Friday, 30 December 2011

Flash Tinder - Clematis Fluff

One of the best flash tinder's around the area i live in is the fluff (seed pod) from the wild Clematis (Clematis vitalba),  also commonly known as Old Mans Beard.

The Clematis is an incredible fire lighting ally to those in the know, the wood from the larger vines can be used as a hearth board for friction fire (please don't cut down live vines though, there are plenty of dead ones around), the bark on the vine sheds easily and makes a great tinder and of course the fluff will ignite from the slightest of sparks and will help to ignite other tinder's, and is especially useful when used with coarser tinder's such as dead grass or even fluffed up Clematis bark, as it gives the spark from a ferro rod something to grab  onto which in turn ignites the more fibrous tinder.

At the moment the hedgerows around here are white with the Clematis fluff and the time is right to go and collect a few bags of it and place it into storage for use later in the year, although listening to the rain on the window, i might leave it a while before collecting some.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Sharpening A Spoon Knife

One of the questions i see fairly often on the various forums is "how do you sharpen a spoon knife?", well the answer is simple and very cheap, there really is no need to go out and buy expensive water stones or slip stones, all you need is a bit of flat wood with radiused edges, a piece of thin leather and some 600 grit wet & dry, total cost?, probably less than a quid.

I first came across this method when i was watching one of Ben Orford's video's on You Tube and to be honest, it's such a simple no fuss method of sharpening a hook, crook or spoon knife it's a wonder more people don't use it,  i have  built my own system up with the addition of more 'sticks',  but it is based entirely on Ben's method.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Hans Karlsson Adze

I received my long awaited Hans Karlsson Bowl Adze this Christmas, I've been itching to get my hands on this ever since it arrived a few weeks back and now i can.

Ive been after a decent Adze for carving bowls, kuksa's and larger spoons for some time and now i have no excuse, it's certainly going to make life a lot easier than trying to remove all the waste wood with a big spoon knife as i have been doing, all i need to do now is to make my self an Adze block (angled chopping block) so i can use the Adze with some safety, i was going to make a bowl horse, but having thought about it i think i prefer the Adze block to the bowl horse for a couple of reasons, one being limited storage space at home and whilst both are portable, the Adze block will be easier to transport in a small car than a bowl horse would be.

Now all i need to do is get the Adze block made and then i can start producing all manner of bowls, cups & Kuksa's.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Boxing Day Bimble

This has become a bit of a tradition for Eldest and i over the years, regardless of the weather we go for a bimble on Boxing day, one - so we can clear our heads, two - so we just get away from it all for a few hours, we always walk the same route as well so from year to year we get to compare the countryside against the previous Boxing Day Bimble, there was a huge difference to last year on this occasion, as, well basically, last year there was still snow on the ground and everything was frozen solid, this year however we basically walked the route in shirtsleeves as it was about 55F.

This bimble, as per so many of my bimbles presented us with all manner of natural wonders, from the hunting Kestrel, to the huge flock of Starlings, some wild edibles and as pictured a glorious sunset out over the English Channel as seen from the top of the South Downs, as I've mentioned many times, to truly understand the natural world, you have to see it at all times of the year and in all weathers and just sometimes, it gives you a really good excuse to get away from it all for a couple of hours.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Strap On

Made myself a nice new neck strap for my binoculars today as i was fed up, especially with the larger 12x50's, of having the pathetically narrow and useless  strap that is supplied, keep digging into my neck.

So out with the pig leather it was, the strap pictured  is made with a pig leather upper & with pig suede lower section so it grips my shirt/jacket, the nylon strapping is the one that was originally supplied with my Bins, so i cut in half and then stitched it into the new, far more tactile and indeed, comfortable neck strap, best bit is, as the strap ages it will take on a wonderful lustre from skin oils and general wear, tear and dirt, the strap  is so comfortable, that i made another couple to go with two further pairs of bins i own and after Christmas, i think another couple will need to be made to go on my SLR camera and Spotting Scope.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Whittling Kit

I was gifted a kit the other day by youngest for my birthday, the kit in question is called the "Worlds Smallest Whittling Kit" and it's seriously cool.

