Christmas in January

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!

Some tech-specs:

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!

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14 comments on “Christmas in January

  1. Ron says:

    Ahh man!
    That is some sweet stuff you got yourself, there!
    I really like the first knife. It looks absolutely awesome!!

    The stove looks like a good job, too! I am building/finishing one myself as we speak.
    Mine has been cooked up using nothing but scrapmetal. It doesn’t look pretty, but I had fun building it, finding solutions, trying ideas and hopefully…… it’ll work too!

  2. Ross Gilmore says:

    That looks like a great knife.

  3. Askemux says:

    Great looking knife and stove.
    That hidden full tang is great idea.

  4. Perkunas says:

    You can easily saw the legs shorter if you want, but with longer legs, the round faced stove radiates more heat to it surroundings than if it would be almost on the ground. Also, you wont burn your feet nor gear so easy against the stove when its bit rised. That steel wirre between two legs is just to suggest that you can use some tin or similar, with few properly drilled hole, to make a removable / portable X-shaped crossmember between legs if you want to, it makes it more stable and the load bears more even on the legs if its not on even flat ground. But as the welded threadnuts on the stove are bottomless open type, you can also adjust the stove a bit by turning the legs. The cartridges are removable and they protect the thread on the other end, so if the one ends threads get smashed, you can still use the other ends threads. Drip of pitch will “glue” the shells tough enough and make em still removable with a heat from a match.

    Oh by the way, when you get the pipes, you can easily saw of a cut in to pipe, some 5 cm wide, and stuff in a tin plate, to have a simple draft adjuster, to save wood and keep the heat in the stove a bit longer. The “door” on the stove is that small for a purpose too, as if it would be BIG, people might throw in heavy large wood chinks, and if the stoves redhot, the heavy log throwed in,migth just bend and ding the whole thing :).

    IF the antler piece, from a reindeer, would get loose due to possible heat enlargement (?) etc, you can drill more holes to the U shaped piece in which the handle is on, to prevent heat from going thru it so much. This havent happened yet on other stoves, but because antler is unique from different unique animals, and i use different screws, who knows 🙂

  5. OZme says:

    nice, thoses are really nice. the knife, the stove hope to see bit more of those and in action.

  6. […] UPDATE: I have received my new camp knife from Ilkka. You can read about it here. […]

  7. […] pegs will replace the thin and weak ones I’ve been using. The fire steel will accompany my BushProwler knife in place of the plastic-handled one I have on it now. The pièce de résistance, i.e. the […]

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