Thursday, 30 June 2011

Materials Collection

Took the opportunity whilst we were in the woods today to collect some materials for the wood pile at home, cut myself a nice Ash sapling and a nice piece of Hazel.

The picture shows the Ash sitting on the Hazel, the Mora 510 is shown for scale, the Hazel ended up in my Sabre 45 for carrying out and the Ash was lashed together and carried out over my shoulder, thankfully we don't have far to walk to get back to the car, now what to carve/make first?.


Should be a good year for Hazelnuts looking at the amount of them on the trees around here at the moment, just got to try and beat the Squirrels to them for a change.

Nothing to beat a fresh roast Hazelnut from the embers of the fire, don't leave them in for too long though as they tend to go bang fairly well.

Figure 4 Trap

Enjoyed some time up the woods today with youngest as he had the day off due to the teachers strike, eldest didn't join us as he was on a school trip to the British Library.

When we got to the woods i asked Ol what he wanted to do and apart from practice his shooting ability with his Black Widow catapult (video on my You Tube Channel), he wanted to make some traps, so we did, the first one we made was a good old fashioned Figure 4 (pictured), but we also made some others traps with different trigger mechanisms on them, great fun and to be honest, he probably learnt more from a day in the woods, than he would have done sitting in a stuffy classroom.

Video's on the traps we made are on my YT channel Figure 4, Dead Drop Mk1 & Dead Drop Mk2

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Elm Beadle

Made myself a new Beadle (also known as a Maul, Mallet, Bittle or Beetle) today, well two in fact, one small and one a bit larger, i needed to do this as the couple of Oak ones i have been using up to now are getting a bit past their prime, having been outside for a while and being subjected to wind, rain, snow and hot summers and of course a fair amount of abuse by me all contributing to their demise.

The larger of new Elm one's (approx 12" long) is pictured to the left laying on it's side in front of the two Oak ones that are nearing retirement, certainly the Oak one on the right has almost had it as a big piece fell off it not that long ago when i used it with a wedge to split a bit of Oak, until such time as they give up the ghost completely though they will continue to see service, but the Elm ones made today will no doubt slowly take over as the main users.

Karrimor Sabre 45 - Load Capacity

You quite often see reference to the Karrimor Sabre range of packs on a lot of the forums and discussion boards, but you very rarely see any mention of the carrying capacity of the packs as a  recognisable unit of scale, OK, fair enough, you know it's a 45 litre rucksack, but who really knows what 45 litres looks like as a solid lump of space, not many id wager?.

So, today, whilst i was out "collecting" materials i thought id do exactly that and show people what 45 litres looks like as a unit of size.

Pictured to the left is my Sabre 45 with a bit of a load in it, this load was carried about 2/3rds of a mile back from where i located it, and the pack remained stable and comfortable throughout.

What was the load?, well look below, it was an Elm log and a biggun at that, i have no idea how much it weighs but this log was in that pack and there was space to spare in the top of the pack and not just in the lid pocket,  there was even space down the sides of the pack in the main compartment if id needed it, all i had to do was release the compression straps a bit, oh yes that's a Mora 510 for scale, even though it looks like the tip of the knife is in the ground, it is in fact just hidden by a bit of long grass and is resting on the ground surface.


So now you know how much you can get in a Sabre 45.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

For The Fallen.

This speaks for itself, don't just read it, sign it.....

Thunder Storms

As many people will see or have already seen on the TV today, the South of England got a bit of a pasting from a few electrical storms this afternoon, the area covered by the storms was fairly impressive- see radar image left, im under the big red bit on the left.

I knew the storms were coming as i could hear them way off in the distance while i was in the work shop, they seemed to be concentrated way off the coast and all you could hear was an almost continuous low rumble, then they moved inland and boy, did we get an impressive display of lightning, hardly any rain,, well where i am an anyway, but some hugely impressive forked lightning was to be seen, according to the news the Control Tower at Gatwick was hit, as were a number of railway and power lines, not to mention numerous houses, thankfully though, nobody has been hurt.

Big Net Needle

Decided to make myself a big netting needle today, basically so making larger mesh nets with thicker cordage is a little easier than it is at present where I'm currently using needles that are approx 1 inch in width, this beast as you can see from the picture is considerably larger and in the region of two inches in width.

The needle itself is made from an old cheap cutting board that came out of one of the local pound stretcher land type shops, the needle was carved out using my carving chisels and a new knife (not pictured) that i will cover at some point in the future, i was intending to make net with this today, but events, ie the weather conspired against me with a rash of fairly large thunder storms hitting the area, more on that in another post though.

I don't have an idea as to the capacity of the needle, but i know it's quite large, certainly enough to make a few purse nets that's for sure.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Sheath For MaB Knives Bushcrafter

Made this today for a MaB Knives Bushcraft knife, the sheath is of one of my regular dangler style of sheath in 3mm thick veg tan leather, dyed in British Tan with brass hardware throughout, i still have to finish the welt edge and complete the overall finishing touches to the sheath, the leather that I used for it is amazing though as it has all sorts of natural folds and creases in it from the animal making the sheath very tactile to the touch and adding an incredible character to the completed item.

