Category Archives: General Website Chatter

Everyday Chit Chat

The New Year Is In.

Happy New Year.

Well the new year is in and things are slowly getting under way.

Leon is steadily working on the feedback forum so that clients can ask questions or make suggestions. It won’t be too long before the forum is ready to be integrated fully into the rest of the website.

The forum is closed so you can only view it if you have registered with us, otherwise you get a page that shows the rules and regulations for the site. Currently the admin of the site is being run wholly by Leon, but Neil and Luke will be joining the site as administrators when they get a chance and their login details.

Neil is currently working his rear end off in the south east of the country whilst Leon is waiting to hear about the operation he’s getting on one of his knees (currently he only knows it will be in a two or three months time).

Leon is also going to be redoing the gallery, adding new pictures and creating folders to peruse through, this will be made a lot easier now that he’s finally got JAlbum sorted.

Leon is also looking forward to going away with Footsteps of Discovery towards the end of the month to teach the army again. It’ll be good to see Spanner, KP and the boys again.

We wish one and all a Happy New Year and hope that it brings all the good things you deserve,


Guy Stainthorp Custom Knives

Earlier this year I contacted Guy Stainthorp about making a knife, I originally asked about blade blanks, well you’ll never know if you don’t ask, before being politely informed that he doesn’t make blade blanks.

The commission that I wanted Guy to take on was actually a copy of another knife with a few modifications made to it. This is going to end up sounding like a review of both knives, however this is just my opinion.

To explain I own a Benchmade BM210 “Activator”, the general idea behind the knife is actually not bad, however in my opinion it’s let down by a number of it’s features.

It has G10 scales which are wafer thin, This is not very comfortable for me. My hands are not huge they are about normal size and I can’t quite get a really good grip of the knife.

The full flat grind has a huge secondary bevel that means that unless you want to spend a hell of a long time on a diamond stone grinding away (the original BM210 was made in S30V even though it is now available in D2 as well) you’ll never get this thing truly flat, so you end up with a knife which has a cutting edge which is convexed.

The BM210 itself is quite a pretty little knife so Benchmade have given it a full grain leather sheath, unfortunately it’s a butt ugly pancake of leather. I also do leather work and if I turned out something that looked like that I would be embarrassed to sell it.

So what I wanted was a knife made from a steel that I would like (there’s nothing wrong with S30V, I just prefer other steels to it), so we went with RWL34. The knife had to have the same profile as the activator, however I wanted a Scandinavian Grind placed on the knife as I do a fair amount of wood working. The scales were to be replaced with Black Micarta and were to be a bit thicker than the original ones as I like something that I can grip and last but not least it was to have Kydex sheath that had the facility for me to wear it neck carry or on a belt if required.

Guy Stainthorp Knife

The picture Guy sent to me

I took receipt of the knife just before going off to teach the Army Pre Selection Survival Training with Footsteps Of Discovery so here are my initial impressions of the knife.

The knife when used for small game prep is very good, the slightly larger handle allows me to grip it tightly and maintain control even if it’s covered in slime. When carving for prolonged periods the slightly larger handle means it’s less tiring for my hand in use.

The Scandi Grind bevels allow me to carve very good precise feather sticks, it also allows a great deal of control and fine work when carving trap triggers.

When the knife arrived it was shaving sharp, it hasn’t been sharpened yet because the edge retention is very good, it’s only been used for making feather sticks, carving pot hangers, cutting string, carving trap triggers, a bit of splitting and skinning bunnies for three days. It is still however shaving sharp even though I battened it through a knot in some of the sticks I was splitting.

The Kydex sheath has a very secure lockup, it’s small, elegant, lightweight and easy to clean should I forget and place a blood and gut smeared knife back into it by accident. Before this there was probably only one person I would have gone to for a Kydex sheath and that would have been Chris Claycomb. Guy’s work is up there with Chris’s.

These are my initial observations on the knife, however I must say that I am pretty much delighted with the knife and with Guy’s “Can Do” sort of attitude.

After a few more months I’ll post an update to say how it’s faired over time along with some photos of it in use and what it’s capable of.

A quick update

Well I’ve been relatively busy, from working with private clients through to working with the Freshmen Course IT Department at the University of Wales it’s been pretty good. Recently I got back from working with the Army Pre Selection Course run out of Duchy College. Generally they’re a good bunch, but I think they’ll have a bit of a shock if they get into training. When I got back I had to go see the doc as I have problems with my right knee, I have to arrange some x-rays.

Beyond that it’s coming up on Christmas and I am running around like a looney trying to get everything sorted prior to the 24th.

Looking forward to my brother getting down here and also to the new year, hopefully this year was a pre-cursor of things to come and I’ll be a fair bit more busy than even this year.

Dirty, Sexy,Things!!! & Being Busy!!!