The kit contains a few pieces of wood, around which is a piece of sand paper also in the tube are instructions and a tiny Swiss Army Knife, the knife even comes in it's own little pouch, now i just have to decide what to whittle?

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Monkey Boy Burner For The Crusader Cooker

I saw this idea back in October at one of the BCUK Sussex meets, the guy who showed me the burner goes by the name of Monkey Boy on the forum, hence the title of this post and had made it as an alcohol burner for the Crusader Cook Set, as like many i think he wanted a better more economical way to use the Crusader Burner unit than using Green Heat or Hexi blocks.

The idea is incredibly simple and i really don't know why i never thought of it myself, now I've made no secret over the years about how crap the Crusader Cooker unit is and this fact is even backed up by the guy who designed it i believe?, but when I'm out and about and don't want to take a Trangia,Hobo stove or even have a small fire, i do use my Crusader Cooker unit, after all I'm not cooking anything on it, I'm just warming up some water that I've bought from home for a cup of tea or coffee, but in the colder months stuff like Green Heat just doesn't cut the mustard, i know some of the stove guru's will say it never cuts the mustard, that's their choice, but i choose to use it.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Flexcut Roughing Knife

One of my latest acquisitions in the blade dept is a Flexcut KN14 roughing knife that eldest gave me yesterday for my birthday, I've been after one of these for a long time and now i have one.

Ive wanted one of these as the blade shape is perfect for some of the carving i do, up to now I've used the smaller version of this blade that is on the Carvin' jack, but even though that has a locking blade, it's never felt 100% for some of the cuts i make with it, it's a superb tool, but at times i want the security of a fixed blade, the KN14 has roughly the same blade shape as the one on the Jack, but is slight longer, which will have benefits when it comes to carving fans and some of the other projects i intend to use this for, i just have to make a sheath for it now, not that, that will take me a long time to do.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Got The Horn

I received a couple of Buffalo Horns through the post this morning  from a mate of mine on the BCUK forum as his part of a trade we did.

These things are amazing, it almost seems a shame to cut these up for projects, I'm very tempted just to clean them up  and mount them on a nice piece of Oak and make a display of them for use at some of the shows i do, but, I'm also tempted to use them for projects, a simple one to begin with, as i need some buttons for a smock that we are making, other bits I'm going to use as spacers on some walking sticks and them the rest I'm going to use for whatever comes to mind, i might even buy a couple of Hultafors HVKs and re handle them and use the horn in the handle, time will tell i guess.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Hultafors HVK

Going on from the post i made about the Mora 510/511, i thought id write a few words on one of my other go to knives, the Hultafors HVK.  I got my first one of these from a friend of mine in Norway (Cheers Jontok) and I've not looked back since.

These things are incredible in their resilience to use and indeed abuse and like the Mora, they laugh it off, to prove the point i made a series of videos back in 2010 showing the abuse one of these knives will take, the tests were suggested by members on a web forum, and OK, some of them are bit beyond the pale, but they did and do serve to prove the strength of this knife, rather than list all of the virtues of this knife in a lengthy post here, I'll post the first video link below and then as each video completes on YouTube the next in the series should appear. Enjoy.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Swedish Army Cookset

A bushcraft favourite these, cheap, reliable and well made, sure the SVEA burner is not a great deal of cop compared to a genuine Trangia, but you know what, i don't really care, it's not the end of the world, it takes longer to bloom, but hey what's the rush?,  I'm out there to enjoy my surroundings, I'm not in a race and i don't need to boil water in 30 seconds flat, so if it takes five minutes or more it takes five minutes or more.

Pictured is my one which I've used for cooking up all sorts of things from boil in the bags to making flat breads, I've even used the thing as a small oven to make small bannocks.  I really love the versatility of these cook sets, ok, they are not the lightest ones going, especially the steel ones, but does it really matter?, i guess not, because you wouldn't have bought one if it was - would you?.  

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Mora 511/510

One of my all time favourite knives is the Mora 511/510, sure I'm lucky as i have all manner of high end knives from a variety of different makers, and all bar a couple of 'specials', they all get used as well, but my everyday go to fixed blade knife is the 511/510.

