New big knife from Finland: the Skrama

While perusing the website of Finnish outdoor and military surplus shop Varusteleka, I spotted a new knife of their own design which is now available: the “Skrama”. It looked interesting to me, so I decided to share it with you here. For the record, I don’t work for the company or anything like that, and this blog post was completely unsolicited. I’m just a satisfied customer who orders from them from time to time.

The Skrama:

Image linked from Varusteleka website

Somewhat reminiscent of the Taiter hukari, but much more refined, this new knife is a modern take on the seax or scramasax of the Middle Ages. It looks to be part axe, part knife and part machete and is billed as a multi-purpose bush tool. I’m not necessarily a big-knife freak, but this one appeals to me for some reason. Having some experience with big knives, it looks to me like it would work well based on the design and specs:

  • Blade dimensions: 24 cm (9.5″) long, 4 mm (0.16″) thick
  • Blade material: 80CrV2 carbon steel
  • Handle material: textured molded rubber over long full tang
  • Weight: 525 g (18.5 oz.)
  • Sheath: simple plastic blade cover (they say a leather belt sheath is in the works)
  • Current price: 65 Euro (about $85)

More info can be found here.

Image linked from Varusteleka website

I’ll be leaving for Lapland in two days and won’t be able to update the blog while I’m gone. Stay tuned!

A taste of autumn

First, a little “news”. You may have noticed that advertisements have begun to appear randomly at The Weekend Woodsman. Not having changed any settings or signed up with any programs related to this, I was pretty surprised when I started seeing them. I guess WordPress has started to randomly insert ads at some blogs. Since I don’t pay anything to maintain the blog (apart from a Photobucket subscription), I guess I can’t really complain, but I’d rather not have the ads there. I’m not sure, but I think the only way to remove the ads is to move to a paid subscription where I purchase a domain name etc. I’ll have to look into it. Now on to today’s post! ūüôā


In the north, summers are short and sweet. It seems that just as quickly as summer comes, the air again turns cool and crisp, the golden sun hangs lower in the sky and the days grow progressively shorter, hinting at winter. In the first week of September, the Woodsfamily visited the Woods-mother-in-law’s cabin to catch some of the last warm rays of the year.

When we arrived, the in-laws had just returned from the deer ked-infested forest with a basket of mushrooms. I’m not that knowledgeable in this area, and I forgot to ask the names of the mushrooms they picked, so I gave my best general guesses below (corrections/confirmations welcome!). Disclaimer: Consuming wild edibles is done at your own risk. Always be 100% certain of what you are eating. If unsure, contact an expert.

I believe this is one of the boletes:

This could be a milkcap:

And lastly, one with which I am very familiar, the chantarelle (cantharellus cibarius):

The cow berries, aka lingonberries, are now ripe, but I prefer to eat them after the first frost has mellowed some of the tartness. These berries are full of natural preservatives, and I often find them still on the plant and somewhat edible in the spring when the snow is melting!

Of course, you can’t have autumn without changing leaves, so here you go (these are downy birch):

Last, but certainly not least, I’d like to leave you with a recipe for rowan berry jelly graciously submitted by Skaukraft of Skaukraft Blog. Thanks, SK!:

Rowan Berry Jelly:

This jelly is best if you harvest the berries after a frosty night or two, or you can put the berries in your freezer for a night or two.

1 kg (2.2 lbs.) of rowan berries
1.5 deciliters (5 oz.) of water
800 to 900 g (1.75 to 2 lbs.) of sugar per liter of juice

Clean and rinse the berries. Boil the water, add the berries and let boil for 10 minutes or until the juice comes out. Strain the mixture through a cloth until it stops dripping (you can also use a steamer for boiling the berries in a water bath).

Measure the juice and let it boil for 5 minutes. Add sugar gradually. The sugar must be added gradually so that it dissolves. Boil, then gel gently for about 20 minutes without a lid and without stirring.

To test the jelly, pour some jelly in a bowl and put it in the fridge. When it is cooled down, pull a teaspoon through it. If the jelly doesn’t flow back, it is ready. If it has boiled enough, remove the pan from the heat for a few minutes. Scoop the jelly into hot clean glasses. I prefer to use glasses with a screw lid. Screw it tight while it is still steaming hot. Store the glasses in a cool and dark place.

With the amount of sugar involved, this isn’t a jam you use on your bread every day, but it is a great taste additive to go with meat!


New gear for 2013 Lapland trip

In just under two weeks, I’ll be riding the rails up to northern Finnish Lapland, where I will meet up with blacksmith and wilderness guide Pasi Hurttila for a one-week bushcrafting, backpacking, fishing and hunting trip to Lemmenjoki National Park. If you are a fan of Lars Monsen, you might remember that he visited Lemmenjoki in one of his “Nordkalotten” show episodes. Being 2,860 km¬≤ (1,100 mi¬≤) in size makes it the largest national park in Finland and one of the largest in Europe. To the northwest of the park lies √ėvre An√°rjohka National Park in Norway.

Over the past few weeks, I have been spending a little time here and there preparing for the upcoming trip. I’ve been filling a few small gaps in my gear list to make sure the trip will be a successful and dry one (the weather can be sunny, rainy, snowy or all of the above at this time of year…) so I thought I’d show you the new items I’ve picked up for the trip. When I return, I’ll write a separate post with a full list of all the gear I brought with me.

New items for upcoming trip to Lemmenjoki National Park.

Starting from the top and moving clockwise:

  • Swedish army LK-70 rucksack previewed here. This 70-liter pack has more than enough room for the gear I’ll be bringing. It’s an old pack, but it’s comfortable and rugged.
  • Although the Swedish army boots I’ve been using for a few years were serving me well, I had to retire them due to an unintentional incident involving the Woodsboy which rendered them unusable (more on that another time…). I bought a pair of Alpina Vento MID hiking boots and so far have spent about 2.5 hours breaking them in. They’re starting to soften up now, and I will continue working on them over the next two weeks so they’re ready for the trip.
  • Even though I’m going to waterproof the canvas pack ahead of the trip, I went ahead and bought a Tatonka rain cover for it. It’s very compact and lightweight and will come in handy if we get caught in any downpours.
  • The “white and green rectangle” is a topographic map of Lemmenjoki Park which Pasi was nice enough to send me. We spent some time this evening going over the places we’d like to visit and our general off-trail route through the park, as well as other aspects of the trip. Pasi seems like a really nice and knowledgeable guy!
  • Next up is an Ortlieb map case for said map.
  • It was time to buy a new compass (the old one had a large bubble in the fluid-filled chamber), so I picked up the Brunton model O.S.S. 30B compass. It seems like a solid compass and a quality piece of gear.
  • The orange roll is a¬†self-inflating sleeping pad made by the Finnish company Retki. The foam pads I had been using for the past few years have seen much better days, and it was time to replace them.
  • After years of rolling my Swiss army sleeping bag up in my bivy bag and taking up too much room in/on my pack with it, I finally bought a dry sack from Sea to Summit to keep it in. It’s much more compact and protected from the elements now.
  • Last, but not least, in the center of the picture, is NIKWAX Cotton Proof canvas waterproofing agent. I’ll use this to treat the LK-70 pack, as well as my cotton pants.

Well, that’s about it. These items should complement my existing gear nicely and provide me with extra comfort, security and protection from the elements. With these purchases, I should now be all set for my upcoming trip!