Montag, 6. Juli 2020

Death throes of the terror squid - and still I am alive

This is a strange post, stranger even than usual. For the world is a very different place than it was some months ago.

On a private notion, my beloved mother died at the age of 85 on the 8th of December, and that was hard, even though I had time to make my peace with that fact for years. Now I am caring for her partner, who is of not exactly good health, too, and that´s hard.

I lost a lot of so-called friends, too, `nuff said. I lost any opportunity to forge, or craft, or do anything with my hands, in the process, too. I tried to start a business with forging with kids and doing forging tutorials and lectures and stuff... and the lockdown came, and left me with nothing, no chance to earn any money, no funding, no dole, since I have inherited money, which is not worth menitioning, and another inheritance is still in the process, because my cousin died, too. This is an interesting experience.

For I still find my ressilience. I find it in the woods, period. I find it stumpsitting and foraging for food, which has become a matter of actual survival, but it does not matter much. When I can get human food I eat it. When I eat roadkill, that´s also okay. When I dumpster dine, I dumpster dine.

And what is actually happening is, that I seem to be able to put a different perspective on things.

Artists in Germany suffer, and most of them suffer severely, and most existentially. There is actual hunger, and actual need. You can go to holidays, flying in an airplane where you sit shoulder to shoulder for hours on end, but cannot do forging tutorials with more than five people. Medical personnel suffer from fatigue, and while they get a pat on the shoulder, they remain underpaid, and overworked, because it is far more important for the heads of state to sponsor air traffic corporations. Museums, theatres and social insitutions are closed, while big-term automobile corporations get a sponsoring of tax money.

Oh, no, I do not buy into their conspiracy theories, for they are just methods of wagging the dog. Might even be those douchebags are being paid, but I don´t know at all. And I could not care less.

Additionally, and not without some wicked humour, I must say that there´s an idiomatic turn in Germany to classsify someone as exceptionally stupid and raving mad. It goes like "Der hat wohl Lack gesoffen", which translates as "He must have drunk paint stripper". I never thought I had to learn that there some day will be a head of state of whichever country and whatever suggesting we should get rid of a pandemic by drinking Chlorox, disinfectant or paint stripper or shove a torchlight up our arse.

In the meantime, global warming proceeds and rapidly accelerates. we are not facing the anticipated rise in average temperature of 2°C, which would have been bad, but 4°C in all. Look on the UN website, where I got my info. Scientists of the UN fear that with this rapid rise, organized society will fail.

And we fight each other because someone has more pigments than another? We claim we are the chosen ones? Yeah, fight each other as much as you want. Vegans fight vegetarians because they still eat dairy products, and everyone hates each other just because he is first in the queue at the grocery store. Yeah, fight and hate each other as uch as you want.

It actually IS my business, but I do not care. I don´t hate "them", "the others" or "the whites" or "the blacks". I do not even hate the fascists and Nazis of all cultures.

To be frank, this is the end of our civilization. There is no way out of this, since we will not develop new standards of morale, or at least return to the ones we still had in the `80`s or even the `90`s. And 80% of the population will die. Then all will start again, and if enough of us die, maybe the ecosystem will regenerate again, until we rise again to destroy everything again. We could even now change a lot of things, and it would be dead simple.

For we just needed to do less, not more. If we stopped living a life of hate, greed and lust, of madness and the frenzy of still more, more, more, we could calm down and find our resilience.

In survival lore there is an idiom called STOP. This is short for Stop-Think-Orienteer-Plan.

Mankind is in a survival situation. But do we stop and even think? No, we don´t. We run even faster. We buy products we do not need, we cultivate our adipositas and are proud of our incapacity even for everyday challenges. We lack data on the current crisis, but we accelerate even faster.

The fat cats and oligarchs just pour fuel into the fire of our greed and insanity.

I, however, will not put my hand into this chopping mill anymore. Chance is, I will die, and soon. But until then, I will live. And at least try to erase some of the lies I have been force-fed all my life.

