Everyone Should Cultivate Manual Training

Does this mean we should neglect our intellect? Absolutely not. In fact, the opposite. We should strive to cultivate both mind and body to become the most perfect specimen we can become, daily. I came across this passage while reading a bit this morning from Amateur Joinery in the Home (1916) by George and Berthold … Continue reading Everyone Should Cultivate Manual Training

Interview Time

Well this is exciting. I got interviewed at winter count near Florence, Arizona back in February. It's heavily edited from a much longer discussion but I don't think I sound too stupid here talking about the Vardo.  The interview is very close-up and tight but you can get a feel for the interior layout. There … Continue reading Interview Time

Sandals

This post came from looking through a few class photos from Rabbitstick several years ago based on an inquiry. This is one of the years I taught my favorite sandal design, an ancient one though still cleverly marketed as a modern style. I call them saint sandals as they look like something you would see … Continue reading Sandals

Thumb Stick

A little show and tell this rainy winter morning. I've been carrying this walking stick in one form or another since 2001. What does that mean? I just can't leave well enough alone, that's what.  It was a straight knobbed staff before attaching the stag horn but I decided it would be more useful and … Continue reading Thumb Stick

The Joys of a Morning Quickie

Sometimes you have needs ... I needed a net bag for my water bottle while I'm on the road. I knew this was going to be a problem when I left home so I threw in a ball of string in case I had some time on my hands. I almost always bring something to … Continue reading The Joys of a Morning Quickie

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

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

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”

Gardening With Purpose

It's time to start some seeds. We still don't have a great place to garden but it is improving each season.  Pesky critters were quite a problem last year so we are working to improve this as well as the poor clay soil at the new house. This plot might seem too ambitious but, if … Continue reading Gardening With Purpose

The Caveman Catalyst in Your Tinderbox

It’s always time to up your fire-building game. Survival Sherpa Todd Walker does just that in this post. Check it out.

Survival Sherpa

by Todd Walker

The Caveman Catalyst in Your Tinderbox - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

The human love affair with fire is intimate and ancient. Over the flames we cook, celebrate, spin tales, dream, and muse in the swirls of wood smoke. Fire is life. Its warming glow draws us like moths to a flame.

It’s not a stretch to believe that a Stone Age chemist recognized the idea of using carbon for future fires. Disturbing the leftover carbon ashes from the night fire, she stares at sparkles of light glowing like the pre-dawn stars above. She carefully nurses a baby “star” back to life to warm her hearth and home.

It ain’t rocket surgery. Even cavemen knew the importance of the sixth most abundant element in the universe.

Carbon and Future Fires

The game of chasing lightning strikes for each fire was no longer required. This unreliable practice was abandoned for twirling sticks together to create enough heat to initiate the…

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The Handy Neck Knife

In the spirit of the internet Bushcraft trend of pulling out our tools and comparing I decided to join in the fun.   This is the patch / neck knife I purchased back around 1986 when I first started getting primitive. This one was made by a bladesmith from an antique crosscut saw and has a … Continue reading The Handy Neck Knife

Fishing Reel

I've been working on a new hand reel to keep in my pack with my travel fishing kit.  I didn't have much of a plan when I started so I drilled out a couple of one-inch holes a little further apart than the width of my hand and started from there.  The wood came from … Continue reading Fishing Reel

Too Many Knives

A few too many camp knives? This is what happens as you travel, receive gifts, buy better stuff, always need a good knife, etc. From the upper left: Camillus 5-1967 (a friend carried this through Vietnam), my small Arkansas stone for field touch-ups, Buck folder, two classic Victorinox Pioneer knives (I've carried this style every … Continue reading Too Many Knives

Bamboo Arrow Construction

Several years ago I starting documenting some of the arrow-making I do. I wrote the original version of this piece in 2012 but as it always draws a lot of interest I have re-edited it and am posting it again. Arrows have been much on my mind after seeing how ratty some of mine have … Continue reading Bamboo Arrow Construction

