The Silky “Gunfighter” Saw

Awhile back, I posted regarding the Silky Pocketboy saw, which I still carry and enjoy. Then, I mentioned Wranglerstar’s video, which emphasized the benefits of a fixed-handle saw with holster, and a curved blade, for general homestead odds-and-ends.

This time, we’re looking at the newest addition to my toolkit–the Silky Gunfighter saw.

Significantly larger than the Pocketboy, this saw has a host of new features that really shine in use. Many of them are listed on the packaging:

While I really like the straight-edged Pocketboy blade for carpentry application, the curve of the Gunfighter is more aggressive. The ergonomics are good.

The variable pitch of the teeth is an interesting feature. I have used variable-pitch bandsaw blades with good success. In the bandsaw application, the variation in pitch helps break up resonance that makes controlling the cut more difficult, and increases the efficiency of cutting. On this blade, the coarser teeth are toward the point, and the finer teeth closer to the handle.

Also interesting, are the angled “raker/ripper” teeth. These are probably designed help on angled and ripping cuts.

Electroless Nickel-Plating– this is probably a good thing, but would be defeated if the saw is sharpened, as far as the cutting edges are concerned.

Impulse-hardening– again, one of the key points that sets Silky saws apart from the rest.

Rubber handle– the instructions state that solvents used for cleaning sap off the blade need to be kept away from the handle.

Replaceable blade– the handle and the sheath are separate from the blade. It looks like replacement blades cost about $40, whereas the saw presently has a Minimum Advertiseable Price of $74.99.

This saw is very light weight, and the sheath is equally light. The sheath is ambidextrous. The belt loop has a side-release system so that the saw can be removed from the belt quickly. And it has provision for two leg straps, for securing to the thigh or calf.

In use, I find the saw to be slightly difficult to start when cutting small branches. But when a light touch is used, it often rips through those branches in a single stroke.

On material that is 2 to 6 inches in diameter, the real power of this saw is brought to life. Cutting green or dry trees and branches, it is a very efficient machine. And so far, I haven’t actually tried to cut anything bigger.

One thing it does work well for, is ripping off thistles that need to be prevented from producing seed. It is important to be sure and avoid rocks when slashing, but it gets very impressive results!

Silky has a number of models of fixed-blade saws available, in a variety of blade-lengths. Honestly, I’m not sure which one would be best for your purposes, but this one suits me well. And I definitely prefer it over a folding saw with an overly-long, straight handle!

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Carrying the Load–Suspenders for Working Men

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Growing up in central Idaho, homeschooled, gardening, and running the hills and woods, an interest in primitive survival and preparedness took root, and from that, my career in cutlery and leatherwork.

It is from this background of carrying knives, hatchets, saws, sharpeners, handguns, radios, and other outdoor tools, that the suspender system grew.

DSCN4218I began wearing suspenders from a health perspective, realizing the value of relieving some of the weight from the hips, and its beneficial effects on digestion and lymph flow. Also, there are times when heavy loads on the belt can cause back trouble and pinched nerves.

Starting out, I only carried a few light items. Even so, the alligator clip attachments were somewhat unreliable. Then, as my loads became heavier, the “alligator clips” became worthless. So, we started using button-on suspenders.

Next, we ditched elastic, because it failed to support the load effectively, and rotted out quickly when kept on the stretch. Webbing performed the job much better, although it was a bit different.

Then came the next casualty–waistbands. Either the buttons cut the thread, or the thread ripped the waistband, taking a hunk of cloth along.

The next step came when an uncle introduced us to suspenders with plastic belt clips. That gave us an idea. So we tried attaching Kydex belt clips on our webbing suspenders. This actually worked fairly well–until the Kydex broke! Repeatedly!

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Finally, we came up with the present solution, which uses leather and heavy-duty snaps. This has proved most satisfactory.

The suspenders are a nice blend between ordinary pants suspenders (but much heavier-duty), and a much-lower-profile version of ALICE LBE suspenders. I have worn them daily for years now. And yes, worn under a shirt or other cover garment, they work well for CCW.

