Saturday, August 22, 2009

Weekend Update

© 2009 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
Quite Frankly, I'd Rather be Fishing!

It's a hell of a thing to have to work for a living!

Here I am stuck actually having to work, when I could be lying around doin' much of nothin'. It's a disgrace is what it is!

It really is my own fault. I should have brought a fishing rod with me.

I'm currently a few hours north of my usual haunts on Florida's West Coast. I am very close to Homosassa, and the fishing here is world renowned. As a matter of fact Homossasa is considered by many as the tarpon hot-spot of the world. I remember seeing Lefty Kreh and Mark Sosin catch giant Silver Kings while fishing the flats around Homosassa Bay. In 1993 the world record tarpon was caught on the flats.

Not only are the tarpons huge, this area of West Coast Florida is one of the prime fishing spots within the state. It is a well known area for chasing spotted sea trout, redfish, cobia, grouper (further out on the hard bottom), Spanish mackerel, sheephead, shark, black drum, jack crevelle, and bluefish. It has incredibly productive estuaries and grass flats that nurture juvenile sportfish, and plenty of forage fish.

As hot as it gets in August, there are still plenty of fish that frequent the shallows. Redfish and seatrout are regulars. Fishing after a good storm, will usually produce, as will early morning. Cut bait can be very productive, and live bait is always a good choice.

My 6'6" spinning rig should be perfect, along with my Penn International baitcaster. I may even strap the pirogue to the bed of the truck and bring it with me.

All in all it's not a bad assignment, and I do believe I can suffer through it... if I have to.

Best regards,

Thursday, August 20, 2009

SiegeWork Creations Longbow

Excellent Value for the Money! Well built and Fast!
© 2009 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
SiegeWorks Creations SWC American Longbow
It's here!!!

I've been waiting on this beauty for a couple of weeks. I can barely contain myself from the excitement and desire to string it and shoot a couple of arrows with it!

Friends, you will just have to be satisfied with a few pictures I took, I want to give this bow the careful and thorough consideration it deserves, and really do it justice. I also have to learn how to use the photo editing program I am using now. Just cropping these shots has taken me a bit of getting used to.

Just s few observations:

Oh golly it is light! It can't be more than a pound at most. Compared to my old Ben Pearson Flame Hunter, or the Browning Compound Cobra, it is absolutely feather light. I'll give you all the details as I review and report, but I can see this becoming an absolute favorite in no time flat.

The bowstring is completely hand made and a work of art in and of itself.

The laminations are seamless, and the finish is eggshell or satin. Either way it complements the bow very nicely.

It is apparent that Dave and Sara at SiegeWork Creations really pride themselves on creating quality bows at very, very reasonable prices.

51LBS at 28" Look out hogs

Beautiful workmanship.
The bow nocks alone are beautifully crafted.

Update: I am on assignment, and I've got a real bad connection were I am at, and I may not have a decent one until this evening. (8/21) The pics will have to wait until I get back again.


The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles

Making a Powder Horn Pt I: A Chronicles Project

2009 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
Making a Powder Horn for Black Powder

Image Credit: Dan Morphy's Auctions
Of course, mine may not look quite this good...

After missing out on the long rifle, powder horn, and accoutrement auction a couple of weeks ago, I felt obligated, at the very least, to make something. Fortunately for me I have a couple of bull horns sitting somewhere in the shop waiting for me to do something constructive with them. A powder horn seems like the right project to tackle, and I think it would be a worthwhile project for those of you that shoot traditional black powder firearms, or for those of you that like to make things even if you don’t have an immediate use for it.

I am guessing that the first thing you might want to do is get a horn or two to work on. If there is a meat packing plant somewhere nearby, you can get a steady supply of horns from them for next to nothing. They will certainly be the freshest horns you will find, with the added advantage that you can select hand select the ones you want. More than likely they will still have the bone and nerve tissue in the core which must be removed as quickly as is possible. But we will get to that later.

Uhmmm... Buy them. It's easier than gathering them on the hoof

Other places that you can get horns from are “Mountain Man” rendezvous, Black Powder meets, and specialty houses that sell horns via the internet or through mail-order.

Cow horns are found in a variety of colors ranging from black and white to creams and browns. Grey, bluish, and moss are also possible. When choosing a horn, try to look for one that curves solely on a single plain. Most horns though curve on two planes. You will want the curve that matches the side of the body you intend to wear it on, along with the direction you want the horn itself hanging. Horns that twist, even though they may be very appealing, should be avoided unless you are making a purely decorative one.

Now that you have chosen a horn, it must be cleaned. If it is a fresh horn, you will need to boil it in order to loosen the core, which can then be pulled out. It would be best if you did this out of doors. The smell can be offensive to those with a, uhmmm, more delicate constitution.

Horn cleaned and sanded smooth from a supplier.

After pulling the core, give the inside of the horn a good hard scrubbing. You must dislodge every bit of membrane and tissue that may remain; otherwise your powder horn is going to stink to high heaven. A splash of bleach when you’re done will make sure it is all gone.

