Monthly Archives: November 2015

Helle Harding

by Woodsbum

I have been waiting for about 3 years for a Skookum Bush Tool from Rod Garcia and for right at 2 years for a SPL knife from Steven Long. Both of which were slotted to be my neck knives while I was out in the woods. Unfortunately, I am still a ways down the list for both of these creations so I finally decided that I needed to get something that would fit the bill until I got either of these customs. After searching the Internet and messing around with several different knives I set my heart upon a Scandi grind of some sort that had around a 4 inch or less blade, but was full tang and had a good handle to do minor wood processing and carving. What I found that I really thought would work well was the Helle Harding.

Helle Harding

Helle Harding

On Amazon these knives are around the $140 mark, but I got mine at a local shop for $125. This definitely fit within my price range and the size, feel and weight were exactly what I was looking for. The stacked handle adds almost no weight to the knife overall and the blade itself feels quite light and agile in my hand. The sheath is real leather and there is a retaining flap that locks the knife in place when sheathed. This really gave me increased peace of mind that I could wear this all day long and not worry about losing the knife somewhere along the way.

Everyone is going to have to forgive my pictures. Like almost every outing I have, I leave my phone in my vehicle and almost never take a fully charged camera with me. It has gotten to be an almost impossible task for me to remember that I need to take pictures. Because of this you guys are going to have to suffer with my impromptu photo session on my lunch break. I think even these pictures will allow you to see how well this knife performs on even the least perfect of situations.

Over the years I have become quite the fan of Scandi grinds. What I love most about them is how easily they cut through wood and make curls for fire starting. I am not sure if it is just how I use a knife or if it works this way for everyone, but I exert far less energy and pay way less attention to my technique when using a Scandi grind. These pictures will show you how easily I was able to make some feather sticks with a less than desirable wood choice. Considering this was all done during my lunch break, I was very happy with how well it sliced right through this water logged dead branch without chipping it up too much. Again, it was not a wood choice I would have made if I was not desperate to take some pictures for this post.

Feather Sticks

Feather Sticks

Mind you that this wood was at the initial starts of being punky. It was really right in that perfect spot where (if it was dry) you could make a very efficient bow drill set out of it. As a matter of fact I am going to set it aside and let it dry for a while, then carve out a spindle and hearth.

With almost no effort at all, this guy just sliced right through the wood and made nice curls. Most of them broke off at the end as you can see, but each cut curled multiple times. The sweet spot on this blade seems to be the entire cutting surface. There are no areas that seem to cut worse or better than another. It will be interesting how it performs once it dulls several times and I have to resharpen it. If it can keep the current cutting efficiency even after multiple sharpenings, I will be quite impressed.

Here is a better look at both the knife and how it cut this very brittle branch.

Cutting Power

Cutting Power

The knife also works very well for field dressing animals harvested in the field. Well, it works quite well for the ducks I tested it on. I could see this as a field knife that would handle any task thrown at it, although like all general purpose items it would not excel at every task.

Overall I am quite impressed with this buy. The grind on the blade is a very capable feather stick maker, the agile feel to the blade allows for fairly intricate carving (although I am horrible at carving and refuse to show my poorly made spoons to anyone), it works fairly well for game processing, and the weight is negligible. If anyone I run into is looking for a mid sized knife to use for general camping chores I will now recommend this particular knife.

Now that I have picked this up I am concerned that I will have a hard time choosing between this and the two customs I have on order. Too many options!!!!

  • Share on Tumblr

Helping the Family

by Woodsbum

Normally, I try to post about 3 times a week. Unfortunately, I was unable to post much this last week because I was out of town helping my father. He uses wood as a primary source of heat in his home. Due to health conditions, he had lost almost two months this summer and was unable to finish cutting/splitting/stacking the log truck of wood he had delivered in spring. Between three of us we processed almost 4 1/2 cords of wood and helped him get several other household projects completed. There is still about a cord left to split and stack, but my son is going to keep picking at it until it is finished.

The way that we completed this monumental task was quite dependent upon machinery. The logs were picked up by his excavator so that we could cut them to length. We then used a hydraulic splitter to split it up and then we moved it over to his shed with the bucket of his front end loader. Even though there could definitely have been some time savings by just strong arming much of it this method allowed us to keep working without physical strain or exhaustion.

