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Cool Stuff: Solo Stove & CRKT's Shakulu

When Agriculture Director Melila Purcell was a Laie, BYU-Hawaii student, bet he used the “Autograph Tree” to leave cute messages to Moana. Way too cute for me to visualize that sappy stuff, especially since they are way too cute grandparents, with way too cute kids, and have disgustingly cute grandchildren.


Well Melila & Moana, I own my very own personal "Autograph Tree" in my backyard, and I have a way too cute "Cool Stuff" goodie that actually consumes parts of your sappy tree.


Ok... you win the cuteness contest. And I have no interest in being a grandparent for another 30 years, since somebody reminded me that I have to be nicer to my grandchildren than I have been to my own kids. Ironically I find myself still scolding my kids, and don't see anyway to improve on the scale of niceness.


The Solo Stove gobbles up my fallen dried Autograph Tree flower buds like BBQ starter fluid to a lit match. It’s absolutely amazing. I researched the tree, aka Clusia Major, and found its a non indigenous ornamental nuisance found frequently in Hawaii and the Caribbean. One source indicated the flower buds were like a natural roof waterproof caulking.


Hope whatever of our Hawaiian ancestral cousins used it for waterproofing never tried it in the Hale Kuka. The flames I got out of the Solo Stove with Autograph Tree dried flowers was a blow torch... a perfect match of excellent Solo Stove engineering and goofy gifts of nature.


You have seen a few excellent wood burning (bio mass) folding stoves featured in previous "Cool Stuff" columns... but today you are going to learn a few important new points. The Solo Stove ($69.99) is special because it is quality machined and designed to function with a high efficiency secondary burn gasification process.


See those streams of fire in my above image? Those fire streams are from the lower and upper port holes designed to create secondary combustion, creating a cleaner more smoke free efficient burn. Remember Kurt Russell's Hollywood movie, “Backdraft?” …kinda like that mates.


The almost uni-body stainless steel construction will carry you through many carefree days of adventure, natural disaster drama, or family weekend fun. The stainless steel wipes up easy with dishwashing soap... which leads to another issue exhibited in the above photo.You absolutely positively must purchase the equally well crafted stainless steel Solo Pot 900 ($34.99).


In the image, the anodized aluminum pot I used was a subtle green, that became sooty, and permanently cruddy after just one use. Other than the pricier titanium option, nothing wipes up at a bargain price like Solo's stainless steel pot. Since the Solo Pot 900 is designed for the Solo Stove, you will be exhilarated to learn the stove fits perfectly in the pot! The stow-able pot holder ring is strong enough for your heavier pots and pans. The included Solo logo bag keeps the Solo Stove scratch free and quiet in your bag.


With Samoa's all too recent cyclone and tsunami tragedies, the ability to grab your Solo Stove to quickly boil water safe, make a quick meal with minimal smoke (due to the secondary combustion design) is truly golden. Solo Stove's magic is that it allows you to use less wood, have a confined safe burn area that does not scorch the earth below, and allows you to feed twigs, bits of wood, or cardboard through its convenient top feed slot. Designed to burn from the top down, you don't have to worry about pulling off your pot to feed the base of the fire. Got somebody in the family with asthma or COPD? If so, this is the only wood burning stove for you.


My Solo Stove isn't that hungry for fuel, but my 9 1/2 inch CRKT Ken Onion designed, Shakaulu ($58-$99), gives me all the compact power I need to gather and size. The Shaka is Ken Onion's Hawaii influence, the Ulu name is of traditional indigenous Alaskan heritage, a unique stone game skinning tool used in various forms for a few 50,000 years or so.


I would have thought the ulu is what Samoan's would have used the Shakaulu for in the good 'ol hand to hand combat Warrior days... where a whack to the head (ulu) was a tuioti death blow. Anybody related to Ken Onion?


Maybe Ken is actually an afatasi and just forgot to tell me. Ken's genius fused the skinning scrapper and a cleaver to produce his hybrid. It’s probably sacrilegious that I use the Shakaulu as a mini axe, pounder, meat and bone chopper, as having that much power in such a small size is irresistible. If it is inappropriate for me to lug around a machete or my beloved ESEE Junglas, or ESEE 6... I am going to whip out my discreetly stowed Shakaulu and pound some. The Shakaulu features a corrosion resistant black powdered 65MN carbon steel blade.


The ergonomic grip is two piece plastic, giving comfort and utility whether using the blade in a scrapping hand above blade orientation or regular handle grab for chopping, slicing, and smashing. The sheath has an integral safety lock which allows you to carry it handle down without fear of losing a couple toes.


Ken loves Alaska, and shares his love with with paralyzed and disabled veterans through the Alaska's Healing Hearts non profit. Ken and like minded folk help our veterans rekindle their spirits and try to shake their PTSD through the unmatched wild beauty of America's most northern treasure.


Of course with Alaska heritage, the Shakaulu handle is glove and big Samoan hand friendly. The Shakaulu is a typical Ken Onion masterpiece, and Ken is a real champ as you will learn from time to time in future "Cool Stuffs". 


I predict the world of Ken Onion and Samoa will merge in the future for some great things... be it compassion and care for Samoa's "Toa Samoa" or a local Tutuila knife and tool plant that make island style knifes and tools for island people. Cool Stuff is never wrong... but the realization of our vision sometimes takes a while to come to reality.


Since my Solo Stove is a keeper, I'm going to have to ask Solo to donate one to Ken's Veterans. You can have my dog, my son's motor scooter, and my last chilled Vailima... but not my Solo Stove, Mate.


If I would have had my Solo for Flag Day, my buddy wouldn't have had to hike down to MacDonald's at 5:30am for my coffee fix. Next year it’s fresh coffee, bacon and eggs on Pago Harbor. Come down with your uces and their Solo's so we can cook up a gourmet banquet.


Our plentiful island coconut shells and coconut husks give us plenty of free fuel... leaving us extra tala to buy some Ribeye steak at Cost-U-Less. Coolio drooling time. Let's make it earlier... 4th of July Solo Stove convention at Maliu Mai?


Just in: My smarter than me Coolio son, Abe, has just informed Solo Stove’s CEO that all of their stoves shipped to Samoa, South Auckland, Carson, Santa Ana, Oceanside, Seattle, Portland, Laie, Kalihi, and University of Hawaii's Defensive Line, will be now be officially renamed, "SOLE STOVES”.