Disaster Prep

Disaster Prep

by Kevin Estela September 23, 2020

Unless you’ve been half asleep, you probably have noticed 2020 is a year for the books. COVID 19, double...correction, quintuplet hurricanes, murder hornets, civil unrest, can we get a break? This year, the fabric of our society has been tested. We’ve seen how the masses will react to the prospect of quarantine and when the opportunity to lash out at the system was presented. Toilet paper was hoarded, ammunition was gobbled up by panic buyers, cities fell to riots deemed “mostly-peaceful protests” by the media, and the public was thrust into the position of seriously considering the lack of safety provided by the government and the benefit of self-reliance.

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Bugout On Foot

Bugout On Foot

by Kevin Estela August 26, 2020 2 Comments

If you’re someone who participates in survival discussions, you’ve probably heard of the term “bug out”. Bugging out has been popularized by movies like “Red Dawn” and books like “The Road.” You may have entertained ideas of running to the hills or what you would do if some sort of emergency made its way to your front door. There may be a particular event you’re readying yourself for the decision to leave your most valuable investment (your home I’m assuming) and risk your safety to get away. Recently, I had the opportunity to be a guest instructor at the Fieldcraft Survival Bugout On Foot Course in Prescott, Arizona. This course was designed to teach students the reality of mobility on foot and better prepare them with approximately 70 hours of instruction and practical field exercises over 5 days. The students participated in an extensive after-action report and now have a wealth of takeaways and this month’s blog is meant to share some of the most important ones with you.

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Back to Baxter: A Story of Then and Now

Back to Baxter: A Story of Then and Now

by Kevin Estela August 05, 2020 3 Comments

The year is 1999. Britney Spears burst onto the scene with “Hit Me Baby One More Time” and Keanu introduced us to the artificial world of The Matrix. We were less than a year from the anti-climactic Y2K panic and new millennia. In August of 1999, I was enjoying a great summer off from my freshman year of college and some new-found freedom from an ex girlfriend. My good friends from high school, Nate and Frank, were interested in hanging out again and we were all looking for an adventure. After high school, we all went separate ways but what bound us as friends was the interest we had in the great outdoors and that would unite us again for an epic road trip to Baxter State Park and summiting Mt. Katahdin. That was then. That was over 20 years ago when I was just a teenager who was looking for direction. Since then, I only returned to that part of Maine once in 2003 to summit it again. Now, it has been 17 years and so much has changed in my life. Now, it was time to go back, it was time to seek out adventure again, it was time to give into the draw of the mountains.

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Be Prepared

Be Prepared

by Brian Griffin July 08, 2020

Many of us remember this phrase fondly from our youth. We did our best to do it back then, and we work even harder to carry that philosophy forward with us as we grow through adulthood where our lives become so much more complex. It's often hard to even fathom the logic of the events much less try to prepare for all of them, but we try. We plan for the basics, and shoot for some of the contingencies at any rate. We need to be punctual to our events, able to pay our way, able to take or give notes or directions, light up a dark space, create warmth in the cold, and of course open packages or cut anything that needs cutting. And if, like me, you happen to enjoy picnics with someone special, a cork screw can really come in handy and save the time of performing a no glass /no cork bits wine-bottle-opening. Which can be done, and one method featured in an earlier article here a few years ago.

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The .22 Revolver Kit Gun

The .22 Revolver Kit Gun

by Kevin Estela June 24, 2020 10 Comments

I have a love-hate relationship with revolvers. Sometimes, they make sense. When dangerous game calibers fit better in a cylinder than they do a grip magazine, a revolver is better than an autoloader for self-defense against wild critters. Other times, a revolver is less preferable to commonly carried self-defense pistols like the Glock and SIG as they are heavier, have less capacity, and are slower to reload. Recently, I decided to revisit the revolver after my good friend and outdoor survival mentory, Marty Simon, passed away. Marty carried a .357 Magnum model 60 snub nose. I wanted a similar J-frame revolver to carry for plinking and as a survival kit gun as an homage to Marty. I’ve long carried a .22 Browning Buckmark pistol but wanted to add a small rimfire revolver to my collection and decided to share some thoughts on the “kit gun” idea here.