More info on Mike's knives can be found on his website.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Arrow In A Ring.

Carved myself one of these today, it's an arrow through a ring, the thing is the arrow cant be removed from the ring as the front arrow point and the rear solid flights are larger than the hole the arrow is sitting in, and no the arrow is not in two parts, it's carved from a single piece of wood.

This one is very rough, as the ring itself is a waste piece from a hole saw, tis only a bit of nonsense, but great for kids to try and figure out.

Wooden Spatulas

Dad & I have been busy again, i made a load of spatulas from Hazel the other day on the shave horse using the draw knife, and Dad has been painting them with all manner of different types of flora and fauna, and one Castle (Bodiam Castle to be precise), as I've mentioned before, he paints these to help supplement his pension and considering he is registered disabled and has had two operations on his eyes, i think these are pretty amazing to be honest, further pics of the spatulas showing the subject in a bit further detail below.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Tin Can Ladle

I needed a small ladle for a project I'm working on at the moment, but rather than carve one or grab one of the kitchen ladles, i decided to make one out of a Pilchard tin and two bits of Hazel, the tin is just held by friction between the two pieces of Hazel that are in turn lashed together with garden twine to provide a handle and provide the grip for the tin, the twine wont slip as it goes through a couple of holes that i drilled in the wood, one of which is just about visible on the central lashing.

The project I'm working on, well i guess you will just have to wait and see....................

Monday, 20 June 2011

Hazel Burl Bowl

I carved this bowl about a year ago, but have just rediscovered the photo's i took of it during a clean up of the files and folders on my computer, the bowl was hand carved from a Hazel Burl that i found while on a trip out, if i remember right it took a fair amount of time to work round the twisted grain that was within the burl using a spoon knife and crook knife.

I didn't expect too much with the grain pattern as Hazel is a white wood, but when i varnished the bowl the grain came alive, i still have this bowl in a display cabinet in the dining room, along with a couple of antler handled spoons that i carved.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Neck Sheath Mk2 for MaB Mini Bushcraft Knife

Having made a dedicated neck sheath for Mike at MaB Knives yesterday for his Mini Bushcrafter knife, i decided that i wanted to redesign the sheath as i don't particularly like making the previous style of sheath, I'll make them, but i don't like them, this is what i came up with.

It's a fairly modern angular design that seems to suit the knife well, the sheath itself  is made as a dedicated neck sheath with quite a wide rear loop on the rear of the sheath to help alleviate the sheath twisting on the suspension cord as some neck sheath designs tend to do.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Wooden Sheath

I was having a sort out earlier and came across this wood and leather sheath that i made years ago, i cant even remember what knife i made it for, i think it was for a Mora No1 but cant be sure,  I will have to dig out my Mora's and see what one fits the best or try and find some previous photo's of it in use. If i remember correctly the sheath was carved from a piece of Birch, certainly looks like Birch,  if i can find the knife that fits it best, i might even be tempted to bring this back into use,

Neck Sheath for MaB Mini Bushcraft Knife

I don't make many neck sheaths and certainly don't offer them as part of my standard range, as to be frank, i simply don't like making them,  but this one was a special for a mate, namely Mike Bowler, he has a knife in his range called the Mini Bushcraft Knife and as a favour to him on a strict one off basis i agreed to make him a dedicated neck carry sheath for one of the knives in question.

The sheath is 7.5 inches in length and approx 2 inches wide, made from veg tan leather in 3mm, hand dyed and finished in dark brown, double stitched throughout with waxed black linen thread.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

JLT Knives Bushcrafter Leather Sheath

Finished this today, a sheath for a JLT Knives Bushcrafter model, the sheath is a  double popper dangler made from veg tan leather, hand dyed and finished in British Tan and stitched with waxed linen thread, brassed hardware has been used throughout.

The dangler loop is removable thereby allowing the user the option of wearing the sheath as a dangler or regular belt sheath.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Fomes fomentarius - Horse Hoof Fungus

I received a package in the mail last week from a chap called Gareth following a conversation we had on You Tube, i had commented that we don't get Fomes where i live in the UK, so he got in touch and told me that he had more than he knew what to do with and would send me some.

Upon opening the box i found not only the three fungi pictured, but a bag of Daldinia concentrica and two bags of pre prepared amadou, one with and one without saltpetre added, the thing i have to do in return for him sending me the fungi is to make a video and place it You Tube showing how i make amadou and then how to use it to start a fire, so as soon as the weather and other obligations allow, i shall be making a trip to the woods armed with my camera - keep you posted, and big thanks to Gareth for sending the fungi down to me, very much appreciated.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Leather Apron

Ive come to notice recently that a lot of the shirts i wear when I'm working on the shave horse are starting to develop a few holes, particularly in the midrift area, these are caused when the draw knife inadvertently stops against a hidden knot in the wood and the work piece pulls forward hitting you in the belly,, over time this causes a bit of wear and tear on your clothes, the apron will also help when carving and using my chest to support the end of a work piece when making fine draw cuts.

