Donnerstag, 26. November 2015

On the bench: Grosses Messer / Bauernwehr machete

Some novel inspiration came upon me with the venue of a 150 kg Beché power hammer (I have heard that tends to happen;-)), so I forged out the preform of a Grosses Messer, but without a crosspiece or Wehrnagel, but an integral bolster. Knives like this were actually historical and in use from the high medieval age up to the 19th century. In contrast to the Grosse Messer, a typically German, English and Scandinavian type of weapon, this was more of a common man´s farming tool. I made it from coil spring steel with a bit more carbon in it (roundabout 0,6%- 0,7%. There´s still a lot of work to be done.

Actually, to be honest, it started out as a Grosses Messer, but I made a mistake with the integral bolster-so no crosspiece. But as I tried the layout I found it extremely dexterous that way and I want to push it to learn a bit about the balance of swords. As is, I forged a taper in that will get more pronounced in the forging process. I want a knife that is an able chopper but could be used as a whittler;-). So, we´ll see how it goes.... I´ll keep you informed of course.

Mittwoch, 25. November 2015

New Gallo-Roman strikers for Tina

Tina, a friend of the magic troll´s and a mutual acquaintance wanted a striker, so here they come... Two firesteels inspired by Roman finds. File steel, of course... and selectively tempered (no annealing) in water. Wait, was that water? ;-) Yap, it was. Don´t do this with a thin knife blade, of course, but with a thickness of about 6 mm you can do this  to achieve a sharper quenching. You don´t want to drop a striker (any striker) onto a concrete floor, so you need to be careful a bit with them, but then it is not a prybar in the first.

Hippocras that should keep me drunk for a while ;-)

So, the world´s gone insane-and alcohol is not a solution, but killing off brain cells helps a bit to decrease the gap of stupidity*ggg*, just kidding, of course.

I have a new run of Hippocras/Theriak ready, brewed from:

-wild strawberries
-wild strawberry leaves
-blueberry leaves
-bramble berries and leaves
-nettle seeds
-lesser galangal
-angelica root
-common yarrow
-St. John´s wort

It is made after a 17th century Theriak recipe with inspiration by Konrad of Megenberg and Hildegard of Bingen. It has a very invigorating effect;-) and can be used as a medicinal against cough, flu, bad stomach, female complaints, as a digestive, stomach cramps, digestive problems and a mild antidepressive (provided you use it sensibly). Of course: Please remember to judge for yourself when to visit a doctor and when not to! I will not be made responsible for any adverse effects...

Always be cautious when using herbal concoctions, of course and blah, and blah, and blah...;-).

As a medicinal concoction, drink three mugs a day. You can also drink it warm, prepared just about the same as mulled wine.  

Progress on my En - Nep

 So, this is the En - Nep I started some time ago. Made from ancient (150years+) leaf spring I found in the woods, 10,4 cm long, 4mm thick.
 The layout is drawn along a whiplash line making it very whippy indeed in chopping and, together with the recurve edge line, makes for a very slicey blade in spite of the thickness.
 The balance point is on the index finger. It feels very light and dexterous and point-centered.
 Theoretically you could whirl it around your index finger. I tried;-).
The blade tapers towards the tip. Scales, by the way, are elk antler, fitted with mosaic pins. The bevel is a high convex one, and the temper is---selective of course.