There are scandals in the meat industry, and please get me right, even the term "meat industry" is a perversion to start with. I eat meat, and I will continue to do so. Try to kill me for it, but you might not succeed. But the culprit is, okay, we say, so just let´s stop to eat meat and all will be good. And we start to use surrogates, mainly from the soy industry, with one famed corporation at the head of the market, whose explicitly stated  goal is to gain world dominion by dominating the food and crops market. You cannot change this system from within. Putting yourself outside of it, however, seems to be impossible, and, to be honest, most will die, because they are simply not tough enough, have next to no life skills and are utterly dependant on the system. When it collapses, these will whine and get aggressive and die in the process. Capitalism will become more and more totalitarian. We are already seeing the first measures taken. For the fat cats and oligarchs know full well that this system is failing and try to milk as much profit out of it as possible until it is time. They could not care less for the lives of billions. But the good news is that these are the death throes of the leviathan. The Third Reich endured for 16 years. It was hell on earth, and we will live in an even worse hell on earth. But any human societal system will be purged by climatic catastrophes, and we do not have to endure so much longer.  We have some five years until everything starts, give or take one to three.

And, before you get me wrong, I am not an advocate of hoarding weapons and ammo for the apocalypse. Survival will be a matter of what always made humans survive. Even if the system collapses - and might even be there´s still hope - we need ideas and cooperation and resourcefulness far more than firepower. A garden is a more powerful weapon against global warming and hunger, and knowledge a better asset than money. Of course there will be looting and pillaging, and we are faced with the hardest time mankind ever in its history had to face, and there´s a good chance this is the point of our extinction.

There is not much to add to this, and there is no cardinal way to survive this. We had the worst leaders at the worst of times ever. Is there?

There is a reason that in every story and every religion there is one aspect that can save your butt:

Love.

Not flagellant hysteria, not hate, greed and war and violence. Love.

I just want to say: Take care. Care for each other, for your neighbours, for the elderly, for the weak, for those who had bad luck or manoeuvered themselves into a fix. Don´t judge, just lend a hand. And talk. Talk, talk, talk. Learn what the other guy or gal is about. We are all in this together, and we don´t need someone to blame. We need solutions, and we need to live again. For the foundation of our society was what in every philosophy, every story, every myth and every religion on this earth is called the cardinal sins. Don´t expect people to help you, though. Just take care. Simple as that, and don´t panic.

Montag, 23. Dezember 2019

Knifemaking tutorial with a bunch of very nice people (yes, I am still alive)


 So, folks, it has been quite some time since you have read anything on this blog, and chance is, you already lost patience with me. I had been meaning to write for quite a long time now, but alas, life got the upper hand on me. I lost my day job earlier this year and am still more or less unemployed. A brief hope of working for a sustainability project in Schwelm failed due to... well... let me put it that way... HUMANS! Then my beloved mother got severely ill with liver cancer and died on December, the 8th, after 85 years of making this world a better place. So you can bet I had other things on my mind than writing, and I had to orienteer myself and put a load of things into perspective. For instance, I had to learn the hard way that friends are foes who attack from behind. At least some are. Others simply pop up and help you out when you least expect it. Still others might not yet be called friends, but help you out anyway.

Anke, Marcus and their kids are of the latter stamp. So, we did a knifemaking tutorial for them on their little estate in the countryside.




We forged some semi- integral hunting / bushcraft knives with a rattail tang with the adults.



Willy gladly agreed to come along and did as great a job as usual, also forging with kids.



We forged in pairs and I let the folks do a bit of work, too. 



Here you can see we burned the tang in. While it can be done without pre-drilling a hole, we drilled a tiny hole in first. This helps to center the red-hot-tang and minimizes the chance of the wood splitting or the tang bending. You might need several heats to get the tang through. The advantage of burning the tang into the handle is that you get a very good fit, which is important if you use rozzil (cutler´s cement) or natural resin. We used yew wood for the handles. If using yew, make sure, the workplace is well vented; it might not be very good for your health to inhale the fumes! If the wood starts to burn, you can simply blow off the flames or quench it in the bucket. The wood must be completely dried out for the procedure to minimize cracking!



If you forge in pairs, make sure you stay in rhythm. It might be best you make appointments concerning the "smithing language", or else there might be some dangers involved. When doing this with kids, you also might want to keep your stroke somewhat lower than that, also to minimize danger.



