, that help to make outdoor trips that much more enjoyable and memorable.
He also threw in an awesome coal/wood fork which he made, a fish-processing knife, a tin which I will use to make charcloth, a waterproof tube for matches and a pack of Backwoodsman cigars. 🙂 I talked to Perkunas yesterday to thank him for the great stove and other gear, and he said that he also included a small piece of flint, but sadly I couldn’t find it in the package. 😦 It must have worked its way out somehow. Either that, or it’s mixed in with the packaging somewhere. I’ll have to check again.
Stay tuned guys, because there’s plenty more good stuff coming, including trip reports, projects, wild medicine and more gear lists!