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On the Water: Lifetime Tamarack Kayak and Kaku Kahuna SUP

Temps have been closing in on the 100 mark just about every day this week, so when it’s too hot to do just about anything else outside, it’s good to have some water nearby for paddling. I’ve now had the Tamarack out enough times and in different enough conditions to get a feel for how it paddles, and my opinions on it’s + and – are getting settled in. As a guy with a pretty strong preference toward canoes, I like the Tamarack – as well as I think I’ll like any kayak – and it does what it was made to do well.


Lifetime Tamarack Angler – First Impressions

After doing a bit of reading, it seemed conclusive that kayaks, with their lower profile and double bladed paddles, are the preferred method for moving against a current in deeper water. As I have always been a canoe guy more than kayak, I decided to get my feet wet with an affordable kayak that met three specific criteria – affordable, stand-up ready, and lightweight.


Relaxing at Red Top Mountain and McKaskey Creek Camping

Life has been chaos lately, and my wife was kind enough to kick me out of the house for a morning last week, so I headed to Red Top for a little hiking and relaxing. As usual, it was just the thing for clearing my head. There's a spot I like to go to that I discovered by accident seven or eight years ago. It's at the end of an old unmarked trail, and I was surprised to find someone else out there for the first time ever, doing some ultralight fishing. I figure, when I've gone to extra effort to avoid people, that other people I run into out there have done the same, so I have him a wide berth.

This weekend found me back out at Allatoona, camping with the boys and some friends from church. It's not as relaxing having minions running around all the time, but it sure is fun to watch them explore, burn things, eat camp food, and enjoy the lake. I have great memories of camping with my dad, and even though it wasn't something we did often, it was memorable every time.

Friction Folding Knife

I have learned, over the past week, that folding knives are a niche of knifemaking seemingly all it's own. The recent Svord mod that I posted here got my mind mulling over a self made folding knife. Most of my knife amazement happens in the BushcraftUSA Knife Gallery thread, and although some folders do show up, they are secondary to the fixed blades in the photos there. There are some fantastic makers (J. Oeser comes to mind) that cross over into both folders and fixed, but not too many it seems.

Fortunately, I had no steel or handle material on hand, so after ordering both, I had the long wait for their arrival to work on design and really think through the process. Since the Svord was my inspiration, the friction folder design concepts I used are the same - binder screw pivot and a shared stop pin for both the 'open' and 'closed' position. Simple for sure, but I tell you, this put my patience and precision to the test. Even taking it up a notch to a lockback or a liner lock is way beyond my abilities. I loved making this. I will make more. But I don't foresee ever complicating the design. I don't think I could do it and keep my remaining sanity :)

Steel: 1/8" O1
Handle: Coyote Micarta
OAL including tang: 4.5"

First Actual SEWO Listing!

Just wanted to give a quick shout out to Chris Scalley and River Through Atlanta. I solicited a few local companies for inclusion in my experimental SEWO Directory, and they are now officially the first participating guide service. Thank you!

Svord Peasant Knife Rehandle

Folding knives have been somewhat off my radar for a few years. It’s been pretty much fixed blades or nothin’, but after dealing with the carry difficulties presented by a fixed blade in an office setting, the folding knife has resurfaced as the easiest option to always have a blade at hand. In the bushcraft community, Opinels and Svords seem to be the ruling folders, and they are both priced at a point that I didn’t mind paying to experiment on. The Svord came with the blue plastic handle, and although the steel is of reportedly good quality, the finish on the knife was on par with what would be expected for $15 – not great, but good enough. It is a knife that calls itself the “Peasant,” after all!

Knowing that the handle was going to be tossed aside, the original remodel was based around a pair of 1/4″ thick Leopardwood scales. It’s a beautiful red-brown wood with a super interesting grain, and sadly, the scales were wasted by some poor initial planning on my part. I’ve matured (or whatever you want to call it) to the point where I am self-aware of my tendency to rush a first attempt at anything. The blade on the Svord swivels around a pivot screw, as do most folders, but hits a brass stop, both in it’s open and closed position. It’s an ingenious design, and ancient apparently, but it also makes laying out the handle an exercise in accuracy.

After screwing up the Leopardwood, I fell back to some thin brown Micarta that was already on hand, and a simple, straight, and thin handle profile. I reground the blade a tad, blued it, added an aluminum liner, and swapped out the screws for black hardware. It doesn’t match the vision I had in my head when I started the project, but it’s going to be a good little pocket blade, I think.

As it was:

As it is:

Latest Project - SEWO Guide and Outfitter Directory

Although spending time outdoors is one of my greatest passions, it's a fact that what I do indoors takes up substantially more time and energy in my life. I sometimes get the itch to hijack my life path and try something different and outdoorsy as a profession, but I've yet to do it, and with kids and family present, and important to me, I'm not willing to risk a lot to make it happen. So instead, I look for ways to make the two work together, and as I've been taking web development class for a few months with intentions to work toward a full time web dev career, I've had an idea for a project that I've recently finished the front end for. It's basically a directory of wilderness guides and outfitters across the southeast, with the ability for guides to submit their own company, navigation by state or by activity, and the ability for users to submit reviews. I'm not sure if there is a ton of demand for a directory like this here in the SE, but the purpose was more to see if I could, and I am happy with how it's turned out. I keep adding features to it, so I'm sure it'll evolve some more, but mostly, it looks and works how I'd hoped it would. If you're so inclined, you can check out the live demo here.

Evening on the Shore

The weather has been excellent, the plants are starting to turn green again, and the Allatoona shoreline is still low enough to walk. This was the view from the northwest end of the lake on the Vineyard Mountain trail.

Spring is good!

Little River Canyon - A Visit to Northeast Alabama

Alabama has long been a pass-through state for me, mostly travelling between Texas and Georgia or SW Florida and Georgia. It feels a lot like Georgia in terms of terrain and landscape, and it wasn't until a skills class with RAT a couple years back that I saw some of the beauty that the state has to offer. Starting about the same time, my wife and I met and became close friends with another couple - the husband graduated from Jacksonville State University and the wife is native to NE AL. He's an accomplished kayaker that teaches with Berry's BOLD program, and he has often mentioned Little River as a place worth exploring.

Fly Fishing Video - Spatsizi by Todd Moen

This is a great video from Todd Moen's CatchMagazine YouTube channel. I can't get enough of scenic fly fishing videos here lately. I am blaming it on the winter!

Live Free or Die

Not sure if this is a popular one, since there hasn't been a ton of discussion about it that I've seen or heard, but the National Geographic show Live Free or Die has been a really enjoyable way to spend 40 minutes here and there. The show simply follows 5 people as they try to live different types of very simple, close-to-the-ground lifestyles in NC, GA, and CA.