Browncoats Unite!

Browncoats Unite!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Improvised slingshot, made it for my cousins we're going to visit for Thanksgiving.

I think they'll like it...

Willow Bow Part Zwei

Ja I looked up the German word for "two", lol.
Here's a pic of my completed willow bow--now with decoration!

What do you think?

Man I'm really enjoying this new hobby...

Aquatabs! (review)...

Hey, I just did a video testing and review of Aquatabs, a non-FDA-approved water-purification tablet product.
Found em on Ebay for $10, but they're not approved for use in the US so I wanted to be sure they worked before I rely on em in a bad situation.
Here's the vid!



Monday, November 24, 2008

Willow Bow...

Hey all,
Just made a willow bow the other night for to use in my group project for my OT Prophets class...we're doing a video titled "Selected Scenes from the Life of Elisha" and this is one of my contributions to the video...unfortunately we didn't get to do the scene where it would be used, but I did carry it around so it got some screen time.

I left the bark on the front to help keep it from splitting as I've read that willow is indeed a poor choice for bows...
I think it would be OK for small game, provided I straighten the arrows and fletch them for accuracy.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Possibles Bag/Haversack Update 1...

Hey All,
I'm back, I'm bad, and I'm rockin' a sweet-looking haversack made by my own hands.
I recently dyed it with a single package of RIT dye. I may, however, go and get another package to darken the color:

Comments and Criticisms welcomed alike!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Hemlock Tea...

A couple of weeks ago I made some hemlock tea (not poison hemlock silly!). Made it over a fire in the woods.
It wasn't bad at all. I looked up "hemlock tea" and search results indicate it was used (back in the day) to prevent or cure scurvy, as an astringent, as a diuretic, and when concentrated, as a method of curing abcesses in the nether regions.
I saw Michel Blomgren's videos and in them he makes spruce needle tea, says it has some sugar in it. I wonder if hemlock needles have sugars...


Possibles Bag/Satchel/Haversack...

There's a certain satisfaction to be found in making one's own gear.
This is my homemade haversack/possibles bag. I made it out of a used dropcloth.
All I did was double it up, double it up again, sew it up, add some finishing touches, and that was that. I intend to dye it dark brown with some RIT dye once I can get my hands on some.

Some pics:

Thanks for looking!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

BOB (Bugout Bag)...

This is my current bugout bag that I keep in my room at college. In addition to the standard longer-term supplies (lots of batteries, some food, etc) it also contains much of my camping gear, so whenever some friends and I camp out during breaks I just sort through it and take what I need, and leave the rest packed up.

The bag is one I got from Cabelas a few years back, a German Military Mountain Rucksack...very handy if you only need a small pack. It's really very decent, though I don't particularly like the shortness of the padded portion of the straps--which of course is why I pimped it

Some pics:

When I was adding webbing to make it more comfy:

Looks crappy but feels much better on the shoulders now.

Loaded up:

I have a pretty-well-preserved 1961-era Field Pack that I found at the Giant Church Yard Sale at home with some stuff in it for the parents:

And also a couple of others that could double as a Go bag in a pinch.

My favorite smallish bag is either my Maratac Bailout Bag:

Or perhaps an Eagle Active Shooter bag that I use for a med kit, got it on the cheap (this is a pic of the cordwrap I did on it):

Someday I hope to have either a TADGear, Kifaru, Eagle, or maybe one of those original frameless rucks, I've heard they're REALLY comfy...but a bit on the expensive side.

Woods Bed...

Here's a pic of the woods bed I made last night but ended up wimping out on.

I should've brought my mummy bag, and taken my meds...then I could've fallen asleep. I did however, make a fire with dryer lint and a firesteel--that was cool

Some things I will do differently next time:

1. Take my pills--they knock me out.
2. Bring another blanket, and my poncho to wrap up in. Vapor barriers help on cold nights.
3. Build the fire closer to the tarp--mainly I didn't want to catch sparks on the nylon.
4. Use more hemlock boughs...I didn't want to cut a whole ton of live stuff. Next time I will though. More boughs= More insulation.
5. Stretch the tarp out more--it was sagging a great deal.
6. LEAVE HOME EARLIER (before dark)...this time I went up around 5pm, and it's been getting darker faster now.

All told I'm happy with the setup. Thankfully I was close enough to walk home before 9:30pm.

Salix Alba (Willow Bark) Medicinal Uses...

Willow bark contains salicylic acid. It was one of the first pain relievers, noted by Hippocrates for its medicinal uses. It can be harvested from pretty much any willow as far as I know, but don't quote me on that. As always, consult your field guide or an herbalist to ensure that your trees are safe to use.
Willow bark should not be given to children as it can contribute to Reye's syndrome, just like aspirin can.
Here's the tea recipe:

"General dosing guidelines for willow bark are as follows:

* Dried herb (used to make tea): boil 1 to 2 tsp of dried bark in 8 oz of water and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes; let steep for 1 hour; drink 3 to 4 cups daily"

It can also be boiled and used as a poultice by binding it with a cravat bandage against the wound, wart, or affected muscle group.

