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Donnerstag, 10. August 2017

Sheath for my #Iämpedahler waldmetz

 Some two weeks ago I came home from work and, after opening a bottle of beer I realized it tasted like piss. So I thought, that couldn´t be it, made myself a tea and took out the leatherworking tools.
 Way late into the night I worked, and yup, I am not exactly proud of it, but at least I did something useful;-), and it does the job quite nicely.
In fact, I like these knives a lot these days. While they are absolutely badass due to an all-steel construction, selective temper and overall layout, they are well balanced and not-so-tactical at all. The sheath I made from top-grain, vegetable tanned, cowhide leather, hardened with soda and spirit and hot-waxed around the knife... I like it and it rides in my rucksack most of these days now...

A recent ride... much needed again...

 Sometimes it is outright disturbing... there´s so much going on and on, and work to do in a shitty job and messy voluntary work and stuff and a bike that keeps constantly falling apart that I just seem to be unable to get a regular ride in. But the other day I had fixed the old steed so that it worked quite sweetly and I rode to work and back on a detour.
 And as always, the soothing effect of the forest happened in an instant. That moment I left the road and set my tires in the dirt. That moment when the noise and ruckus subsides. That moment, when the singing of the songbirds and the croaking of crow and raven, and the eerie, faraway cry of the buzzard fills the air... That moment when all your fears of foul weather and the petty sorrows that ride high upon our backs simply dissolve into nothing. That moment when you realize that life is all the more complicated and all the more simple than you could ever know, and that it´s simply right that way, or rather, it is neither right or wrong, but simply is. That moment when you could laugh your head off when you look at yourself and all your little distractions that you deemed so important.
 That moment, when you look over darkening hills in not exactly nice weather, and you feel cozy despite the fact that you´re soaked through. And you sit on a stump, and you rode down a trail, and that is all that matters.
 Yes, I rode some gnarly trails through the thicket, over hill and dale, and it all passed as if in a frenzy.

 As if in a fancy, in a dream, I sat down in the underbrush, stashing my bike away, and just breathed for a while.


Then I got back on the trail and rode over the heath...

 To that oak that had welcomed me ever since I was a child and still offers me its serene hospitality...
 I sat down there and had a flask of tea and played around a bit with my new #Iämpedahler waldmetz.
 ...in my true living room...
What more do I need? Time is running short for man. I´d rather spend it with things that matter, at least for me...

Mittwoch, 2. August 2017

Das grosse Buch vom Messer by Oliver Lang - Geffroy: A Review

Oliver Lang-Geffroy, publisher at Underwood Publishing and author of Messermagazin fame, kindly sent me his book, "Das grosse Buch vom Messer" to read and tell you my opinion.

The book arrived via postage from www.wieland-verlag.de in a nice and sturdy package. It comes with a hardcover that is neatly bound. The paper is sturdy and offers some lovely matte design graphics and will withstand even multiple reads. The foreword and the register give a good overview of the contents. Each chapter concludes with a sensible summary of contents.

The book is directed to an audience with no broader knowledge of the topic. All the topics are explained very coherently and with an easy, yet eloquent style of writing in a very comprehensible manner. This is complemented with diagrams and sketches of knife typology. Special tools like saddler´s knives, knives for bookbinding and leatherworking tools are treated separately and with a very good and detailed background knowledge. there are also very informative chapters about the culture of wet shaving and Japanese and Chinese knife culture.

Tactical and combat knives are treated with separately but, refreshingly, without the romantics that so often obscures the view upon their reality. At the end of the book there´s a very knowedgeable glossary of knife terminology and a steel chart with just about every steel variety on the planet. Even this chart would render this book worth buying! Also there are chapters on care and maintenance of knives and their use.

The book is also written with a passion for the topic and full of remarks that make the read all the more enjoyable for a not-so-dead-serious approach. I especially liked the chapter on Japanese kitchen knives that provided even me as an absolute knife-nut with new information. The pictures are of the best quality imagineable and depict knives with a history, not just the latest paraphernalia. To me this is a refreshing and inspiring approach.