A very interesting take on a field knife - Walther FBK

 I got a new knife for reviewing that is really stunning. Yeah, you all know I don´t like ´em tacticals any, but there is no mistaking there are a lot of dead functional designs out there. Let me introduce you now to the Walther FBK (Fixed Blade Knife). Not a creative name at all, but one can´t argue about it fitting;-).
 The knife comes in a very cool gift box. It´s made from sheet metal with foam fittings to hold the knife and sheath and goodies in. One can take out the furniture;-) and use it for a survival kit and first aids. Out of the box the knife came hair poppingly sharp. The blade is made from 12C27 with a somewhat Tanto-esque tip but with not so much of a pronounced "American Tanto" configuration, which is a good thing to aid in all-round capability. It is ground hollow towards the handle and has a flat grind in the tip. The handle looks like Kraton, and indeed it is a thin layer of Kraton rubber on G 10  scales. The blade is some 4,2 mm thick and the tang has serrations at the back and the rear end. It also has a clean lanyard "pin" built in that does a good job of keeping a potential lanyard from flopping all over the place.
 I  don´t know exactly, but the blade looks and feels like it has a selective temper. As is, it can stand up to a whole lot of abuse.
 The handle seems to be hollowed out. I could not remove one screw, so there´s no evidence yet. The screws can theoretically be removed with a coin. Interesting are the index grooves towards the rear end, which at first seem like a design fad; but moving it from the hammer to the reverse grip position shows that the knife is extremely dexterous in those movements. Okay, so best advice is not to move your knife around in a stress situation, but as is, the movement can be done with a lot of safety.
 The sturdy cordura sheath allows for a lot of carrying options. You can adjust the belt loop with press buttons, and there are MOLLE loops at the back that would even allow for horizontal carrying or mounting to an assault rig or daypack. The extra pouch easily carries a Vic locksmith and Swedish army firestick or a Vic multitool. The sheath looks a bit cheap, and could do with a bit less clumsiness, but we´re talking a knife with a selectively tempered (very probably) 12C27 blade and ingenious handle and grind that sells for 69€.
Overall I can say, of course I do not like the tactical design, but rationally I can´t say anything against it. The blade and handle are outright ingenious, and the sheath is something one can easily live with. The knife and sheath could be decontaminated, and overall it offers a whole lot of bargain for the money. I can´t say how much abuse it can take actually, but will maybe be able to provide you with a full - on test later. It certainly looks the part.

As is almost customary, apologies for the lousy pics, I have to get a new camera soon!

Donnerstag, 19. November 2015

It´s here


So, we all have talked about it in the bushcraft and survival community. We have marvelled about the ins and outs of catastrophe with a sick and morbid fascination. I had not exactly a part in it, because I always knew it would be shit.

It´s here. The end of the world as we know it. The end of freedom, the end of communication.

Terrorism is bad enough in itself, but the reactions of our respective governments will be but a tiny bit less bad. We will be faced with severe restrictions, we will be faced with death every day. One could either get depression or laugh one´s head off for the stupidity of mankind.

I refuse to give up. War is here, but I will survive as long as I can.

For my  readers: Here are some links for some sensible preparations (English versions available via the mainpage)

I want to add up to this with my very own random thoughts on preparing for SHTF, with no claim of perfection whatsoever. Just ideas to inspire your own way of dealing with it:

If disaster strikes home, get out of urban areas. Prepare bug-out sites, but, most importantly, build your own countryside networks. No farmer will be enthused if you get out to him when disaster has struck. In fact, many inhabitants of the countryside will kill you or at least treat you with hostile force.

If you get to know them first and offer your help, skill and firepower in an emergency and work together with them, they will take you. Remember nothing´s free. I am a blacksmith with a smithy that can operate without electricity, and have a load of tools that could be of a valuable service. I have several skills to offer and so I was able to generate several networks where they would take me and some other individuals.

If at all possible, build up neighbourhood assistance networks. Talk it through and dispatch responsibilities in case of an emergency.

Any Southerner of Arabian, Albanian, Syrian, Afghan, Pakistani, Turkish, Kurdish, Jordanian and similar provenience (any Islamic country), is a potential deadly enemy and should be treated as a potential lethal threat. Treat them with a respectful cautiousness. But don´t go arse over tit by getting lost in hate fantasies. Learn as much as you can about Muslim culture. Use your brain and common sense.

Don´t visit festivals, concerts, sports events or political demonstrations. If you get into a political demonstration by accident, address a police officer and ask him to show you a way around it.

Don´t visit urban areas after 10 pm. The woods are far safer. If possible, walk detours.

Don´t visit pubs or restaurants known for big events and a lot of customer traffic, if you can´t find it in you to leave it be altogether.

Don´t use trains or buses. Walk or ride a bicycle, if you have no car.

As long as it possible, visit a doctor to get yourself in the best possible state of body health before everything goes foul. Get your teeth done, for instance, before doctors can´t help you anymore and you need to visit the blacksmith. Less teeth mean less energy, because it can become hard to process the food available.

Become the gray man.

Train in a martial art, but also go for a run or ride at least three days a week. Train your endurance, but also your sprinting prowess. Every family member should do so.

Train walking barefoot. In case you lose your shoes, this will make you easy prey for any pursuer if you have not trained your feet.

Gather up provisions, resources and victualies. Gather non-electric tools. Learn how to use them. Learn homesteading techniques and start a garden, if possible. Even in a flat you can grow some herbs and vegetables. Keep your house apothecary well stocked. Include a tactical first aid kit and bandaging material also for bullet, arrow and cold steel weapon injuries. Prepare comfrey balm and keep medicinal alcohol ready for disinfection. And, most importantly, and even more important than just piling up stuff, revisit your first-aid skills. Get a refreshment course if necessary.

Minimize your trash. Get a heavy lid for your toilet with a heavy weight standing besides to keep rats out. Seal any holes in your walls  to keep critters at bay. Get killing rat and mousetraps and pesticides. Chance is, you will have to fight pest and critter animals more than actual terrorists when waste disposal comes to an end.

Get weapons legal to access. This means crossbows, slingshots, slings, bows, machetes, swords and muzzle-loaders in Germany (the latter require a "small" weapon license and a permit to handle explosives). Best use weapons with a tool character. For instance, a hoe´s handle will make a formidable and deadly pole weapon, as does a machete and an axe. Rid yourself of scruples and try to develop a killing attitude. This is crucial, because you can heap up as many weapons as you like if you are not capable of doing it. A skilled and determined fighter can use anything as a weapon, from PET bottles (even empty ones) to apples to kill, but if you lack the attitude, even automatic weapons will not do you any good. It is all in your head. Just remember a terrorist WILL kill you if you can´t get away, and if you can´t, you have to be faster. To be faster than a trained fighter (and they are) requires constant training.
Best run away, of course. But IF you are faced with a situation that requires killing, you have to keep in mind that it is you or them. I am not saying, however, that you should get yourself into trouble, and I cannot emphasize this enough. Just remember that IF the situation arises, there is no time for thinking.

Build your home with retreat in mind. Fortify the rooms up to a last respite, where you stock most of your weapons. Keep food and drink provisions in every room that can be defended, and a camping toilet in the last respite. Get a reinforced main door. If there are local restrictions on the layout of front doors, build it in behind the front door. Ideally, reinforce the whole entrance area with steel beams and concrete so that it can´t be levered out, even with hydraulic devices. Reinforce the respite room with a steel door and reinforce the entire wall with steel and concrete. Build steel-reinforced hardwood shutters for any windows and screw them in with tempered square-headed mushroom bolt screws if the need arises. Keep lighting at hand and enough batteries plus a dynamo-powered handlamp. Keep your communication devices and a shortwave receiver in your respite room.

If you are faced with an attack, NEVER play the hero. Get out of the way if at all possible. But also remember that any radical Muslim, Christian, Nazi or other terrorist will not trade you in for money and cannot be convinced to spare you. They WILL kill you. Get out of the way or kill them. When automatic weapons are involved, seek shelter behind something massive (concrete, bricks, stone, sandbags). A car door will not do. Keep silent, and keep a low profile. You can train on a softair site, but remember: Best stay way clear of any place where it could happen. Automatic weapons are extremely lethal, as are explosions. Best get out of areas with a high risk expectation.
All of these are just suggestions, of course, and you have to use your own brain for prepping. I will, for instance not waste my time with fortifying my flat, because I live very close to a potential target of terrorism, but put my energy into bugging out.

Get familiar with camouflage techniques in the environment you will be faced with. The "Reibert" handbook for soldiers in the German army gives some first insights on that. You can find essays about camouflage all over the place. In my opinion

-you have to know the environment
-you have to adapt to and blend into it as much as possible
-obscure your silhouette (with twigs, leaves, branches)
-offer digital overinformation (the principle of digital camouflage, i.e. offering too much information with an obscure background for human perception)
-avoid any contrasts (use paint  etc.)
-develop a mindset "don´t mimic a bush, be a bush"
-make or buy a Ghillie suit
-transfer the "Gray Man" concept onto your area of camouflage, meaning, if you are in a forest environment, observe it closely and blend into it. Make it a habit of moving in stealth - at all times.

These are also principles I will refer to in another post on Skóggángr. I hope to take up training soon, but I first have to get a training facility. Might be it can be at the ironforge.

ottastafur(picture source:
All in all I regret that it has come thus far. It could still be reversed, if only common sense would prevail. But we all know it will not.

I want to say that I still respect Muslims and Christians and I am meaning no offence, but the monotheistic religions are prone to a terroristic mindset. This war has been started in the early medieval ages when Bernhard de Clairvaux (and other Christian fanatics) instituted the "Holy War" with the crusades. Then Hasan bin-Sabah established the order of the Assassins, and modern IS fighters still work along the same lines. Both were a shitty excuse for a priest and should rather not have been alive. But they were.

The deity had no part in this as far as their legitimation went. It was entirely an all-too-human affair. And it is not the whip of God or Allah we are faced with, but the effects of our own ignorance, blindness and plain stupidity. And our failure to accept that we are living on a ball of rock moving through light years of void, so we´d better get along with each other. That is not to say there is no deity, and to assume so would be plain illogical, but we simply should stop our sandbox games to wake up to the real world.

Personally I am sick of hierarchic religion with people in charge who do not deserve so. They are playing at collateral damage in a sandbox made out of the world. They could not wait for hell after life, so they keep making a hell on earth. I am tired, and If I have to die, I believe will give up this life not eagerly, but calmly. But I refuse to give them the right to dominate my thoughts and feelings.

Take care and stay alive! Keep loving your loved ones and do not forget that life is not always running, hiding and fighting, but that there are still sunbeams floating through the flittering leaves. This will fuck them best. And surviving this war means more than just staying alive, but overcoming the trauma we will inevitably be faced with. For it is this trauma and the resulting fear, hate and anxiety Evil feeds on.

(Picture source:

Icelandic Magical Staves


Hulinhjalmur (“Helm Of Disguise”) is a sigil that allows the user to become invisible.

The complex task of creating the ink to make this sigil is done by collecting three drops of blood from the index finger of one’s left hand, three from the ring-finger of one’s right hand, two from the right nipple and one from the left nipple. Then the blood must be mixed with six drops of blood from the heart of a living raven and melted with raven’s brains and pieces of human stomach.

Once that is done the sigil must be drawn out in this ink on brown coal (lignite) and then pressed into the brow, activating this visual magic to prevent your enemies from being able to see you.

- hedendom


A hike to the ironforge and cleaning up a mess - Ahlhauser Hammer

 On the Friday of the week before last week I made for Ahlhauser Hammer ironforge and decided to take the bus and walk the final miles. The weather was not exactly all it could be, so to say, but I revelled in the solitude and silence which lately has become a bit scarce in my life again.
The sky was filled with feathery clouds, like spectres they sifted and changed, shifted in shape, constantly moving. I paused for a moment to watch a buzzard fly and listened to its eerie song that floated over the hills and far away...
Onwards I went with my heavy pack, into the denser woods. All was silent, and the feeling and scent of November was being strong, this demure feeling of something passing, flowing underneath, back into a shell of winter.
This is a trail, narrow, and seldom trodden. It felt as if it was a metaphor for my life. A hard trail, but a beautiful one. Like life.
At the ironforge I met with Michael, Nele and Nick, and we did our best to clean up the mess that the snow breakage in 2011 had left. Especially Michael was working hard. He has severe health problems with his back and joints, but my deep-felt respect goes to him for never complaining.
We looked with awe at the plants that had taken root on the ancient machines. There was moss everywhere, and algae on the floor making it unbearably slippery.
It was a bit weird, for we actually liked the message that these little trees tell; but alas they had to go...:-) to make us a smithy, that is.
There actually were even mushrooms growing in this wheelbarrow... this, see?*ggg*
Just kidding, of course. It is hard work cleaning up, but we think it is well worth it. We will have a place, not only for forging, but to let some visions come true, and even as a respite for SHTF. Might even be a mead hall in the future, who knows?

When we were done, Nele and Michael had me hitch their drive and drove me home, and I left with a feeling of hope for the future.

Donnerstag, 5. November 2015

Iron hike

Just wanted to show you the state my local woods are in. Good for me, of course, but BAAAD, if you get my meaning, for the trees.
Every little patch of the trail is stuffed with iron, steel, junk and special waste.
... some of which is very good material, like that one below. Stamping leftover from tool manufacturing.
I got this chain link and the stamping leftover...
...crucible steel...
...mushrooms I left be. I don´t take any food from that part of the woods. There´s a good chance of it being highly polluted with heavy metals and poisons I can´t even pronounce.
This is the site of an old smithy or even ironforge. You can still see where the buildings were, and the dam of the hammer pond is next to intact, even if there are trees growing upon it. It is a strange and, to my eye, beautiful place.
The region bears the deep scars and signs of metalworking industries. While this industry plays an important role in the history of the Ruhr and Sauerland region, it has to be regarded as controversial. It has done much harm to the ecosystem and to the workers involved, to an extent that many metalworkers of that time had a life expectancy some 40 years lower than average. This is something that happened in the name of money. If you shorten the life-span of half of the population, (in an admittedly) somewhat biased calculation) by half, this is equal to murdering a quarter of the population for money. Murdering a quarter of the population for money (out of low motives) would be felony mayhem. Since this did not happen in a war, civil rights should be applied. That indicates that the people responsible for the "mass murder" in that time should have been executed (since Prussian or early German confederate laws should have been applied). Not realistic, of course, but a way of making a point. In the Third Reich, big-term corporations were the driving impetus on the mass-extinction of Jewish people. Even today, many heads of corporations utter antidemocratic and even illegal statements, from the regional top-player to top-notch banking corporations. To add to the account, the damage done to the ecosystem can only be called collateral.

So the question remains... what shall we do with anti-democratic, anti-natural forces in our time? You might get the impression that this is a biased evaluation;-), and you´d be right, and of course my arguments limp a bit, for I uttered them as a way of illustrating an extreme.

I just want to warn you: Heads of big corporation DO think anti-democratic. They have to, if they are to be successful. They have no scruples. They will kill for profit, if they can get away with it. The time of the metalworking industry´s heigh days fouled up the woods forever. There is a question remaining, what big term fracking corporations or corporations employing genetic manipulation could do to the habitat. I would not take mushrooms from those woods, either, so to say.

And do not get it wrong: They WILL NOT listen to any arguments. They will not heed to your political demonstrations. They would kill you, if they can get away with it, or make orders to get you killed as easily as sweeping a chalk board.

People should stop admiring them. They are no better than mass murderers. It is not that they even WANT to wreak havoc upon the world and foul things up, they are even lower than that in that they simply do not care. Any prostitute or window sweeper does a lot of much more for the world.

I went and collected the scrap steel of that time. I like its properties, and the trails are getting a tiny little lighter. I´ll make some tools from it. I am a bum. But what we bums do is doing far more damage to their world than might be obvious.

Thanks for listening to my rant;-). 

Into the dusk with the magic troll;-) -Lovely hike to the Marburgian Hinterland hills

Last weekend I was in desperate need of some flight reflex;-) and made for Marburg in a frenzy... we had a great time as usual, and on Monday we made for the hills to do some foraging. In an old quarry used for ages as a dumping ground I had already found a load of ancient wrought iron, and I wanted to have a look if there was anything left, so, in addition to our basic foraging tools, we packed a small gardening shovel (a very underestimated bushcraft tool in my opinion), and off we were into the radiant autumn light.

The missus taking photos... I don´t think much of taking photos all of the time, if you ask me...;-)
Some people even take photos of turds decorated with autumn leaves.;-)
We relished in the golden-green light that led us up the hill. The sun´s beams were sifting and shimmering through the rustling leaves gently moved by a gentle breeze, and it was warm.
In fact it was VERY warm, and the magic troll was constantly whining*ggg*.
We said goodbye to this tree, which will be felled soon. We will remember its rustling leaves and the golden light in its withered branches and hope its saplings have spread far and wide.
Towards the open meadows where happy horses prosper. It is all one meadow, and the steeds have it all for themselves... this is great to see. There are even apple trees growing in between, and the horses obviously enjoy it there.

Slowly we came to the hilltop, with the grumbling of the magic troll a consistent soundtrack in the background.*ggg*
Looking from the hilltop towards Marburg castle, a view we cherish every time we are getting there.
We then were greeted by this "little uncle";-) who was obviously NOT being curious, no, not at all...;-).
No... I am just here to eat some grass... by the way... what you up to?;-)
Apologies for the turmery....

...but that´s how it is... horses in the sunlight...
...being nice to each other...
No animals, less intelligent than the crown of creation. Not capable of building up social structures, you know. Man is far superior, of course. ;-)

Does not decrease my appetite for salami, by the way. X-D

Deeper into the woods we went along oft-trodden paths so diverse and always different...
The magic troll taking photos....
HA! I took this pic first!;-)
Then we encountered some ´shrooms for stew....
..and ventured into the thicket.
Gate of sunlight led us into the realm of the earth...
...where steel was waiting.
Then the sun went down.

And when the stars came out we returned from our happy bimble with a heart full of love and contention. It was like breathing through, and breathing deeply in. In a world far removed from the actual, where things still make sense.

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