I had a look see on the interweb this morning for a leather apron and was shocked at the prices being asked for them, so being a resourceful sort of chap, i  made my own.

The apron itself has an adjustable para cord neck loop and waist tie, i made the apron slightly narrower than the ones i saw on the Internet as i didn't want lots of leather wrapped around my sides, i thought about adding a pocket or two to the apron, but didn't bother in the end, hopefully this will save my shirts from the wear and tear they currently get and make them last just a little longer.

Friday, 10 June 2011


I was down the garden earlier watching the Foxes and their cubs  playing out in the back field, then behind me i heard a dull thud, i looked around and couldn't see anything to begin with, then i saw a juvenile Goldfinch laying stone cold dead on the ground.

The poor little thing had flown  straight into  the greenhouse and broken it's neck, i picked it up and it was without a doubt what had caused the thud i heard, as the bird was still warm in my hand, I always think it's such a shame to see something as beautiful as a Goldfinch die so tragically.

Navigation by Map & Compass

There has been a lot of coverage in the press recently about people walking the Fens, Moors & Mountains and relying on a GPS like a Garmin or a GPS application (i loathe the term "App" it's yet another bastardisation of the English language in my opinion) on their Smart phone, and getting lost i have nothing against these pieces of technology and indeed, i own a Garmin GPS myself, but it should never ever be used as your primary means of navigation - ever.

Technology is all well and good all the time you have power, but what happens when the batteries run out, or you drop it in a puddle and it shorts out?, basically, your buggered id say, now how about learning to use a map and compass?, they don't need batteries, chances are it wont break if you drop the compass and neither will short out if you drop them in a puddle, the map might go a bit soggy if you don't keep it in map case though, the other bonus is a compass will work in a ravine or under the tree canopy, did i say it doesn't need batteries?.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Leatherman Vista Secateurs

Something you don't see being used a lot by Bushcrafters are the good old Secateurs, i have no idea why this should be as they are an incredibly useful tool and allow the collection of materials from public places without scaring the crap out of the sheeple, as they don't associate these as a weapon like they would a two inch folding knife, even though you and i both know they are both tools in their own right and not weapons.

I digress, i bought these an age ago and  if i remember correctly they were hellishly expensive at the time, regardless they have found a permanent place in my bag, not just my hunting bag as this was the task they were designed for originally, but i also include them in my "bimble bag" for collecting small section pieces of timber or just trimming brambles off a path, so what do they come with;


Just picked these from the garden - lovely, i think it may be time for a trip up to a special spot i know  on the Downs where the wild Strawberries grow.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Hand Carved Spatulas

Made a few spatula's today, all made from Hazel that i collected last week, the rounds were split with my small axe and then the spatulas were carved  and smoothed with my 8" draw knife on the shave horse, each spatula is approx 8" in length.

Some of these will see use in the kitchen i dare say, but the bulk will be enhanced with some water colour paintings of UK Flora & Fauna.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Old Fashioned Catapults - Pt2

I got round to finishing off the catapults i was making, the two outer ones are made from Elm and have traditional square catapult elastics fitted, the central one is made from Hazel and is fitted with a weaker latex elastic, as the wood is not as strong and i very much doubt if it would withstand the pressure of the square laccy, all three feature leather pouches.

The only no traditional thing is the elastics are secured with cable ties, rather than being whipped with button thread, I've tried all three with steel ball bearings and they are all fairly powerful and accurate.

Death By Spoonage

Thought id throw up a photograph i took some time ago of a mammoth spoon carving session i had over the course of a few days, most of these are of an eating spoon size and are carved from a mix of woods including Elm, Cherry, Hazel, Sycamore & Birch.

I collected a load more green wood last week on a trip to the woods, so, fingers crossed the next few days will see another carving session or two, or three.......

Friday, 3 June 2011

Speckled Wood - Pararge aegeria

Had to share this photo of a Speckled Wood that eldest took up the woods on Wednesday, superb shot, i know for a fact he was chasing the Butterfly around trying to get the right photo, did well in the end didn't he?.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Honeysuckle - Lonicera periclymenum

Not a lot to say, but this has to be one of the best flowers you find in the woods, not only does it look spectacular, but the perfume it gives off is absolutely mind blowing, not forgetting of course, if you carefully remove the flower trumpets and suck on the base of it, you get a hit of pure nectar -  a real seasonal treat.

Hazel Burl

Found myself a nice Hazel Burl today, i have a feeling this might become a project in the not too distant future, it's still attached to the tree at the moment and will stay there until such time as either I'm ready to proceed or the tree comes down naturally, but i can already see quite a nice bowl or Kuksa in this little beauty.

Blog Comp - Result

Sorry it's taken nearly a day to get this up, been out up the woods all day and only got back a short while ago, so the winner of the blog comp is, drum roll please...................

No 44 - Sparker

Drop me an email (contact details above) with your mailing address and I'll get the pouch mailed out to you asap.