I can recommend this book to my German readers most warmly, but even if you´re not a native speaker, there are still enough diagrams and pictures as well as the steel chart that might make it a worthy buy. Get it at www.wieland-verlag.de. ;-)





For my German readers (The book is in German), here´s a German version of my review:

Oliver Lang-Geffroy schickte mir liebenswürdigerweise ein Exemplar seines neuen Buches "das große Buch vom Messer" mit der Bitte, es zu lesen und etwas darüber zu schreiben. Um ganz ehrlich zu sein, bin ich vielleicht nicht ganz objektiv, denn ich bin ein großer Fan seines Schreibstils und seiner Einstellung zu Messern generell, aber ich werde mal mein Möglichstes tun.
Zunächst mal mein erster Eindruck: Die Post vom Wielandverlag war sorgfältig eingepackt und gegen die Unbilden der Reise gut geschützt. Das Buch selbst kommt als Hardcover mit einer schönen Bindung und einem sehr ansprechenden mattglänzenden Druck; es steht zu erwarten, dass es auch wiederholtes Lesen und Blättern gut überstehen wird.
Vorwort und Inhaltsverzeichnis geben einen guten Ausblick auf den Inhalt des Buches. Die Gliederung ist übersichtlich, an jedem Kapitelende gibt es eine Zusammenfassung der besprochenen Inhalte.
Das Buch richtet sich ganz klar an Menschen, die noch nicht so große Erfahrung mit Messern haben. Diesen wird mit leicht verständlichen und aufbereiteten Diagrammen alles Wissenswerte über Klingen nahe gebracht. Dabei werden auch Spezialmesser wie Sattlerwerkzeuge, Buchbindermesser und Erntemesser behandelt. Eigene Kapitel befassen sich mit feststehenden Messern, Klapp- und Kochmessern sowie Rasierkultur. Ein großer und von profundem Wissen geprägter Abschnitt letzteren Kapitels befasst sich mit japanischen Kochmessern und deren Terminologie, Verwendung und Pflege. Ein weiteres Highlight ist der Abschnitt über Klingengeometrien, deren Besonderheiten und Pflege, über Schliff und Stahlsorten. Gut gefallen hat mir vor allem, dass Tactical Knives, Selbstverteidigungsmesser und Kampfmesser zwar einen ihnen gebührenden Platz im Buch haben, aber nicht übergewichtet werden und auch auf diese bezogene Romantik, wie sie mitunter dieser tage so gern propagiert wird, gar nicht erst aufkommen gelassen wird. Sehr gut hat mir ein Passus gefallen, in dem ein Test aufgeführt wird, wie man feststellen kann, ob man ein Gentleman- oder ein Tactical-Klappmesser sein eigen nennt: Beobachtet man auf einer Festlichkeit im gehobenen Ambiente, dass die Gastgeberin vergeblich versucht, eine Verpackung zu öffnen, und reicht dieser ein Klappmesser, und erhält dieses danach mit dem Kompliment, es handle sich um ein schönes Taschenmesser, zurück, handelt es sich vermutlich um ein "Gentleman"-Taschenmesser. Erhält man danach keine Einladungen mehr, war das verliehene Messer wohl eher der Kategorie "Tactical" zuzuordnen... . Das Buch ist reich an derartigen nicht ganz bierernst gemeinten Anmerkungen und bietet eine erfrischende Alternative zu gängigen Veröffentlichungen, versteigt sich aber auch nicht in Albernheiten oder Sentimentalitäten.
Am Ende des Buches findet sich ein Glossar von Fachbegriffen sowie eine tabellarische Übersicht aller modernen Messerstahlsorten.
Auch ich habe noch was lernen können. So war besonders der Abschnitt über die japanischen Kochmesser sehr informativ. Die Fotos sind natürlich von allerbester Qualität, aber die abgebildeten Messer haben augenscheinlich auch zumeist eine Geschichte, die auch mitunter erzählt wird. Wenn man mich fragen würde, was man verbessern könnte, würde ich lediglich mit einem Augenzwinkern vermerken, dass der eine oder andere Abschnitt bereits einmal im Messermagazin zu lesen war... . Der Qualität der Information tut das hingegen keinen Abbruch. Ich kann jedem, der einen fundierten Einstieg in das Thema sucht, das Buch nur ans Herz legen. Aber auch erfahrene Nutzer und Sammler finden ein schönes Buch mit einer erfrischenden Perspektive auf ein vielfältiges Thema und Abbildungen von Messern mit Geschichte. Um ganz ehrlich zu sein, sind es diese, die mich am meisten inspiriert haben.
Erhältlich ist das Buch unter:  https://wieland-verlag.com/buecher
zum Preis von 29,99 €.
Kaufen! 