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Contingencies 201

Contingencies 201

by Brian Griffin June 17, 2020

The end result of all of our experiences in life, provided we survive them and pay attention, usually involves at least one lesson having been learned and maybe several. I am blessed, and very fortunate, that I have lived through enough of them in some fairly deteriorated circumstances that I get to teach survival workshops professionally, it's something I've been doing for some time. lately I've found myself teaching some pretty intense lessons I hadn't thought much about the several years, some I haven't intentionally taught since right after the events in New York City on September 11th ,2001.

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The Revolutionary Fixed Blade

The Revolutionary Fixed Blade

by Brian Griffin May 20, 2020 10 Comments

It seems the first fixed blade to be discovered and actually appreciated, presumably via an injury to the discoverer, was quite the revolutionary incident in human history. It's clearly evidenced by how much we have developed all sorts of cutting tools since then. Not only knives in many specialized applications over the last 50 thousand or so years, but cutting tools for all sorts of materials, and with far more of them being developed for utilitarian applications than combative ones. With a good quality multi-tool perhaps being the pinnacle of overall usefulness versus the various materials in an urbanized environment so far. Though obviously with the weaponization of anything it can profitably be applied to being pretty common, as some living in quarantine may currently be suspecting, blades made for war have certainly earned their way into our revolutionary history as well.

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How to Construct a Pine-Bark Bowl

How to Construct a Pine-Bark Bowl

by Kevin Estela May 13, 2020

Can you imagine what it would be like to have the confidence to walk into woods with only a knife and survive? It is a goal, albeit a lofty goal, many people have. It sounds like it requires a lot of skill because it does. There are challenges and difficulties everywhere. You have a knife but what about shelter, food, fire, and water? What about everything else? The sum total of all the issues you must address can be hard to digest at once. However, when you look at each task individually with a knife and a problem-solving mind, the thought of surviving in the woods comes more clearly into focus. For this month’s Fiddleback Forge blog, I’ll focus on one way to address the basic survival need of water. Perhaps one of the easiest ways to make a water vessel is by using pine-bark. As you’ll see, this time of year, you don’t even need to make a fire or use cordage to address your hydration needs.

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The Indomitable Spirit of Humanity

The Indomitable Spirit of Humanity

by Brian Griffin April 29, 2020 2 Comments

It has been 6 weeks since we were made aware that we're facing yet another global pandemic. The occurrence of pandemics is really nothing new to us, as we've experienced several since the Spanish Flu in the second decade of the 20th century, and a few in just the first two decades of our current century. However this one certainly seems to bringing about some new responses, as we are being told to go against all that we've learned about basic human immunology, since that field of study began in earnest in the mid 1800s, and quarantine the healthy in some places as well as the ill. And encouraging an avoidance of our own atmosphere and everyone other than family through the process of social distancing every where else. It's an unusual and counter-intuitive approach, which has had made for some curious visuals in our new paradigm.

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To Go Only

To Go Only

by Brian Griffin April 15, 2020

After our efforts to support all the local businesses and craftspeople we cherish; before, during, and after the busting of the housing bubble in 2008, and doing our best to help some survive the economically stagnated environment that was the 8 years that followed, we find ourselves once again in a similar situation. Now, in order to slow the spread of a new iteration of SARS, the new SARS CoV-2, all of our local stores and eateries have been forced to close or embrace a policy of to-go or take-out only during this crisis. So, now what do we do?

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Get a Grip - Pro Tips on How to Shape a Knife Handle

Get a Grip - Pro Tips on How to Shape a Knife Handle

by Andy Roy April 14, 2020 1 Comment

Early on I had a few vague ideas of what would make a good handle. I have always believed that knives need feminine looking curves to be sexy. To this day I still don’t like bumpy, humpy looking shapes, with jutty, manish looking features. 

I also knew that the hand likes to grip a knife handle that is fatter at the spine side and tapers toward the edge side. This gives the cross-section profile – on a good handle – a kind of egg shape. In addition to comfort, this egg shape properly indexes the handle in the hand. A user should be able to feel where the sharp parts are without having to check visually.

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Why Fillet?

Why Fillet?

by Brian Griffin March 18, 2020

One cold day in February, my daughter came in from school while I was filleting some Branzini for our dinner. As per her habit, she just quietly watched me work for a few minutes to take in what I was doing, but there soon came the usual questions. Staring with, “why do you do that sometimes, and take out the bones like that, but then not at other times?” 

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