Friday, September 30, 2011

Peter Atwood - Knife and Tool Maker.

Peter Atwood has been making micro tools and knives 2000, and has quite the following.  His tools are quite interesting pieces of art.  Highly sought after, they often sell out in mere minutes.  They have become a hot item in the EDC world, which is where I first heard of him.  His tools often include bottle openers, wrenches, pry bar, and drivers.  His names for the tools are unique, Poltergeist, Pest, Prybaby, brewdriver, and larva to name a few.  Peter also make great whistles, lanyard slides, and great shot glasses.   He works wonders with the anodizing, making the tools look like lighting flashes or oils spills.   Peter has a unique way of selling his handy work.  He puts its as:

"New folks email me every week unable to figure out how to buy my tools. How it works is very simple. I make batches of tools and post them for sale on my blog in one of three ways:

1. If the batch is large I post a link from Planet Pocket Tool to a sale page on The page is invisible to casual visitors to the website and can only be accessed through the blog posting. When the sale is over I remove the link.

2. If the sale is for One of a Kind or limited edition type items where there are only a few available (such as knives) I post a Sign Up Sale on the blog. When the Sign Up Sale is over I remove the sign up link and pick the Sign Up Sale winners.

3. I sell items directly to customers via email now and again. If I have something in stock I'm happy to sell it to you anytime, just email me."

I was able to score a Poltergeist about 7 months ago, and use it quite a bit.  Handy little buggers!

Link: Planet Pocket Tool.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Canadian Air & Space Museum.

Hey Everyone,

Head over to to sign a petition to help save the Canadian Air & Space Museum, and keep it open and in its rightful place.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Swanndri Bushshirt.



I am sure most of you have heard of Swanndri, the New Zealand Wool company.  For those not, here is a bit of history.  In 1913 New Plymouth tailor William Broome registered the trademark ‘Swanndri’ for a weatherproof woollen shirt.  Broom, born in Staffordshire, England, immigrated to New Zealand at age 21 and established a clothier and outfitters business, The Palatine.  The characteristics of the “swanny” design include its heavy dark fabric, often in a tartan pattern and ties up around the neck. In more recent "Ranger" shirt, a zipper has replaced the ties.  The original design was short sleeved, long in the back, and would be worn on top of farmers work clothes for warmth and shower proofing.  The "secret of Swanndri was that during production, these garments were dipped into a mixture of dissolved chemicals and then dried.  It is not known if Broome was taught this method for shower proofing the fabric or he developed the formula himself.  Unfortunately, the mixture caused the garments to shrink, making it difficult to determine size. Consequently they were sold as one size fits all.  The name was because the rain would literally run off the back of the garment as it does on a swan.

These Garments are now being produced with more "urban" styling line, but rest assured their heritage styles are still the most popular, and Bushcrafters around the world have adapted the bushshirt as their go to uniform, so I don't think its going anywhere.

Check out their site here:  Swanndri NZ

Monday, September 26, 2011

Homemade Apple Cider.

Grinder and Apples

Pulled Apart Press

Pressing Apples into Grinder

Crushing Apples

Making Cider,

Almost 30 Liters of Goodness!

What a glorious first weekend of Autumn.   Sunshine, coolness, and apple cider.  For over a year, talks and planning between my good friend Todd and I have led up to this day.  We gathered about 90 Lbs of apples from his tree and a vacant house down the road, and set to work grinding them up.  Pushing the apples in to the grinder with sticks, that by the end looked like a Rottweiler had its way with them!  Our original plan was to build the apple press, but Todd found one on Craigslist with a grinder for obscenely cheap.  It was really nice to have the professorial build of a solid press, as it left the pulp damn near dry.  The smell of the sweet cider and chopped apples was so strong all the wasps of the neighborhood must have been hanging out with us that afternoon.  Trying to avoid them and pick them out of the apple mash was a task in itself.   It really was a three person job and Todd's partner in crime, his wife Lesley was quick to jump into action and help with the dispersing and flow control of the finished cider.  It was a blast and can't wait for next years harvest.  Our freezers are now full with, honestly the best tasting cider I have ever had.  There were a couple different apple types we used and the balance of sweet and tart is perfect!

Probably over Thanksgiving I will be making my Mom's recipe for hot mulled cider.  It goes something like this:

My Mom's hot apple cider.

4L Apple Cider
1 Orange
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar (to taste possible more)
3 Cinnimon sticks
4 clove buds
1/4 Tsp allspice
1 tsp ground Cinnimon.

*all these ingredient are adjustable to taste!!

Slice orange and throw everything in a pot and simmer for a couple hours at least and enjoy.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Terry The Bootmaker.

Here's a great video (reblogged from "With a Bean Slant") from L.L. Bean showing Terry A. from the Brunswick, ME manufacturing plant.   What a fantastic video, from a group of fantastic people!  If you follow my postings, you might have read the post from May when my wife and I had the pleasure of a tour at this factory.   If you haven't, read it here. 

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Collapsible Buck Saw Bag.


A while back I made a collapsible buck saw.  I needed a bag to tote it around safely and to keep it clean.  I saw a similar design on the Ray Mears Woodlore site, and set to work from the images there.   It is a great idea, a holder for the saw and my axe all in one.  Being able to sling it over your back while you go foraging for wood, and then having your hands free while dragging wood back.  It worked quite well during our trip recently and I look forward to having to use this tough little bag again.  Go ahead, draw up some plans and make your own!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Killarney Provincial Park - Canoe Trip.


This past week My wife and I took a trip to paddle around a good section of Killarney Provincial Park, enjoying the early fall season.  We drove up to and stayed at the George Lake campground a day early to make for a fresh start on our canoe trip the next day.  Before settling in at our camp at George Lake, we went into the town of Killarney for lunch.  While walking Channel Street we saw the local General store, a top was a fantastic old sign that read "Jackman: Head quarters for tourists & campers Supplies".  Stepping into this store was like a walk back in time.  Although now filled with modern products like any convenience store, the layout was much the same, the counter was beautifully made hardwood with a number of small apothecary type drawers for dry goods. the shelves along the top of the store had some of the original product displays from the mid 1800's when the store was first established.  I asked the wonderfully kind sales women a bit of the history and was informed that some stuff is still in the attic!  How I would love to see what was up there, to forage around and find some gems.  This really is a rare find here in Ontario, as most places of this age have been destroyed or just abandoned and now vandalized.  It would be something else to bring the store back to a state of an outfitters with all its original woodwork and layout.  I could go on for hours!  Anyhow, back to the canoe trip.

Our itinerary around Killarney was as follows:
- Put in at George Lake
- 1st night: Carlyle Lake Site # 61
- 2nd night: Bell Lake Site # 83, by way of Johnnie lake.
- 3rd night: David Lake Site # 102 with a Hike up to Silver Peak.
- 4th night: Threenarrows Lake Site # 43, by way of Great Mountain Lake down through Little Mountain Lake.
- 5th Night: was suppose to be on Killarney Lake, but we paddled out and spent a night in Sudbury seeing the Big Nickle and other sites.

This was a great trip full of uphill rocky portages and beautiful hardwood forests, amazing purple coloured water to the magnificent Quartzite mountains and cliffs.  Some of the highlights were mucking our way to find the portage between Freeland Lake to Kakakise Lake,  wondering to each other that they really need to take better care of the portages, only to find out after the trip this particular portage was closed!  Facing the 30km headwinds after a day full of about 5km of portages.  Site # 102 on David Lake, recommended by my buddy Colin really was beautiful! Thanks Man!  Sinking knee deep in beaver shit / mud while still trying to walk was great fun.  Most of all, the highlight was sharing this experience with my wife, laughing and loving every amazing minute of the trip.  Killarney really is a magical place.  It really feels untouched, even though some sites are really well used.  The lake travel view and the tight narrow creeks have a "prospector" type feel to them.  Maybe because I have never been to Killarney before, but there is a sense of uneasiness in those woods, but yet you have a feeling that you would love to build a small cabin and spend the rest of your days here living in this uneasiness.  It really is a bizarre feeling, maybe I am not sure how to put it in words, but its amazing.  I really know why it is called Ontario's Crown Jewel.  Also, if you need any info on my trip, route help, or anything drop me a email or leave a comment.

Here is a album with the rest of the photos from the trip.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Chrismar Adventure Maps.

If you are looking for maps that can take the abuse set forth from a 10 day canoe trip through the Missinaibi, or a weekend away at the Poker lake area then look no further that Chrismar Adventure Maps.  Printed on  sheets of plastic, they are water proof and nearly indestructible.  With over 45 different maps, they are all very clearly printed and loaded with way more info than the typical maps bought at the park. Some of the info is of the history of the area, all the put in's and land marks, and fishing and wildlife. Christine Kennedy and Mark Smith make these maps from start to finish, they are not copies or traces of Goverment TOPO's.  They start with aerial photos, then they go hike or paddle to actually survey the area for campsites and other items.  I think they might be the last company to do this in North America.  You can find their amazing maps at most outfitters here in Ontario, but you can order direct from there website.  I think you have to call or fax in your order.  When I ordered my "Missinaibi 2" map, they were yet to be printed on plastic, so Mark sent a paper version temporally, then sent the plastic one as soon as they came in.  Fantastic customer service from a fantastic Canadian Company.

Chrismar Adventure Maps.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Patric Reynolds - Leatherface Commission.

I met Patric thru an old pal out of Utah.  Patric is a artist at Dark Horse Comics.  Some of his work is "Serenity: Float out", and interior art of the more recent comic prequel of the Swedish turned American film "Let me in".  On the side he does commisions.  This is where I come in.  As a bit of a horror buff and my favorite being the 1974 flick "Texas Chainsaw Massacre", I contacted Patric to see about an illustration.  He was more than happy to help me out.  Within a couple days I was provided a digital copy of his illustration, Which was nothing short of amazing!  Shortly there after I got the original in the post.  To see his energy in this beautifully frighting piece of art was amazing.  The whole image is creepy with exactly the feel of nervousness and helplessness that the movie portrays!  I can say that I was taken aback when I first saw it, and will hang this illustraion proudly on my wall.  I am pretty sure he is always taking commissions and will be more then happy to assist you anyway he can.  Patric's passion for his art is popping at the seems, and really shows when he puts brush to paper.

Gallery of Commissions
Patric's Facebook Page

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Steam Era - Milton Ontario.

Still with two days left (Sunday & Monday) Milton's steam era show is one of the largest in North America.  It is a great day event to see all the historic stem tractors, vintage gasoline tractors and even a bunch of classic cars.  This year is the 51st year of the show.  It is really great to see the history of farming equipment, to see these monsters of agriculture in action again is quite amazing.  Their size is overkill and when you here how quiet they are, it really boggles the mind.  Some of the highlights are the 12 noon whistle blow (which you can here about 10 km away!), the tractor pull, a steam lumber mill, and a steam rock crusher.  There is even a "Traders Post" with antiques and knik-knaks.

More info here!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Wild Grape Jelly.

This past weekend while out on a bike ride, my wife and I came across some wild grapes.  They were growing rampantly along a roadside fence in Campbellville.  There was a length of about 200 meters of beautiful bunches of grapes.  Having had a goal this summer to forage something and make a finished product.  While finishing up the ride, I decided to make jelly.  The following day I took a drive back with a bucket, and filled it to the brim with the slightly tart 1 cm wide grapes. After getting home I took to stemming them and was left with 7 lbs of grapes.  Online I found the following recipe on and set to work.

3 lbs wild grapes, stemmed
3 cups water
4 1/2 cups sugar
1 (85 ml) package liquid pectin

1. In large saucepan, crush grapes with potato masher; pour in water and bring to boil.
2. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes or until fruit is very soft.
3. Transfer to jelly bag or colander lined with a double thickness of fine cheesecloth and let drip overnight.
4. Measure juice (you should have 3 cups/750 ml) into a large heavy saucepan; stir in sugar.
5. Bring to boil over high heat, stirring constantly.
6. Stir in pectin.
7. Return to full boil and boil hard for one minute, stirring constantly.
8. Remove from heat and skim off foam with a metal spoon.
9. Pour into sterilized jars, leaving 1/8-inch headspace.

In the end I made two separate batches (you should never double a jelly recipe, make batches), which made 12 250ml jars, and have 5 cups of juice left.  I might try to make a concentrate.  Growing up my grandpa would make this condensed juice.  You would add the contents of the small bottle and 4 equal parts of water and you would end up with delicious grape juice.  The jelly set, and its super sweet.   All in all it was a success.  Hopefully some more hikes and rides will open up some more of natures free goods ready for the picking.