Even though I have used log splitters in the past, I am amazed at how much time and effort they save. Large, knotty sections were no match for the splitter and it saved so much wear and tear on my back. Eventually, I am going to have to get myself one just for the sake of having a way to to split up wood if and when I need it. Depending upon a maul really is a horrible way to go when you are talking about filling an entire woodshed. My hat is off to those do it that way. I surely don’t want to.

What I do love about working outside on projects like this is ability to test my gear. Although I didn’t take too many pictures while I was working, I will take a few to assist me in telling you how it all worked out in the posts to come.

  • Share on Tumblr

5 Rifles You Should Shoot Before You Die

by Woodsbum

Here is another interesting article that I felt inclined to include. This one I actually agree with. The fact that I own 4 of the 5 only holds a HUGE amount of weight to how I see this article…. Just saying.

Here is the article that I am speaking of:


5 Rifles You Should Shoot Before You Die

By M. Christopher published on in Firearms

I want to let all you in on a little secret. Some guns are just too impactful on a shooter to let you go through life without shooting them. Many of you may already have spent some time behind some of these rifles, but I have a feeling that some of you shooters haven’t shot all five. Let’s take a look at what I feel are five rifles that you should shoot at least once.

1. Ruger 10/22

The Best To Date. The Ruger10/22

The Best To Date. The Ruger10/22

The Ruger 10/22 has been a staple for many new and experienced shooters alike for over 50 years. Not only is it incredibly accurate and reliable, but it is infinitely customizable with thousands of options for aftermarket stocks, barrels, triggers and so on. With the price to get into one of these rifles at right around the $220-$240 mark, not having one in your collection is a disservice to yourself. Right out of the box, they provide a very pure shooting experience that will make even the best shooter better for pennies on the dollar.

2. Remington Model 700

Remington 700 SPS in .22-250

Remington 700 SPS in .22-250

The Remington 700 is the first choice for precision shooters, hunters, police, and military since the early 1960s. A proven platform that lends itself well to whatever task you might have at hand while being almost as customizable as the 10/22. Working on your rifle shooting fundamentals with the strong and accurate bolt action will teach a shooter many things—along with how to handle a good bit of recoil. There are few things as much fun as lobbing big .30 caliber bullets hundreds of yards onto a tiny target. Going through life without experiencing the Remington 700 would be just wrong. Some of my most enjoyable range days have been spent behind one on the 500-yard bench.

3. Marlin Model 336 in .30-30


Marlin Model 336 lever-action rifle with wood stock

Marlin introduced the 336 in 1948. Since then, no rifle in America that has put more food on hunters’ tables.

Marlin introduced the 336 in 1948.  Since then,  no rifle in America that has put more food on hunters’ tables. I almost chose the Winchester 94, but felt the side ejecting 336 would be a better fit for the modern shooter because it allows you to mount a scope low to the receiver. It is hard not feeling like a cowboy when cycling the lever action. I have to admit, the 336 is quickly becoming a fast favorite of mine. I really enjoy the hard-hitting .30-30 cartridge when milling around in the hunting lease’s dense forest. The 336 rides with me in the truck just in case I run out to the lease on a whim. Getting into a good lever gun can be done for under the cost of a name brand handgun making it an affordable rifle to add to your collection.

4. AR-15 Chambered in 5.56

CTD Mike's AR-15

Customized AR-15 carbine

The thought of going through life without experiencing America’s most popular self-loading rifle gives me chills. It has become one of the most adaptable rifles on the market with a blue million calibers to choose from, barrel lengths, different stocks, and accessories coming out the wazoo. The AR-15 in its purest form is the rifle that you really should get behind. The 5.56 (or .223 Remington) is incredibly light recoiling while still packing a nice punch downrange. I personally introduce most new shooters to a self-loading rifle on a 20-inch AR-15 with standard A2 carry handle with iron sights. The beautiful thing about the AR-15 is that after you spend some time on the rifle, you can modify the rifle to your taste.

