Wisdom of Dan Beard

On Loneliness "When you feel you are sleeping on the breast of your mother, the earth, while your father, the sky, with his millions of eyes is watching over you, and that you are surrounded by your brother, the plants, the wilderness is no longer lonesome even to the solitary traveler." ~Dan Beard

Ferro Rods are in the Shop

I bought a small batch of unhafted Ferrocerrum rods recently.  This came after finding out what a hit they were with some of my recent demonstrations.  Being able to produce a ridiculously hot spark with little effort in all weather amazes even the most distracted student.  Since the explosion of survival shows on television and … Continue reading Ferro Rods are in the Shop

Another Bucksaw on the Loose

I am stunned to hear from several recent misguided enthusiasts to the gentle art of wilderness skills that their new hobby costs them so much money... I guess even our low-tech approach to life can be marketed and sold to the right customer with our ingrained need for newer, quicker, and "approved" gear. Let's hope … Continue reading Another Bucksaw on the Loose

Prepping Bow Staves

After you have carefully selected the tree, cut it down, and (hopefully) had time to age the wood it is time to prep the bow staves.  Prepping bow staves is a fair amount of work but made easier with the right tools and a little experience.  The examples below aged for nearly seven years in … Continue reading Prepping Bow Staves

Making a Self-Bow

A pictorial step-by-step of the bow-making process.  This quick look isn't intended to replace the one-on-one learning of a real teacher or to cover all aspects of the art that come from years of practice.  Expect both success and failure and don't let either one dominate your learning.  Education is a process, not an instance. … Continue reading Making a Self-Bow

A Workbench from Pompeii

The art and artifacts from Pompeii have been much on my mind since the major new excavations have been published the past couple years.  I was looking at this wall mural and noticed the very Roman workbench in the lower left, complete with bench dogs while the young carpenter whacks away with hammer and chisel. … Continue reading A Workbench from Pompeii

The Stonebridge Folding Lantern

The Stonebridge Lantern; a classic, lightweight, packable candle lantern that was very popular once upon a time in the U.S.  The Stonebridge is an ingenious piece of design work as it folds almost perfectly flat for travel; like origami in tin.  Weighing in at only 11 ounces (.31 kilos) without a candle it's a camp … Continue reading The Stonebridge Folding Lantern

Cowboys, Photography, and Poetry

"My ceiling the sky, my carpet the grass, my music the lowing of herds as they pass; my books are the brooks, my sermons the stones, my parson’s a wolf on a pulpit of bones." — Allen McCanless (cowboy poet), 1885

Springtime

Although this blog isn't really focused on our daily activities, I thought I'd share a few photos.  We had time for a beautiful day out this weekend in the eastern Ozarks.  Many plants were in bloom, the insects were moving and ticks had their presence as well. It was also an opportunity to get out … Continue reading Springtime

Traveler’s Wallet

Once again, I am producing some large, traveler's wallets.  While some are waiting their finishing touches, here's the first of six.  They are all of the same general size and design but each has some variation in shape and closure type. I think my dying is improving.  Having read more on the subject, I've been … Continue reading Traveler’s Wallet

Leather Knapsack Prototype

Why do this? In my life-long quest for better designs and finer gear, I am constantly on some sort of hare-brained mission to make something new.  Some readers may remember the earlier backpack I made and eventually traded off to a new owner.   My friend Jacob, even made a fine copy for himself and it … Continue reading Leather Knapsack Prototype

Happiness in Simplicity

A LITTLE CARAVANNING HISTORY At the end of the first decade of the twentieth century, the young artist Frances Jennings became a semi-invalid and was advised by her doctor to spend as much time as she could in the open air.  Being a Victorian lady at loose ends, the obvious choice was to take to … Continue reading Happiness in Simplicity