Bread – Some Thoughts from Cobbett

Every woman, high or low, ought to know how to make bread. If she do not, she is unworthy of trust and confidence; and, indeed, a mere burden upon the community.  -William Cobbett Today this should probably read "Every homemaker" instead of "Every woman" but, as Cobbett composed this treatise in 1821, he assumed that the … Continue reading Bread – Some Thoughts from Cobbett

Arrowology

Some Thoughts on Making Arrows, an Underappreciated Art - I have been making my own arrows from scratch for a couple decades (since 1987 to be precise) and thought I'd showcase some I have made over the past few years.  I don't generally make them to sell and I rarely hunt these days but there … Continue reading Arrowology

Primitive Arts

Today I'm prepping to present some primitive skills on Saturday, from raw materials to finished goods. I'm also getting some kid's activities together to draw in the latest generation. An assortment of stone-age technology laid out to take to the public.

Bird Traps

I've been researching more ethnographic data for trapping techniques to get beyond the same handful we have all seen since our Scouting days; the Paiute, Figure-4, spring snares, etc.  While not looking at all I came across this interesting image from the archives of the Smithsonian from 17th century Italy.  The more I research, the … Continue reading Bird Traps

Dép lốp or “Ho Chi Min” Sandals

I was looking up a link for someone and rediscovered the video today showing how to make tough and durable sandals from discarded tires.  This style is well-known in Southeast Asia, particularly in poorer areas. If you are interested in sandal-making, you can hardly go wrong with this design if you have access to old … Continue reading Dép lốp or “Ho Chi Min” Sandals

Making a Pack Basket

From one of my new favorite blogs Running With Sheep.  Johan and Sanne are a couple of remarkable outdoors - bushcraft - survival enthusiasts with more than a touch of philosophy thrown in. Their most recent project shows how to convert a run-of-the-mill thrift store find into a functional pack basket.  From what I can … Continue reading Making a Pack Basket

Thoughts About Minimalism and Survival

Learning a thing or two from the past...Part 1, 21st century Westerners are not the first to minimalize. There's a lot of recent talk about Minimalism as a social movement and this fits well with my personal philosophy and my interests in preindustrial technology and survival.  Not long ago, minimalism was mostly associated with artists, … Continue reading Thoughts About Minimalism and Survival

Primitive Fishing

My fishing kit is coming together and I added another hook and leader last night. The left hook and gorge are made from deer cannon bone (metacarpal) and the right is whitetail deer antler.  The antler hooks are proving to be tougher and less likely to snap under tension.  The leaders here are yucca and … Continue reading Primitive Fishing

Learning by Replication

I study the technology of prehistory.  Because of this, I believe strongly in the benefits of experiential archaeology.  It gives perspective on a very deep level.  We can walk in the shoes of our ancestors, so to speak.  I say experiential here not experimental and I'm glad to hear this word coming into the dialog … Continue reading Learning by Replication

It’s Food for Thought

There are so many good reasons to have a home garden, even in the city. Starting fresh in a new place means we're in for some work this spring.  Although I suspect that many things have grown in this yard in the last century, other than the small plot I turned over last year, we … Continue reading It’s Food for Thought

Quinzhee Snow Shelter

Winter is here. For some of you it is here with real gusto.  Growing up in Missouri and being sent out to 'play' no matter what the weather or who was around I learned a lot about how to entertain myself.  Snowfall in the Mississippi valley could be heavy and wet throughout the winter and … Continue reading Quinzhee Snow Shelter

How to Improvise and Use a Three Stick Roycroft Pack Frame

Thanks to Survival Sherpa for posting this look at making a pack frame.  Making a quick, three stick pack frame is a valuable bit of knowledge.  How serendipitous that this came up (seems to be a lot of convergent thinking around my world lately) as I am beginning to tweak my own wooden pack frame … Continue reading How to Improvise and Use a Three Stick Roycroft Pack Frame