5. The AK-47 in the Classic 7.62×39

Century Arms C39v2 American AK right side profile view

Century Arms C39v2 American AK

Who can say no to the classic AK-47 chambered in the powerful 7.62×39 cartridge? It isn’t me, that’s for darned sure. Right now is an exciting time for those of you that are after an AK-pattern rifle with so many great options on the market and big manufactures—Magpul et. al—getting behind the accessory market. The rugged reliability that has made the AK legendary is something that every shooter is sure to enjoy. Out of all the centerfire rifles on this list this one is the most economical to shoot steel-cased 7.62×39 ammo coming in at under a quarter per round. Couple the inexpensive nature of the ammo with the industrial feel that the rifle has in your hands and you have something really special that you should really treat yourself to.

There you have it. Now get out there and shoot these fine rifles, your trigger finger will thank you.


Again, I own 4 of the 5 models listed above. The only one I do not own is the AK-47 and that is because I opted for another AR in a slightly different configuration. The AK also does not fit me as well as the AR. It is definitely one of those rifles that deserves to be on this list, however.

For those that are looking to start out with rifles and have no idea what to get, I would suggest any shooter just go buy the 3 hunting rifles and then choose the AR or the AK. With those 4 rifles, assuming you get the 700 in one of the larger .30 caliber options, you can hunt every furred animal on the North American continent. By adding what is called a “battle rifle” by many, you then add self defense to the mix and have a well rounded arsenal with minimal expense.

No matter how you shake it, these rifles are really the gold stand for each of their respective classes. Go out and try your hand with each one and have some fun!

  • Share on Tumblr

Campfire Reflector Wall is Useless

by Woodsbum

Today I ran into an interesting article that about campfire reflector walls. Their contention is that a campfire reflector wall is useless. According to them, they have scientifically proven that the reflector wall does not work. The article can be found here, but as always I have copied it for ease of reading.


Does The Campfire Reflector Wall Work? NO… Here’s Why

The campfire reflector wall is somewhat the mark of the experienced outdoorsman. But do they actually work they way they are purported, to redirect heat at the back of the fire to someone on the opposite side of the fire all snug in their lean-to? The short answer is NO! It doesn’t, however, stop others from continuously preaching it and can be found in many survival books. In all honesty, I too, many years ago, believed it. But why doesn’t it work? Well, first lets look at what we are discussing, so we are all on the same page.


On the surface, it seems it would work, right? Science, however, tells us that it can’t and a simple experiment you can do at home will prove that it doesn’t. Inverse Square Law and more appropriately Inverse Cube Law says that it doesn’t work. But for the purpose of explanation we will use Inverse Square Law.

Inverse Square Law

Inverse-square law is any physical law stating that a specified physical quantity or intensity is inversely proportional to the square of the distance from the source of that physical quantity.

A clear example of this is dropping a pebble into a still pond. The concentric rings near the point of impact will be more intense and as the rings radiate outwards they spread out and lose intensity. This happens with light, heat, magnetism, gravity, etc.

You can do the same thing with a flashlight. Place the source of light near a wall and you will notice how intense it is. Now begin backing away from the wall and you will notice the light covers more area, but the intensity of the light falls off proportionately to it’s distance squared.

The same is true of heat. The closer you are to the campfire, the hotter it is. But as you back away, heat becomes less intense but covers a greater area at that new intensity.

Using the formula of Inverse Square Law, one will note that if we have a fire radiating at 100 degrees, when one moves back say two feet and square the distance one receives only a quarter or 25 degrees of the heat radiated by the fire

Look at the diagram below and position yourself at the position where the Yellow A is. Notice how the letter A has less red dots on it the further away from the source it is. That is Inverse Law.

So how then does this affect the reflector wall? Well, imagine the radiated heat on the other side of the fire also falls off at the same rate, which it does. Now in order to reach you, the already lost heat has to jump back over the source, losing more heat in the process, and reach you at what ever distance you’re at, losing even more heat. The fact is by the time it reaches back just to the heat source it originated from, it is not even measurable, because the temperature is below what the source is radiating.

I know, your head is spinning, right? Here’s the experiment I performed at home, to illustrate the effect.

I took an indoor/outdoor thermometer and placed the outdoor probe 6” away from the back stove, between the stove and the back wall. I turned on the stove and watched the thermometer climb until it became stable and the temperature wouldn’t climb anymore. In my case that was 103 degrees Fahrenheit. I then took the wooden cutting board I had and placed it 2” away from the heat source, a la reflector wall, on the opposite side of the flame, nearest me. Now keep in mind the cutting board was way larger in relation to the temperature probe than anyone builds a reflector wall in relationship to themselves or the fire. The results were, that even though the cutting board was only two inches away from the heat source, the temperature at the probe did not climb past 103 degrees, even after leaving the board in place for about 10 minutes.