Unfortunately Mora stopped the production of the 510, so I've been buying the 511's and cutting the finger guard off, to make it into a well a 510, the Mora is legendary amongst outdoor types such as ourselves, so i don't have to tell you the virtues of a Mora, but for those who don't know or are unsure, just get one, you wont be disappointed, and despite what many say about partial tang knives (although the 511/510 does have a good length tang) and how they are 'unsafe' and 'not strong enough', i have never  had one fail on me, even during tasks where by my own admission a different tool like a small axe would have been better suited to the task, like battening hard woods and even felling small trees.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

More Leather Notebook Covers

I made some more leather notebook covers today, albeit these are of a totally different style to the journal type i made yesterday.

I much prefer this type of note book when I'm just out on an impromptu bimble with minimal equipment, as the size and style of this notebook means i can slip it in a back or side pocket on my trousers, they are pretty useful to have in the car as well.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Leather Note Book Covers

I made a load of A6 sized note book covers today from some gloriously tactile pig suede, the leather is a lovely fawn colour and is almost 'waxy' to the touch.

I use a note book on a regular basis and like to use a leather cover, not only because it's more tactile, but i can store things within the cover behind the note book, apart from the fact that people, myself included, seem to like leather clad notebooks.

As I've posted before, I've used a notebook for as long as i can remember, albeit at home, in the office, in the car and of course when I'm out and about to make notations of whats going on around me or interesting finds for further investigation at home, as you just sometimes find something that needs more study, but you need to draw it to get the details right, rather than take a photo.

Most of the ones i made today and will be making tomorrow, will be going to friends and family during the forthcoming festivities, i will probably make a few more as 'spares', as you tend to always get the 'that's nice' comment from someone you forgot.

So if anyone would like to purchase one, including an A6 notebook,  drop me a line and we will get something worked out.

Storm Cloud

Just thought id share a picture of one of the storm clouds that was going up the Channel earlier today, pretty impressive i thought?.

We have had a few rain showers and even the odd bit of lightning and rumble of thunder as the evening drew in, thankfully the weather is nowhere near as bad as it was last evening, the highest recorded wind speed around where i live was 78mph, we have replaced four fence panels today, not because they were broken, but with another big storm system due to hit on Thursday, it was better to replace them before they did fail, as they were getting a bit "past their best".

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Enzo Trapper Sheath

One of my recent leather working commission was a dangler sheath to suit an Enzo Trapper, after working out all the details with the customer, we decided on a right handed tapered end sheath with a dangler option in dark brown.

The sheath is made from 3.5mm veg tan leather and as per all my sheaths is entirely hand cut, dyed, double stitched and polished,  the welt edge is also finished by hand to achieve a high quality finish, granted,  using hand tools takes longer, but i really do feel you end up with a higher quality of finish doing it all by hand, as like my wood working, you have to work with the materials at hand, rather than force them as you would with power tools, there is nothing wrong with using power tools, it's just my personal preference not to use them.

I have a few finishing touches to make to the sheath tomorrow and then it will be winging it's way to Germany and it's new home.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Pig Leather Possibles Pouch

I made myself a new belt pouch today from some of the pig leather i have, but having made it, I'm not sure I'm actually going to use it.

The pouch is wonderfully tactile and measures approx 4.5 x 6 inches, the closure is via a leather thong and a button, the button is sewn onto the flap and the thong has two closure settings, as pictured for light loads, but if you fill it right up, the upper loop misses the small slit on the bottom of the flap and secures directly behind the button, the belt loops will accept a belt up to 2" wide, i have some wonderful suede on the way so i might make another next week with a gusset in it, dunno, time will tell i guess.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Pig Leather Pouches

Ive been busy this week making leather pouches/bags from some gloriously tactile pig leather i bought, I've made two different sizes so far, some for my own use, but others I've sold on via the Makers Market on BCUK, the two sizes I've been making are 6" x 4" (Small) and some in a more popular size of 7.5" x 5" (Medium).