These suspenders can be used much like ALICE suspenders on a separate belt that can be rigged as a tool belt, ready to go. They will accommodate belts up to 2-1/4 inches wide. This is especially helpful in situations where one must keep essential tools accessible when adding and removing layers of clothing, wearing coveralls, and other drastic changes in apparel that often disrupt our “every-day carry” routines.

DSCN4173To help hold both the suspenders and other items in place on the belt, it helps to punch holes the full length of the belt, and run a length of parachute cord through them.

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Sizing–the front portion of the suspenders is totally adjustable for length, using ladder locks. The yoke in the back is at a fixed angle, and the length of the back strap is fixed. So, we are making 4 lengths of back straps–9, 10, 11, and 12 inch. The important factor is that the length in back match the angle over the shoulders, so the straps lay well.

Early on, I found that any irregularities in back would tend to result in chafing and sores. So, this is why the back-length is not adjustable. This has been a key impediment for doing 1-up orders by mail.

However, if we can keep a selection of sizes in stock with sellers, one can try on the sizes that are in stock. Also, we can provide dummy suspenders, made from paper, that can be used for measuring a potential customer.

If the person needs something outside the standard range, they can measure based on a standard size, and we can make a special length to order.

So, if you are tired of your pants weighing you down, but don’t want to go all the way up to military Load-Bearing Equipment, let me know! I’d be happy to help you carry your load more comfortably.

Christopher Fischer / http://www.ctfischerknives.com / info (at) ctfischerknives.com / 208-842-2800

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Thoughts on Hand Saws for the Woods

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Es6hYug-g-0

I think this review is very valid.

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Staying Well

1. Understand Physiology–how the body works

2. Avoid anything that will obstruct nature’s normal flow.

3. Restorative power is not in drugs, but in nature. Disease is an effort of nature to free the system from conditions that result from a violation of the laws of health.

4. In case of sickness, the cause should be ascertained. Unhealthful conditions should be changed, wrong habits corrected. Then nature is to be assisted in her effort to expel impurities and to re-establish right conditions in the system.

Ingredients for Life

1. Pure air (especially crucial for resisting respiratory illness)

2. Sunlight (essential for maintaining healthy blood, Vit. D; direct sunlight kills most pathogens)

3. Abstemiousness (abstaining from everything harmful, and moderation in that which is good)

4. Rest (required for recovery from any type of stress or injury; key to immune function)

5. Exercise (morning exercise, in the fresh air, is especially strengthening)

6. Proper diet (provides adequate supplies for normal function and rebuilding, and suppressing pathogens)

7. The use of water (adequate hydration, cleaning, and thermal treatments)

8. Trust in divine power (stress relief, cheerfulness, gratitude)

A failure to provide any of these ingredients will weaken health. Skillful use of them is strengthening.
https://pathlights.com/nr_encyclopedia/index.htm

Online access to the Natural Remedies Encyclopedia (older edition)

Home remedies for over 500 diseases and disorders. Back in the old days, the pioneers were practical-minded people. They knew how to make-do with what they had. They combined folk remedies from centuries earlier in other lands, with herbal formulas borrowed from the Indians. Since then, even more has been discovered about physiology and nutrition. You will find a lot in this disease encyclopedia.

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My Favorite ECD Firestarter (Next to a Bic)

Ultimate Survival Technology Spark-Force Firestarter
DSCN3757A downsized Strike Force lighter, this might be the best thing on the market for Every-Day Carry (EDC) as a backup to the butane lighter.
(If you look closely, you can see the pinch of greased cotton at the base of the pile of shavings.)
Very importantly, both the rod and the striker are enclosed, so abrasion does not wear down the rod or dull the striker. DSCN3759
The other advantage is, that this lighter is no bigger than a regular butane lighter, so it rides in the pocket very comfortably.
DSCN3763Weight is 1.1 ounces, slightly over a quarter the weight of the Strike Force.
The rod itself is 1/4 x 1-1/2, which is about 3/16 of the volume of the Strike Force rod, but still large enough to light hundreds, if not thousands, of fires if used efficiently.
Price of the Spark-Force lighter is $8.00
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A New Saw–A Step Up, and Why

Those of us who have studied bushcraft know the value of a good pocket-saw. Riding in the cargo pocket or pack, it allows us to cut branches and logs that would be a real obstacle to small- and mid-size knives. It can also be safer to use than a hatchet or machete in many situations–especially in the dark, and in cramped corners.

