Sunday, 19 November 2017

Stay Sharp

A big sharpening session for a couple of my knives, the childrens knives and my wifes knife yesterday. These skerper water stones are great.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Artists fungi

Artists fungi are a large bracket fungi which can be found on decaying wood. They are great fun and are called artists fungi because of the fact that you can draw on them, not with a pen or pencil but just with your finger or a stick.
These simple drawings are really easy to make as your fingers or wooden 'pencil' removes the spores of the fungi from it's pores revealing the dark brown surface underneath.  
There are other uses for this fungi although it is generally inedible it is sometimes used as a flavouring in some Asian cuisine and has also been used in medicines. 

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Clematis

I collected some big clematis stems today. I'll be using them to make fire sets soon

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Bushcraft with the children at Riddy Wood

We had a fun day in the woods in preparation for the open day at Riddy Wood. We cooked on the fire, did some shooting, drew on some artists fungi, disected an owl pellet, climbed trees and generally had a great time.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Whittling to pass the time

I was waiting for a group of very late students to arrive yesterday morning and while I waited I made this. It was a fun distraction for a few minutes and has the added advantage of entertaining my children when I take it home.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Making char cloth

One of the simplest but most useful skills of bushcraft. Char cloth makes the most of the effort to make a fire by preparing tinder for many more after it. Take the cloth you want to char, it must be 100% natural material; cotton, linen, silk etc... Polyester will melt. Place it in a foreproof container, in this case a baby milk can (I have charred matterial in other more primitive containers such as large shells as well). Make sure you can tightly close the lid to stop air getting in. As you restrict the air that can get to the cloth it will become charred rather than burned. Place your container in the fire, this was quite a large batch so it was in the fire for about fifteen minutes. Once its off the fire allow it to cool, if you take the lid off too soon it will burst into flames and be ruined. Once its cool though it can be broken up and used for flint and steel fire lighting.

Friday, 13 October 2017

Reverse wrap cord

Producing useful cord from natural material is an important bushcraft skill and one of the best raw materials you can hope to work with is lime bast. Prepared from the inner bark of the lime tree through a process called retting (partial fermentation in water) the fibres produced are long, strong and flexible. I prepare a batch most Summers as outside of the spring and summer months it impossible to collect in the desired quantities as the bark can't be easily separated from the tree. 

Bast after processing and drying. 
A small coil of finished lime bard cord made using the reverse wrap method. 
To make reverse wrap cord take a bundle of fibres. 
Find the centre of the bundle and twist until a kink forms. 
Now twisting one half of the bundle before wrapping the other over it creates this tightly coiled cord which looks fairly similar to cord you might buy at B&Q. For more information on how to make this check out the Bushcraft Education Blogs Bushcraft Basics pages.