Have’nt had a chance to get on here for a while as things have been so busy (it’s brilliant!).
First things first – it looks like the edition of Dirty Sexy Things (the one we were involved with the shooting of) is being screened on Monday night on E4 @ 10.00pm. Who knows what the finished article will be like, but it was lots of fun – and everyone was really nice.
We are running sessions at Forgewood campsite again this year and it has been reallly well recieved. August sees us at Bedgebury Camping too!
Both sites are featured in the “Cool Camping” guides and are really “chilled” (a great place for a great few days away, where you can have real fires and relax among the trees).
Well Leon & I both have our teaching boxes to check & re-pack ready for the weekend, so I must sign off.

This is where it all happens!

Hippos, hedgerows & Facebook!

A while since I posted last I know!
The season started early for us (if it did actually stop at all!) and it has been reallly busy with lots of time in the woods.
The weather has been amazing and it has definately an effect on everyone.
As well as our regular clients the last few weeks has seen us working with fashion models (getting back to nature) in the woods for a tv production company, to some large groups of family campers at Forgewood campsite and this weekend just passed, the “Row Zambezi” team (survival skills, plus a dawn “hippo-attack”).
We have also set up a Facebook page, where people can post photos of time spent with us (its looking good- go have a look).

Tracks,trails & disappearing snow

Well we got out together for a walk (Leon is in Devon & I’m normally in Kent), the festive season has taken me to Devon to spend time with my family (the usual – eat too much – drink too much, the same as everyone else over Christmas).
When we meet up we normally head for the moors – either the open tops and wild expanses of the north or south moors or a wander into one of the many wooded valleys.
The moors today was a place of crumbling atmospheres, the mist was clinging heavily to the ground and so we came off the tops and headed for the woods, a place that time seems to have forgotten.
The moss hangs from the trees and clings to the rocks like an expensive carpet.
The melt from the snow had caused the river to rise to almost deafening levels.
The focus of our day was one of the most elusive residents of the valley – the otter.
On certain parts of the river the local otters live and if you choose your time and look in the right places, then you can see plenty of evidence that the population is healthy and still as secretive as ever.

No Snow…..

Just had another few days out teaching bushcraft.
Excitedly I had checked the forecasts for the week (snow in northern Britian and cold).
I packed accordingly – plently of layers, my new homemade underblanket for the hammock (and my snow shovel just in case!!).
Well it was cold …. and very wet. Just keeping the students warmer than the bunnies they were preparing was a battle. My down-time between groups was spent sawing and splitting fire wood.
My usual carving by the fireside in the evening was modified to short bursts, stopping to re-warm my hands by the fire.
The only snow I saw was just starting to fall as I arrived home!
But hey the holidays are on the way so maybe a night in a quinze will still happen.
Here are a couple of photos of some more carving (but this one is for me!!)

Me Time…….

This year ……. where has it gone?

It has been a busy year, I seem to have been on jobs everywhere! Scotland, Cornwall, Wales and just about everywhere in between.

But now things start to wind down a little and I get to spend some time in the woods (we spend most of our time in the woods, I know, but normally we have clients along and our focus is on them). So at this time of year is when you get a chance to try new things, experiment with new recipes or learn new skills.

I got up  early, packed my daysack, called in to see a client for a job for next year and then headed for a little patch of local woodland that is always quiet. Under my arm I carried a freshly cut log of Alder that I had picked up on a job ealier in the week.

So what shall I make?…….Another spoon? (I have hundreds!!!)……A Kuksa?………Then I remembered……..the festive season is approaching (one of the joys of not having a regular tv – I’m not bombarded with Xmas adverts from the end of September onwards!).

So here are a couple of pictures of what I made…..

Looking like I am going to be a little busy.

Well things have been changing over the last year or so. I currently have a certain amount of leatherwork, some teaching and the dreaded changes to the site are due.

The leatherwork is not really a problem, I keep my clients informed and let them know if the delays will be longer than stated in the terms and conditions (this is due to other work constraints and some family matters). The teaching is great and I am thoroughly enjoying it.

The website on the other hand is always one of those things that makes me cringe. Neil has asked for certain things to be done, new web pages added, old web pages removed and de-registered from the search engines and a change of fonts. It doesn’t initially sound like a lot, but effectively it will involve changes to every single web page on the website.

I am not complaining as I have agreed that some of the changes need to be done, I just dread having to do them.

There are also certain things that need to be done to the gallery (we’ve been talking about categories being introduced along with reviewing and adding pictures).

Beyond that I keep checking Al Marconi’s website, he was saying that he was looking at releasing a new album, so I am keeping my ear to the net and at the moment I am looking after my Mum’s German Spitz “Banshee” who is a little madame at times, but she is also exceptionally cute 😀