Anke had provided us with some delicious pulled pork from the dutch oven and some quality beverages. When we called it a day to commence again come January, we had a hearty and outright delicious meal and a beer... and a chat with really great people. It was not just a tutorial, but a ball and a party to us, and real good fun. In a shitty time of my life, I really look forward to part II of the tutorial, where we will to the quenching and tempering and grinding stuff and mount the handles.

And I promise not to keep you waiting THAT long again. ;-)

Mittwoch, 11. September 2019

Victorinox New ranger review

 So folks, finally a new knife post... you have asked for it, and here it is. I am personally growing really fond of some simple Swiss army knives for various reasons. Now there is nothing wrong with a good sturdy bushcraft knife, and for a backwoods outing, it will always be my primary choice. But a Swiss army knife is sort of politically more correct, as much as I hate speaking the word of these controlmongers. But that is not all there is to it. To be quite honest, there is little more you need for a stroll in the woods. I share a documentation with you with the all-famous hero of the Swiss knife, Felix Immler (visit his channel here: https://www.youtube.com/user/Taschenmesserbuch/videos?view=0&shelf_id=2&sort=p&app=desktop), which might open your eyes. I simply like the atmosphere of the knives. They invoque images of sitting by a creek and whittling away or having a snack with grandpa. They are a really proven design and offer a versatility few other tools can offer, but they are a bit more handy than a multi-tool plier. Also I have grown really fond of the new models with walnut scales and have used them now extensively for several years. For example, the second from right is my own Vic forester, which virtually rides in my pocket every day. The effect on the wood you can see when compared to the knife of the magic troll on the far right, which is a backup and finds its place in her EDC rucksack. The huntsman on the far left is the second knife in my pocket, because it offers some additional shears, a hook, a small blade for detail whittling and more useful tools like the awl and saw, corkscrew caplifter and can opener. My newest addition is the New ranger, which is the successor of the Wenger New Ranger. An interesting fact is that, as Wenger went bankrupt after the 9/11 incidents and the following judicial mayhem, Victorinox took over the Délemont facilities and all employees. Also they have a policy that the management must not get more than six times the salary than the lowest fee. But, fact is fact, and fact is that the New Ranger is one hell of a knife.
 The knife offers beautiful walnut scales, which are, to be honest, a bit thick to my liking, but a file and some sandpaper changed that and now it is a really handy user that rolls and rocks in the hand like a cinch. Out of the box the saw and main blade came razor sharp as usual. You can bet on that... I have never encountered a Vic or Wenger knife that did not shave outta the box. A real upgrade towards the old Wenger is the tin can opener, which now cuts in a forward motion. The difference to the forester caplifter, which has a liner block, it has no locking mechanism, which makes it a little less usable as a prybar, but as is, the spring has enough stay to keep you relatively safe.
 Also, the awl is now sharpened, which makes it a cinch when drilling or punching holes or repairing leather...

The corkscrew is a nice addition which also makes it a valuable addition for a nice picknick outing with a bottle of wine and some good cheese and suasage... which I admit I am a more than a bit partial to... ;-) 
 Like that, see? ;-)
That video is in German, but it really transports the spirit of this kind of knife. Enjoy! For some reading into the topic, look here:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Swiss-Army-Knife-Book-Projects/dp/0711238898

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Werken-mit-dem-Taschenmesser-unterwegs/dp/3038008338/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Werken+mit+dem+Taschenmesser&qid=1568210373&s=books&sr=1-1

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Victorinox-Swiss-Knife-Whittling-Easy/dp/1565239091/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=Felix+Immler&qid=1568210427&s=books&sr=1-3

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Victorinox-Swiss-Army-Knife-Whittling/dp/1497100712/ref=sr_1_4?keywords=Felix+Immler&qid=1568210455&s=books&sr=1-4

There are a lot of cool books on the topic, and a lot of nice projects to make, especially with kids.


Montag, 2. September 2019

Stripping nettles for fibres (German in video)

Long time, no see, folks. I want to use the occasion to apologize. `Course it is easy to blame others for one´s own mistakes, but fact is, there have been a lot of shitty things that have occured to me that were beyond my control. So this blog is in a sorry state. ´Nuff said, I sincerely thank you for your patience!