I use these pouches for all manner of things, the smaller ones i use to hold flint and steel fire kits, steel balls for my slingshots or pellets for my air rifles, the larger ones i use to hold dry ingredients, such as flour, powdered egg, sugar etc when I'm out on the trail, but really the pouches are limited in their use only by your imagination, i suppose with Christmas coming, you could even put some nice jewelry in one for your partner?.

If you would like to buy one, i keep an updated list going on BCUK, links to the relevant threads below

Medium  Pouch - Click Here Small Pouch - Click Here

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Chilly Bimble

Went for a bimble over the South Downs today with a mate of mine from the BCUK forum, we only covered about 4.5 miles,  the wind was blowing hard and cold, but it was just being out there that mattered today, all the time you were moving, you were warm.

We had a bit of a laugh, did some tracking, mainly deer and saw a few birds from Buzzards to Robins, we also found a load of camps that the local kids had built, a couple were really well made, but one we took down as it was made from builders plastic and polyprop rope and was just flailing around in the wind, we left all the materials there, tucked under a big log, just in case they come back and decide to rebuild it, roll on the next trip.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Schrade Old Timer 34OT Pocket Knife

Over the years I've amassed a good collection of locking and non locking pocket knives, some are  complete junkers, some are admittedly drawer queens and will never be used in anger, others are users and one of my favourites is without doubt the Schrade 34OT, of which, as you can see from the photo, i have amassed a good collection, some of these I've bought myself at car boot sales, and the like whilst others were sent to me by friends in the States.

I use one of these and/or my Alox Farmer as an EDC as it's small and unassuming and therefore nonthreatening if you open it in front of the uneducated masses. I do find the three blades cover most of my options, both in the shop, in the garden and even in the kitchen, it's also one of my favoured go to pocket knives for a bit of whittling, stick chickens and the like. 

I'm always on the look out for more 34OT's or if i can find them the 33 (33OT) Series, otherwise known as the Middleman Jack, but these are becoming quite difficult to find in the UK.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Vibrating Shuttle Machine

I was very lucky over the weekend as i received a Frister & Rossmann Vibrating Shuttle Machine, commonly known to you and I as a sewing machine.

I had advertised my requirement for one of these on the Freecycle network and within two or three days of making my post, a very nice lady contacted me as said she had this and if i wanted it, it was mine, so off i went to collect it.  I needed a machine to use with some underprivileged people i work with as it's slower and therefore safer than using a more modern electric machine, and being hand cranked, it will also mean when they use this machine, they will have to think about what they are doing.

Ive done a bit of research on the machine and from the serial number I've ascertained it was made in the late 1920's, but despite it's age, it's still incredibly smooth and quiet when in use, also with the machine were all of the original accessories, including spare feet, screwdrivers and would you believe the original packet of spare needles, all I've had to replace on the machine was the small rubber ring on the bobbin winder, and apart from that, all the machine needed was a bit of a clean up, a bit of oil here and there and off it went, it's wonderfully smooth to use and will no doubt become a favourite tool of those who will use it.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Double Ended Stuff Sacks

Following a conversation with a member on BCUK, i have made some double ended stuff sacks for use with hammocks and/or tarps, the stuff sack is threaded onto your hammock and stays there, much like snake skins, but the difference being these have a draw string closure at each end and are much wider meaning you can, as the description suggests, stuff your hammock or tarp into them.

Ive tried one of these this afternoon with my DD Travel hammock and it fit's a treat, simply tie the hammock to a tree in the normal manner then pull the tapes out of the opposite end of the bag and tie on, your hammock stays off the ground and damp and the sack stays on the hammock and just slides to one end and is kept safe and sound out of the way, when it's time to pack away, just reverse the process.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Second One

We completed our second craft/Christmas fayre today, it was a good show, not as much throughput as we would have hoped for, but unfortunately it clashed with a major elsewhere that nobody could have foreseen and it was just plain unfortunate that the Lions club or whoever it was who organised the thing down town decided to do it on the same day as this show, regardless though, there were a good number of stands and stalls selling all manner of things to help raise money for the Band, according to the organiser, Laura, they made a good amount of  money and can now go and spend the money on some much needed music stands and some new music and perhaps a few other sundry items as well. They are planning another event for April and I'm already looking forward to it.

