Episode-926- Alex Leavens on Axe Skills and Tracking

Alex Leavens of Old Fedeal Axe Co.

Alex Leavens of Old Federal Axe Co.

Alex Leavens has a long wilderness and survival background that includes: the Eagle Scout Award, back-country ranger and climbing assistant in the Hoh River Valley, Olympic National Park.

He has also served as a wild land firefighter in three states and as an instructor for the Boulder Outdoor Survival School (BOSS).  He has studied Aikido for over a decade  and studied extensively under Jon Young, founder of the Wilderness Awareness School (WAS).

Alex has also served as instructor at WAS.  Most recently he produced the DVD: Ax Skills for the Homestead & Wilderness Survival.  He joins us today to discuss the axe and how to maintain it, how to repair it, how to select a quality axe and how to find value buy on old axes.

We also discuss tracking lore, the tails of dangerous game hunters Jim Corbett and Robert Ruark and what many predatory animal’s abilities can teach us about tracking as a skill.

Resources for Today’s Show…

 

 

 

11 Responses to Episode-926- Alex Leavens on Axe Skills and Tracking

  1. Great show. I see that Alex teaches in Portland. I’ll have to attend some classes!

  2. Jack, thanks for having Alex on the show. I wanted to buy an axe but don’t believe I know enough about what to look for. Now I have a better idea. I do think an axe or axes are important tools for a homestead.

  3. Ive always been afraid of cleaving my foot splitting wood; is the a technique or a rule of thumb on positioning wood for splitting? Thanks!

    • If you watch the first video on Alex’s site you will notice that he squats as he swings. This way the momentum of the head is going straight down instead of continuing in an arc back toward your feet and legs.

  4. Alex’s classes are great. I’ve attended several of them.

  5. Studied tracking under Dave Scott (Austin, Tx) http://earthnativeschool.com/ who is also a Cyber Tracker track and sign specialist. http://cybertracker.org/specialist and work at Jon Young’s Wilderness Awareness School. Were exploring the possibility of having Dave teach and sponsor Cyber Tracker evaluations in North Texas. Texas Parks and Wildlife uses Cyber Tracker to rank wildlife trackers.

  6. Matthew in Gooseneck Ga

    Jack I laughed out loud about the story of your uncle shooting the blue jay with the 30-06!
    I was turkey hunting once and some crows busted me, I lit one of them up with the 12 Ga. I never heard the end of it from my Dad!

  7. Great show. Learned some things about axe handles I didn’t know.

    ROFL on the blue jay .30-06 story! I think that story kinda freaked Alex out, but that’s our Jack :-)

  8. Carson from Canada

    Hey Jack, just started listening to the episode. Love the story about the Jay and the 30-06! The story about the Leapord trackers almost buying it is a crazy one, and one that I was familiar with, as I had read Death in The Long Grass by Peter Hathaway Capstick. It is a great read for anyone that finds dangerous game hunting interesting, and I would highly recommend it! If nothing else, it gives people a great understanding of just how dangerous Africa can be.

    • An axe in skilled hands is an amazing tool. My 74 year old father tells of a fellow he knew as a young man that built a barn with an axe . . . and nothing but an axe. He felled, limbed cut and notched the logs, cut the tools to manipulate the logs, split the shingles and assembled the barn and the only tool he used was just his one axe and those tools made with the axe. When the time came to nail the shingles onto the roof, he replaced the long handle of his axe with one more akin to a hammer in length and used that same axe to nail his shingles on.

      There is a saying concerning firearms: Beware the man with just one gun. It implies that a fellow with only one gun will more likely be an absolute master over it. Those that came before us were able to carve a civilization out of a wilderness and were fortunate indeed if they had more woodworking tools that a single-bit axe and a pocket knife.

      We have lots to learn.

  9. Listening to this episode was great. Loved the stories about the animal/bear encounters.

    Reminded me of my own when I was camping….Woke up one morning and got out of the tent walked over to the fire pit to get the fire started back up. Just had one of those sense moments looked behind me and saw a black bears butt about 5 feet away from me in some bushes. I’m guessing he knew I was there but I was pretty surprised. Slowly walked back to my tent and woke my friend up. Luckily no issues happened here, just yelled at him and he ran away.

    Amazing how silently and quickly they move through the forest for how big they are. The bear ran down to the lake, down a rocky shoreline about 100 yards, back into the forest, did a loop around, and checked our camp out again. I saw his head poking back through some brush. He barely made a sound though.