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

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

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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Kits for the Gram

Kits for the Gram

by Kevin Estela March 11, 2020

#Flatlay is a popular hashtag on instagram. If you’ve spent any time on social media you’ve seen them even if you weren’t aware of their name. A flatlay is a stylized layout of contents tailored to a particular audience. There are flatlays for the gadget crowd that include fidget spinners, multi-tools, and minimalist multi-function items. Other flatlays focus on the gear carried to defend life such as pistols, spare magazines, tourniquets, and flashlights. A good flatlay can garner hundreds of likes. If a surgically-enhanced instagram “influencer” posts it, the picture could be liked thousands of times mainly by poor saps duped into believing liking a pretty girl’s photo will win them points for the day they’ll meet, fall in love, and live happily ever after. No matter how you cut it, flatlays are popular and as ridiculous and obsessive compulsive as they seem, they do serve a good purpose. A proper flatlay can educate the viewer and help them improve their level of readiness. I’ve assembled some of my favorite kits and presented them in the flatlay format.

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Finish Strong

Finish Strong

by Kevin Estela March 04, 2020 2 Comments

When I was in high school (as a student, not my current job as a teacher), I remember my psychology teacher presenting a lesson on the primacy and recency effect and how it relates to our memory. The primacy effect is the bias we have to remember what we hear or see first and the recency effect explains why we remember what we hear last or most recently. To illustrate this, here is a string of numbers, 39, 87, 3, 18, 41, 26, 52. Chances are, if I were to ask you what numbers you can recall, you would have 39 or 52 in your lineup. We also have a tendency to remember what we hear frequently, what we can rehearse in our heads, and what we can associate with other cues. The mind is a powerful tool and ever since I sat in Mr. Baril’s classroom for this psychology class, I’ve been intrigued by the study of the mind and how it relates to our daily routine, habits, and capabilities. The recency effect is something I haven’t forgotten about and I relate it to the act of finishing strong in all I do. Finishing strong, you’ll find out, can set into motion the right mindset to be successful from that point forward.

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More Urban Awareness

More Urban Awareness

by Brian Griffin February 26, 2020

The hustle and bustle of our lives can keep us in what feels like a state perpetual motion. And our endless running to make the ends meet, the sense of always being in a race with time, can create a sort of mental tunnel vision. It can narrow our focus to such a small point that all we see are the goals we've set and how quickly the time is ticking away. The rest of the world around us can become just a blur in our periphery, as we go through our day on autopilot.

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