Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Floats & Reels.

Having stopped coarse fishing many years ago for one reason and another and selling all my equipment, I find myself moving back into coarse fishing for the simple reason that my grandson is now becoming of an age where we can go and spend some time together. An easy introduction to the outdoor life, also I remember that time spent by the bank is so relaxing and the cares of the world disappear for a few hours. So my long road to equipping my self has started. I have purchased a second hand seat box from ebay that needs a bit of work before I'm able to use it. I remember that I had a selection of handmade floats in the past as well, so after trawling the internet I came across the following site:  Fenlands Fine Floats After dropping Stuart Broughton the gentleman who runs the handmade float buisness an email for more details (he responded very quickly) I decided to order a nine float set.

I ordered the following floats as seen in the picture above from Left to Right, Fenland Straight Reed Wagglers, Fenland Reed Carp Stalker Margin Floats and Inserted Reed Wagglers. The order was placed Stuart informed me that they would take about three weeks to make as they are made to order.

Fenland Straight Reed Wagglers
Buying online can sometimes be problamatic at best and at times you do not always get what you see in the advertisement of goods. In this case the handmade floats from Stuart met and exceeded my expectations, they are well made and wonderful floats to behold.

Fenland Reed Carp Stalker Margin Floats
You can order the floats with various colour tips, in the picture above I decided to have the smallest float white tipped for close in work. It will be some time before I actually use the floats but I have no doubt that they will perfom as well as they look.

Inserted Reed Wagglers
As someone who likes to make individual handmade items himself I can appreciate the amount of effort that Stuart puts into his floats. The quality of the workmanship is fantastic I would not hesitate to recommend Stuarts handmade floats to other anglers and the price in my humble opinion is value for money.

Hand Line
On a similar theme I decided that I would like to do some handline fishing when I go abroad next year as I intend to live of the land for a week or so. Trying to source a decent hand line reel in the UK is nigh on impossible.

However, in New Zealand and Austraila its an everyday thing to use a hand reel, although my father says its for kids over in NZ while the adults use a rod and line!!! Anyway I asked my father if he would kindly source a hand reel for me and he sent me the yellow peril above, thank you dad.

It came with line hook and lead attached not sure if I will change things around a bit we will have to see. I just need to get some casting practice in before next year. But what it is, is very light for packing in the sack on my travels, sure there are lighter things like the old pop can etc, but this is purpose made.

That's it, thanks for reading.


Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Hook or by Crook.

I have got quite a lot of walking stick shafts seasoning in the shed, some of which have been there for over 3 years. A project that I started in the summer and put away as I got distracted by other things I've decided to finish. The wood is a one piece hazel shaft with enough wood on one end for a type of crook. The first thing to do is determine where the head of the stick will be and start taking away the excess wood. I used a hand saw for this task.

After removing the excess its far easier to work out the exact shape that you want I tend to go with the flow of the wood to determine the finished shape.

So that's the hazel basically roughed out with the top and sides cut back, then I draw on an overall shape I want to produce. After a few hours of hard work that includes the use of the hand axe, mora knives, all different grades of files from flat to round the shape appears from the wood.

I have used various grades of Abronet sanders from 80 - 600 to try and achieve a really polished finish.

So, nearly finished just got to take a bit of the bottom of the stick and apply a finishing coat which may well be beeswax, mineral oil, or polyurethane not made my mind up yet.

Hope you like the stick, not sure what I'm going to do with it yet.

Thanks for reading.


Sunday, 3 November 2013

More Spoons

Cherry (left) &  Spalted Birch

Been busy just carving spoons lately from different woods but trying to standardise the bowl shape a bit. I have been using cherry, lime and a lump of spalted birch which I found at the bottom of the wood pile. I remember that I chucked it away as too wet and forgot all about it, its dried out and looks lovely. I had forgot how tough birch can be.

Lime wood
Simple handle
Its the first time I have carved into Lime wood its easy going and really light when dried. I can never do the same handle, it just seems that I go with what ever way the wood wants to.

Cherry a different handle
Spalted Birch

Having been working with a Dremmel a lot lately making pendants, its been rather nice to just get back to the axe and three knives. I'm really enjoying carving again. Next up some large serving spoons probably.

Thanks for reading.


Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Henry Shires Moment DW Tarptent - Update.

Just a short few lines to update the Garden Review of the Moment DW. Having been getting some distance walking in and stopping over night and returning the next day I have been able to test out the Tarptent. The tent when packaged sits very well in my Ultrahike 60 litre sack still allowing plenty of room for all my other possibles in the drysack. Once out of the tent bag the Moment only takes a moment to get up, the poles go together very quickly and easily, they have never got stuck or caught in the fabric tent arch. The pole sits neatly in the end sections of the tent. I am getting to grips with ensuring that either end of the tent runs in line, other wise it makes the adjustment of the sheet difficult, but apart from that I find it so easy to erect.

