Friday, 5 February 2010

Specialist tools used for Bushcraft

Specialist tools used for Bushcraft...
Some of the more specialised tools used in bushcraft are quite unusual in appearance and at first glance seem to be misshapen.
The hook shaped tool is commonly known as the spoon knife and is bent into a hook shape before heat treating and is shaped like this so the user can carve the bowl portion of spoons and bowls.
The small knife is a specialy designed carving knife and is ued for very fine carving and is made very strong so it can withstand the hard ue of a work tool.
The knife in the pictures that looks all bent and out of shape is in fact called a Crooked knife and it origionates from north america it was a craft tool used by native american indians .
the crooked knife is used as a draw knife that means that you pull the knife towards you when cutting.
its main used are for carving all manner of usefull impliments such as canoe paddles, bowls, spoons, and most craft projects.
As with all cutting tools take care !!!

Saturday, 5 December 2009

a day in the woods ???

A day in the woods....

I was asked by me nephew Brendan if i would take him to the woods for the day as he didn't want to stay out in winter, the day was upon us and off we went ! with all we could need for a comfortable day in the woods in winter.

When we arrived i gave Brendan his first axe a mini hatchet he was chuffed to bits and set about teaching the young lad the importance of safety when using an axe.

i then lit a small fire to keep the Mrs warm and to boil water for our hot chocolate

i started to make a lean-too shelter for the following weekend and completed the main framework and started the thatching with leaf litter all the time Brendan was helping in the way kids do!!!. We then stopped for a light lunch of beans and sausages that hit the spot perfectly on such a cold day!!!..

as the day progressed the light began to fail us and we headed back to the car for the journey home and stopped to take a final photo of all three of us standing by the lane leading to the woods....
A brilliant time was had by all winter is a brilliant time to be in the woods as the cold short days make decisions simple Warmth, Food, and Shelter.. anything else is a bonus!!!!

Sunday, 15 November 2009

knives used in bushcraft ????

Bushcraft knives and their choice .....
Choosing a bushcraft knife is a personal and often costly experience but with a little honest guidance you can get a tool that will give you years of service and enjoyment.
like all little boys i had a penknife (my mum hated that) a small folding type knife but for serious bushcraft a full tang fixed blade knife is a must. Having been a victim of poor knife choice in the past i have come to hate buying a new one but i am constantly upgrading to the point that i now have designed and had hand-made by a professional knife maker my own knife as in the picture above (the small one with antler handle) so i get the knife that i want.
but to start off in bushcraft you wont want to spend lots of money on a knife so a good start would be a Frosts Mora at around £8 its a good knife that far out performs more expensive mass produced knifes. If you are serious about your bushcraft i would opt for a hand made tool-steel blade with a flat scandi grind and avoid at all costs survival knives with hollow handles and if at all get a full tang knife if you cant decide on what knife to buy do not ask the person selling the knife ask a person who uses a knife....
if you have any questions just drop me an e-mail and i will try my best to help you out !!!

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Its been a long time

Figure four dead fall trap.
I have not been around for a while and i must apologize as i have been moving into my new home, anyway back to the bushcraft.
The figure four dead-fall trap.
I have been making traps for as long as i can remember i have had loads of fun making them but one that always draws a crowd and attracts the attention of the group I'm with is the figure four dead-fall it is a brilliant trap to make relying on reasonable carving and a willingness "to get it if it drives you mad !!!" this trap falls into one of the following four styles Mangle, Strangle, Dangle and Tangle. using these words you can guess that this trap falls into the mangle section as it is a trap the kills by crushing. The trap should be placed in a spot where your intended quarry has been feeding and baited with a food item or item of interest such as some offal for carnivore's or fruits for herbivore's it is possible to catch birds with this trap also.
To make this trap you need three strong sticks i have used live hazel here but any strong sticks will do the vertical stick is to be stuck into the ground and carved with a square section in it and the horizontal stick must have a notch with square sides carves into it these join up to create the lock of this traps trigger mechanism the diagonal stick needs to be strong as this takes most of the weight and carved carefully to allow the weight of your weight n this case an old log to be suspended and the end of the horizontal stick ts the trigger knock this and crunch the log falls this trap will take some practice and patience to get right but once you have success it is like riding a bike you never forget and only get better.
I recommend attempting a small version of this trap first as it can cause injury with falling logs ever present.
Never leave your traps unattended and this trap is, in the UK also illegal...
trapping for food is not to be taken lightly and is a serious pastime please use common sense and don't trap anything you do not need and are not going to eat... trap for the plate only!!!!!!!

Monday, 13 July 2009


Burdock (artincum minus)
Burdock is a brilliant plant to learn as it has lots of edible parts.
Widespread and common throughout Britain,at the edges of woodland, roadsides and waste ground. A stiff bushy plant up to 4ft high,conspicuous early in the year for its floppy heart shaped leaves (often mistaken for rhubarb). Flowers July to September.
The parts to pick are the young leaf stems which sprout around May (after September they are too tough and stringy) cut the stems into 5cm lengths and the hard outer stripped off, this moist veg can be used raw in salads or boiled and served like asparagus (tastes a little like new potatoes)
Burdock roots are used extensively in Japanese cooking. about the size of a good parsnip and really hard to dig up (don't pull on the root it will snap) can be boiled or fried or added to stews and meats as a good source of starch.
(you must get permission from the land owner before digging up any wild plant by the root)
see you out there...

Friday, 10 July 2009

Silver birch

Silver birch, (Betula pendula)
Silver birch has to be my most favorite tree it has so many uses besides having the best looking bark!!
I will do the science bit first, then get on to the best bits.
With a wide distribution throughout Europe and Asia minor, Silver birch is recognizable by its distinctive bark. It grows to an average of 30 meters.
The best bits, birch bark is a really useful material one of my favorite uses for it is fire lighting, by peeling its naturally shedding bark as above in the picture (top left)and not peeling more than the tree is naturally giving shredding into thin strips or scraping the bark to a fine mass of fibers and dropping a spark from your ferro rod into it. The bark burns very hot because of the oil content content of the bark which preserves the bark after the tree has died off and the timber has rotted.
Another amazing use for birch bark harvested from dead trees only !!!! is to make containers or matchboxes i glued these containers and gave the matchbox away to a very good friend and fellow bushcrafter as a little quirky gift, the containers are used for collecting wild foods.and are simple and very decorative and make great little gifts to your friends.
When you want to collect birch bark please do not peel the bark any deeper that the tree is naturally giving up as this damages the tree and could cause it to die as a result.
See you out there
( i will not be showing the tapping of birch as i have come across to many permanently damaged trees by poor tapping techniques)

Monday, 6 July 2009

my favorite wild nibble

My most favorite wild green nibble.
(oxalis acetosella)
my most favorite of wild greens has to be wood sorrel,
it is widespread and common in British woodland and other shady places. a small creeping plant 5-15cm high,leaves are lime green when young. Flowers April to May, five white petals on a delicate stem.
Wood-sorrel is a plant primarily of ancient deciduous woodland, but it can tolerate the shade and acid soils of evergreen plantations better than many other species. The leaves of wood-sorrel have a sharp, fruity taste much like green apple peel. They were used as a salad ingredient as early as the fourteenth century.
i love this little plant as a salad or just grazing as i walk by its a real burst of flavour.(Never pick any wild food you cannot 100% identify)
See you out there Paul......