The Future is Handmade

“Masters don’t need to say they’re the masters—it’s obvious in the work.”  Maikel Kuijpers studies craftsmanship.  This is my kind of thinking and one of the reasons I became so infatuated with material culture when I was a young anthropology student.  People who make for themselves, when that is the only option, don't just create … Continue reading The Future is Handmade

Large Possibles Bag

Another possibles bag completed and out the door.  This one was designed, at the request of a customer, to fit a specific case that would fit inside.  This is clearly my favorite "go to" design and will make an excellent bushcrafter's kit. This one is about 3 1/2" deep and a little over 12" by … Continue reading Large Possibles Bag

Gourd Bottom Bags and More

Stacey has been adding her art to the shop lately so I wanted to give her a bit of a promotion here on the blog.  Among other things, she produces meticulous and beautiful art, beaded bags, earrings, and fiber arts.  Here are her latest additions to the shop. The smaller bag on the left is … Continue reading Gourd Bottom Bags and More

Why Woodcraft?

For brick and mortar breed filth and crime, With a pulse of evil that throbs and beats; And men are withered before their prime By the curse paved in with the lanes and streets. And lungs are poisoned and shoulders bowed, In the smothering reek of mill and mine; And death stalks in on the … Continue reading Why Woodcraft?

Deluxe Possibles Bag

More shameless promotion from the workshop.  This is my new, deluxe model possibles bag for the right mountain man or woman.  This design has proven to be practical and popular.  The leather is veg-tanned Hermann-Oak and all sewing is double-needle saddle-stitch.  The hardware is premium solid harness brass.  This bag will only get better with … Continue reading Deluxe Possibles Bag

The Impartiality of Nature – from “Woodcraft and Camping”

“...there are some who plunge into an unbroken forest with a feeling of fresh, free, invigorating delight... These know that nature is stern, hard, immovable and terrible in unrelenting cruelty. When wintry winds are out and the mercury far below zero, she will allow her most ardent lover to freeze on her snowy breast without … Continue reading The Impartiality of Nature – from “Woodcraft and Camping”

Interior with Fisherwives

I spend far too much time sifting through on-line art galleries and images.  We have unprecedented access to these things as never before in history.  I recommend, for your sanity, take a little time to use these resources and exit from the world of sensational news and other half-cocked garbage spewed out by the electronic … Continue reading Interior with Fisherwives

Your Rights vs. Doing the Right Thing

To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it. G.K. Chesterton I've had an interest in Chesterton for quite a few years now and have really enjoyed reading his philosophy.  I'm no expert, but know that I find myself in congruence with many … Continue reading Your Rights vs. Doing the Right Thing

Music – Subterranean Homesick Blues

https://youtu.be/MGxjIBEZvx0 I was born the year after the release of the above film (yes film) for the album Bringing it All Back Home.  And yes, I'm giving away my age for free.  Somehow, this song has always hung in my memory and one of the albums I would listen to regularly through the 1980s was … Continue reading Music – Subterranean Homesick Blues

A Fun Little Fashion Project

Here is a little Boho Chic bag made from a beautifully bark-tanned hide by Joe Brandl (#absarokajoe). It's a bit outside my normal style but people have loved these bags over the years. Heading to the Oregon Country Fair, Burning Man, or just the beach? This is an accessory for you. Oh yeah, it makes … Continue reading A Fun Little Fashion Project

Another Shanty Boat

In the 1920s and 1930s, housing and land was expense and out of reach of most working folks.  Prior to the modern loan system, real estate was bought with all or most of the capital up-front.  Lower expectations about utilities and amenities made shanty boat living an inviting prospect, especially in river towns with decent … Continue reading Another Shanty Boat

Work from the Leather Shop

Long, cold nights in the Midwest.  Limited mobility due to injury.  A need to create new things A desire to fund my trips later this year... This is a recipe for high productivity in the workshop. Fortunately, I have a fairly large stockpile of leather and supplies to see me through my projects as I … Continue reading Work from the Leather Shop