Thursday, 30 June 2011

Escape to the woods

I've had a busy few days at work so yesterday I managed a walk around my favourite local woodland to unwind.

Its an interesting site, an old sandstone quarry full of mainly native broadleaved trees and a healthy understory of holly and hazel.

Beech hanging on to the edges

Quite a few game trails...

leading to this warren within an old sweet chestnut stump.

Plenty of healthy Sweet Chestnut too, look forward to roasting some up again later in the year.

Possible blusher, hard to ID as it had been raining  heavily 2 nights ago. Couldn't make out some of the features on the ring and stem base. I'll leave well alone though in case its the Panther Cap.

One of the largest and healthiest Birch trees I have seen since studying trees. See the Bracken for scale. 
A True lady of the Woods

The bracken has shot up recently. Changes the appearance of the whole area.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Forest Schools Campfire cooking demonstration.

Last week I was invited to help out on a demo for people interested in or already involved with forest schools, and wanting some ideas to pass on in sessions.

Seven separate fires were lit and maintained, with a brick oven made, two homemade gas bottle stoves, a tripod, a range, home made fire pit, and a cheap BBQ. Managed to grab a few pics before the guests arrived.

That Muuricca singed the first bannock so we cooked another sweet one as it cooled some which worked a treat, managed a Calzoni with the last of the flour, cheese and toms. Looks a little lost on the pan but was very yummy :)

Food was vegi but far from boring, we made from scratch pizza's, various bannocks, cheese scones, popcorn, soup, and my favourite.. Peach cobbler.

A great day and a success, more so as the rain held off.
 I managed to squeeze in a Fire by friction Demo too that went down well. Still get a buzz doing these, and a lady had a go and managed an ember with a little help.

Ash bow

Made a start on this bow yesterday. Just a young stem, which I split with the axe and then worked my way down with wedges. The Yew one...ahem... snapped. Gutted, but learnt plenty so now the first breaks out of the way I can crack on and keep trying till I get it right.

I've done some more searching and there is a surprising amount of good information out there regarding bows, so hopefully this one will work out.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Little Yew Bow

I had a stave I saved from a hedgerow restoration several years ago, and decided to finally try making a bow. I've never made one or had any instruction, but have a few magazine articles so collected the info together and gave it a whirl.
Problem was, it's sapwood was twisted at one end so chasing the grain was a tad awkward, and there was a nasty knot there too, so I cut it shorter and it ended up 4.5'. I was going to give up but thought that shorter bows are good enough for bushmen so why not carry on. I learnt quite a bit doing it through trail and error and look forward to trying out a few arrows once Ive bought or made some.

I've a Flemish string to make out of linen thread next time I'm out for a walk as I thought I't be something to do in the woods, then have a practice against some targets.

Most of the Axe work completed, and onto the shave horse

Chase that grain!

Tillering - I took a little too much off the upper limb just over 1/3 rd up from the grip. I think I'll live with it for now till I've measured the draw weight. I't feels very strong or I'm not in bow shape yet! Just need some arrows now. The string is a temporary paracord one.

Gave it a sand and oil. Up to now after cutting the stave length ways with a chainsaw, Ive just used the Axe, draw knife, carving knife, and a round file for the nocks, but could of managed with the knife again.

Looking forward to testing, and I will definitely be making others. I think a 6' Ash one out of greenwood next then another full length Yew Longbow.

Addo :)

Wednesday, 8 June 2011


Yet another, but my favourite made so far.

Made using a birch burr that was at the top of a youngish tree as part of a thinning operation I did recently.

The growth inside was normal grain though with out all the faces and knots, but I went with the natural shape, carved quick and dried it slow in chippings then an open bag. Luckily it's not cracked!

It lent itself to a Right handed person so I went with it, then it bent slightly the same way as it dried. Feels really comfy to use, and size wise 250ml ish great for strong coffee, a drop of wine or a wee dram of Islay malt :)

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Enzo Trapper 01 Cherry plum and black liners.

If you want a great Bushcraft knife on a budget and have some basic skills I seriously recommend one of these blades from Brisa in Finland, some wood of your choice and a little bit of brass.

This cost less than £40 in bits.

I wanted to put some effort into it and in my stash of nice woods that i've saved from tree surgery work, I had some Cherry Plum wood that was still green. It made it easier to work with the hand tools but a pain to dry out without checking and twisting.

Sawn block and preparing two flat planes, ready for sawing in two.

Glued up and rasping to shape.

Some abrasive paper and a bit of graft and...

Early days as it needs longer in the grapeseed oil, a cure, then a beeswax polish, so it should look better and be stabilised then.

I'm glad I used the vulcanised liners, I normally use leather or bark, but these do look great and are easier to sand flat.

Hope you like. 


Friday, 3 June 2011

Busy days

The other day I was blessed with a Son, his name is Seth and he is keeping us all very busy! 9lb 1oz feeding like a lion and has a serious set of lungs on him. He's great though and makes you think about life in a new way all over again.

So projects are on the back burner for a while, although I am working on a Kuksa, Knife and researching more things to make after some nice new craft books arrived yesterday for my Birthday.

Hope to have the items posted up with some pictures of the making of them in the next few days and hopefully a few walks with my Daughter too, before the school goes back.

Anyhow the most important thing in my mind right now is sleep ! So off to bed and catch you soon.

Paul :)