Friday, 2 December 2011

One Down

I completed the first of a weekend of shows this afternoon, the first show was a small Christmas Fayre at one of the local primary schools, it went pretty well to be honest for such a small event, that, lets face it, is aimed at the kids and their immediate families rather than inviting the general public in in their droves, but despite being in the library area and away and unfortunately a little remote from the bulk of stands and therefore attendees in the main hall, the overall foot fall wasn't that bad.

I managed to sell a few items, spoons, spatulas and gypsy flowers and as i always do at events such as this, i will donating 10% of my takings to the school as a thank you for allowing me to be there, now i have to go and replenish the stocks in the display stands and baskets ready for an early start tomorrow for the next one.

Draw Knife

Picked up a nice 'new' draw knife the other day, it's made by Brades and apart from needing some work on the bevel and having the flats lapped it's in pretty good nick.

The handles, peened tangs and ferrules are nice and tight, as i mentioned above though, the bevel did need some work doing to it, as whoever has owned this in the past decided to attack the bevel with a file and they, well, buggered it up basically, there where huge great rifts and scratches in the bevel edge from the aggressive file they used and the bevel was every shape under the sun except what it should be, they even managed to file away some of the Brades lettering on the thing as well,  i just wish i had taken a photo of the knife before i cleaned it up and restored the bevel.

A few hours work with an oil stone and some wet & dry has restored the edge to a condition I'm happy with, not totally happy yet, but it's considerably better than it was, most of the deep scratches have gone and the bevel has a shine to it now, the flats were lapped and really didn't need a great deal of work, it's now a usable tool and over time and use it will only get better as the tool is lapped, stropped and basically cared for, I've already tried the blade out on some Hazel & Ash and can feel already that this tool will become a valued addition to my tool box.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Highlander Forces 33 - Day Pack

I'm often asked what pack i choose to use for my day pack, well to be honest, it all depends on what I'm doing, if I'm just going for a quick bimble, i take a small shoulder bag, but if I'm doing a full day out, either up the woods or going on a longer walk, i take a Highlander Forces rucksack, until recently i used a Forces 25, but i have now 'given' this to youngest to use as his old pack, well, basically it fell apart, so now I'm using a Forces 33 and to be fair the 33 is much better suited to my back than the 25 was, just because it's 33 litres in size, doesn't mean you have to use all of the space does it.

I was lucky when i got this pack as i found it on Ebay and paid £15.00 for it, way under the usual retail price and when it turned up you could see the thing was nearly new  and it still had the rain cover in it as well, although it's a mid sized pack, I'm religious on not filling it with junk and/or items that are subject to requirements on whatever trip I'm doing, yesterday for instance we went on a 12Km walk and as rain was forecast the pack contained, my Swedish Army Cooker, Crusader Cup and tea making stuff, two 58 Pattern water bottles, a 1st aid kit and my poncho, all of this fits into the pack with masses of space to spare.

Having used this pack for some time, I've had no problems with it at all, it's comfortable to wear, well made and strong, it's been dropped, overfilled, sat on, thrown down scree slopes, kicked, i have even used it to bring a load of timber back from the woods and it laughs it off, would i get another, you bet, OK, it's not built to the same standard as my Sabres, but there again it also doesn't have the price tag of a Sabre either, for the money, i really don't think these packs can be bettered.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Schools Shut - Lets Go For A Walk

As the boys school was shut today, eldest and I decided to go for a bit of a wander over the South Downs, mainly because it's been too long since we have done it, but to also act as a bit of a route proving trip for a sponsored walk we will be doing next year in aid of Help for Heroes.

The route we took is about 12Km in length and incorporates some nice grassland walking as well as a few farm tracks and although generally it's pretty easy walking there are a few sections in the walk that get the pulse rate up a bit, but that's good right?, in fact if you add all the up hill sections in the walk we made today,  it amounts to just under a thousand feet that we climbed, albeit in small sections, best bit of course is in order to get home, we also had to come down a thousand feet as well, highest point in  the walk was 350ft above sea level.

