Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Updates and Leather Sheaths

We continue to pick away at details.  We got the new Toshiba laptop and received the air card.  Boy, do I need tech support!!  Getting them up and running was a battle.  The service here is so slow I couldn't complete the registration form online before the web site kept timing out.  While AT&T is advertising 4G, their tech support reports we're getting 2G here.  We finally got it done, but certainly hope for better access during the trip.

There are two ways to save on paddling gear---buying equipment that has multiple applications or uses, and making older gear work for a new application. I have a hatchet that has a nice rubber grip and a blade that holds a nice edge. It unfortunately came with a manufacturer’s supplied plastic sheath. The supplied sheath worked great until I sharpened the hatchet, and then the blade cut through the sheath. I needed a good sturdy leather hatchet sheath that would protect my pack as well as the sharpened edge. Besides wood cutting and splitting, the hatchet can be used for driving tent pegs, pulling pegs, compacting cans after they’ve been burned out to reduce trash bulk, and repelling boarders.

Then, I needed a sheath knife. I like a blade thinner than the normal hunting knife, and have a rigger’s kit that I’ve worn on my belt proudly for decades. It was a gift from one of my sailing classes about thirty years ago. It is made of Sheffield Steel from England, which is good stuff. It is rust resistant and it holds a great edge. The kit also includes a shackle pin tool, marlinspike, and pliers in addition to the knife. The leather had aged to the point that it tore when I recently caught the sheath on something.

I took both to a shoe repair shop. The shop had recently been bought by new owners. The previous owner had been doing leather work for something like forty years. I was counting on his skill, so I have to admit I was disappointed in the job I got, but the bottom line is they will work. The flap of the hatchet sheath fastens with a large Velcro fastener, so a small file can be stowed under the flap.

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