Follow by Email

Friday, April 13, 2018

Come See Me - Gun/Knife Show!

Alrighty Guys, I have some good news for you. 
I have secured a table at the Lone Star Gun Show in Tyler on the 21st and 22nd of this month. I plan on having quite the array of knives for sale, I'm hoping to get somewhere around 20 of them finished up. The show is at the Harvey Hall convention center,(map HERE) and the hours are 9am to 5pm Saturday and 10am to 4pm on Sunday. I would love any visitors! This is a great opportunity to buy one of my knives or to order a custom one!

Here is a sneak peek of some of the knives I will have at the table: 








I hope to see you the 21st!
-Caleb

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

5 Multi-purpose Items to Keep In Your Camping Kit

Howdy Guys! Today I have a neat article for you on five multi-purpose items to keep in your camping kit. I tried to stay away from obvious things like paracord and knives and give y'all some new information. I hope you learn something!

1) Tinfoil
Tinfoil is a very multi-purpose item to keep with you. First off, you can wrap food in it and cook directly in the coal bed of your fire. You can use it as a makeshift plate, or to wrap food in it for ease of carrying. Another potential use for the stuff is as a very makeshift trout/bass spoon lure.

2) Ziploc bags
I carry Ziploc bags in my camping kit mainly to put skinned small game into when I am hunting, but they have many other uses! First off, you can store food or water in them and it stays clean. But they are also waterproof when sealed, so you can put things like fire tinder or even your phone in them to keep them dry. And lastly you can use them to keep sections of your kit together and dry.  


3) Carmex
I carry Carmex in my kit as a fire starter (with cotton balls) because of the petroleum, methanol and beeswax in it, but obviously you can use it to keep your lips unchapped! I'll give you a little tip here; when you are camping in cold weather, keep the Carmex in your pocket during the day, and in your sleeping bag at night. This will keep it from solidifying. 


4) Handkerchief
There actually are quite a few ways to use a handkerchief in the woods! You can use it to wipe your dirty dishes out with, then wash it out. You can soak it in hot or cold water and put it on your neck for soothing purposes, or ( if its relatively clean) use it to pre-filter water in a dire situation! Think of it as a reusable paper towel and use it accordingly.

5) Good pliers
Pliers are useful for so many things. I prefer good strong needle-nose pliers because of the versatility. you can use them to get a hook from a fish's mouth, to move coals around in the fire, or to grab a hot pan. They will also help with basic maintenance such as bending a wire cup handle back into place, etc. Make sure they have wire cutters!


Well, there you have five multipurpose items and some of the ways you can use them. 
Thanks for reading and have fun!

-Caleb

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Caleb’s Custom Knives

 In this article I hope to do two things; tell you about my knives, and tell you about how their made. With that said, let’s get to it! My name is Caleb Steck, and I am 14 years old. I have been actually making knives for a little over two years now, but it started with my wonderful grandma taking me to a bladesmithing class for my birthday in summer of 2015. The class was in Arkansas, with a master bladesmith, Jim Crowell.
Jim was a great teacher and I learned so much from that class, but I know there things he taught me that I have had to re-learn. Take center-scribing a blade, for example. It wasn’t until about last October that I began doing that, and I was taught to do it two years prior!  Well, after the class, it was December until I got a forge started up, and then I really began learning!
From the very get-go I learned that wood would not get hot enough, and that charcoal briquettes would work in a pinch, but that lump charcoal was the way to go. 


                                                       (here I am working my old forge) 

My anvil was a counterweight from a train, my hammer was a garage-sale ball-peen, and my metal was rebar. (I also had a bench grinder, hacksaw, torch and a vice) My first knife was a flattened hunk of rebar, hardened, but not tempered. Later on, I started using good metal like trapsprings, got a good anvil, better forge, good hammer, and on until I get to today. I currently have a great charcoal forge with electric billows, a good anvil on a stand, many hammers and tongs, a belt sander, and many different kinds of metal and handle material. 


                                               (and here I am working at my current forge)

There are two different ways that I make knives; stock removal and forging. Stock removal I take a file, anneal (soften) it and grind away. With the forging process, I will heat it up in my forge, and hammer the rough shape, do my best to get it flat, then anneal it and grind from there. I use this method when I have something like a chisel that I want to use. 

After the knife is shaped, I will heat it up to critical temperature in my forge, and quench the cutting edge in canola oil, trying to let the spine remain soft. This hardens the blade, making it extremely hard to work with also, so I wrap the knife in foil, and put it in the oven for 2 hours at 400 degrees. Now the knife is workable, and I finish the blade and move on to handles. 
On the handle side of things, I use a variety of woods and phelonic. I have curly maple, walnut and oak, and I have red heart, cedar burl, micarta and antler.  Out of all of those, micarta is probably my favorite, because of its durability. For those of you who don’t now, micarta is canvas, paper or linen that is epoxied together and compressed. 

I usually make my knives full tang, but I am starting to play around with some hidden tank knives as well, mainly so I can use some of the antler I’ve got. My most recent knife is a hidden tang bushcraft knife with curly maple handles and a walnut accent piece. The blade is from a file. I played around with handle contouring on this knife as well. 

After the knife is completed, I sharpen it using a SpyderCo TriAngle system. This is a great system that works well for me. 

And last and least I will sometimes make a leather sheath for the knife. Now guys, sheath making is really not my thing. I am too busy making the knives to mess with sheaths! (so if you know anybody that does leather, let me talk to ‘em!)

Well, now you know some about my knives and some about how they’re made. Tell your friends!
Thank you,

-Caleb

Monday, October 9, 2017

DIY Shoot-N-See Targets!



The process of sighting in a gun or checking the zero on a gun can involve a lot of walking to and from the target to see where you hit... if you are using traditional paper targets. 
Some of you probably know that there is a company called Birchwood Casey that makes targets which, when hit, expose a neon backing, showing the shooter where he or she has hit. You may also know that these targets are expensive, and I don't know about you, but I can't justify paying good money for a piece of paper I'm gonna fill full of holes. So, I did a little research and found a way to make these targets fairly inexpensively. 

The article I found said to take a piece of neon card stock, cover it with clear packing tape and then coat it with a layer of black spray paint. 
Well, apparently packing tape is a coveted item at my house, and I was only allowed 3 pieces, enough to cover most of a regular piece of printer paper. After securing the tape to the paper, I attached it to a piece of cardboard for rigidity
Next I took it outside and gave it a good coat of black spray paint.

Once completed, it was shot with a variety of calibers and performed well. My only mistake was making the bull’s eyes the same color as the paper. If I were to hit the bull’s eye, I would not be able to see it. Other than that, it worked to my expectations.






Because packing tape was in short supply, I decided to attempt another version of the target, but instead of tape, I used a clear sheet protector. In this instance, all I had to do was slide a piece of paper into the sleeve and then paint it. This version of the target was more finicky, and did not perform to the high standards set by the previous attempt.
(Although, it could still be used)


These targets are somewhat reusable; a new coat of paint will freshen them up, but after a while you can just get a new one. Oops, I mean MAKE a new one!

On another note, since I talked about these targets being cheap, let’s look into that…
8” Birchwood Casey “Shoot-N-C” targets are $15.50 for 30 of them at Walmart, or almost $.52 each. I could buy a whole .357 shell for my revolver for that money! Okay, it’s not THAT big of a deal, but check out the price for our target:
You can get 2 rolls of Scotch shipping tape (1.8” wide) for $8.97 at Walmart, paying 2.7 cents per foot, and using 4.6 feet to completely cover a piece of standard blank paper. That equals out to… 12.42 cents per target. 
But that’s just tape; at Walmart, HP multi-purpose paper is 1.5 cents a sheet. 
And then let’s say a 12oz can of ColorPlace spray paint will cover 22 sq feet, which means it will cover 33 sheets of paper, for 5 cents a sheet! Adding everything up we can make our targets for 18.92 cents each! On top of that you may already have many of the components required, and what supplies you do buy, you can use for other purposes; unlike the shoot-N-C targets you get at walmart, which are good for only one purpose. 
So, in conclusion, next time you see those Birchwood Casey targets on the rack at Walmart, remember this article and consider making them yourself!

-Have Fun Shootin'!
-Caleb

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Possibles Pouch... Again.

I have done Blog posts on woods kits before; several of them. I have done a post on a haversack kit, a possibles kit, and a nine-item kit. But as I look back, I see that what worked for me in the past does not work for me now. 

I have learned since then, and thus modified my kits, and my mentality about them. I know that there is not a kit I am going to come up with that works for all places without having excess stuff in others. In this post, I hope to cover the thought process behind packing for a trip or trek of any kind, and a possibles pouch that works for me.

I have finally learned that it is pretty useless to have a kit pre-packed for a "grab and go" deal. It is better to have all your gear sorted out, and an empty pack waiting. Even with this in mind, I still like playing around with my gear, packing and un-packing, but when it comes time to sleep outside, or go on a hunting trip, I usually end up un-packing and re-packing for that occasion. Another problem I come across is that when my gear is packed away somewhere, it it not easily accessible when I need it. I am looking for a flashlight, and they are at the bottom of my backpack.