A superb day out in all respects, good company, superb scenery and masses of flora and fauna to look at.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Christmas Cheer

Yes, i know it's still November, but today we finished making the Christmas cheer for this year, pictured are a few of the bottles of Blackberry & Sloe Gin we made.

We started making making it a sooner than we normally would as all of the fruits were early this year &  because of the premature fruiting we had to forage the fruits and get the gin in a little earlier than normal, it's a good job we did otherwise we would have missed the lot, so much for waiting for the first frost before collecting the Sloes!, not seen a frost yet this Winter, in fact is so warm out there I'm still in shirt sleeves and all of the Blackthorns around here are now devoid of Sloes.

Some of these bottles we will consume ourselves over Christmas and into next year and no doubt at a few meets as well, but a few of them will be given away as thank yous to some local landowners who let me use their woodland & property to pursue my Bushcraft activities.


Monday, 28 November 2011

Serving Spoon

Pictured is a serving spoon i made today, having really enjoyed making Medieval eating spoons  recently, I wanted to make a slightly larger spoon in the same style, i retained the octagonal handle shape, but a different bowl shape was asked for, even though I like the lollipop shape of the Medieval spoon, i wanted a slightly different shape to make it easier to use in dishes and pans.

The result is the spoon pictured, carved from a nice piece of Hazel that has a wonderful grain pattern in the bowl, the spoon has the required Octagonal handle and a tooled finish and has been  given a light coat of Walnut oil, i still have few small finishing touches to do to tidy it up a bit before it gets used in anger.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Arrow Through A Ring

I whittled myself another 'arrow through a ring' the other day and made reference to it in my post about Whittling on Friday 25th, since then I've had a couple of messages asking what does it do?, well it does nothing, it's a bit of fun, a puzzle, a folly, it serves no purpose at all, other than relieving a bit of boredom on the part of the carver, ie me.

This one is made from two different woods, the arrow is carved from a single piece of Hazel and the ring is carved from piece of Elm, the trick is this though, both the arrow head and the flights are bigger than the hole in the Elm and no there are no joints involved, these are dead easy to make and good fun to give to people, both young & old, some figure it out straight away, others are totally flummoxed by it

Friday, 25 November 2011

Whittling - Again

I was going to go for a wander over the hills the other day to a small Yew wood in order to 'liberate' some materials, but time and events conspired against me (again), so i went a whittling, as you do.

From top to bottom a small poker with a chicken head on it, the  whittled stick i made the other day, again with a chickens head on it, an arrow through a ring, the ring is Elm and the arrow is Hazel, but the arrow head and flights are larger than the hole the arrow sits in, a variable pitch whistle and the butter spreader i made the other day, all the result of absolute boredom.

More Medieval Style Spoons

I made a start on some more medieval style spoons today, all four pictured are made from Hazel and at this stage are pretty rough carved, as i figured i could do all of the rough carving and shaping outside in the autumn sunshine while it was still light and then finish them off with the fine carving needed in the dining room during the evenings, which id much rather do than sitting there watching brain dead television all evening.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

'Blooming' Flowers

I made a load more Gypsy Flowers today in preparation for the two craft fairs I'm attending next week.  At the last fair i attended just a few weeks back, the flowers were one of the best sellers and looking at the stock i had here ready to go, it kind of didn't seem enough, so i figured i needed to make some more, i still have about same amount again to finish off, the load in the bucket probably amount to about a fifth of what i have made so far,  I just hope all the effort has been worth it.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Rambo Knife

A little while i wrote about a trip down memory lane (see this post) and how id love to get my hands on another one of those knives, well i also posted the same thing up on BCUK and i had a couple of people on there get in touch saying they had one or at least one that was very similar, that if i wanted them, i could have, well not being greedy, i said yes to the first chap who got in touch (British Red) and today, as promised the beastie arrived, although it's not exactly the same as  the one i used as a kid, it's near enough and has bought back some great memories of a childhood running over the South Downs and not one person blinking an eyelid at the sight of us kids, belting around with Rambo knives in our hands and catapults in our back pockets - how times have changed.

