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Thread: making feather sticks without a knife Feather Sticks 101

  1. #1
    Senior Member Michael aka Mac's Avatar
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    Default making feather sticks without a knife Feather Sticks 101

    Alternate way to get feather sticks without having to use you blade.

    I see a lot of people looking to buy knives that can retain an edge. I mean who wants to spend their day sharpening their knife all the time.

    A trick that I was taught long ago in the Boy Scouts was using a pencil sharpener to shave small sticks for a source of tinder. Now i am not talking about those High School wall mounted pencil sharpeners, but rather those small plastic or metal pencil sharpener sections that are about 1/2 the size of your thumb.

    These tiny pencil sharpeners weigh practically nothing, very packable, costs less then $0.50 and usually even comes with an extra blade or two. Some even have a variable shaving settings allowing you to make very finely cut thin shavings.

    It is also a great way to make your own wooden arrow tips, tent stakes, or shish kabab skewer tips. Just remember that fire-danubing will greatly strengthen your homemade arrows or wooden handles ( for those that do not know what fire danubing is, it is the process of removing moisture from wood, changing its structure and material properties resulting in a much stronger material )


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    Senior Member WolfVanZandt's Avatar
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    I used to have a pencil sharpener in my kitchen specifically for sassafras root. That's the toughest wood I've ever tried to carve.
    True enough, my final home is still out there, but this is most certainly my home range and I love it. I love every rock I fall off and tree I trip over. Even when I am close to dying from exhaustion, a beautiful sunset doesn't lose it's power to refresh and inspire me and that, in itself, is enough to save me sometimes.

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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    I have used pencil sharpeners (the kind for construction pencils) to make shavings. If that is all you have then fine. It is extremely inefficient and time consuming to get enough to do the job.

    Maybe my technique was bad (I don't think so).

    Moral to the story carry a knife, or two, or three.
    Can't Means Won't

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    I don't mind sharpening knives. Sometimes I do it for fun even when they are already sharp.. A number of years ago I picked up a little diamond stone the size of a credit card. It fits nicely in my wallet hence I have it all the time not just when I'm camping or hiking, although I don't do much of either these days.

    Alan

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    Senior Member Michael aka Mac's Avatar
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    Your technique Crashdive was fine, its a pencil sharpener, but to make it effortless and more efficient, one needs to drill a hole on the side of the pencil sharpener and put a key ring on to it to use as a finger hole.

    It is the same way those coax cable strippers work, this ring allows you to twirl the pencil sharpener around in circles much quicker which produces a lot more shavings with far less effort. Think i got 2-3 times the amount of shavings this way then without modification.

    I always carry a min of 3 knives when i am wilderness, and sometimes i don't bring tent stakes and make my own, figured 2 birds with one stone make tent stakes with pencil sharpener and make fire. Ironically i even used it to make a pencil and burned the tip (charcoaled) to write lol.

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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    You make tent stakes with a pencil sharpener? I guess you could write off a tent doing that.

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    I used to go camp out on the National Seashore (Padre Island). For tent stakes I used stainless rods (old whip antennas) 3 or so feet long. Run them into the sand at an angle, leave about 1/2 a foot showing and tie the stretched tent to that. More lines stretched out to the windward side and staked down in the same way. That was before the days of dome tents. Doing all that might get you through most nights. If a gale blew in it was probably going to flatten the tent but at least it would stay there. In later days I simply camped in the truck. Saved a lot of time and trouble, got more fishing done.

    One afternoon the boys and I went down to Mansfield cut (we were not using a tent, just the truck). The night was a little windy but the next morning was calm. I was fishing in the surf and they were doing everything but fishing. Three trucks of guys came roaring up, unloaded, set up tents, grabbed their gear and headed down to the end of the jetties. About the time they got to the end, #2 son says, "Dad, what's that?" I looked down the beach and there was a thick blue haze coming in off the gulf. I said, "Hmmmm, looks like some mist rolling in off the Gulf"... About 2 minutes later that mist rolled in at about 70 mph... Since all our gear was in the truck we just tossed the rods in there and jumped inside... I looked over at the newly pitched camp next to us and the air was filled with dome tents and every other imaginable camp accoutrement headed for Brownsville. The guys on the jetties were taking a pretty good beating as they ran back to the beach.

    I put the T-100 in 4 wheel drive and we headed into the South Texas sand blaster for 63 miles back to Corpus Christi. We pulled in at the first Whataburger, assessed the damage and ate a really good hamburger.

    When we got home to Goliad there was sand in everything. Sand had even clogged up inside of my reels. I had to take each reel completely apart to get all the sand out. Padre Island sand is fine as dust. I always think about when Cabeza De Vaca washed up on Padre Island. He thought he was saved. I surprised he didn't swim back out in the Gulf. There's rattlesnakes, coyotes, and raccoons and they think they won the place. The don't, the mosquitos do. There's little or no fresh water unless it rains and that doesn't last long. There's virtually nothing to eat out there unless you are on the beach at daybreak and can beat the seagulls to whatever washed up that the coyotes and coons didn't get.

    A buddy of mine went surf fishing one night. He put out three rods, kayaked the baits out past the third breakers and settled in for a few beverages. Almost as one the three reels started screaming. He started fighting one while trying to keep the slack (which there wasn't much of) out of the other two. After an exhausting fight, he noticed that the line was now straight down the beach but whatever he had was even more determined. Finally, he pulled a coyote in to the lantern light. He killed it with a flounder gig. Guess what was on the other two lines... The current had picked up the baits and washed them up on the beach and the coyotes had found them pretty quick. BTW this was not on the National Seashore...

    He didn't get any fish but came home with a helluva story...

    Anyway, yeah, tent stakes made with a pencil sharpener, you can write that off....

    Alan

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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    You realize ALL of that went on the list, right? I have no idea what a flounder gig is but it's on the list too just in case.

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    There are flounder gigs and there are flounder gigs. It would be a long night battling coyotes with the store bought variety. They are little more than a salad fork with barbs. The best flounder gigs are homemade with two prongs about 6" long with a slight flare. I know that description does little to clarify what they are.....so,

    A flounder gig is a pointy fork on the end of a long pole (longer the better if using it on gut hooked coyotes) with which one skewers flounder (a fish in the sole family which is quite tasty) while either wading in shallow water or floating on a boat in shallow water, at night with the aid of some sort of lighting device. In most coastal states it is considered bad form to gig other aquatic life with a flounder gig, with the exception of bullfrogs.

    Some girls like diamonds and other assorted baubles. I married a girl that thinks a broiled flounder is the best there is. I try real hard to please her, although I procure her flounder with hook and line. Hook and line does not entail feeding mosquitos all night and leaves open the possibility of at least getting some redfish, trout, etc... if the flounder are not to be had...

    I hope that clears things up a bit...

    Alan

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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    Sure. Still on the list, though. That whole coyote mistakes fishing at night thing will keep me out of your state...on the beach...at night.

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