15 June 2012

A Boy Turns Thirteen

My second of three sons just turned thirteen, the birthday I view as the gateway to becoming a young adult.

It's tough these days from what I see and hear from my kids. Though I've heard that for every generation, they always say it's tougher for this one than the last one. I'm not sure I disagree, I guess we've all had challenges and each generation had their big ones, however it seems to me that things were quite a bit simpler when I was a boy. There were certainly fewer distractions, a boy in my time basically had a couple activities to fill his time, work, outside, read a book; and in general all three were applied in equal measure. I won't begin to try and name the number of air and attention sucking devices that now tend to dominate a boy's attention, and in my opinion are rather damaging to keeping our boys both healthy and hale. Perhaps it is only my perception but I believe each generation has on the whole, moved further from our outdoors heritage and deeper into our electronic age.

Riley, that's my second son, has always had an interest in the outdoors and always intrigued by dad's doings. His interests turn more towards archery, fishing, canoeing, following his dad's tracks I suppose. For his birthday he was gifted a longbow, my first custom bow as a matter of fact, arrows, and accoutrements. He's had bows before, most of which homemade, and he's shown some natural talent. Now armed with a 'real bow' as he says, and 'real arrows' I'm seeing that talent begin to manifest. He's shooting on his own and doing quite well. The flight of the feathered shaft captures another for what will likely be a lifelong pursuit. As Maurice Thompson said in "The Witchery of Archery" of 1878;

So long as the new moon returns in heaven, a bent beautiful bow, so long will the fascination of archery keep hold of the hearts of men. 

I am pleased.

He also received a knife, his first fixed blade knife. Ironically enough it is the 'Woods Bum' from Sugar Creek Knife Works. I'd contacted Mike a few weeks back regarding ordering one of his Woods Bum knives with the intent of making it Riley's birthday present. Even though Mike was taking his shop apart in order to move he was willing to make the knife for me. Mike has temporarily stopped taking orders while he completes the move, he'll be back up and running in no time I am sure.

The specs on the knife, O1 tool steel 2 3/4" blade, 6 1/4" over all length, 1/8" thick with a rockwell hardness of  58-59. 

Mike did an excellent job on my son's first fixed blade knife, very comfortable to use and making feather sticks & shavings was a breeze.

I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

A fine knife for a fine boy on the road to being a young man, of which his father is very proud. Happy Birthday Riley, I hope your adventures outdoors are every bit as rewarding as mine have been.


  1. I think it's uniquely satisfying as a dad to have a son to share interests with. I think it was John Eldredge that commented on the necessity of a son being seen as a man in his father's eyes.
    Also, that's a quality sheath that came with that knife as well!

    1. Correct on all counts friend, thank you!

  2. I'm glad he's into the outdoors with you. It sure looks like you're going to make sure he stays hooked on it with that nice gear too. Great gifts from father to son. He'll be able to treasure those his whole life and then pass them to the next generation perhaps.

    1. Thanks, he's turning into a pretty good trail bum in his own right.

  3. Being a dad myself, I can only read this with a very big smile on my face. A smile of knowing the pride and satisfaction you clearly feel.
    Well done and congratulations to the both of you.

    As for the opening of your blog, I can only say I am glad I am not in their shoes. I found it hard enough dealing with the changes and with life as it was back then, without the additional, and often useless, clutter of today.
    All we can do is teach them and hope they'll grow up with their priorities straight and doing the right thing.

  4. That's a fantastic gift, AG. I know he'll appreciate it.

    It seems like you're doing a very admiral job with your brood. Great to see. :)


  5. Great gift.:)
    I'm starting to give gifts like this,son's 11 and last year I gave him a pocketknife with a keyring.

  6. Great post for Father's Day to remind us what is truly important. Please post more about the bow, my boys have fiberglass recurves and I'd love to make "real" bows with them. I too do not envy kids these days. There are so many No Trespassing Signs and "Rules" that they could never take to nearby woods and creeks like we did. These days, you never know who is lurking out these either. My Father's Day card did have a pencil-scrawled note asking when we were going camping and canoeing again though, so I appreciate the pride and relief that comes from sons sharing in their father's love for the backwoods.


    1. Thanks for the comment. The bow was my own first custom bow made by E.T. Williams back in the early 90s before he sold his company. It is one of the original Seminole Chiefs.

      See ya in the woods and on the water!

  7. I share your sentiments about when manhood begins. Those are great gifts that demonstrate a lot of and care.

    Really enjoy this blog,

    1. Thank you, it's good to know there are others with similar thoughts and values.