Drum Major


May 11, 2013, 02:41 PM
Went on a Scout Camping trip with son's troop last night. Sleeping on the ground was bad enough but this morning we went trail bike riding and I am beat.

What has this got to do with "Drum Major?"

Well the boys trucked in fire wood to this state park that does not allow even foraging for wood and were attempting to build a fire using wood they had split a few weeks back with a machine splitter....the smallest chunks being maybe three pounds and a hand full. No tender.....no what we insensitive old farts called Squaw wood.

They attempted to light the fires by stuffing a teepee stack with paper. Several handfuls of useless white ash later I could stand it no more.

Nope, not one adult had brought an axe, hatchet, machete or Big Honking knife.

I took my old Spiderco Endura that some more long term folks might remember I broke the tip on pulling fence staple in an emergency and.....wait for it..... batoned myself a pile of splinters and thin strips and pencil sized bits. I used my Lester Maddox Memorial axe handle I keep in the back of the truck ( lost my actual Pick mattock handle years back and found this axe handle) to drive the blade of the Spyderco through a few hunks of Oak.

Bad for knife or not bad, example for the boys or not, we had an actual fire with in two minutes of lighting my batoned wood with those big split pieces "involved."

Glad I knew how to do it and had experience at it or we would have had no smoores or shiskabob last night.

Let the standard attacks begin........


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Texan Scott
May 11, 2013, 02:56 PM
You taught Boy Scouts to adapt, improvise, and overcome? SHAME ON YOU, sir!

:p :rolleyes: :p

Texan Scott
May 11, 2013, 03:11 PM
Have to ask, though... somebody actually makes a Lester Maddox Memorial Axe Handle?

And you carry it in your truck?

What the flippity-FLOP, man?

Sam Cade
May 11, 2013, 03:11 PM
Let the standard attacks begin........

Not gonna get any guff from me bro.

You used the tools you had and accomplished your goal. Good Job! GOLD STAR!*

Scouts OTOH, have lost their collective minds it seems.

The official BSA policy regarding sheath knives according to the "Guide to safe Scouting" is 'Avoid large sheath knives' and most camps do not allow scouts to carry them. Many years ago the BSA sold official sheath knives however scouts had to one up each other till scouts were carrying machetes. At that point most camps banned all sheath/fixed blade knives. The only knives a scout should be carrying is one that allows them to fold the blade into the handle for safe carrying. Almost every camp will allow scouts to have fixed blade knives in kitchen areas at campsites but the knives must stay in the kitchen area.

*My son in 7. He bellows GOLD STAR! anytime something positive happens. :D

May 11, 2013, 03:48 PM
Better than being cold.

May 11, 2013, 04:51 PM
You did well for the boys.

I taught myself to baton using a K-Bar USMC and any grip-able piece of wood. I've used the technique for making kindling and for spitting too-big pieces into cooking-sized ones.

There are times when improvising a fire can save a man's life. If I were in a position to need a fire, I would not hesitate to "abuse" the knife again. It's a tool that I'd readily sacrifice to keep from starving or freezing; that's what a knife is ultimately all about.

May 11, 2013, 05:59 PM
Good job KBob . You took what you had and made it work.

May 11, 2013, 10:50 PM
Nope, not one adult had brought an axe, hatchet, machete or Big Honking knife.Boy Scouts without a knife, among the bunch of them??

And the Scout masters without any either??

Shirley you jest!!

Is this what our country has come too now?


Sam Cade
May 11, 2013, 11:04 PM
Boy Scouts without a knife, among the bunch of them??<-snip>
Is this what our country has come too now?

Yes. It is, sadly.

A sharp pocketknife with a can opener on it is an invaluable backcountry tool. Keep it clean, sharp, and handy. Avoid large sheath knives. They are heavy and awkward to carry, and unnecessary for most camp chores except for cleaning fish.

A freaking can-opener?:(


May 11, 2013, 11:14 PM
I guess I'm glad I'm getting old, and won't live to see the end result of this all this BS going on now.


May 11, 2013, 11:14 PM
Used to be you could buy them in Lester's Pick-Rick Restaurant, or so I've been told.

If you bring a Lester Maddox Memorial axe handle to the Boy Scout camping trip...you might be a redneck. :-P

Fred Fuller
May 11, 2013, 11:45 PM
What - no fuzz sticks?



May 11, 2013, 11:58 PM
I doubt Boy Scouts can safely handle Fuzz Sticks if they can't have matches, lighters, or flints & steels either.

They could fuzz somebody's eye out with one of them there things fighting over the can of Dinty MooreŽ beef stew they found in the woods they use the recommended can opener for!

Course, they have to eat it cold.
As every responsible parent of a Scout knows campfires are more dangerous then sharp pointy Scout knives.


May 12, 2013, 02:25 AM
As an eagle scout and young assistant scoutmaster I appreciate what you did. I had to figure out on my own how to baton using a spare Gerber blade, no handle, and a second log. Good on you for passing usable knowledge on. Too many skills are dying off needlessly. Agree that the current BSA rules are senseless and I tend to circumvent them when safety isn't an issue. We were taught how to make fuzz sticks, they were part of my manual even, however most were too lazy and just used synthetic starters or newspaper. Wonder what they'll use when they stop printing those?

May 12, 2013, 08:47 AM
Way to go kBob on two counts:
1.Teaching and using a necessary skill.
2. Starting a thread that continued with humor, satire and irony. I am still laughing. Great way to start the day.

As an Eagle Scout in the 1960's it was a totally different experience. We were so resourceful we figured out how to get beer out of the Knights of Columbus Hall modified coke machine. Remember the type where the bottles stood up. Bottle opener and a straw. Now those are survival tools.....


May 12, 2013, 09:22 AM
I am amazed that you were the the only one to step up, good on you.

Has our societal field craft really deteriorated to the point that when us older guys are gone we are taking these basics with us?

I hope I have passed on enough to my kids and grand kids that they can survive if they have to.

Sebastian the Ibis
May 12, 2013, 09:54 AM
Good for you.

This reminds me of once upon a time, as a scout, we went on our annual ski trip – on the wrong weekend. All the Cabins were already taken and we were left with open lean to’s – no tents, stove, or extra heavy duty sleeping bags. We made do by bagging leaves for warmth, and chipping the metal grate out of ice underneath a frozen spigot so that we had something to cook on. There were so many of us in the lean-to that we were all cozy and warm, the fathers who slept in their cars were freezing and miserable.

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