I have been wearing the ESEE5/M5 kit for a while now during numerous activities. This past Saturday I got my first real opportunity to not only wear it for an extended amount of time, but wear it while hiking, minor rock scrambling, sitting, kneeling, etc. I think the kit will work nicely for how I am intended it to be used, but it’s going to require some modification.
I had initially used some paracord to tie the bottom part of the M5 bag to my leg so it didn’t flop around. Good idea in theory but it has some issues. In order to keep the pack stable, it has to be tied on tight enough to not move, but not so tight as to cut off circulation. The pack also has to come off, if getting into the drivers seat of a vehicle with a center console. Being able to quickly fasten and unfasten the leg cinch would be a plus.
I will be replacing the paracord with a length of webbing and a side-release buckle. I figure while I am making that, I am going to redo how it clips to my belt. I’ll remove the clip plate back from the ESEE-5′s sheath and fashion some quick release belt loops out of webbing and buckles that will allow the pack to hang at the same location as the clip plate, but offer more flexibility and comfort at the belt. The clip plate is uncomfortable with a tightly fastened belt.
The M5 has a place for your belt to run through it, but I don’t like how high that puts the knife handle.
The combined weight of the ESEE-5 and the M5 (including it’s contents) are also making me consider adding a removable baldric style shoulder strap, not so much to help with weight distribution, but to help keep my pants up!
This morning I ordered an ESEE Laser Strike, and I have some plans for it. The total plan will probably take a few months to complete, as I need to acquire or find access to some tools I don’t have.
First up is using some etchant solution to deepen some of the laser engraving on the blade (mainly the skull and crossing knives). Once that is complete I am going to get some stripper and take all the powder coat off the blade, and give it a good sanding/polish.
At that point, depending on what it looks like, I may or may not give it a hot apple cider vinegar bath to darken the steel.
Then the hard (for me) part. New scales. I want to replace the micarta scales with wood. Most likely will be some nice desert ironwood, or something similar. I will also use some blaze orange G10 liners.
Then lastly some custom leather pants for it, and a matching ferro rod.
I spent some time messing around with some energy drink cans over the weekend, making alcohol stoves out of them. Being the tinkerer that I am, rather than following plans known to work, I did a little research to get the basic ideas of what needed to happen, and then started experimenting.
The first stove I made was made from an aluminum energy drink bottle, similar to a Venom bottle but from some other company whose name escapes me at the moment. This was to be a prototype before I go and hack up the really nice, thick walled Realtree Energy Drink bottle that was given to me to try. The stove is similar in construction to this one. It got 1 cup of water boiling in my GSI cup in about 4 minutes and now that I’ve prototyped it on the flimsy bottle, I know what I need to do for the Realtree bottle.
The second stove I made was from a Monster Energy Drink can. It was just your basic self-priming soda can design, similar to this. This one worked well but didn’t boil the water quite as fast as the other.
You can look forward to some video on the Realtree stove when I get it put together and working.
I ordered some orange G10 sheets to make liners for my ESEE-5, but after some trial, error, and research, I’ve discovered I am going to have to put that project on hold to get it done correctly. I do not have the skill nor tools currently to produce the results I want.
The good news is, I found someone who is selling exactly what I want at a fair price and will be ordering them, and will re-tackle the knife liner project in the future after obtaining some tools I need.
I wanted to put my new tomahawk and knife to the test, so I went out into my backyard with some old lumber I had, the knife, hawk, firestick and my hat to build a fire.
First thing I did was use the knife to cut up a few patches of denim out of some old pants. Once I had enough pieces of a size I liked and put them in an altoids tin and set aside. Then I set to splitting the lumber. What a task for two little tools. I have two pieces of 3′ long 4×4 post. I’m not exactly sure what it was but it smelled kind of like cedar, not as strong though. The wood was very dry and rock hard.
I finally got it broken down into the sizes of kindling I wanted and then started on trying to see how the knife would do making a feather stick out of one of the pieces of split wood. I got a few good curls and a lot of nice shavings but no feather stick. I felt like the knife could do it but I think it was mostly the wood not cooperating. Or maybe it was me. I don’t know.
My backyard is full of dry leaves and needles from a mesquite tree, and it makes an excellent natural tinder bundle. The first time I tried it, it caught flame on the first spark from my ferro rod. I thought I’d get the camcorder out and take some video of it. Three more tries and could not get it on the first spark. DOH! Oh well, it still works pretty well.
I moved all my materials over to my propane grill and built a fire in one of the water pots for my smoker, it’s really dry in Arizona right now and wanted to be as safe as possible. I started the fire and put the tin of denim in the flames.
This is the first time I’ve made charcloth and really didn’t know how long I should let it sit in there, so I used the guesstimation method. The end result:
Looks good to me! I set the tip of my fire stick down on a piece and hit a spark, it started smouldering right away. I guess it worked! This charcloth will help me with a number of the Bushclass courses.