One of the most common applications is for obtaining dry wood for the fire. Another is clearing trails. And then, there is the more technical stuff like notching, dovetails, and making stop-cuts that allow us to split large chunks of wood away from the handles of mallets, spoons, etc.

I like having mine when doing carpentry, as well. And this saw is particularly useful, because it has two positions that the blade can be locked in. The first is more of a “hook” angle that is a bit more aggressive in normal cutting. The second notch places the teeth on a plane that clears the handle, allowing for a “cutting-board” application that is really handy for trimming things in tight places.

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In the past, I have used several types of folding saws–Felco came first, then the Gerber Exchange-a-Blade saw, then the slide-out-the-front Gerber Sportsman’s saw. The latter became my favorite for its light weight, simplicity, and durability. (I split the handles on 3 of the Exchange-a-Blade saws, and the Felco had a poor latch design that wore holes in pockets.)

When Gerber discontinued the Sportsman’s saw, I started looking for something to replace it.

I had heard good things about Silky saws, but was turned off by the price. Is it really worth paying 4 times as much? Also, what about weight? I really like a 4-ounce saw better than a 6-ounce saw!

Finally, I broke down and ordered the Pocketboy saw you see above.

The first thing I noticed when taking it out of the package, is the blackened tips of the teeth. Ah-ha. There is the secret! These teeth appear to have been induction-hardened, so the business portion is substantially harder than most saws! This allows the saw to be durable, but give the tips of the teeth the ability to hold a thinner edge longer. This equals a faster, smoother cut.

And smoother it is! The first thing I cut was a piece of firewood in the woodbox. I was impressed. Later, I cut a 5-inch log out of the trail, and was again impressed with its efficiency. (Yes, the blade is only a hair over 5 inches long, which is less than ideal for a log that large.)

And yes, this saw is still in my pocket as I write this.

The other thing I like about it is the solid steel handle. After splitting those Gerber handles, I’m thankful for the dependability of a folded steel frame.

Is there a place for cheaper saws? Certainly. Lighter-weight saw? Sure. But for what can be a very crucial piece of equipment in the wilderness, I’ll pay the extra.

Also–one more detail about pocket saws: They are particularly non-intimidating. With one of these riding in a pocket or pack, we can probably work in most environments without frightening the sheeple, or being charged with concealing a per se weapon.

Also, see this interesting review: https://christophersknifeblog.wordpress.com/2020/05/04/thoughts-on-hand-saws-for-the-woods/

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Looking For a Sharper Bargain?

Knives and other cutting tools are important, but in general, the most important thing is keeping them sharp!

Today, we get to look at a couple of tools that help with this task, both at home and in the field.

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Here is the “Super Professional” 4-sided, 2×6-inch diamond block. As you can see in the photo, it has 200, 300, 400, and 600 grit diamond abrasives, giving a total of about 48 square inches of working surface.

I’ve been using one for several years, and it has become my main tool for sharpening by hand. (Along with a file and leather strop.)DSCN3725

While this is obviously intended for the workbench or kitchen counter, it is surprisingly light at 17 ounces, including the base. And the price is almost equally light–only $20! Many diamond stones of this size would cost $40+ per side–adding up to $160!

However, it is still a bit oversize for most of us to want to carry on hikes! But never mind, Super Professional has us cared for.

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About the size of a credit card, the Super Professional Two Sided Diamond Card has 300 grit and 600 grit, one on each side of the steel card. It comes with a protective vinyl sleeve, and weighs 1.1 ounces. The size is about the same as a credit card or business card. And, good news for fine points… no “dust holes” in the plate! A bargain at $8, and it has four times the abrasive surface as other brands that weigh more, and cost the same.

As steel connoisseurs well know, modern high-end stainless steels and exotic alloys such as Stellite can be very tough to sharpen. However, diamond is the hardest substance known to man, and can cut them all!

No lubrication or fluid is required to keep the pores of the stone clean. Just wipe the dust off, or wash with soapy water.

