Old-Style Pocket Knives – the Mercator Multi

Vintage WWI-era Mercator Multi

Mercator pattern knives originated in Germany in the mid-1860s and were made by a variety of manufacturers. The standard Mercator pocket knives are a marvel of design – slimline, with a secure backlock and are still large enough to be useful for a variety of uses. They were far ahead of their time and are still popular in this second decade of the 21st Century. Possum skinners in New Zealand (where our beloved Aussie brushtail possum is an invasive feral which needs to be eradicated) swear by these Mercator knives, which they commonly call “cat” knives. I have a few of the standard “cat” knives, and I even carry one in my Bob Cooper survival kit since it has such a slim profile. My EDC pocket knife is a brass-scaled “cat” knife which I use for chopping up fruit mostly. Look out for a separate post soon covering these standard Mercator pocket knives. Continue reading “Old-Style Pocket Knives – the Mercator Multi”

Waltzing Matilda with a swag, Part 5 – Eating

In this picture showing the contents of the nosebag you can plainly see the eating equipment usually carried.

The swagman’s eating equipment is simple and  concise. I use vintage and vintage-style eating equipment. It consists of a tin plate, a silver-plated spoon, three-tine fork, bone handled butter knife sharpened to a razor edge and the quart pot’s pannikin.

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Waltzing Matilda with a swag, Part 4 – Cooking & Food Preparation

Making your tucker on the wallaby is an exercise in minimalist food preparation and cooking. Sure, you can take modern pre-prepared or freeze dried foods with you instead of the stuff the old-timers carried, but between you and me… that’s cheating. Taking a gas cooker or even an alcohol stove is cheating too. If the bushfire fire danger allows it, you use an open fire for your cooking. If it doesn’t then stay home or “cheat” and use a Jetboil and freeze dried slop-in-a-bag.

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MYOG – Make Your Own Bushman’s Pocket Candlestick Tin

This is a dead-easy project. Dads or mums, build one of these with your son or daughter. Scout or Guide leaders, use it as a project for camping weekends or slow weeknight meetings. Guys and gals, put one together for those rustic bushwalking or hiking trips and amaze your mates.

It’s a candle holder in a tin designed so that when it’s all packed up it’s pocket-sized and easy to carry around with you for use when you’re swaggin’ it next to a creek or river, or eating a feed of damper and bushman’s stew on a camp table. It’s not windproof or waterproof, nor is it meant to be. It’s just a way to hold a candle and to reflect a bit of light. Same sort of concept as a traditional slush lamp, but without the bad smell. For high performance in bad conditions, use a proper glass or mica-windowed candle lantern like a Stonebridge or a Swiss Army/Excelsior Lux type. Keep the candle away from wind, water and of course, from flammable materials and vegetation while lit.

Continue reading “MYOG – Make Your Own Bushman’s Pocket Candlestick Tin”