This video is somewhat important to me... the magic troll and I just sat in the woods and looked at the sunlight through the leaves. Now the magic troll is absolutely ace when fibres are concerned, and fact is, I had somewhat a hard time getting to terms with cordage-so this little really agreeable outing helped a lot. The language is in German, but I guess the pictures tell a story of their own, and will help people trying to figure out one way to do it as much as that session helped me myself. And, of course, one thing is crucial: Don´t make a big fuss, just get out and try it. Make it sustainable, of course, but don´t be shy, just try! ;-)

Bild könnte enthalten: 1 Person, sitzt, Baum, Schuhe, im Freien und NaturBild könnte enthalten: eine oder mehrere Personen und im FreienBild könnte enthalten: Pflanze und im Freien

Sonntag, 30. Juni 2019

The beast in cutting: First test of the Nepal Khukuri House Seax

I had asked Ambar to show my faithful readers something about the performance of the new seax we made in collaboration with https://nepalkhukurihouse.com/ and one of the finest retailers for knifemaking supplies, Scandinavian knives, bushcraft and camping equipment and fine art in Germany, www.nordisches-handwerk.de. While not exactly period and thusly maybe not the museum reenactors piece of cake, this knife is specially made to tailor the needs of anyone in need of a knife that can handle the rigors of a reenactment camp, a bushcraft outing or generalwork around the woods, the house and the garden.

Some of you might ask, what´s up with that old fart Fimbulmyrk doing advertising now? And those who know me know that I am not off my rocker for anything that does not fit my bill. This does, and I do this because I am convinced of the quality.It has always been a pain in the arse for me to see all these seaxes on reenactment fairs with more than modest quality. And of course you might say, K!, that guy´s cutting a bit of paper, so what, I have to cut through deer ribcages all of the time and need a knife for that. But these knives come checked for Rockwell hardness, and the Khuks come with 55HRC ABOVE the edge. If you know how a Khukuri is tempered, you know that the edge will be a lot harder still.

Also, both partners are working hard ona  sustainable partnership and fair shares for both parties. I am convinced, and I hope to be able to get myself one soon for testing. So,even if I am a bit behind schedule with my blog this year (apologies, folks! ;-) I have been through somewhat of a rough time...) - watch this place, this story is to be continued!

Dienstag, 25. Juni 2019

From the flames a beast is born-Seax collaboration





I feel very privileged to have made the acquaintance of Ambar Bahadur Bishwokama, a very accomplished swordsmith and knifemaker from Kathmandu and owner of KC Nepal (https://nepalkhukurihouse.com/). It´s obviously that I have developed a fascination with Nepalese cutlery and with the hard-working craftsmen who are able to create beautiful knives with next to no equipment. This is an inspiration to me, and this is what "Tribal Knifemaking" as we Westerners call it out of a grave misunderstanding, is all about. We tend to see this as romantic, but it is not. It is the way these guys make a living. And in my opinion, they can be very proud. It is not about the fancy tools, it is in the skills that make the knife.

Coincidentally, I also feel very privileged to have made the acquaintance of some Ms. Janet Fischer ;-), owner of www.nordisches-handwerk.de, retailer of fine Scandinavian and bushcraft knifes, materials and fine art in Germany, and chance is, they had a design for a seax lying about don´t doing anything. Some PMs on facebook later and we had a collaboration going, not always easy, but a communication no less (message included for a mad world). In fact, Ambar went outright enthusiastic about the knife and forged away in no time. 





The knives are made from high-carbon spring steel. And next time you whine about not having the equipment to start making knives or tools better shut up- this is how they do it the traditional way. Those are exactly the same tools common in Europe in the viking age. So, while the design of the knife might not exactly be period, the manufacturing process is actually nearly the same as they might have done it in the viking age.

Safety boots? Quit whining! Roughing out the tang... fullering tool? What you need is a hammer and tongs-and skill.
 


The handle roughly hewn...



...would not stay that way for long!

