The Blade Show is the largest knife show in the world and it happens every year here in Atlanta, about four miles from our store. The show is held at the Cobb Galleria center and the dates for this year are June 9-12.
Last year was a lot of fun with the one booth that we had, but completely overwhelming. Since I am a sucker for punishment, I signed up for three booths this year. Luckily, I have plenty of help this time in the form of employees, friends, and family.
We have not been a Benchmade dealer for very long, but being the only Premium Plus dealer in the area and one of the few in the region, we were fortunate enough to be asked to be their official dealer for the show. If you have never been to Blade, Benchmade has a nice spot by the entrance with their official dealer on the right side of their area.
About a week after hearing about Benchmade, Maxpedition asked us to represent them as well, but they wanted four booths instead of the one that Benchmade had. Like I said, I’m a sucker for punishment, so I immediately said yes.
That makes a total of eight booths when I had one last year and barely had time to think, so I figured that was a good stopping point. I am also working with Boker and will have a huge selection of their items, but those will be in the main booth.
So, if you are going to Blade, you will have ample opportunity to have us show you flashlights, knives, packs, and all the other stuff we have at the show. If that isn’t enough, our retail store with 3000+ items is only four miles away.
I’m trying to make it as easy as possible for you guys to give me money.
Main Going Gear Booth: 331 (front left)
Maxpedition: 332 (off the corner of 331)
Benchmade: 1 (near the entrance)
We’ll have maps and directions to the store at the main booth, but we would be more than happy to see you before, after, or during the show. Pretty much everything will still be at the store during the show, unless we are running really low on something. The only exception is Maxpedition, since we plan on taking our entire inventory to the show.
The Vargo Titanium Hexagon Wood Stove is one of my favorite items to take on extended outdoor trips. It folds up small, is nice and light, and only requires twigs to use. Using my Jetboil is definitely faster to boil a cup of water, but there is something special about using a wood fire to get your food and drinks nice a toasty. Plus, not having to take fuel canisters or white gas is a big advantage on long trips or areas where fuel is hard to find.
The stove has some slots cut in the top to allow you to lay some tent stakes across and cook in containers that are smaller than the top opening. Burning in the stove even gives the unit some pretty cool color patterns since titanium can be heat anodized.
At the very least, this will give you a nice break from my flashlight video onslaught.
If you read my blog, then you probably already know that I get excited about my products pretty easily. Such is the outcome of owning a business that focuses on products for activities that you love.
A new line of products has had me ridiculously excited for about a year and I am very happy to finally be able to share the news.Ã‚ The products are GearPods: modular survival, tool, and adventure kits.
The main parts of GearPods are various tubes, connectors, and other pieces that all connect together.Ã‚ You can have your fire tools in one tube, first aid in another, cooking in a third, gear repair in a fourth, etc.Ã‚ Once you have your kits put together, you can connect and arrange them as needed for different trips.Ã‚ The connector and cap pieces have rubber gaskets to keep your gear dry and safe.
The empty tubes and connectors will be available in the coming weeks and months, but for now, very well thought out premade kits are in stock and ready to ship.Ã‚ The Trailhead kit contains basic survival and first aid items.Ã‚ The BackCountry fleshes out the Trailhead kit contents and adds cooking items such as an aluminum cup, stove, and fuel.Ã‚ The Wilderness kit takes all of that and adds in shelter items like an ultralight nylon tarp and an emergency blanket.Ã‚ Covers for the two larger kits are also available.
I don’t think I’ll have any trouble starting fires anytime soon.Ã‚ Not that I did before, but I am a total failure if I can’t get a fire going with all of this.
I got 500 lbs total, in 3″, 4″, 8″, and 12″ sticks.Ã‚ I thought the little sticks were pretty cool, since they are already the right size to stuff into PSKs and any other nook and cranny you can find.Ã‚ I even got some massive chunks of fatwood, just in case anyone wants to carve a bear out of fatwood, or whatever else people do with several pounds of a firestarter.
There has been a fairly large pine tree in our yard since we moved in to our house a few years ago. At least since then, it has had a decent sized split at the base of the trunk, with a chunk splitting off for about the first 10′ of the three. The tree was large enough where it didn’t seem to matter, and was plenty healthy at the top of the tree. Over the past few months, however, I have noticed a LOT of carpenter ants crawling around in the split, and the way the tree was situated, the weak part of the tree would have meant that if it fell, it would have come down directly on our bedroom. I like adventure, but a 100′ tall pine crashing down on top of my wife and I at 2 AM is not what I have in mind, so my landlord had some guys come out and cut it down this afternoon.
