This is a pretty good setup for any outdoorsman (our outdoors woman for that matter). By 1925, the scouts had worked out a pretty good uniform and gear setup based on many old experts not the least of which was the US Army.
If there’s a bit of a paramilitary look to the scouts it certainly owes much to its military background in Britain and further as a result of the Great War. Still, there’s a lot of good info to take away from this. These are truly the essentials.
The new internet Bushcraft world has very little on the old-timers knowledge.
I’m happy to say that I will be heading to the annual primitive skills gathering known as Winter Count down in the Sonoran Desert. Thankfully, it has moved to a more remote location further into the desert and far away from the Phoenix sprawl.
I will be teaching a course that I have been doing for some time now; Constructing the Ancient Frame Saw. I say “ancient” because this style saw goes back to the very beginning of metal working. It is a way to create an extreme amount of tension, and thereby stiffness, on a very small piece of metal; saving on a very precious resource.
Even though this, in essence, can be thought of as a one-off craft project. I hope that people will take time to learn the skills and take away more knowledge than a simple material good.
I think it might be easy, at first glance, to think of a project like this as a cheap way to get something that you might not be able to afford otherwise; and that is fine. However, learning basic skills like layout, simple joinery, and the use of hand tools are transferable skills that can be used for a myriad of other projects; from constructing a spear-thrower to timber frame building. There is even plenty of opportunity to add one’s own style and artistic flare to the project. Learning to operate even a few simple hand tools, edges and wedges in this case, connect your brain to your body in a way that pushing buttons and looking at screens could never do.
Working directly with a raw material like wood, with its own unique properties, connects us to a deeper understanding of the wider world. Maybe I’ll see you there someday.
For most of human history we have moved across the surface of the Earth as more-or-less self-contained units. Rarely alone and generally with all the stuff we owned.
Obviously, this was before the age of Consumption as a way of life.
I love to see the details; the wash basin, table and chair, the little mirror…
It’s really no surprise then that we took to car camping as a natural progression in travel, especially in the West where movement was a theme and great open spaces we’re available. With an auto, long distances can be easily covered, there is plenty of space for essential gear, and we bring the solidness and security that the auto provides with us anywhere we need to go. As for this photo, the beauty is in the details. I really enjoy the domestic scene here as the daily routine continues no matter where we are. The non-travellers I know seemed to lump life while camping or traveling as something very different than life at home. Maybe it’s different for me having been fairly transient for much of my early life and working on the road for many years. Living is done wherever you are.
I’ve been making nets and net bags for a very long time. Decades in fact. Some are fancy but most are quite plain and utilitarian. This one definitely falls into the latter category. However, it will serve the purpose and I suspect will be around for quite some time.
I took a few photos along the way and thought I would make a short tutorial as even simple knot work is often mysterious to the uninitiated. I hope this helps someone. It’s a great introductory project.
This little bag uses a simple overhand knot technique and is probably the simplest mesh you can make. Other than a cutting instrument there really are no required tools for this so gather your string, fetch the object that will be held (in this case a water bottle), grab your knife and we can begin.
New Year’s resolutions from Woody Guthrie’s notebook 1943. It was an interesting time; the world was at war, America was coming out of an economic depression coupled with huge crop failures and sleazy bank practices, and the Guthries had made their way West to California with record numbers of displaced migrants looking for a better life.
“One of the reasons for its success is is that science has a built-in, error correcting machinery at its very heart. Some may consider this an overbroad characterization, but to me every time we exercise self-criticism, every time we test against the outside world, we are doing science. When we are self-indulgent and uncritical, when we confuse hopes and facts, we slide into pseudoscience and superstition.”
Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, p. 27
“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.”
These are securely set in mule deer antler and are fitted with a loop for suspension.
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 internet media it seems these have not only become popular again but are getting bigger and bigger and bigger all the time.
Size isn’t everything folks!
And I’m not just saying that for the obvious reasons… For the minimalist hiker, camper, or general outdoorsperson, carrying a striker that will make tens of thousands of fires is generally enough. Seriously, how long do think you’re going to live anyway?
If you are not yet familiar with this technology it is essentially a metal striker made from iron and cerium, that when crumbled, shaved, or otherwise shredded to expose the inner materials, produces a spark about 3,000°C (5,430°F) and can directly light most small tinder. They have been around about 100 years but have really come back with the rise of the bushcraft and survival popularity.
This batch will probably sell fast but more will be on the way soon.
I like to keep one that easily fits into a pocket or can be tied to a backpack or worn around the neck. these meet all those requirements and more so, if you are interested in one for yourself or need the perfect stocking stuffer this yuletide season, take a trip to our Etsy shop and have a look https://www.etsy.com/shop/lostworldcrafts/.
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 this ailment isn’t catching.
Making something for one’s self is, in itself, an act of rebellion in these troubled times so I thought I would share what I’ve been up to in the idle hours these past few days.
After someone sweet-talked me out of my last (and personal) bucksaw I was in need of a replacement. I lucked upon some beautiful walnut last year and set some aside to make a few saws. Straight-grained, strong, and beautiful, this 5/4 sawn chunk was ripe for carving into something nice. I spent far too much time in finish and detail on this one but a beautiful tool is much nicer to use than an ugly one and curves appeal more than straight lines to this gentleman.
There isn’t much need for a lengthy instructable for this design but notice that the straight grain was respected in all dimensions and runs the length of each arm. As for hardware, it was my intention to inset square nuts into the handles and connect the blade with round-head machine screws. However, looking through my hardware on hand, that would have required a trip to a store, so for now, we use carriage bolts and wing nuts.
The devil is truly in the details and it is a joy to carve such fine wood with sharp tools. The entirety is polished with Lundmark carnauba wax as it brings out the color and grain while providing excellent protection against water.