Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Out and about again.....

Despite the rain today I managed to get out and was lucky enough to get some little breaks in the rain to get some sunshine. I will post some pictures I took. I have forgotten some photos that I ment to publish some time ago. I hope you enjoy.

Mr Woody Pecker at work
He can be a busy bird
This is why we should leave some old rotten trees
Even in winter the woods can be pretty
Lunch time tea
The following pictures I took in the summer that I found fascinating see what you think!!

Good enough to live in!!
No mortgage issues here
Explaination of what you have been looking at.
This Mesolithic house has been reproduced at the Ashdown Forest vistors centre. Well worth a look if your in the area. I just loved the house and would not mind living in it. Oh, for the simple life.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Hobo and Stick day.

I visited the woods today and as I generally do took my daysack that is kept permanently packed just top the water bottle up. Whats in there just about all you would need for a 48 hour stop out minus the tarp and bag.

This daysack was kindly given to me by my friend Gary Wale from it serves me very well. When its time for tea then I drag out my home made Hobo Stove.

Hobo stove
On the left of the picture my boiling vessel made from a stainless steel tea caddy attached is a portion of bike brake cable held in position by fishing swivels pop riveted in place. The wires are joined using electrical connectors with the plastic removed two steam holes drilled in the lid and to top it all off a small hand made beech handle.
To the right of the boiling vessel (BV) is the grate made from a stainless steel kitchen utensils holder a square section ground out to allow for kindling etc. Two skewers that fit through the holes in the grate allow you to vary the height of the BV. Te round tin to is an old steel hard boiled sweet tin that serves two purposes one to hold the hexamine if required as an alternate fuel and the lid acts as the grate for the hexamine. The BV and grate were purchased from Wilkos at very little cost I had the rest of the bits and bobs in the shed along with the tools. Very cheap but good stove. Downside its a bit bigger tan I would have liked but that's ok.

Hexamine on the lid of the cherry tin.
Today, I decided to use natural fuels and started the fire with Birch bark and twigs all sourced just a couple of metres away.

I often just use the BV by itself to boil up and insert a boil in the bag you can just get two in at a push. I tend to use a home made tripod from wood with a home made wooden hanger the pot works fine. Enough for one.

Tea and lunch.
That just about it for my little Hobo.

I have been working on a couple of walking sticks for friends both with antler heads, I completed them just today see what you think!

Downey birch shaft with leather binding.

Finished off with Polyurethane

Hazel shaft with paracord binding

Finished off with Polyurethane 
Hope you like them, thanks for looking in.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Birch Burl Kuksa Pt 1

Silver Birch Burl
Last week I went to assist a friend saw a rotten old tree down in the forest. On arriving I quickly spied a Burl at the top of the Birch. I assumed that because the tree was rotten the burl must be! However, once dropped we chained saw the burl to see a beautiful if not slightly wet spalted Birch burl. The first chance to have ago at a proper burl Kuksa.
Other side after cut lovey spalted birch.

I decieded to make my second Kuksa the first one that I had made was from Birch but from a roll of a log split in two. For a first attempt I thought it was not too bad although the walls of the Kuksa were thick and the bowl small. Anyway coming back too the Burl. Perhaps the hardest part of this project has been deciding from which parts of the burl the Kuksa would be carved from.

The under side after cutting waste away.
 Having chosen where the kuksa was coming from I set too taking the excess away and getting off all the old bark. The wood was surprisingly still sodden under the bark. The inside was solid wood which was a relief.

I marked out the shape that I wanted and started to get on with the boring bit of chiseling the large amount of waste from the centre of the work. Even from the beginning the colours and spalting of the burl are amazing. I just use an off cut of Hornbeam as a hammer I tend to find its perfect for this type of work. 

Mora single blade spoon knife.
The next stage is to start hand carving the bowl out using a bowl knife, I like the Mora single side knife its simple and tough. You can make out the shape of the planned bowl on the picture above.

Initial roughing out stage completed.

Underside of the Kuksa handle roughed in.

Side view.

I have left the sides of the cup walls quite thick at this stage and a heavy looking handle too. The next step for me is too boil the cup in salty water.  I boiled the little blighter for 2 hours using rock salt to try and eliminate any cracking during the long drying process.

It fizzed when I placed the cup in the boiling salt water

Towards the end of the process.
After  2 hours the cup sank in the water i assumed it was water logged and so impregnated with salt. The cup showed of all its beautiful colours when it was in the water. 

Looking a bit swollen, yucky and steaming hot

Once the cup had cooled off I started work on the inside of the bowl again it was like putting a knife through butter. The kuksa is now sitting in a plastic bag with the top open to allow the wood to dry very slowly.
It may well be many weeks for the wood to dry out before I start anymore work so we will call this the end of Part 1 for the moment.