Thursday, January 31, 2013

Does fatwood really work when wet?

Let's find out...

So I've always heard fatwood will work even when wet.  I've been a fan of fatwood since I first used it but always wondered if it would work when wet, and how wet.  So I decided to see for myself.  I took a couple pieces of fatwood and let them soak completely submerged for 19 hours.  I thought I would have to put something over the pieces so they wouldn't float.  But it turns out fatwood is dense enough that it sinks to the bottom

I took out the two pieces and as you can see they are plenty soaked

Well to see real quick if it's even possible to catch flame I used a lighter on the smaller piece and sure enough, after just a few seconds of holding it to flame it caught fire

Now for the harder test, Ferro rod.  I cut up some shavings

Well after seriously no more than a minute of trying it caught flame

I was seriously impressed.  I didn't think it would still work this good.  I didn't dry the pieces off with anything either.  Just lit the first one and starting carving curls and shavings off the bigger piece.  I was always curious if it would work as I do enjoy my canoe trips and often wondered if just keeping a piece or two of fatwood on me would be enough to start a fire if I tipped and the fatwood got wet. 

Well this has certainly proven itself to me.  I think I'll attach a piece permanently to my ferro rod cord so I'll always have both on my persons while canoeing.  And a good knife of course. 

Thanks for looking

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Great morning get-out, another fatwood score, and axe fun

Well the other morning I headed off to the woods.  I really enjoy getting out early and enjoying a sunrise through the trees.  It's just a great time to be out and feel the woods come to life.  I decided to check out a different place today.  It was another patch of pine trees that hug a winding creek for quite a ways.  I just wanted to see what was out there and I'm always scouting for new spots for the next deer season.   Well here's the daybreak just starting as my trek began

Well I wasn't after fatwood today after my score last time.  But real quick into the pines I came across something I just couldn't pass on.  The dead branch to the left had dried pine sap all over the base of the limb next to the tree.

I had to saw it off. Part of bushcraft is utilizing what nature gives you, when she gives it.

That's a nice chunk if I ever saw one.  It's coming a long

More sunrise views as the morning goes on

Well I had a first this trip.  I was coming into some big pines and cottonwoods and I heard sticks popping up high and looked up to see big dark birds leaving a roost.  I instantly thought turkeys but I was wrong.  It was vultures.  And there was a lot of them, like 30.  I didn't realize they group up and roost together like that.  I got a few shots of some of them in flight.  They just circled the area for awhile. 

after that encounter I pushed on through the pines.  The rays of sunshine were starting to break through now making for a very serene mood while moving through the woods


I noticed a small little clearing just to the edge of the treeline so I stepped out for a look, seems like a good spot to catch a deer passing

back into the woods

Now I was checking out the big dry creek bed here and there and eventually saw something in it that warranted a closer look.  It ended up being an upside down car.

At this point I am atleast a mile from the closest gravel road.  The only thing I can think of is that this was carried here during a heavy rain decades ago.  I couldn't figure out what kind of car it was. 

Eventually I crossed the creek and came to another clearing this time with very high grass that had deer beds all over it.  Another great spot I might have to utilize next year

Well after I made my way to the pines in the background I was getting hungry and wanting some coffee.  I found a spot and then found a dead standing cedar tree to chop down


Camp spot

sawing and prepping the fire wood

check out that rich fatwood

got some shavings and let the ferro rod do the rest

today was finally cold here.  Mid 20's for temps.  It was time for a bigger fire for heat.   No stove this trip

some view of the sky above

more camp shots as the fire got going and put the pot on

warming up the hands a bit

finally the coffee and oatmeal are ready

another view through the tree tops

Well I relaxed a bit by the fire and drank a few canteen cup fulls of coffee and took in the morning.  After a bit though it was time to pack up and break camp.

Well it was getting to be afternoon but the woods are still beautiful even after morning light has left

Well I was wanting to get a feel for my 3/4 axe and found a dead standing pine tree that was around 10" wide to chop down.

I timed myself and it took me 13 minutes.  I wasn't racing or anything but just wanted to gauge it's performance a little.  I think with my full size plumb double this would have been under 10 minutes for sure.  But I was pleased with this axe considering the head weight is 1.75lb. 

Steel on this axe is very good.  This wood was hard and after it was down there were no rolls or chips

After the tree felling I started making my way back through the trees.  Here's some parting shots on the trek out

Well it was a good morning out.  No game again but that's okay.  It was worth it and am already looking forward to the next time

thanks for looking