Sunday, 27 February 2011

More Wooden Fans

I decided to practice my Fan making again today, I only made two today, the taller one and the smaller one in the picture, the other one is one that i made yesterday from a piece of Pine.

The smaller fan is made from the crappiest piece of Ash going, all twisted and full of knots, but i got there in the end, the taller one is made from a Pine roofing batten off cut, think I'll take a trip to the lumber yard tomorrow, just to see what timber they have there, that's cheap and straight grained, just in case i run out of Ash and cant get to the woods to get some more.

The next project is to try and use the same process to make something a bit different to the fans i have been doing, i have some nice big rounds of Ash at the moment, so i might cleave some of those down and try to make something else, but still incorporating a fan in it.

Project Leuku - Part 2

As mentioned previously in my blog, i received a Leuku from a friend of mine in Norway and that i was going to re handle the blade, well i made a start on it today by removing the handle, what a job that was, i have no idea what adhesive they use in Norway, but man it was a job and a half to get the handle off, i got there eventually though as evidenced by the photograph to the left.

At the moment i have only cleaned up the blade and tang with some wire wool, the next job will be to rough carve the new handle before going for a permanent fix, i have elected to use a piece of English Elm for the handle for a few reasons, these being ;
  • It adds an English dimension to a Scandinavian knife and therefore crosses both cultures
  • Elm has a lovely grain to it, so it will hopefully look nice 
  • Elm is resistant to splitting and cracking
  • Elm is water resistant 
  • I like using Elm
    I'm not sure at the moment if I'm going to go with a hidden tang or bring the tail out of the end of the handle and peen it, I'm erring towards peening it just for the added safety and security it will give, need to make my mind up on that fairly quickly though.

    So that's where I'm at with this project so far, more photo's and information on it's progress to come in the coming days and weeks.

    Saturday, 26 February 2011


    Ive spent some time carving wooden fans again today, rather than use my normal Ash, i thought i would try using some skanky old pine roofing battens that i had laying around,  the wood doesnt work as well as well as the Ash does, but it does work.

    At least i know that if I'm in a pinch  and run out of god wood, all i have have to run down the Timber yard  down town and get a bucket load of offcuts from them and i can make some more in the absence of having "decent" materials to hand.

    Project Leuku

    I received a parcel from a friend of mine who lives in Norway yesterday, first shock was the speed at which it got here, the customs ticket said the 23rd February on it and it arrived on the 25th, guess the postal system does work well sometimes, anyway i digress, i opened up the package there in front of me was the knife pictured.

    Talking with my friend out there,  this leuku is going to become a re handling project, i just have to choose which log from the wood pile to use to get a nice handle, I'm thinking English Elm or perhaps a nice bit of cherry, there again i could keep this traditional and give it a Birch handle, but at the moment I'm leaning towards Elm as, in my mind, it will give an English touch to a Scandinavian knife and encompass both cultures, whatever i decide to do, I'll post up progress reports here.

    Home Made Draw Knife

    I was thinking earlier today about the design of the Mora Draw Knife, think it's the Model #220, then it occurred to me that i can make one, or at least one that is very similar, when you think of it, the Mora Draw Knife is basically a double handled Triflex depth blade, so remember that HVK i did the destruction tests on?, well i still have it, so i knocked the handle off and then carefully inserted the tip section of an "unharmed" HVK into the old handle, which gives me albeit, a small, but perfectly usable narrow draw knife, the bonus with this knife is, you can take the additional handle off and revert the knife back to a regular everyday knife.

    Friday, 25 February 2011

    Birch Eating Spoon

    I made a start on a carving out a Birch spoon on our trip to the woods yesterday, the wood came from a fallen branch/top of a tree as i don't like to cut trees down for the sake of making a spoon, the only time i will cut a living tree is if it's Ash, Willow or Hazel as these will grow back as a coppice stand and will give me materials for years to come.