Diamond stones are more pressure-sensitive than many sharpeners, so heavy strokes cut fast, and lighter pressure produces a finer finish. However, if you want a micro-serrated edge, try sharpening on the 200- or 300-grit, and finish off with a thorough de-burring of the edge by stropping on leather, or even cardboard. The resulting edge is excellent for slicing bread, tomatoes, cutting rope or webbing, and other tasks that benefit from a toothy edge.

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UST Compass: Functional and Affordable

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While we often live from day to day in the mountains without ever needing a compass, this tool is like others–when we need it, we NEED it.

Especially in unfamiliar territory, and when visibility is poor, or marked trails are abscent, the compass can make a huge difference in the outcome of travel. For air and water travel they are basic equipment. And even at home, for locating property boundaries, orienting buildings during construction, and setting up solar panels and satellite dishes, the compass is important. Likewise, those who are shopping for real estate often need to take accurate compass headings.

My favorite style of compass is commonly known as an “orienteering” compass, referring to the discipline of using map and compass together for navigating. The translucent base, with its rulers and gauges, allows one to use the compass as an effective protractor. The mirror, with its sighting line and notch, allow very precise directions to be pinpointed on distant landmarks, from which locations can be pinpointed precisely on a map, and measurements calculated. It also works well for “bee-lining” and other more complex non-map applications. And yes, the mirror is good for signally also.

The particular compass shown in this post is from Ultimate Survival Technologies (UST). I am particularly excited about it because of one feature that is not so common in compasses of this type–declination adjustment!

In the picture above, you can see a tiny screwdriver that is strung on the lanyard, pointing at a small screw in the bezel. This screw allows the inside baseplate of the compass to rotate, so that the needle-alignment marks point in a different direction than “0 degrees” on the bezel. It is a smooth gear-drive that is very easy to adjust.

For those who are not familiar with declination, this is caused by the fact that the magnetic north and south poles are not located exactly at the physical north and south axis of the earth. And to make matters more complicated, the magnetic lines do not run exactly straight. And, the magnetic poles keep traveling around! So, for any given point on earth, declination has to be determined. You can find your local declination either by putting your GPS coordinates into an online calculator, or by looking at the declination listed on a recently-printed map, or by taking a compass-heading on the north star.

In any case, being able to mechanically set a declination into the compass can save a lot of hassle, and mathematical direction-reversals, that would tend to occur if one must figure declination into each map-compass interaction.

Another common issue with compasses, is a needle that moves too slowly, or that “never quits wiggling.” This compass has neither problem. It is liquid-filled, and “settles” in a moment.

“Cheap” may often mean “junk,” but I don’t see any indication of that in this compass. It comes from a company that makes some of the best fire-starters in the industry, as well as other functional gear. It seems as well-made as many that cost 3 times as much. Current price on this is only $8.00. So, it can be included in whatever vehicles or kits need it.

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Bushcraft and Bushcraft XL in CPM S35VN Steel

Three new Bushcraft knives are in stock now, in CPM S35VN steel!

This one has a red linen micarta handle, and is standard length. $270.

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This one is the Xtra Long model, and has a Cocobolo Dymondwood handle. $295.

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And, another XL in Ivory Micarta (yes, real Westinghouse stuff this time). $300.

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These work-horses are ready to harness up!

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Blades for the Backwoods Camp Cook

Fresh from production are a couple of camp/culinary blades. Designed to be worn on the belt, and to function well for gathering small twigs and branches for kindling; brushing out a space for the camp kitchen among the trees; splitting small logs into hobo-stove size pieces. At the same time, they are also suitable for cutting-board tasks such as butchering, chopping fruits and vegetables, and similar tasks. (Often performed on a stump, a piece of bark, or a flat spot carved into a log.)

Both of these knives are carbon steel. The Nessmuk is saw steel with interesting oak wood, and the 6-inch is 1/8-inch-thick 1084 steel with dusty-rose Corian handles. Both have a head-start on the typical patina that will develop on any non-stainless kitchen knife.

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The Nessmuk is 5.1 ounces, 9.9 in the sheath. Price is $240.

The 6-inch Camp Cook’s knife is 7.7 ounces, 11.9 ounces in the sheath, and measures 10-5/8 inches overall. Price is $325.00

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