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  • June 26, 2013

    The Blades of Maine Knifesmith Lamont Coombs

    By David E. Petzal

    So I needed a knife reground, and I asked Chris Kravitt, the sheathmaking swami of Waltham, Maine, who might do such a job. “Lamont Coombs,” said Mr. Kravitt, “he’s as good as any knifemaker in the United States.” So I went to see Lamont Coombs, who lives in the town of Bucksport, and damned if he isn’t just that.

    Coombs, who is 43, got his start as a machinist, turned to knifemaking as a hobby in 1988, and began as a full-time smith a decade later. He has been busy. In the quarter-century since he made his first knife, more than 3,000 have emerged from his shop.

  • March 25, 2013

    Good Hunting Gear: TerraLUX Lightstar 80 Flashlight

    By Phil Bourjaily

    Of all the many things we can buy covered in camo that shouldn’t be camo-ed, flashlights rank near the top of the list, along with knives. Several years ago a big game guide showed me his knife. He had dipped the handle in some kind of rubberized bright orange paint. It was easy to hold onto, he said, and easy to find when he set it down somewhere.

    Which brings us to the TerraLux Lightstar 80. I used one last season and found it to be in most ways a basic, serviceable light. It’s a fairly inexpensive ($30 list, sells for less) 80 lumen LED light that runs for five hours on a pair of AA batteries. It has a rubber ring around the end so you can hold it in your mouth comfortably, and the on-off switch can even be operated with tongue pressure.

  • December 5, 2012

    Chaser Knives: Superior Craft and Art

    By David E. Petzal

    From time to time it is my pleasure to introduce you to people who are both superior craftsmen and artists as well, such as D’Arcy Echols and Ryan Breeding. Now, let me present Mike Malosh, who makes knives in the style of William Scagel, and does his own designs to boot. Mr. Malosh’s creations are called Chaser knives, and he does a number of things that set him apart.

  • November 28, 2012

    Good Gear: Work Sharp Guided Field Sharpener 2.2.1

    By David E. Petzal

    Some time ago, I called your attention to the Work Sharp Knife and Tool Sharpener, an ingenious device that enables the veriest dullard to put a murderous edge on just about anything. However, the system is for home use only as it requires electricity. Enter the Work Sharp Guided Field Sharpener 2.2.1, which solves this problem neatly. It’s around 7 inches long, weighs a couple of ounces, and consists of two diamond sharpening plates (fine and coarse) that are held in place by magnets, a ceramic rod with coarse, fine and fishhook positions, a small ceramic rod for serrated edges, and an impregnated leather strop.

  • November 6, 2012

    How to Pack for a Hunt

    By David E. Petzal

    “The only time I ever got my s**t together, I couldn’t pick it up.”—Roger Miller

    Packing successfully for a hunting trip is far more important than making out a will which will hold up. If you die and your will is successfully contested, what do you care? You’re dead. If, however, you bring only longjohn bottoms on a hunt and leave the tops at home, you’ll regret it bitterly for a week or more.

    Because I’m at the age when I have trouble remembering who I am, much less all the stuff that I have to take along, I’ve developed a system that’s worked pretty well. First, take out all the hunting gear you own. I mean everything, even if it has no place where you’re going.

    Second, assemble what you need, and don’t do this by simply slinging it into a duffle bag. Don’t assume that you have patches and gun oil in your cleaning kit. You may have taken them out on the last trip because the TSA doesn’t allow gun oil. Are all your batteries fresh? Have you gained so much weight since last season that, when you button your heavy pants, little purple veins erupt on your nose?

  • March 5, 2012

    Pro Tool's J.Wayne Fears Series Knives

    By David E. Petzal

    Pro Tool, which makes the Woodman’s Pal combination tool, and master outdoorsman and writer J. Wayne Fears have designed three new knives that bear his name (top to bottom): the Ultimate Survival Knife, the Ultimate Outdoor Cook Knife, and the Ultimate Deer Hunter’s Knife. J. Wayne knows about everything there is to know about hunting and staying alive in the wilderness, and the knives show the input of someone who knows what the hell he is doing.

    All three are made of 1095 cutlery steel, tempered to Rc 54-56. This steel makes a blade that sharpens easily and takes an edge like a razor, but usually requires a fair amount of resharpening. However, these hold their edges like Grim Death itself. Out of curiosity, I cut the top out of a steel acetone can with the Survival Knife. Its edge needed a little retouching, but otherwise it didn’t seem to mind.

    Because tool steel rusts, the Deer Hunter’s Knife and the Survival Knife have their blades and tangs epoxy-powder coated. The Cook Knife does not, and if you leave it in your kitchen knife drawer you must stress to all who may use it that if they put it in the washing machine, they will be stabbed with it. Repeatedly.

  • November 15, 2011

    Review: New Work Sharp Honing Rod

    By David E. Petzal

    Some time ago I introduced you to the Work Sharp Knife and Tool Sharpener, a small belt sharpener that has had roughly the same impact on Western civilization as the printing press, penicillin, and the Hula Hoop, and all because it is the first device that will let even the most fumble-fingered put a razor edge on nearly anything that cuts. (I have put a paper-slicing edge on a Cold Steel Spetsnaz shovel with it.)

  • May 3, 2010

    Bourjaily: Tased Sheep on Meth and a Cool Cheap Flashlight

    By Phil Bourjaily

    First of all, there’s this: to test the safety of using tasers on meth-heads, Taser International conducted a study in which researchers gave meth to sixteen sheep, then tased them to see if their hearts would fail. All 16 lived to bleat the tale. The story is datelined April 12, not April 1, and it’s on the Internet so it must be true.

  • February 2, 2010

    Petzal: Barrett's Law

    By David E. Petzal

    While at SHOT Show and SCI last month, I saw a great deal of New Stuff that we will not  be able to live without. The downside to New Stuff is that it comes at the cost of Old Stuff, and sometimes, the Old Stuff is a lot better than the New Stuff that replaces it. And that is why Peter Barrett, Field & Stream’s late Executive Editor, would take a puff on his pipe and say “Kid, if you find something real good buy two, because as true as God they’ll stop making it.”

  • March 4, 2009

    Bourjaily: I Hate the 3 1/2-inch Turkey Load

    By Phil Bourjaily

    I had a chance to shoot a Beretta O/U in .458 Win Mag a while ago. I’d never fired a big-bore rifle, but I pulled the trigger, the steel plate target clanged, and honestly my first thought was: “That was nowhere near as bad as a turkey load.” In fact, it was kind of fun, so I shot the plate about twenty more times.