Before we go any further, there are a few tools that you will need. You could probably do everything with a fine toothed hacksaw blade, a nail, and a sharpening stone, but for the sake of efficiency you should have a few more tools at your disposal. A a half inch chisel, rasp, bastard file, sandpaper, steel wool, a roll of electrical tape, drill and a scraper will make the job go smooth and easy. Access to a wood turning lathe or a drill press would be awesome.

The base must be trimmed to solid horn. The portion of the horn closest to the skull is thin, and usually uneven. Cut off the flared base portion as close to perpendicular to the horn’s axis at the base as possible. Use electrician’s tape to mark the cut line.

Cut round and round, scoring around the base of the horn.

Using your fine toothed hacksaw, and scoring around the horn at the line marked by the tape, will minimize any splintering. I use the blade sans handle, and a cut a little bit at a time as I go around the circumference creating a groove for the blade to follow. Once the horn is trimmed, a bit of rubbing on a piece of sandpaper laid out on a flat surface will square the back nicely.

There is a hard outer layer of material on the horn that is usually nicked and cracked. It’s called scale by some, and needs to be removed. You can rasp it off, though I think it creates more work for you later on. Coarse sandpaper, about 100 to 120 does a good job and it is easier to sand out those scratches than the ones left by the rasp. A cabinet scrape does a very good job of it, but you need to develop the technique of holding it at the correct angle.

The scraper is a great tool for smoothing any workable surface, and leaves a surface that rarely needs any finishing. When I mentioned that you could do this project with nothing more than a nail, hacksaw blade, and sharpening stone, I meant that one could square and sharpen the back of the hacksaw blade with the stone. There’s your scraper!

Using the back of the hacksaw blade as a scraper.

Reality check: After spending a considerable amount of time just scraping, I have come to the conclusion that it is advisable to use a four-in-hand file or a good sharp rasp!

The four-in-hand, as you can see, is a half round file with both rasp and coarse files on both the curved and flat side. It makes short work of getting through the scale, cleaning up dings and gouges, and generally speeds things up. After using the rasp, smoothing with the mill file, the scraper smoothed things down for sanding.

A rasp or coarse file is the best way to remove the scale.

Remove the scale by whichever means you decide, also working on any gouges that the horn may have. Blend nicks into the surrounding areas, being careful that you don’t go through the horn, or create an obvious depression.

While you are sanding initially, check the inside of the horn. When the back plug is cut and turned, it will need a relatively smooth area to seat into. Sand any ridges down to accommodate the plug.

Smooth the ridges to allow a watertight fit.

Scraping the ridges flat.

We have now prepared the horn. It is clean, smooth, and square. Now we get into the trickier aspects.

Carefully saw round and round.

The first step is to cut the tip of the horn off square to where the spout tip’s axis will be. Cut back far enough that there is enough material for you to carve the pour spout from. Save the cut off, we are going to use it.

Notice how much solid material this horn has!

Looking at traditional powder horns, I have found that in most cases the spout is carved directly from the horn itself. Note the shape of the tips in the adjacent pictures. Those are carved directly from the thick portion of the horn tips.

Other horns have what appears to be turned spouts. I have given this a great deal of consideration these last few days, and I believe I have a couple of different ways in which it could be done. The first would be a lathe set up to hold horns in such a fashion that the spout could be turned directly on the horn. The other method could be that the spouts were turned independently from the cut off tips, and then remounted and glued on a tenon cut directly into the remains of the horn. This method would allow any number of profiles and custom tips.

Trim the end down a bit with a rasp.

Create a new profile for the tip by rasping and maintaining the curve. It's a little more work but it will help later on by keeping the tip aligned properly. I am somewhat challenged artistically speaking, and taking a little off at a time, makes for a better finished product.

Cutting around again.

Mark off the area where you're going to cut with tape. Cut deeply enough depending on the thickness of the horn. In the case of this horn it would ultimately need to be cut almost 1/2 an inch deep.

A chisel is very handy, and makes short work of the trimming.

Take a slice and turn, trying to cut evenly all the way around.

Cutting to the shoulder. Notice that I have my hands in
a mutually blocking
position so that the chisel can only cut to the shoulder.

Saw around the shoulder as many times as you need to.

Cut around the shoulder again in order to deepen the shoulder. You will need to do it several times untill you have reached the appropriate depth.

Continue to trim with the chisel, round of with the rasp, and smooth with the file.

Measured and initial groove to guide the saw cut for the eventual bead.

The back of what will be the bead

Again, using tape, I demarcated the lines after measuring the inside dimensions of the horn. I carefully scored around the horn and then carved to the line. A rasp can be used to rough in the initial shape which can then be refined with scraper and sandpaper.

There's a lot of material that needs to be removed with this type of horn. The substantial amount of solid horn material makes for a lot of cutting and rasping. As I have been researching the making of powder horns, I have found that there are different types of horns, some better suited than others. I am pleased with the length of the solid portion because it will allow me to make other objects for the powder horn from the solid tip. But for the first time, it might have been better to get a horn with less tip on it.

That's as far as we will go for now. In the next installment we'll continue to refine the shape of the spout, boil and form the back, and start on the wood furniture. Making a powder horn is turning out to be a pretty fun project. Some of the examples I have seen are artwork - polished, carved and scrimshawed with what is obviously skill and great talent. At the end of this project I'll list the references and makers I have found.