The finshed product surely does not fill the bill of some showcase viking, and of course it would not do for museum reenactors. Taking some liberties, you could see it as similar to some Anglo-Saxon types (See: Wheeler Seax typology) Image result for Wheeler Seax typology

But keep one thing in mind: In general, you can get a lot of knives for reenactment camp chores. And a lot of them are crap. I am meaning no offence, but there are a lot of smiths on reenactment frairs around thes parts who are better at drinking than at smithing, so to say. This knife is made like a Khukuri and quenched in the same manner. I hope to be able to provide you with a video of a brutal test soon. As far as I can say for now, I am very intrigued by the knife and that does not happen easily! 

You can get them soon from www.nordisches-handwerk.de in the shop or you can write them an Email at kontakt [ätt) nordisches minus handwerk dot de. 

Mittwoch, 6. Februar 2019

Developing a fascination with KC Nepal Khukuris

Now there are a load of Khuk´s around on the market. Some are decent, some are of subterranean quality, so to say. And some are legendary, and some deserve to be. In my humble opinion, the folks at the tiny Kathmandu smithy KC Nepal qualify. Talk is cheap.

Watch.

Enjoy.

And find their website here: www.nepalkhukuri.com

Also take note that I am not getting paid to say this, even if some of you may sense a bit of fish odour ;-). But these folks do it with a passion. They burn for what they do, they work hard, under circumstances most European smiths would mock at. People make fun of me because I use salvaged spring steel and other materials and not some heebie-jeebie-goobalahbah unobtanium steels, and they mock at me for using my hammer, my tongs and not much more, they laugh at me because I do not have hundreds and thousands of money to spend on tempering ovens and wuptity controllers ;-).

Fact is, it´s true. I don´t have the money, of course. But that is not all there is. It does not matter. If you don´t understand the passion, the fire and the fierce desire to always get better, you will not understand. I am fascinated by these guys, not because they are the "significant other". Not even by the quality of their knives, nor the bargain prices they offer. Even if I have little money, I would pay more for their work.

I am just a mere hobbyist, an amateur. But these guys do this shit for a living... and still yet, they burn with a fierce passion for their work. Even if I work with simple tools... I cannot even compare to them. It is not in the equipment, it´s in the mastery of the equipment you have.

Those who know me and have followed my blog know that I don´t just do "Tribal knifemaking" as a mere fashion fad (oh, yes, there ARE people around like that), but had the privilege to have had, one must sadly say, several "true" "tribal" knifemakers (they would whack me if they knew I called them thus) as tutors, the late Mielenko Bednarcz from St. Petersburg and Viktor Paukow, a smith from Kazakhstan, who was a tutor of mine from 2004 until 2014, both of which taught me a lot with sparse words, some brawls, a bit of Vodka and a lot of making me watch in awe.It was definitely no formal training I received. What they taught me, first and foremostly, is respect. 

And thusly, it is not that I would not, with a bit of time and preparation, be able to make a knife that would do similar things. It is not that it is about the "product". It is a matter of respect and modesty.

I don´t like the words, but for me it is part of Bushido. I don´t like the words, because they seem not to apply. Maybe you can see it that way: We live on a planet, and there are several different kinds of human beings on it. Some do what they want, some do what they can, and some do what they must, some do whichever is force-fed to them. 

I do not want to define them, because, even if I have the privilege to call Ambar a friend, even though we have never met in actual and most likely never will, which tells a story in itself, I know that we might have many similarities, but that there are differences, too. But this is exactly the point.

Sometimes I feel a bit ashamed of my fellow Westerners. I mean, while of course there are loads of guys and gals doing a really, really great job with so-called "modern equipment", most of the blades they produce go to fatcat, overweight nocturnal predators who would rather cut their own head off with a knife than peeling an onion. A knife somehow has become sort of a fetish, to be polished and admired, but not for actual use, for the rich. And then there are some of those knifemakers, mostly amateurs like me, who as I said sneer at a lack of equipment.

Try this, BSTDs... I doubt most of them would be capable to make a knife like this with modern equipment, let alone with the traditional setup. Don´t get me wrong... there is nothing romantic about forging that way. It´s back-breaking labour.

I know how it is to forge that way. I know how a herniated vertebral disc feels like. Tried that, tickles.

And this is why this will not be the last you have read about KC on my blog. Because they make excellent knives. Because they burn with passion for what they do. And because they fucking deserve it! 


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