When you are packing for a trip, there are some things to keep in mind. First, consider where you are going and for how long. Pack appropriately for the area, think over all possible situations, but do not over-pack. If you have been where you are going before, try to remember how you packed last time, if there was something you needed and did not have, or if there were things you had and did not need. If this is your first time somewhere, make note of exess stuff, or what you did not have. If you are packing for a bushcraft camp, think about sleep, shelter, food, water, and fire. Try to pack light, and remember; don't take it, make it. If you can make one in the field, don't take one.

Now on to my little possibles kit. This is the most successful possibles kit I have ever put together. It is successful and handy because it is carried in my pockets. I have these items everywhere I go, all the time.
In my right front pocket I have a folding knife, lighter, and sharpie. I have a knife on my belt. In my wallet I have: a small knife, flint striker, fishing kit, mini file, hunting/trapping licenses, Band-Aids, string, and a little key knife multi tool. And I use this stuff! But, something I want to point out is where this kit works for me, make up your own that works for you and CARRY IT ALL THE TIME!

Until next time,

--Caleb

Friday, July 21, 2017

A Little Gun History and Some Interesting Cartridges



A lot of us country people use guns often. Whether it is hunting, practicing for self defense, or just shooting for the fun of it, we use guns. But I don’t know how many of us know much of our gun history.


It all started with the invention of gunpowder. There are notations of gunpowder as early as 142 ad. After that, cannons and hand-cannones were slow to follow, probably around 1346. The hand-cannones were a two-man operation; one person would steady the weapon, while the other touched a slow match to the touch hole.

Next up was the matchlock gun, invented in 1425. This was just an improvement from the hand cannon. There was a rather unusual looking stock on most, with the barrel attached as is usual now. You would load powder, then wad and shot or patched round ball down the barrel. There was a hole at the very back of the barrel on one side that connected to a touch pan. To fire, you would have to load it, blow up a bright coal on the slow match, then pull the trigger. Sometimes it even fired!

In 1612 the flintlock musket was introduced. At this point, it was smoothbore, mostly for versatility and cost, I assume. Soon after the Brown Bess was invented and widely used. In America most guns were rifled flintlocks, and were until the invention of the percussion cap in 1805, then the copper version in 1814. By 1826 most of the muzzle loading rifles of the day were either converted to percussion, or just made that way. In 1836 Samuel Colt patented his cap-and-ball revolver, which had six cylinders available to shoot as fast as you could cock the hammer.

The first real center fire cartridge was made in 1852. In this, the primer, powder and bullet were a contained unit, making reloading much easier.
The first repeaters were the Spenser and the Henry in 1860.

And from that, we now have a few different modern types of guns, which are separated by what action they are. The action is how the gun is fired. We have:
·        Single action revolvers (you have to cock the hammer to fire)
·        Double action revolvers (you don’t have to cock the hammer)
·        Semi auto pistols (you just pull the trigger as fast as you can)
·        Single shot guns
·        Pump shotguns
·        Lever action guns
·        Bolt action rifles
·        Semi auto rifles

So there is your gun history lesson, now let’s discuss some interesting bullets.

1.     The multiple 22’s
There is, in 22 caliber, the 22 short, 22 long rifle, 22 magnum, 22 TCM (which is a 223 shell shortened and necked), 22 jet (the 357 mag necked down to a 22), 22 hornet, 220 swift, and 22-250. Yes, most of these started out as wildcat cartridges.

2.     25-06
This interesting varmint rifle is a 30-06 necked down to .257”. It was invented in 1959. It will get 3, 200 feet per second with a 100 grain bullet.

3.     4 Bore
If this sounds like a big gun, it’s not. It is a HUGE gun! There are not many out there, and they are heavy brutes. With a heavy load they will shoot a quarter pound projectile pushed by 440 grains of black-powder. That heavy load is almost too big for a shooter of any size to shoot safely. It is said to have over 8,000 foot pounds of energy. This gun was for elephants and the like in Africa.

4.     Smith and Wesson .500
I am pretty sure this is currently the biggest cartridge handgun made. At 69 ounces, it is pretty heavy. With its 8” barrel, it can deliver 2,600 foot pounds of energy. A 44 magnum delivers 993 ft Ibs. It is running for $1,369.
Until next time, see ya!

-Caleb