FROM SPARK TO FLAME

Learning to control fire was one of early man’s most important accomplishments. He found that by being able to create fire he could keep warn, light the darkness, clear land, make tools, cook food and use it as protection from predators.

Researchers are not sure if the first fire-making was the result of discovering that a spark could be generated by friction, such as a hand drill, bow drill or fire plow, or if it was discovered that a spark could be generated when the sharp edge of a hard rock when struck against iron pyrite rocks. What we do know is that when fire-making was mastered it quickly became a part of man’s daily routine.

Fast forward to the Iron Age and the discovery that the sharp edge of a hard stone such as flint, jasper, obsidian or quartzite when struck against high carbon steel produced sparks faster and easier than all previous methods of fire-starting. The flint and steel kit became a part of history from then until the discovery of friction matches in the middle 1800’s. Slowly in the early 1900’s as friction matches were improved, flint & steel kits started disappearing from home hearths, woodsmen pouches and trappers cabins.

Flint and Steel
Flint and Steel

However flint & steel kits didn’t entirely disappear. Even today many woodsmen, re-enactors, and survivalists use flint & steel kits, such as those made by Vern’s Flint & Steel (http://www.vernsflintandsteel.net) , much as it was done in the frontier days of early America.

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THE KNIFE FOR ALL SEASONS

For over four decades I have depended upon the Schrade Model 125OT knife for most of my guiding and outdoor writing adventures. My first 125OT was given to me by Henry Baer of the Schrade Walden Cutlery Co. back in the late 60’s with the challenge to try it as my knife while guiding big game hunters. He felt sure I would like it. I gave the USA made folding knife a lot of hard use and it became my knife of choice for much of my career. Made from 1095 high carbon steel, the 4-inch clip point blade held an edge well and was quick and easy to sharpen in the field.

Recently I decided I wanted a high quality all-purpose hunting/fishing/camp fixed blade knife that had a high carbon steel blade design similar to the 125OT. My woods roaming buddy, Medrick Northrop, wanted one also, so we began a search to find a forge that could produce such a knife.

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THE SCOUTING GUIDE TO SURVIVAL

A Licensed Product of the Boy Scouts of America

More than 200 Essential Skills for Staying Warm, Building a Shelter, and Signaling for Help
J. Wayne Fears 

Prepared. For Life.®
In The Scouting Guide to Survival (November 6, 2018), current Scouts, Scout alumni, and readers interested in the outdoors are provided with time-tested advice on emergency preparedness. Some practical tips include: 

  • THE SCOUTING GUIDE TO SURVIVALHow to build a fire 
  • How to purify water 
  • How to signal for help 
  • How to build simple shelters
  • How to survive in different environments
  • How to practice survival first aid
  • And so much more!

Since 1910, the Boy Scouts of America has helped build the future leaders of this country by combining educational activities and lifelong values with fun. The BSA is committed to training youth in responsible citizenship, character development, and self-reliance through participation in a wide range of outdoor activities.

J. Wayne Fears grew up in the outdoors, as his father was a trapper. He earned the BSA rank of Eagle Scout at the age fourteen. As an adult scouter, he served for two years as the advisor to an Explorer Post that specialized in wilderness survival. He has taught wilderness survival to Boy Scout troops and BSA leaders and has served many years as a wilderness survival merit badge counselor. He received survival training both from the Army and Air Force. This is his third book on survival. He is one of America’s most prolific outdoor writers with thirty-four books and over 6200 magazine articles published. In 2012 he was inducted into the Legends of the Outdoors National Hall of Fame. He resides in Tater Knob, Alabama.

To request an excerpt or to arrange an interview with the author, please contact:
Ronnie Alvarado / (212) 643-6816 x 274 / valvarado@skyhorsepublishing.com

The Scouting Guide to Survival: More than 200 Essential Skills for 
Staying Warm, Building a Shelter, and Signaling for Help
by J. Wayne Fears
Skyhorse Publishing paperback, also available as an e-book | On Sale: November 6, 2018
ISBN 978-1-5107-3774-7| $16.99

KNIVES CHOSEN BY OUTDOORSMEN WHO DEPENDED UPON THEM

One’s favorite knife, like firearms and other outdoor gear, can be a heated debate around any campfire where several real woodsmen gather. What one woodsman likes may not be what you like, and vice versa. The best knife makes for an interesting discussion.

During my half century of being in the company of outdoorsmen who depended on knives daily and spending many hours researching those who came before them, I came up with a list of some of the better known outdoorsmen and the knife they considered their favorites. As you read down this list you will quickly see that there is no one knife that fits all.

NessmuckGeorge Washington Sears, aka Nessmuck 1821- 1890. Nessmuck best known as being America’s first outdoor writer. He wrote for Forest & Stream magazine and was the author of the book Woodcraft & Camping which is still in print today. He is famous for his “trinity of cutting tools” which consisted of a small double-bit hatchet, a belt knife which he designed and a moose-style pocket knife with spey and clip blades.

Ben LillyBen Lilly 1856 – 1936. Lilly was a woods wanderer from an early age. He became best known as a hunter of large predators in the southwestern US and northern Mexico. His favorite knife was a large S-shaped double edge bowie knife he made for “sticking big cats and bears.” His camp knife was a more traditional Green River style blade with an antler handle.

Teddy RooseveltTeddy Roosevelt 1858 – 1919. Roosevelt is best known as the hero of San Juan Hill and the 26th President of the U.S. However Roosevelt was a seasoned outdoorsman and wrote several books on hunting and the outdoor life. During his cowboy days in the Dakota Territory and his early big game hunts his knife choice was a large silver inlayed Bowie knife made by Tiffany & Co. in 1884. In 1907 it seems he switched to a Marble’s knife designed by Roosevelt’s friend and fellow big game hunter Dall DeWeese.

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