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.
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/.
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 the new pack and see how it felt under load. It was fairly heavy as it contained mostly water and food but was certainly comfortable enough for a day in the woods.
Kyly the wonder dog was back in her element sniffing out creatures and diving into every possible body of water or mud she could find. Spring was here in full force.
The only minor disappointment was the complete lack of edible mushrooms in the area. It wasn’t for lack of looking; we just didn’t find any.
We didn’t spot any snakes either but the area is just warming up now. I suspect they were out but not moving much yet.
A very cold tributary to Pickle Creek provided hours of fun.
A leisurely walk in the woods without any destination is one of the finest things I can think of in life. I hope you get a chance to get out and have saunter as well. To get in the spirit, I find it’s good to re-read Henry David Thoreau’s Essay on Walking from time to time.
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 time and wear. I’ve been carrying the same design for a decade and it is just getting more beautiful with age.
“…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 waving a leaf in pity, or offering him a match; and scores of her devotees may starve to death in as many different languages before she will offer a loaf of bread. She does not deal in matches and loafs; rather in thunderbolts and granite mountains. And the ashes of her camp-fires bury proud cities. But, like any tyrant, she yields to force, and gives the more, the more she is beaten. She may starve or freeze the poet, the scholar, the scientist; all the same, she has in store food, fuel and shelter, which the skillful, self-reliant woodsman can wring from her savage hands with axe and rifle.”
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 you shop wisely for seed in bulk, even a low-yield from a garden this large would really supplement the family needs. Small packets from the hardware store really add up to high cost so I suggest ordering directly from some of the larger seed companies; it’s easy and fun to shop the catalogs. They are generous with coupons and discounts for small-timers like us so, if you are considering a garden at all, I suggest singing up. Here are the two I have used for years.
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…
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.
A poor photo of the walnut sheath.
I went with wood as I was wearing this almost constantly whle working a backwoods program for the Scouts. I decided it might just impale me through the sternum or neck if I took a bad fall so the wooden block sheath was the solution.
Human hand for scale.
This one was made by a bladesmith from an antique crosscut saw and has a beautiful tiger-striped maple handle. This is probably its third sheath but it’s the one I’ve stuck with since around 2001. It’s been camping and on thousands of miles of field projects, not always around my neck but almost always close-by in my pack. For some reason, our society thinks you’re a little weird if you wear a knife around your neck all the time.
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 the scrap pile and is a very solid chunk of walnut. I’m a little concerned about the possibility of cracking but this piece is old, well-aged, and extremely solid so I suspect it will be okay in the end. It will be heavily waxed to waterproof the wood and I’m working on making and trying a few silk leaders. Anyone with experience with hand-made fishing gear have any thoughts on this?
The hand reel and the primary tools used.
These little projects are a nice way to spend the evening in a productive way. After looking at so many artifacts over my career it becomes apparent that our ancestors often created works of art and beauty that truly come from within maker and their influences throughout their lives.
When you make for yourself, your tools and possessions become a reflection of who you are, not where you shop.