Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Another trip to the woods

Took the two boys back up to our private woodland today, had a great time, loads of laughs and got quite a few video's made,  check out my You Tube channel to see them

Some of the projects we got round to were making a Father & Son Bow for Iz of Turley knives in the US, practiced the flint & steel and the Fire Piston, made a mallet and did a review of NW Woodsman Bucksaw, we also decided it was time to gather some more firewood for the firewood stock as it was starting to get a little low, so having located a fallen birch tree we chopped it up and dragged it back to camp, four of the pieces we cut fairly long as a surround to go around the fire the other were sawn into pieces around 18 inches long to go on the fire when we do our next overnighter, which all being well is going to be next week.


While we were there we took the opportunity to cut down a couple of dead branches that were fairly close to camp, these were well seasoned oak and will provide for some decent cooking coals and long term fire int he near future.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009


Went up the lane at the end of the road today witht he good intention of harvesting a load of blackberries, unfortunately when we (the boys & I) got up there, we didnt find as many as we had hoped we would, with many of the fruits still being green, there were a few that are just beginning to turn and but a mere handful or two that we could actually forage. 

I guess we were just that little bit too early, still it's not far to go later in the week/early next week to have another go, we did manage to get just enough to bring back home to cook up into a nice blackberry & apple pie. 

Having failed dismally in our quest for wild fruits, we sat in the hay field and watched as the farmer tuned the hay, all being well he will be up there tomorrow bailing it all up, if he does, then no doubt the boys will want to go and watch, as the bailing machine is incredible, it picks up, bails and wraps the bail in black plastic all in one foul swoop, nothing like the ones that used to operate on the farm where my grandfather used to work all those years ago, i think he would be impressed with the engineering behind it.

Having watched the farmer, we made a few video's, two are for the family only, the third was on how to make feather sticks and can be viewed on my YouTube channel http/ or in the video's section of this website, i also shot some footage for use as an intro to my videos, i have, for a long time, not been a fan of long winded intro's on YT footage, but having been urged to give it a go, and having partaken in a discussion on the subject on BCUSA, i thought why not try it, so i made a couple of intro's up using footage i had at home already, pretty low quality stuff, so today we shot some high quality footage, footage that is, not content - lol, got back home transferred it to the computer and used it on the feather stick video, i must admit, im warming to the idea, but im still not 100% convinced to be honest - time will tell if i stick with it or not.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Woods August 2009

Took the boys up the woods today for a  day out, youngest got the fire going with his flint and steel kit, although we did have to baton a few small logs to get to the dry wood inside to use as kindling due to the sheer amount of rain we have had recently rendering all the sticks and twigs we would normally use damp and almost useless.

Once we had the fire going, it was time to start making a shelter for the August project on BCUSA, we made a small shelter from hazel wands lashed together with honeysuckle cordage, the leaves and twigs we cut from the hazel was used to add the first layer of thatch to the shelter, makes more sense to use this resource than to gather lots of twigs to add a lattice work, on top of this we added copious amounts of bracken, eventually we will add another layer of debris in the form of dead leaves to make the shelter both insulating and waterproof.

To gather the bracken we used our poncho's as bags, all we did was to secure the sides of the poncho's then piled in as much bracken as we could, it certainly made the task of gathering materials easier as we were able to bring back good loads of bracken on each trip, by doing this we soon had a good thick thatch on the shelter, to the point where if you sat at the back of the shelter you really could not be seen, i took some video footage of the boys in the shelter and had to use the low light infra red setting to be able to see them, as the camera couldnt see them using regular settings.

It took us around two hours to make the shelter from the time we started to gather the hazel wands, to the time we had completed the thatch, to be perfectly honest, you could sleep in it now and have a comfortable night, but I want to add another layer of debris just to make sure it's waterproof, hopefully we will be able to get this final task done fairly soon.

Having made the shelter, we just hung around camp, the boys chilled out in their hammocks whilst I, being the type of person who always has to be doing something, made an adjustable pot hanger for use with the fire, normally we just use a tripod made from locally available materials, but it's always nice to refresh your skill sets and keep them up to date.

As time was now getting on, we let the fire burn down to nothing but ash, doused it with what was left of our water, tidied the site up and then headed out of the woods back to the car and home, all being well, we will be back up the woods again fairly soon.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Throwing Dart or Dutch Arrow

Had a play around with the throwing dart i made ages ago today, the two boys and I walked up to the end field and spent a couple of hours just throwing the thing around, as well as the dart i took a throwing string with me to see exactly what difference there was in the distance i was able to throw the dart with and without the throwing string.


The dart itself is made from a pice of wonky old Aspen and is 43 inches long and weighs 2oz, the fletchings are goose feathers that i collected from the lakes, so how does it throw?, the answer is well, without the throwing cord my average distance was 88 feet, with the throwing cord i was averaging around 175 feet, not bad for a two ounce dart, the boys didnt do too badly either, with distances without the cord in the region of  56 feet and with the cord of 90 feet.

Im going to have a go at making another one fairly soon, but this time i will trim the fletchings down so they are almost the same as you would find on a longbow arrow, ie more streamlined and i think i'll try and hollow out the tip of the dart and try adding some weight to it, barring that i'll wrap some lead strip around the tip and cover it with gaffer tape.

There's a couple of video's of the boys and I using the dart on YouTube http// & http//