Watching someone cut down a huge tree in a residential neighborhood is awfully entertaining, since they have to climb up and cut down each branch, then start cutting chunks off the top.Ã‚ Huge limbs come down with an almost soft landing thanks to all the needles, but the huge chunks of needleless wood leave log sized holes in the yard with a resounding thud.Ã‚ My neighbors had free entertainment for a few hours and some even sat of their porches watching the whole process. The main thought in my head the whole time: “I bet there is fatwood in the damaged part.” I know, I’m a weirdo.
Sure enough, I was very right.Ã‚ The split portion was dead and rotted, but the other side of the split that was still part of the relatively healthy tree was completely saturated with resin.Ã‚ Hardened resin was also caked all around the edges of the split.Ã‚ I took a small hatchet and chopped in a little way to be sure of the fatwood content and was rewarded with a tool that kept sticking in the gooey mess (good sign, but not good if you like clean tools).
As I pushed the logs around, I came to the base pieces and was suddenly very glad that they took care of the tree when they had.Ã‚ A good 1/4 of the lowest part of the trunk was completely rotten, filled with carpenter ant larvae and adult ants crawling around looking none too pleased.Ã‚ The wood crumbled at the touch, which made me wonder what would happen in the summer thunderstorms a couple of months away.
After confirming the fatwood content, I grabbed my axe and chopped off a small tub full of chunks.Ã‚ This was seriously some of the best fatwood I have ever found, with an almost translucent appearance from the high resin saturation.Ã‚ I put a flame to a small piece, and it instantly caught in a nice, hot flame.Ã‚ With three stumps worth of fatwood sitting in the backyard, I didn’t exactly need more cluttering up the patio.Ã‚ I also don’t exactly need more flashlights and knives, but that doesn’t stop me from pursuing them to the ends of the earth.
If you are unlucky enough to have pine trees on your property (I should probably move out of the south due to my hatred of pines), take a close look at them.Ã‚ You might already have all the fatwood that you need sitting in your yard, but hopefully the tree is further away from your house than mine was.
After my last video, I had several people ask for another video showing more detailed use of a firesteel with various tinders.Ã‚ I like playing with fire more than the average person and was happy to oblige.Ã‚ I really hope there are no arson cases in my area, because the investigators could just point to my videos and I’d be done.
I have been playing with fire since I was probably too young to play with fire by most of today’s parents’ sissified standards.Ã‚ Over the years, I like to think that I have become pretty good at it.Ã‚ I know how to start fires with many different methods, firestarters, tinders, and fuels.Ã‚ Christmas night, I was humbled by some very, very wet wood.Ã‚ I might whine a bit here, so I apologize for that.
I have not lit any fires in our firepit in a few weeks.Ã‚ Laziness, cold weather, rain, blah blah blah.Ã‚ I’m sure there’s something good to blame it on, but I just haven’t made one in a while.Ã‚ Argo (my dog) was nice enough to unroll an entire roll of jute twine a while back, so that has been sitting in my firepit since he unrolled it, waiting for me to use it to get a blaze going.
The weather has been nice enough to grace us with rain every day or two for about a month, so everything was nice and soaking wet.Ã‚ Rain had been falling for a good bit of the day, and there were still puddles covering out patio.Ã‚ Leaves and pine straw covered my pile of branches that I have gathered from the yard, keeping the moisture in the pile very effectively.Ã‚ Splitting the wood or creating feather sticks reveled more wetness instead of some nice, dry parts like it normally does.
I built a nice little log cabin fire with the driest branches I could find in the pile.Ã‚ In retrospect, using some literally dripping wet jute as the core of my fire was probably not the best plan.Ã‚ I started it with some wax and sawdust firestarters, which have always been extremely effective in my past experience.
Now, I got the fire going just fine after some coaxing, and was able to keep it going for a couple of hours.Ã‚ This required perpetual maintenance, rearranging the fire, blowing on it almost to the point of passing out, and adding several wax and sawdust firestarters in the beginning.Ã‚ I kept thinking, “What if this were a situation where I actually needed a fire?”Ã‚ Even in a casual backpacking situation, I would not have wanted or maybe even been able to constantly tend to the fire, with other tasks like setting up a tent, cooking dinner, etc. to tend to.
This was the first time in a long time that I have had trouble with fire.Ã‚ Do you ever have trouble getting a good fire going?Ã‚ Let me know in the comments.