Related Posts:

Making a Powder Horn Pt I: A Chronicles' Project
Making a Powder Horn Pt II: A Chronicles' Project
Making a Powder Horn: Almost There!
Making a Powder Horn Pt III: A Chronicles' Project

Best Regards!

The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Free At Last! Linux in the House!

Ok, I guess everyone has noticed the haphazard nature of my posts lately. With my computer on the fritz ever since the Walgreens' Photo Shop incident, I've been haveing nothing but troubles.

Last night a post that I've been working on for about a week, a Chronicles' Project, got all discombobulated, with the HTML going crazy. Beats me.

That was the last straw. I went and bought an 8GB thumb drive, backed up all my pictures, posts, articles, and notes, along with the data files on a couple of other things, and pulled the extra hard drive I had installed which has the pics and a few programs that I would hate to lose.

I reformated the original hard drive, to its original Windows condition, then I put in the Linux Ubunto 9.04 disc that I got from the book store. They sell it in a package with the magazine/manual on the racks. It includes the equivelent of Microsoft Office, Publisher, and Adobe Photoshop. I've used the Open Office word processor, and the Photoshop equivalent - Gimp, and they work almost the same and in some cases better!

Installation was smooth as silk, the partition is done automatically so you don't need to know how it's done.

When the system boots up, you are given the choice of windows, or Ubunto. That's great for the kids so they can keep on doing their thing on Windows, and great for me because now I have a much more stable system!!!

A lot of my stuff got messed up, so it may take me a couple of days to get organized, but I'll be back on track soon enough!

There are a couple of visual nuances that i have noted, but as far as I am concerned, this is a no brainer for those of you that worry about your computer taking a dive, or the Chinese or Russians Bot hacking you into their systems.

At $21.00 at the magazine rack, it is cheap insurance and quite frankly cheap in software terms. You can actually resurrect an older machine with Linux and really get your money's worth out of it!

Best Regards,

Monday, August 17, 2009

Long Rifle Auction Nets over $500K

Kentucky and Pennsylvania Rifles'
Auction Brings in Big Bucks!

Remember the auction I mentioned last week, well it grossed over $500,000 reports Auction Central News.

The large private collection of more than 220 flintlock and Kentucky long-rifles auctioned near by Dan Morphy's Lancaster, Penn. Aug. 13-15 brought in more than $500,000, with the 1785-1790 J.P. Beck bringing the top single price of $20,700. Approximately 30 other guns also sold at twice their high estimates.

"People came from all over to bid on these guns - Connecticut, Kentucky, Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina and, of course, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. They filled two overflow parking fields," said the auction company's owner, Dan Morphy. "The preview was so busy, we had to hire two extra employees to help out."

I didn't get there, I didn't get squat, all I got was some pictures of the online catalog.

"Internet live bidding through LiveAuctioneers added incredible punch to the final tally. Over the three-day auction period, 714 lots sold through LiveAuctioneers, with an average daily online sell-through rate of 23.7%."

On the positive side I was inspired by the auction items, and I've come up with a couple of new projects for the Chronicles and for you to be inspired by too!

Best to All!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Record Gator Taken in Alabama

13 foot 5 inch Alligator Taken

"Matt Thornton of Mobile, along with five of his hunting partners, killed a 13-foot, 5-inch behemoth that tipped the scales at a whopping 701 pounds on the first night of the fourth gator season on the Mobile-Tensaw Delta."

"Prior to Saturday morning, John Sutton of Stockton held the record for length with a 12-foot, 10-inch gator pulled from the Tensaw River and William Simmons of Headland held the weight record with a 675-pound animal pulled from Lake Eufaula during the first-ever hunt on the lake."

All the details, including all the fun of trying to get it into the boat are at South Alabama Outdoors.

Dang, that's a big gator...

Albert A Rasch
Member: Hunting Sportsmen of the United States HSUS (Let 'em sue me.)
The Hunt Continues...

Contact Info for Philadelphia Eagles Sponsors

For Your Entertainment
Philadelphia Eagles Sponsor List

My buddy John over at For Your Entertainment has posted the corporate sponsors of the Philadelphia Eagles. If you are as disgusted by the rehiring of Michael Vic as I am, let the sponsors know. Go ahead, cut and paste the note I've been sending.

For Your Entertainment: More Contact Info for Philadelphia Eagles Sponsors

"It has come to my attention that you sponsor the Philadelphia Eagles professional football team. In a society where we allow greed to override our common sense and dignity, it is up to the individual to do what he can to right wrongs. As a ardent hunter and outdoorsman, I am aghast that your company supports the Philadelphia Eagles. I will not purchase from nor have anything to do with any company that sponsors the Philadelphia Eagles and by extension Michael Vic. Though he may have served his time, and or seen the light, as he says, the fact remains that he committed heinous crimes, torturing dogs for no reason other than his perverse pleasure. That companies such as yours condone this type of corporate accounting is beyond belief. Again, I regretfully must refuse to purchase any of your products, or any of your subsidiaries' products.

Albert A Rasch"

The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles