Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Bodgers shelters

With help from the volunteers at work we finished a bodgers shelter for pole/bungee lathe demos, and another type we've been calling a Somerset Shelter. The ideas were gained from Mike Abbott's book "Living Wood".

I like them both but the Somerset (on the right) turns into a tent-tarp for camping when the front supports are removed and it weighs far less. In the day at demos I'll be using it for preparing billets for the lathe and demonstrating kuksa & spoon carving, fire and cooking.

 Both are made from poles of Birch, Ash and Alder we collected, and stripped, and the material is a thick cotton canvass we had made up to size. All cordage is sisal.
Looking forward to using them in a few days at the Chatsworth show.

Making a Bush Bow

Around a month ago I took an axe, saw, and knife into the woods to make a bow from a green Ash sapling. I found the 6' sapling quite quickly and set to removing the wood on the belly side leaving the bark and sapwood on the back. I've been seasoning it since at home although it was firing straight away at a half draw quite well. Initially in the shade outside, then the sun, then behind glass. I guess the best way to describe it is a flat long bow.

Strung up with paracord its now pulling to full draw and firing garden canes with some good force, and feels flexible and strong.

Just need to measure the draw weight which must be around 45lb and finish the hazel arrows I gathered from a tree in the same woods. Then get practising on some targets!
The previous ash stave I split with wedges has been roughed out and I'll finish it when fully seasoned the slow way, but if this bush made bow works OK then I probably wont need to.

Axing out the belly

Knife work complete

Nocks carved

Hazel arrows gathered

EDIT - After finally finishing some arrows and a few other primitive weapons, I took this bow for a play in the woods where it was made.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

5 Items Camp in the woods.

Just back from a quick 24 hrs in the woods for a bit of fun on BCUK, great fun. 
I took a knife, saw, billy, lighter, and blanket.
I used a lighter, as the rain poured down all day Thursday and as ive only got a couple of Sycamore trees for Friction firelighting, thought I'd give them a miss, as there not very reliable if a little damp.

Walking in

Shelter nearly there, warm work too.

Secured to tree using a branch, Bramble and Larch roots.

Tinder and kindling collected as I went about the work so as to dry out some.

Adjustable Pot hanger made.

Filtering water using a 4 layer merino buff, tied on with bramble.

Nettles, hogweed shoots and cleavers gathered. Got some spruce and a few early blackberries for tea too.

All set up and cooking.

I wasn't keen on hogweed after a taste/allergic test, so left them out. Same there were no roots about in this section of wood.

Settling in for the night in the blanket. This large merino one is the warmest one Ive used and its light too. Cost £3 at Oxfam. Need to dye it though!

I'm making a point of doing this more often when I get the chance. Loved it.

Paul :)

Monday, 1 August 2011

Kids from Chernobyl event

These guys are over here for a month to have a break from thier normal lives, and today they came to Shipley Park. After a spot of bug hunting, they joined me up in the woods for a little camp hospitality and some fun skills.

Cordage making, fire by friction demo and Firesteel practice. They made around 4 bracelets each out of cat tail fibres, and these two girls would not leave the fire practice are alone. Started adding sticks to the thistle down and birch bark and maintained it without being told.

Loads of Hot Chocolate and tea

Huge chocolate and raisin sweet bannock

Brilliant day with some great kids. The language was no issue with the interpreter and some yes, no's and signs. Great to be teaching groups that want to learn, and who get so much out of something many of us take for granted.