Some More Leatherwork

I've been on a roll here for the past few weeks making leather items. I've eased back a bit on the knife making because of the time it requires me to spend in the shop in the evenings. At least with leather, I can sit at the kitchen table and work with the kids running around. Jack, my 4 year old, has also showed an interest in how it's done. Could be just a passing thought, could be just trying to be polite to his dad, or it could be the start of an interest. I'll just have to wait and see.
Anyway, I recently acquired this BHK Woodsman Pro with a beautiful brown flap sheath, right handed of course. Looked just like this one here. The sheaths they make are really top quality, and I intend to pass this one along to someone who can use it, but as a lefty, I had to replace it with something I could use myself.

After a couple of false starts, I settled on a foldover style that I've used in the past with the addition of a single retention snap. I don't know why I am putting snaps on all of my sheaths lately, just an accent I think makes them look good and add a bit of extra function to them. Of course, on a neck sheath, the snap is critical. I had enough leather left over from the neckers that the whole BHK family now has matching sets of pants.

An Old Map of Cartersville from 1896

While checking out some old USGS maps on their site, I ran across this old 1896 map of the area that is now Lake Allatoona. It is fascinating to see the terrain and little community areas that are now underwater. I've heard of whole towns being underwater in man-made lakes such as Lake Powell, with structures still semi-intact. It would be amazing to see a new lake being created and watch it fill. Lake Allatoona is such a major physical feature, it's surprising to think there are natives to the area here who are old enough to remember when it didn't even exist!

Topo Map Sources

I spend a lot of time looking at maps. Not only do I use them for hiking or driving, I also just think they are cool and enjoy cruising around looking down at the terrain from above. When I am in need of a particular map to have in hand, I have mentioned before the favorable experiences I have had ordering from MyTopo. Lots of options, great quality, quick service.
Recently though, I was made aware of a mapping site called Gmap4. The developer is a member over at Blades and Bushcraft, and I've linked to their demo mapping site here. This map link will take you to a high level view of my stomping grounds, just for demonstration's sake. The usual features are apparent and appear to piggyback off of the Google Maps system, which has a terrain selection as well. But if you take a look at the drop-down selection box at the top right, and it displays a variety of map overlay style options.

If you play around with the overlays at different zoom levels, you can get quite a bit more detail at greater zoom levels than you do on the standard Google Maps site. Here is the max zoom over the Pine Log Area. Stamp Creek is a good sized little creek, but Davis Branch is a small one. Looking at maps of the same area using the MyTopo preview, the detail level is better on the Gmap4 site. Considering it's free, this has been a great resource for cruising around and for basic trip planning.

There are also quite a few customization options. Although it's hard to beat a physical map in hand or spread out on the table, hopefully this site can be another tool in your toolbox to aid in navigation. If you're into maps too or you have specific questions, there is also a pretty extensive FAQ/HowTo guide located here.

Bradford Angier's Wilderness Classic - How To Stay Alive in the Woods

One of the first books I received on wilderness skills as a young man was How To Stay Alive in the Woods. In fact, it was probably the second book in my collection - right after FM 21-76. I don't recall having too many impressions of the book back then. Knowing myself, I probably read the sections that were the most interesting - snares and fire - and skimmed the rest. Because, as I was aware then and you probably know by now, water and first aid and navigation are all pretty useless topics. Who cares about all that, right? I guess I would have been the perfect target audience for shows like Man vs. Wild.

Jump forward to this week, a friend of mine from work found an older copy of the book from Goodwill and generously gave it to me as a gift. The original copyright for the book was from 1956. This copy looks to be maybe late 80's, early 90's. I've been reading back through it on my lunch breaks, recalling a few parts from a decade ago, but most of it seems like a fresh read. I actually really enjoy finding and reading some of the older wilderness works. Not having been alive in the 50's, I imagine that they were one generation closer to the folks who lived from the land and relied daily on the skills most of us practice as a
hobby. A good example, when I was at RAT back in March, Jeff Randall has been reading through an old Boy Scout manual recently and had stumbled across a woods technique that I've never seen in any survival book. It was a method common to woodworkers and furniture makers, but had been apparently somewhat lost to bushcraft. The technique was geared to shelter building when lashing material might be scarce or unavailable and it picture to the right. Those are the kind of finds that pop up now and then in the old books that make them particularly enjoyable to peruse.

Yes, some of the information in Bradford Angier's book is a little outdated. Don't let that keep you from reading it though! I mean the guy wrote this stuff half a century ago. Throwing the book out because he endorses wool (Remember, "Fleece" isn't sheep wool. It's polyethylene terephthalate, the same stuff plastic bottles are made of, and didn't come along until the late 70s.) means you lose some interesting info and a good perspective from a man who lived what he wrote.

Crayon Candles

After seeing Creek Stewart's post yesterday on unconventional candles, I tried his "Crayndle" at my niece's birthday party last night. Everybody crowded around for the experiment, which didn't go so well the first time, but lit up and burned on the second go. This picture was taken after about 5 minutes of burn time. Pretty good for a crayon!

Tip: Break the tip off the crayon first so you have a little bit of bare paper at the top to catch first.