So big thanks go to British Red for his generosity - thanks mate, really appreciate it.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Bernie Garland B&T Sheath

Another sheath that I've finished today is this beauty for a Bernie Garland Bird & Trout knife, the customer, wanted a slimline sheath, so we decided between us that my Woodie sheath was best suited to the blade in question, the customer then selected his build options for the sheath, which were right hand carry dangler in British Tan, even though i make these myself, i do have to admit that this style of sheath is without a doubt one of my personal favourites.

Ash Spoon

I had a bit of a "disagreement" a little while ago with a lady who was absolutely adamant that Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) was useless for carving things such as spoons and cups as it was 'too fibrous' to be any good.

So i decided to prove her wrong by carving this small eating spoon from a small Ash branch, I've also carved her a Kuksa to go with it and will take great delight in presenting these to her at some point in the near future.

Turley Knives Green River Sheath

I was commissioned a little over a week ago to build a sheath for a Turley Knives Green River knife, the customer wanted a dangler sheath in British Tan to suit this knife, pictured is the completed sheath to suit this particular knife from Iz Turley, unusually for a Turley commission, this sheath is destined to go to a UK user, as far as I and the customer for this sheath are aware, there are not that many Turley knives in this country.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

The Long(er) Walk Home

I spent some today with some of the local conservation volunteers up on the South Downs behind home, the group has a task day once a month where we tidy litter, drag stuff out of the Dewpond that the local 'yoofs' keep throwing in there or as today do a little bit of path maintenance, which today saw us clearing back some of the Dogwood  and Elder on three paths with a good mix of hand and petrol powered tools, in fact we made such good progress, we finished about 30 minutes early, so we admired our work and had a bit of the all important chinwag before making sure the paths were clear of the trimmings and then we all headed off home.

Today though rather than heading directly home which was just over half a mile, i decided to take the longer route home which is a walk of approx 2 miles, granted, it's not a lot further, but still it's is a longer walk and in the glorious autumn sunshine it was the right decision to make, walking over the South Downs basking in the sunshine and listening to the Skylarks in the fields, magnificent, the photo shows the view over towards Cissbury Iron Age Fort  that was just emerging from the mist & fog adding to it's mysticism.

Days like this made you feel glad to be alive, i enjoyed it so much, that after i had thrown some lunch down my throat, i went back out for another walk, getting home just before sunset.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Bit Of Advertising

Thought id take the opportunity to promote a Craft & Christmas Fayre that's taking place on the 3rd December at one of the local schools in aid of the band both the boys are in,  basically, the band has to raise some money in order to continue playing.


  I have a stand at the event so if you are local, why not pop along and say hello?.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Mors Kochanski -Try Sticks

One of the things i like to make when i have a spare half hour or so is the good old Try Stick, the  now famous stick that was introduced to us and championed by  the great Mors Kochanski.

Carving a Try Stick is a superb way to while away some time whilst sat under your favourite tree in the autumn sunshine, and at the same time hone your  carving & knife skills, to produce a stick, that in all honesty is an art form in it's own right, but to also practice, what can only be described as, all the cuts you will ever need to survive out in the wilderness.

More Spatula's

Made a start on making some more spatulas today, as i wrote in an earlier entry, I've been looking for a design that is both pleasing to the eye and that is easy and relatively quick to make, and i think with a bit of tweaking, i may have found it with this design?.

All of the spatulas pictured are of the same rough shape, but out of all of them, i think i much prefer the one at the bottom of the picture, what do you think?.

Thursday, 17 November 2011


My day today was almost a non event,  I didn't do half the things i wanted nor needed to do, mind you a slowish day doesn't hurt now and again, so after battling the Post Office this morning in order to get a few orders out, then getting home and finding it was nearly lunch time already, so i figured id just do a little bit of whittling this afternoon.

I grabbed a couple of Hazel wands and a pocket knife  (Old Timer 340T) and got whittling, the result?, well, a stick chicken on an ornate stick and a butter spreader,  i also made some flowers from match sticks, one is just visible above my pocket knife in the photo, i have to admit, it made a pleasant change to whittle a stick, for no other reason than just the sheer pleasure of doing it.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011


Been busy today making some spatulas up in readiness for a couple of Christmas fairs I'm attending early next month.