Now, keep in mind, this was about as a controlled experiment as one could have. I had a constant room temperature in the kitchen of 74 degrees, without fluctuation, and I had a gas stove putting out a constant 103 degrees at 6” away. In the outdoors, things will not be so kind to you as any little breeze will diminish results exponentially.

So, the long and short of it is The Reflector Fire Wall does NOT work. But if you’re going to go through the effort of building one at least use it to as part of a system to draft smoke away, because using it to reflect heat back to your lean-to won’t work.


As I always do, I like to analyse these type articles and put in my $.02. To begin, let us look at the science they used to determine that this does not work:

1) Inverse Square Law: They are correct about how the law works and they applied it correctly as long as you DO NOT TAKE WIND CURRENTS AND STRUCTURES into effect. The fact that a campfire’s heating dissipates so quickly is based also upon the cooling nature of wind currents and surrounding structures. A campfire out in the open will actually have much more of its heat dissipated and you will receive less heating effect because of this. To illustrate this, let us think about a wood burning stove or fireplace. As slow moving air around the fire is heated it will rise, thus creating a current. These warm/cool air currents will slowly heat the room due to the ambient air temperature rising and the air ends up being rewarmed. The heat will also warm the surround structures, thus also helping to increase the ambient air temperature. Quite simply, if you were only judging the filling of an apple pie instead of the whole dessert most people would consider it WAY too sweet.

2) Ever heard of “getting out of the wind” or “wind chill?” These effects were never even discussed because this would have disproved their misguided theory. By adding more protection to your shelter, whether there is a fire or not, you decrease that effect. Because most people are not going to go out the woods and build an entire log cabin for a short stay in the woods, good shelters and a reflector wall become a great alternative. When this wall is created and a fire is properly placed between that wall and your structure, you have in essence created a “fireplace” of sorts for you shelter. This protective wall blocks the wind, cuts down on the air currents that will carry your warmed air away and your structure is able to collect enough of the warmed air to actually start to warm up itself. This is just like the concept of a fireplace or wood burning stove. Warm the air, collect it, reheat it, warm the surrounding structures, and thus the camper will be happy…..

3) Lastly, I want to add a bit of common sense to this. Why is it that your tent will heat up the longer you are in it? Is there any major insulation to that sil-cloth dome tent you bought? That fabric is VERY thin and lightweight. How about that rain fly made from the same material? There is no insulation there. Where is the insulation and how does the tent stay warmer than the outside environment? The air trapped between the fly and the tent itself acts as a layer of insulation. This works just like goose down, prima loft or any other number of materials. The trapped air works as an insulation barrier to keep you warm and act as insulation. This same principle is at work when you build a good, solid and large campfire reflector wall in front of your shelter. Although the sides are open, the wall works as a way to partially wall off your shelter and allow you to use trapped air for insulation. Heat that air and you are good to go…..  This is a no brainer…..

To wrap this up, I am quite concerned at the stupidity being spewed by so many “outdoors” sites that are trying to cash in on the survivor hype that reality TV has created. These morons are going to get someone killed if they don’t slow down and apply some traditional knowledge to situations rather than picking out a single aspect to rip apart techniques that have been used for 1000’s of years. Even though ancient people had never heard of Inverse Square Law, they seem to have been better suited and more capable of applying Common Sense Law to their daily activities. If you want to quit doing what has worked since the Stone Age then go for it. Have fun in your RV while you watch Netflix and your DVD of Jeremiah Johnson. I will keep doing what works, makes sense, and doesn’t require some keyboard commando to validate it.

  • Share on Tumblr

Big Log Fire Siberian Style

by Woodsbum

Last week’s post drew several comments and suggestions about other types of fires that I should cover. Here is one that I have seen variations of before. It works really well in snow or conditions where you want a reflector type fire that will burn for a long time. Notice how he does a variation of the feather stick and just does small, shaved sections. I am not sure how well this will work in the PNW, but I will definitely give this layout a try.

  • Share on Tumblr