Sunday, November 14, 2010

Nessmuk Knives

Okay, I've wanted a Nessmuk knife since I started reading his turn-of-the-century articles on ultra-light camping and canoeing when I was in my early teens. George "Nessmuk" Sears wrote about a three-edge system that covered all of the tasks that come with camping and travelling for extended periods. He suggested a good multi-blade pocketknife of the stockman pattern, a curved fixed-blade knife of his own design, and a small double-bit hatchet.

The fixed-blade knife became known as a "Nessmuk" knife. It served primarily for skinning and cooking duties. The hatchet went to heavier cutting, especially brush or wood-gathering, and the stockman handled the rest.

A couple of weeks ago I finally got my hands on a custom Nessmuk. I found it on that electronic bazaar ebay, a beautiful Jeff White cherry-handled, high-carbon masterpiece. It came out of the shipping box wickedly sharp, and thus far has proved a most useful kitchen knife.

With any luck, I'll get to try out its skinning capabilities in a couple of weeks.

An Itty-Bitty Dream House

So For the past couple of weeks the Missus and I have been scheming to build ourselves a little house on the farm I own in Mercer County. We had tried to leverage the loan last year, but getting loans last spring was tricky at best, and despite both of us being well-employed and reliable folks, we just couldn't swing the loan, mostly because it was a construction loan, not a mortgage, (I intend to build the house myself) and the bank wanted a licensed contractor to do the work. I was in construction for a decade and a half, and I know what I'm doing. By building myself, I'll save a chunk on the finished house (nearly 40-50%).

So, this spring we're going to try again. I've been talking to a more understanding banker, and he tells me that the farm will collateralize the construction loan, even if I am the builder, and there shouldn't be any problem at all. I own the farm outright (60 or so acres) and the farm values at roughly twice what I'll need to borrow.

So, new bank, new year, and hopefully a new house.

I spent today roughing out an architectural model from the floorplans and elevation drawings (entirely my own design and drawing). Here are a couple of photos of the rough. I'll post more pix as I move the model closer to completion, and if all goes well, you'll get blogs about me building this jewel come May.