Long time user test... Victorinox /Wenger new ranger

 This is one of those knives I own and use for quite a long time now. It rides in my pocket every day, since 2013... for a reason. In the meantime, the corporation had shut down, but the good thing is, Wenger has been bought by Victorinox, and the management decided to keep up production on site in Délemont and keep up producing nearly all of the models, including the New Ranger Wood. Even better, while this one is from 1.4034 (similar to 420HC), which works well enough, to be true, newer models come in 1.4110 (440A), and since 2017, 1.4116 steel. The blade is nearly 100mm long and just 2,5 mm thick at the base with a high flat grind. 1 mm above the edge thickness is just 0,4mm, the grind angle is some 25°. The knife come with a saw from 1.4034, which works equally well in a pushing and pulling motion and which is 102 mm long, has a thin spine and thick albeit razor-sharp teeth, a caplifter, a tin can opener, a corkscrew and an awl. The saw is an absolute highlight and easily beats sawblades more than triple the size. It simply bites! The saw also holds an edge very well (I have never sharpened it since the knife came out of the box. The knife locks via an intersting system. It is more of a liner block. In this a strong back spring is complemented with a locking liner made from 1.4034 steel which is unlocked by pressing the marvellously fitted Swiss cross. After 4 years it still works like new!
 The springs and liners are made from tempered 1.4034 steel that comes in a mirror polish even on the insides. They are riveted through under the scales with brass pins on massive washers. The washers ride in pockets of the scales, which are made from stunningly beautiful Swiss walnut scales. The wood comes from a certified forestry program and is chosen for its sustainability as well as its beauty. Over the years it has darkened considerably, and of course this is something you might or might not like.
 The knife blade has some serrations on the spine making for quite a secure thumb rest. The blade is razor sharp, which I experienced personally when I was off my attention and quartered an apple freehand and cut off the top of my left index finger with a smooth cut... I had put it back in place, and it even stuck back on ;-) with just some tape and stitching (I was a bit clumsy, so I still have some sensitivity issues, but no harm done, if you think you get through life unscarred, you did not get the gist ;-)). It is of a respectable size for snacking and stuff. Due to a somewhat chunky handle there are better knives for whittling delicate tasks, but there are worse knives, too, and most of them labelled as explicitly bushcraft knives.
 The handle, however chunky, feels great in your hand, due to an ergonomic design and offers a very secure grip. The caplifter works a cinch. The tin can opener works well enough, but with a reverse motion that needs some adapting to, but it keeps an edge very well and it so sharp out of the box that you could actually whittle with it (I tried ;-)). The corkscrew is excellent and does its job flawlessly. the awl, however, is a tool I seldom use, because the spring is so stiff it is a pain in the arse to open it. It has no edge to it and cannot be used to drill holes as with the Vic pocket knives, but only for poking... maybe they have changed that in the meantime... ?
Overall, this is a knife that is very underestimated by many. Of course, the blade does not offer the nimbus of a heebie-jeebie-goobalahbah fancy unobtanium steel. But I cut a lot with it, from cardboard boxes to snacks, from hard, seasoned sausage and bacon to paper and wood, leather and persenning and Paracord, and it holds an edge well. All I had to do was strop it frequently on a common steel strop and I once put a very fine stone to it to bring it back to hair-popping sharpness. The saw is simply lovely and offers a good length, the tools (except for the awl) work perfectly or well enough, and it comes in at a bargain prize. Of course, batoning is not quite an option, but I daresay, thsi knife would live up to that task, too, if you do it sensibly. For a bimble through the woods with a picknick with your friends and even overnighters it´s a very valuable tool.

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