Thursday, July 1, 2010

My Cold Steel order showed up

I decided to get in on the Cold Steel Special Projects sale. I ordered an 18" spear point machete to possibly replace the hatchet in my main BOB, 2 western hunters and 3 finn wolfs. The machete was dull. It's also well balanced with good heft, a full tang and a lanyard hole. I can't wait to test it after spending some time on it with a sharpening stone. The sheath is a little chinsy but it should hold up. The other blades were pretty sharp. They're a little thin and flimsy. From what I read I expected that from the western hunter. It's more of a multi-purpose kitchen knife. I expected the finn wolf to perform about as well as a Mora, though. As you can see from the picture it didn't.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

I couldn't wait to test the finn wolf before taking the picture. I was hoping at least some durability but the tip broke after just one or two stabs into a tree. Why was I stabbing a tree with my brand new knife? Well today I was reading Bug Out Survival (the blog not the book..same author) and Scott was talking about how pine resin has antiseptic and anti-fungal properties. Apparently it's pretty good at sealing and healing wounds.

Anyway, as you all probably know I followed one of Scott's tips from Bug Out Survival and got a machete that turned out to be pretty sharp. The cut is already mostly healed but I have a pine tree in my yard so I figured I'd try Scott's remedy and get some sap to apply to the cut. First I tried the Finn. As I mentioned earlier it broke after just a couple of stabs.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

I was pretty disappointed to say the least. Cold Steel has quite a reputation and the blade seemed pretty solid. Granted, it was one of their $10 blades and not one of their $300 blades. I guess I'm just one of those guys who believes that your $10 blade quality has a reflection on your $300 blade quality. Anyway, I decided to go grab my Mora. To be honest I've never really "torture tested" my Mora. I just use it for normal knife tasks. I've seen the videos of people using them as spears. I've seen people cutting trees down with them. In some circles they're the ultimate survival knife. So I ripped into the tree with mine.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

After tunneling a hole into the tree I still wasn't getting any sap. After an hour very little sap had seeped out. At least my Mora held up. It didn't have a scratch and at no point did I even worry about it. I was more intent on getting some sap so that I could make a post about how awesome natural remedies are. Alas, the sap did not come. At least I still have 2 more finn wolfs and I know not to put them through too much. I also have a Mora that I now have confidence that it can take all of the beating that the experts claim it can.


Scott B. Williams said...

It depends on the tree species and temperatures probably, but sometimes that sap can take awhile to start flowing. I usually try to find a tree that's already damaged from a broken off limb or someone's axe or whatever. I was lucky that day I got cut so bad, as there was a pine in the yard that I had probably whacked with a machete or maybe hit with a broadhead days before. In the case of woodcutters, they could usually just go back to a stump from the day or two before and find plenty of sap.

The Urban Survivalist said...

That's what I figured. Usually, the season matters. I don't want to completely wreck the tree in my front yard just to put some sap on a little cut. There are a lot of spots all over the trunk where the previous owner removed limbs so that you can walk underneath it. The spots where the limbs have been removed are where the sap is seeping. It's just not enough to matter.

Shy Wolf said...

The balsam is one of the easier pine to get sap/pitch from. If you have any in your area, look at the bark and you'll see 'blisters' on it- they're filled with pitch. Poke a small hole at the base of the blister, squeeze it out by pressing on the bubble. Another easy way to get sap from it is to strip off a section of the bark, or peel it off. The inner bark is filled with pitch. Balsam maintains these blisters year round, though kind of frozen in winter.
Spruce usually have a good flow only in the spring, so you can pretty much expect a waiting period on them.
White and Red pine are probably the worst to get pitch from and their bark is about the toughest to get under.
Tamarack/Larch are the driest trees I've ever run into, even those making their home in the swamp.
One of my fave 'breath fresheners' is the iner bark of the Balsam, BTW. Chew it like gum. Tastey and a good dentifrice as well.