    Ive been asked in the past why & how i make the necks of my spoons so narrow, the main reason i make them like that, apart from the obvious aesthetic aspect, is because if you think about a spoon, all of the weight on it when you use it, is in the vertical plane, meaning that the neck of the spoon can be made very narrow and pleasing to the eye, but the vertical aspect needs that little extra thickness to give the strength, the neck of the spoon pictured is 4/16" wide, but 7/16" deep, i tend make the handles flat and wide, as i find the ergonomics to be more comfortable to cook and eat with. 

    Wooden fan

    This is something I've been playing with this afternoon, the fan is made from a  single piece of wood, no joints, glue etc, it's all from the same piece of wood and it's all in one piece, this one is a bit rough, to be frank i really cocked it up, as i didn't taper the wood below the fan at all and the feathers are a way too thick, which is why some of them cracked as i bent them into position, i know where i have gone wrong, so next time i will be aware of it and will therefore be in a position to do something about it.

    I have to thank Sean Hellman for the inspiration to give this a go, i have a good stock of suitable wood for this in the wood pile at the moment, so all being well i will get a few more made this weekend and practice the skill.

    Thursday, 24 February 2011

    Spoke Shave & Razor Saw

    On the way back from the woods today I  popped into the local second hand tool shop, the shop is approx 9000sqft and is crammed full of old tools, from watch makers lathes to chuck keys and everything and i mean everything in between.

    Anyway, i wanted to buy a Gentleman's Saw for a couple of forthcoming projects i have lined up, but alas they didn't have any, but while poking around and you have to poke around, look in boxes, move things around, look under, in and behind things to even get close to having a proper look round, i found a couple of gems as pictured. 

    The saw, which despite it's looks is absolutely razor sharp and looking at the general condition of the handle and spine looks hardly used, it's on a push cut at the moment, but i think I'll undo the bolts and reverse the blade to make it a pull cut saw and more akin in action to some of the Japanese pull cut saws, the other thing i picked up was Record spoke shave, the iron in it has a few small nicks but nothing a sharpening stone and a bit of lapping wont cure, the perfect end to the perfect day.

    Spring Has Sprung

    Took a trip to the woods today and whilst i was there thought i would see if the Birch Sap is up yet, in a word yes it is and in abundance.

    So not wanting to waste anything a quick simple tap was set over a metal mug lashed to the tree, i left the mug there for a little while while another tap was set in an adjacent tree, albeit this time, i set a double tap over the one collection mug, wasn't long before a refreshing drink and the pure taste of nature was enjoyed.

    I made a short video of the sap running so people could see the speed  at which it's flowing, the video is on my You Tube channel here

    Yep, spring has sprung at last.

    Wednesday, 23 February 2011

    Crooked Knife

    I received a small package through the post this morning, upon opening it i found a Crooked knife blade  sitting there from Adam at JLT Knives.

    We were talking about these the other day and Adam kindly made and sent me a blade so that i could handle it myself, we had discussed stick tangs and all sorts of options for mounting the blade in a handle, Adam was right though a couple of holes in the tang allows for a multitude of different options, you can mount it on the top, at the bottom or if you are clever in the middle if your chosen handle material, i decided to mount this particular blade on the bottom of the handle, my handle material for this particular project being English Elm and well seasoned Elm at that.

    The handle on this knife i made fairly cylindrical as i want to use this particular blade for bowl and pot carving, i have up until now used my other Crooked Knife, but the handle shape on that is a more akin to the Mocotaugan shape and style and in some grips it doesn't work too well or is just down right uncomfortable to use, whereas having a more or less symmetrical handle will make it suitable for a multitude of different grips, i did however add a thumb ramp so i can still use the knife in it's more traditional orientation as a single handed draw knife.