I think with what i made today and what i already have in stock, i should have enough to cover me, although, i might make a few more just be on the safe side, after all, once made they don't exactly take up a lot of room to store. The ones pictured are made from a mix of Hazel, Sycamore and Ash and as you will notice from  the picture they are also made in a variety of different styles as I've been trying to add some variances to the styles to try and find a shape that is very easy and quick to make, although these don't take long, but also to try and appeal to peoples differing tastes to style & design, i shall know after the the forthcoming shows which style i need to concentrate on, purely by noting which style from the ones i have sells the best.

Locking Pocket Knife

Bought myself a new locking pocket knife which arrived yesterday, i had wanted one with a non coated blade, which is what i ordered, but not what arrived and to be fair, i really cant be bothered to argue the point on it and in retrospect, i do quite like to look of it, even though I'm not normally a fan of the 'Tacticool' look, i figure with use the coating will wear off fairly soon anyway.

The knife itself has a 2.5 inch blade which is capable of being opened one handed, the body of the knife, looks like it has Micarta scales and a liner lock, which when the blade is opened and locks into place, does so with a resounding click, the blade when opened also shows no sign whatsoever of any unwanted movement in any orientation, the knife also features a sturdy pocket clip, which can be repositioned by the simple removal of two Allen bolts.

Despite the square section of the knife it's incredibly comfortable to hold and so far I've not found any high spots or indeed rough edges anywhere on the knife, now it has to be said this thing is not going to be an EDC, it's going to be more of a beater knife for opening sacks of seed & feed etc at the lakes, cutting rope and well, just general duties connected with the general maintenance of the area.

I'm even tempted to get another one to put in my shooting bag to replace the Opinel i have in there, that, having a wooden handle is not best suited to prepping small game as the wood will of course absorb 'fluids' and is therefore unhygienic, whereas this knife can be easily sterilised without fear of upsetting any of the materials used in it's manufacture, and if it does break or fall apart, well this thing didn't break the bank to buy, including delivery the knife cost £ 4.50, sure it's made in and came from China, but for the price, i don't really care.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Pocket Knife

Knife alongside a 1p piece to show size
I was given a pocket knife yesterday by my Mum, she found it in the bottom of her button box, thing is i can remember my Nan having and using this knife when i was a kid.

The knife is still in really good nick considering it's age, it was made by Richards of Sheffield who are no longer trading unfortunately, so as well as being a bit of family history, it's also a bit of knife making history as well.

Stick Chickens

One of the things i love to whittle is Stick Chickens, I've not made any for a while and indeed, the one in the picture is one i made some time ago but it serves to illustrate what a Stick Chicken is, the rooster tail on it is awful though, that's what you get for using a fresh cut stick, slightly seasoned is far better as it allows you get better curls.

So if you are at a loose end and have a small pocket knife with you, why not try carving a Stick Chicken?, they are great things to carve, as they don't take that long to do, but look good when they are finished, in fact if you go to the woods i use and look carefully, you might just see a few Chickens perched up in amongst the branches on the trees and bushes.

Monday, 14 November 2011


Ok not a particulary good one, but i love this old thing, it's a Webley Nemesis in .22, that i got a little while back for use at short range in conjunction with some live traps i use, i got it for one reason initially,  which is, it's less obvious than an air rifle when you have to despatch quarry such as a Rats in the live traps.

Some people get a bit upset when they see someone walking around with a rifle, but this gets carried in my shoulder bag when I'm on my trapping permission and only comes out of the bag and indeed it's holster when I'm at the trap, hunting with a pistol is of course illegal in the UK but this is being used at very short range ie a foot or less to despatch vermin, ie Rats for which it's more than adequate, especially when used with suitable pellets such as the hard hitting Accupel or Field Target Trophy.

As well as using the pistol to despatch vermin, we also use it in conjunction with a pellet trap against paper targets for a bit of plinking in the back garden, it's great fun to use and although it's single shot, it doesn't take long to put a few dozen pellets through it and at ranges of 10-15 yards it's also surprisingly accurate.