I like to add a little character and variety, even if I'm just making the same thing again and again. I want to believe that this is what my ancestors would have done, toiling away in the craft to make a living. It keeps things interesting and more human than the soulless, mass-produced consumables. Here's … Continue reading Catching Up
These Flint and Steel Fire Kits are hard to keep in stock. Since I don't mass-produce things, I'm pretty slow at filling the shop. We did well enough last year that I still haven't caught up but hope to in the coming weeks and months. Please check out the shop and consider making it a … Continue reading Fire Kits Again
Sandals in progress... If you have ever taken a class with me you might know that all the intimidating sewing isn't as bad as it looks. The sole is three layers thick but the use of a good, sharp awl makes the double needle sewing go quickly. A lot more work goes into these than … Continue reading Handmade Sandals
Here's another small project happening amidst all the "real work" that needs to get done during this quarantine. I want to keep this one but after inquiries rolling in, it may go into the shop (or another just like it). Be Safe!
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
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
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
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
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
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
Dowel Cutter - A useful tool for large-scale production A version of this post appeared here in 2012 but here is an update as prelude to a coming post. I've been using a Veritas dowel and tenon cutter to rough out arrow shafts from planks. Quite a while ago I posted about the jig I … Continue reading Arrows from Planks
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
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
Sewing I do quite a bit of sewing and I feel it is an essential skill for nearly everyone. My sewing includes new buckskin trousers, cotton shirts, shoes, a few leather bags, backpacks, and repairs to clothes to name just a few projects. All this has caused me to think about sewing without manufactured goods. … Continue reading Primitive (but useful) Sewing Kit
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
Excellent work from our Tuscany comrade. I hope to find the magazine and make one myself!
Satire on archery from 1794. More at the British Museum.
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
A fun and relatively tame primitive technology event for a good price located in southwest Missouri put on by good friends of mine. Here's some information from their website: This unique event has two parts - a free knap-in/native arts-crafts show starting Thursday, with top-notch knappers, artists, and crafters from a 20-state area making and … Continue reading Bois d’Arc Primitive Skills Gathering and Knap-In
More bamboo arrows from the leatherworking reverend.
I’ve been doing a little consulting to my nephew*, who has been making a Mongolian bow for a school history assignment. His theory is that the Mongolian bow gave the advantage to the Mongols during their invasion of China in the 14th century, so he’s making one and testing it out. I disagree in a greater part, but it’s more important that he can research, develop and coherently defend a theory. I offered to make him some contemporary bamboo arrows to go with the bow, partially because I knew he wouldn’t have time, and partially because it was an opportunity for me to learn some new skills working with bamboo. He’s also going to be a little more forgiving than a paying client if I make a couple of mistakes while I’m learning, or take some shortcuts.
Paleotool has an excellent two parter on making bamboo arrows, I…
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