    Adam will be making these available (Blade only, you have to make your own handle) in the near future, so if you want to get on the list for one of these, get in quick, more info from, more info on the Mocotaugan here

    Tuesday, 22 February 2011

    Feather Sticks

    I often see mention of feather sticks and as a lot of people know I'm a great proponent of their use, however what many people call feather sticks, is quite often nothing more than a pile of wood shavings. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with making and using shavings, i use them myself all the time, but to make a proper feather stick takes a bit of practice, so wanting to keep my feathering skills alive, i made this one yesterday afternoon from a piece of Hazel. OK this one is a little extravagant to say the least, proper feather sticks give, in my opinion, some advantages over shavings, you have your tinder and small kindling in one package, the wind doesn't blow it around all over the place and they will still light from a ferro rod if you get the feathers fine enough and you get a good flame height very quickly and if you are so inclined you can make some decorative objects such as the one above using the same skill set.

    Monday, 21 February 2011

    Candle Holders

    I made a few of these small Tea Light candle holders today, the three pictured are made from seasoned  (disease free) Elm, the wood has a gorgeous grain and resists cracking and as they will be holding a lit candle, i figured Elm would be a good choice as it doesn't really burn, should the worst happen and the candle sets the wood alight, it also stinks to high heaven when it does catch, thereby adding a bit of a safety feature, the holders have a green felt base to stop the wood scratching surfaces and to finish them off the holders themselves have a small piece of felt in the bottom as a finishing touch.

    Saturday, 19 February 2011

    Bamboo Pots

    A while ago i was given a huge length of big bamboo by a friend of mine, the question has always been what to make with it?, so far we have made a couple planters, vases etc and a couple of spoon and spatula holders for the kitchen, all pretty simple stuff to be honest.

    Yesterday we spent some time in the workshop making some more pots from the Bamboo (we still have half of it left) and today we finished them off, these are just some of the ones we made, a taller one and two smaller squatter ones, the bigger one is going in the kitchen to hold more of the spoon and spatula collection, the two smaller ones i will use when i do demo's and shows for holding stuff to give away to the kids or for charity collections, the small pot pictured with the bamboo, is the sole survivor of my shrink potting from this week, so far, fingers crossed it's holding up ok.

    Shrink Pots (Krympburkar) Revisited

    I'm on a real Shrink Pot making binge at the moment, i made three larger ones from a Hazel branch this week, all of them have well seasoned Ash bases, however, only one of them has thus far survived, the first pot to split did so, because i tried to force dry it, the second pot to split did so this morning, at about 9am i looked at it and it was fine, by 10am this morning, it had split from top to bottom on one side.

    The other remaining pot, shows no signs of splitting (at the moment), looking at the one that split i think i know why it went though, the Ash base i added, although a nice fit in the groove in the base of the pot, i think was perhaps a little oversize, certainly it went in nice and clean and clicked into position, but i think it was perhaps just a smidgen too large a diameter, and of course as the Hazel shrank, instead of firming up around the base, the pressure grew and grew until such a point that the pot split under the pressure.

    Still it gives me an excuse to make some more Shrink Pots later in the week i suppose.

    Tuesday, 15 February 2011

    Garden Gun

    A good friend of mine popped round home yesterday, tucked under his arm was a gun slip, he promptly gave it to me and said "that's for the boys", so after we had sat around chin wagging and setting the world right for a good couple of hours and my friend had gone home, i opened the slip up and there in front of me was a Westlake B2 Air Rifle in .22.

    A lot of shooters and casual garden plinkers are familiar of this rifle, it's cheap Chinese garden gun and it gets a lot of bad press and reviews, sure if you are used to using an S410 or other PCP or high end springer, then sure this gun is not much cop, but give me a break, i mean does it matter that much, it's a garden gun that costs thirty quid, it's not a serious hunting rifle like an Air Arms or HW, i had a play with this in the garden earlier and at 30 yards i was getting a half inch group using Accupels in it, that's perfectly good enough for me for a plinker and short range vermin gun, if this is used for vermin control for things like rats, it wont be fired at 30 yards anyway, more like 15 yards.

    Making Shrink Pots (Krympburkar)

    There has been a bit of discussion about making shrink pots since i made the post on here about them earlier this week, so with a bit of time to spare and shed time already booked, i decided that i should make a video on how to make the simplest of shrink pots, the video is in two parts as i didn't realise until i uploaded them to You Tube that my account there now allows me post up video's longer than the standard 15 minutes.

    Monday, 14 February 2011

    Be My Valentine

    Spoon i made for Valentines Day, soppy or what?, the spoon is carved from Birch and took a good couple of days to complete, it's pictured laying on a bed of Cyclamen leaves in the garden.

    Sunday, 13 February 2011

    Making A Simple, But Bushcrafty Whistle

    Short video i made on how to make a very simple whistle as detailed in a previous post this month, .

    Of course, if you have access to a wood that has a large central pith that is easily removable, like Elder, then you can dispense with the drilling and just hollow out the pith to leave a chamber, the other steps are exactly the same as in the video to get a working whistle.

    Saturday, 12 February 2011

    Shrink Pots (Krympburkar)

    One of my favourite things to make is shrink pots, what are shrink pots i hear you say?, well to put it simply, it's a pot that has been made from a cylinder of green wood, that's the important bit, it must be green wood, into one end on the inside you carve a shallow channel, into this channel you place a disc of dry or drier wood, as the green wood dries it shrinks and grips the disc tightly, if you get it right, the join between pot and disc can be made almost water tight.

    So how do you make them?, a simple one as pictured to the left can be made fairly quickly, all i do is auger a piece of green wood, Hazel in this instance, to a reasonable depth, then i cut off the cylinder from the main round, i then carve out the inside of the cylinder using an Indian Crook Knife and/or a narrow long bladed fixed blade knife, such as the Sloyd knives from Mora, when i reach a suitable wall thickness, i carve a narrow channel into the wall on the inside of the pot, just deep enough to act as a retainer for the carved bottom piece.

    From here, i then carve a thin disc of wood and whittle it down until i get to the stage where it will just about fit in the bottom of the pot, ideally, i want it so it needs to be gently tapped into place, i don't want it too small, otherwise it wont fit the groove inside the pot, you know when you have it right as it will "click" into the channel, now i leave the pot to dry, as the pot dries it shrinks and grips the wooden disc.

    The pot pictured is a very simple and to be honest rushed affair, some of the pots i have seen are incredible, absolute works or art and something i can only aspire to currently, but with time, patience and practice i hope to be able to produce pots that are half as good as some of the ones i have seen.

    So what do we use the posts for?, at the moment, i have one on my desk as a pen holder, a couple in the kitchen holding spoons, one by my bed as a coin holder, oh and a couple that have been filled with compost and have Parsley growing in them, the uses are endless, and because you have removed the centre of the branch, these don't crack, split or check, unlike regular whole branch pots can.

    EDIT 13-2-2011

    Links to a two part video i did on making a very simple shrink pot

    Whistle Up A Whistle

    Whistle up a whistle, or a box of whistles in my case, pictured to the left are just part of a consignment of of whistles I've made to give away to some of the local kids (big kids included), all of the ones pictures are made from Hazel, although i do have some here that are made from Sycamore as well.

    These are great fun and dead simple to make, but provide hours of fun for the kids, I'm not so sure their parents would agree with me though.

    Friday, 11 February 2011

    Bushcraft Knife Regrind

    Knife After Regrind
    A little while ago i sent one of my knives off to Adam at JLT Knives for a regrind, the knife in question is the A Wright & Son Bushcraft knife, now i bought this knife a long while back because it fitted my budget at the time and it was what i wanted because i fell into the "it's gotta be a Woodlore Style" trap, live and learn i guess?.

    At the time i was happy with my purchase, but over a fairly short period of time i noticed that in use it would never keep it's edge for long at all, so it got relegated to the cupboard, to cut a long story short i was talking to Adam and asked if he could regrind it for me, to which he agreed, so off it went in the post.

    Wednesday, 9 February 2011

    Burr Scaled Bushcraft Knife

    Thought id post up a picture of one of the latest knives that Adam at JLT Knives has made, this this is a peach & if i wasn't skint at the moment this knife would already be hanging from my belt, i reckon this is one of the best yet to come out of his workshop and it certainly takes him to  a new level, best bit is, it's currently for sale, go to Adam's website to see more photo's and, i hate to say, order it.

    Tuesday, 8 February 2011

    Serving Spoons

    I've had a bit of time to myself over the past few days, so I set to and carved a couple of BIG serving spoons to give away as gifts to family members, both are from the same Hazel Log,were great fun to carve and it made a pleasant change to carve something this big as normally my spoonage is eating spoon sized.

    These spoons have been sanded down, which is a bit of a departure to my normal recent practice of having a faceted finish, i also figured id make these a bit special as they are being given away, so i added some fine carving on the handles, one is a simple flowing line around the handle, which i must admit, i really like, the other is bit more elaborate, they were certainly fun to make, back to normal sized spoons now i guess?.

    Carving Chisels

    Just had a bit of a score on some small detail chisels, up until recently i have been using my Dad's old chisels and, well they are a bit past their prime, but they are also probably at least 40-50 years old, will see about bringing them back to life as best i can though,.

    So i ordered some new chisels from an online retailer, to be honest I was expecting some "standard" run of the mill chisels to arrive, probably with blunt blades and poor handles, as seems to be the norm these days on so many things, well none of that applies, OK, the blades are not as thick  as the old chisels of the same type as i have been using, but to be honest these are really not  bad at all,  the cutting edges are wicked sharp right out of the box and the handles, which i think are Birch, are smooth and comfortable to use, has to be said, these are certainly one of my better purchases.

    Leather Tool Roll

    I wanted to make a simple storage solution for my small carving chisels, not wanting a box or bag as such, i thought about a tool roll and rather than make it from heavy cloth or canvas i decided to make it from some pig leather i have here.

    The majority of the pockets are one inch wide and about four inches deep and perfect for the chisels it was designed for, a couple of the pockets are a tad bigger to incorporate larger tools or measures should i want to include them in the future, the entire thing is double stitched with artificial sinew with a few rivets at the corners for effect.

    There is a double thickness of leather where the flap folds over to protect the leather from the cutting edges on the tools, closure of the roll is by a simple leather cord wrap.

    Sunday, 6 February 2011

    Photo's Reinstated

    I spent a bit of time today reinstating photo's in the popular posts on this 'ere bloggy thing, I've not been through the entire blog , only those posts that are fairly popular and/or recent, the rest I'm afraid will have to wait until Photobucket resets my band width on Tuesday 8th February.

    Saturday, 5 February 2011


    Looks like for the first time ever i have exceeded the allotted bandwidth that is allowed per month on a free Photobucket account, according to the email i received earlier the bandwidth counter will be reset on the 8th February, i know which posts attract the most attention, so I'll see about transferring the pictures in those posts that are hosted on Photobucket to a new account so they show here, as for the others, I'm afraid, a wait of a couple of days may be in order.

    Thursday, 3 February 2011

    Buck Saw Bag

    I was getting increasingly fed up with my Duluth bucksaw rattling around in my pack and rubbing & rattling against pots and pans, so i figured it was time to make a suitable bag to put it in, so i sat down, measured it all up and produced the bag pictured to the left,  it's made from 1.5mm bovine leather in light brown/tan and stitched with artificial sinew with a brass popper closure on the flap, the rivets are purely decorative.

    Now it doesn't rattle around at all and i have a safe space in which to carry a spare blade for the saw as well.

    Wednesday, 2 February 2011

    Sign This Now!!!!!

    Get this signed straight away if you value your forests and woodland, don't be blasé about it, just DO IT & DO IT NOW before it's to late, if you don't the Gooberment will sell off the forests to commercial interests and you and your descendants will be barred from entering them, if they exist at all that is, this is publicly owned land and WE have the RIGHT to go and enjoy it, don't let the idle rich sell off YOUR birthright,

    Bumped up to the front page from original posting date, also wanted to add this further link to an additional petition that NEEDS YOUR SIGNATURE