This is an anti-inflammatory as well as a pain reliever, so it is also good for treating fevers. In that case, take it orally as a tea.

Here's one place I got my info from:

And another:

As always, use only when needed, and don't take in excess. Just because it's an herb doesn't mean it's "just food"! My aunt made the mistake of believing that herbs are not drugs, and paid the price. The combination of her stomach cancer and the effects on her kidneys from taking too many herbal remedies ended in her demise. Remember that herbs are what modern drugs are made from in many cases...

I hope you find this useful.

Flint and Steel Review...

A "review" of my new flint and steel kit--every kit shipped by Vern's Flint and Steel is tested to make sure it will work (not like you can make one that doesn't work lol).



My favorite firestarting material is, hands-down, punkwood.
My father showed it to me one day when I was young; we were taking a long walk through my grandpa's woods (I think we were deer hunting) and we came upon a gargantuan downed pine or hemlock.

Without pause, he took out a knife and began digging at the rotten snag. Within a minute he reached in and pulled out a section of pulpy, rotten, sap-impregnated, red-colored wood refuse.

"Punk." he stated.
"Punk?" I echoed. "Me?"
"This stuff. It's great for starting a fire, even in a steady cold rain. If you are lost, in a pine or hemlock woods, look for this stuff. Try to find a standing or snagged, rotten log and then dig in. It'll be waiting for you."

Eight or ten years later, last weekend, I pulled out my pocketknife and cut a wedge of dead hemlock from a standing deadwood. A few seconds later I had a ziplock baggie full of the good stuff--ready for my next camping adventure or firebuilding emergency.

When all else fails--Look for punk.

ETA: I've been told that hemlock isn't the best choice for punkwood, rather, it's best to look for pine, spruce, or hardwood snags.

Shotshell Candle...

This is something my Great Grandpa taught me, he said he used to carry one in his pocket while hunting to more easily start a fire in the woods.
All it is is a 16 gauge shotshell, the old cardboard type. These may be hard to find depending on where you live and who you know, but look around.

Then you melt wax and a wick and drip it inside. This one I didn't do right, I just took a small candle, carved it down, and shoved it inside. If I had had the time and materials I would've done it right, but alas, it was not to be.

My Great Grandpa used to slip the 16 gauge candle inside a plastic 10-gauge shell to keep it dry and protected, but I don't think I have any 10ga shells. But it's worth a shot!
The beauty of this is that as the candle burns down, so can the waxed cardboard shell; it won't melt like plastic and burn your hands or smell bad.


New Youtubing...

I've started making home videos on preparedness and bushcrafting skills and gear.
In this episode I show my personal go bag, this is the kit I'd take if I couldn't carry my entire BOB off with me. (Very lightweight satchel).
One thing I did not mention was that I would very likely bring a bottle of water along as well if possible; I find it's better to take water to start with than to try to purify it on the run, since dehydration is a big killer (perhaps the biggest) next to hypothermia.
Sorry for the poor overall quality; there's not much light in these rooms and I don't have a great voice. The next one will be better produced; I'll probably do it outside next time.


Hatchet Project...

A while back I fixed up an old hatchet.
Years before I'd put it on a new handle, but it needed some serious work, so I got out the bastard file and took it down to the basement and got to work.

This is what resulted:

I added the handle wrap by boring holes through the handle with a brace and bit (time consuming but couldn't find the cordless drill).

Thanks for looking!

Ditty Bags/Stuff Sacks

Found a couple of pairs of pants lying about in the college Flats' laundry room, nobody to claim them so I took em and made some stuff sacks out of em.

Waxed Cotton Thread, Army-issue.
1 Glow End
1 regular cord end
2 cordlocks
2 plastic coathangers (for the two on the left).

If I could do em over I'd do the one on the far left correctly, seems I forgot to turn it inside out before I began sewing so it looks goofy.
I used the cut-up coathangers to stiffen the bottoms of the two sacks on the left, seemed like a good idea, not so sure. I figured it'd be easier to put stuff in, and it would give it structure. I'll let you know how they work out.

Thanks for looking,

ETA: I recently removed the coathanger pieces from both bags and made another, bigger one from the remaining pant leg. I'm quite happy with them:)

New Interests...

Hey all,
I'm starting to get interested in Bushcraft/Primitive Living/Preparedness skills, techniques and the like.
This is my new blog on that topic. Most of the posts in the next few weeks will be copied from my posts on the BushcraftUSA forums.