I like the two door option especially as it allows you to get at your daysack quickly a good storage area. The tent has quite spacious areas for storage of my rucksack allowing plenty more room, theirs more than enough room in the sleeping area i'm only 5'9 I believe you tall fellas would have no issues. 

If I  had one area which I think could be improved it would be the securing area for secondary guy lines, near the foot of each pole, currently a plastic clip, which has allowed my guy ropes to slip out of. Hey, its so minor though.

The taking down and putting away is so simple and quick not had an issue and it always fits into the bag even if not folded neatly, unlike some tents that when wet and difficult to fold / roll and stow tend not to fit into the tent bag.

Overall, I am so pleased with my purchase from Henry Shires a good quality tent at a reasonable price, even after paying import tax etc. I will not buy another tent it do's everything I want, if i had to get a replacement it would be the Henry Shires Tarptent Moment DW.

Thanks for reading.


Saturday, 26 October 2013

Kauri & Cherry

Having been making pendants out of horn and bone lately, I decided to try a different material. Many years ago my brother gave me a lump of Kauri Gum its sat on my fireplace for over 20 years, yesterday I thought I would have ago at making a small  pendant out of some of the Kauri, it turned out reasonably well.

Today, I sharpened my knives and decided to carve a spoon out of some nice Cherry wood I have had around for some time. Its amazing how quickly you get out of the rhythm of carving, its been a long time since I cut the wood. Eventually I knocked out a quite nice tablespoon for the kitchen.

Cherry Wood

I know that a lot of carvers do not sand their work down, but I actually like to finish mine of with a smooth finish. Its amazing what a drop of Walnut oil will do to bring the work to life and of course it helps with protecting the wood. We have no nut allergy's in our house, other wise you could use food grade mineral oil.

Well just a quick blog, have a good weekend, thanks for reading.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

A Pendant Day

My hand carver decided to blow up a few months ago which along with other reasons stopped me doing any work on trying to make pendants in bone. However, a replacement was sourced and arrived Friday, so back to work. The first project I completed was a surfboard carved from bone which I gave away to my son as a gift. I still have to make one more surfboard for someone, the plan was to complete it today Sunday, but its tipping down so I cannot get power to the shed.

I purchased a Water Buffalo Horn from ebay, which arrived last week, my first time working with horn.

Water Buffalo Horn
Before starting on the water buffalo horn project, I had to finish the project I had started when my hand carver burnt out, which was a Whale fluke.

Rear of the flute

A piece of 2mm black waxed cord with sliding stop knots allowing adjustment finished the necklace, a gift for my wife. I'm actually really happy with the way the carving has turned out.

So, having set the equipment up in the shed its time to start the Maori hook in water buffalo horn, having cut a section off then splitting (sawing) the block in half.

Halfed horn block
After choosing the half that I felt best I placed the design on to the horn. The approx size of the hook is quite large.

The next stage was to cut and rough out the work, I used a and fret saw, if I decide to continue making these types of project I need to purchase a small machine.

At this stage its time to use the sander and Dremmel to achieve the finished shape and thickness, following that the time consuming part the finishing which needs to be good if you want a mirror finish.

Again to finish the pendant I added 2mm brown waxed cord finished with sliding knots for adjustments. I now have to get to work on the surfboard when I can.

I'd like to do something in bone, putting some Celtic designs on, running before I walk comes to mind, we will see.

Thanks for reading.


Saturday, 31 August 2013

North Down White Cliffs Walk.

Having decided to go for a walk on the Fjallraven next year I have started early with some walks. I have to say that I believe myself to be quite lucky living near part of the North Down Way, so today I packed my training daysack filled with stones and water to a weight of 12kgs and got Pants sorted out and off we went.  The morning started of over cast with a quite a chilly breeze, so I donned my Buffalo wind shirt. The clouds were highlighted by the sun which was trying to breakthrough.

Pants on our approach to the Cliffs.
Last time I went walking was a few weeks ago with Gary & Steve in the Brecon Beacons, both Gary and myself came across a small problem last time we where out we both wear glasses, I am long sighted which makes reading a map very difficult. Gary decided to try a plastic magnifying glass and it worked well, so dragging glasses out and putting them on an then off which is a pain can be avoided, but glasses still carried.

So, I did an email trawl and found the credit card plastic magnifying glass credit card magnifier splashed out and bought two...........used for the first time today a good aid, never took my glasses.

Blackthorn wood with a worn walk through

The plan was to just do a nice relaxing 10 mile walk, 5 miles out and back again, just doing 3 miles to the hour which for me is a comfortable pace with a 12 kg sack. I have to say the scenery was beautiful and encountered only one other person walking a dog in the whole trip.

Dover harbour in the distance
The morning started to brighten up, passing the old military sea defence bunkers and eventually overlooking Dover harbour with the ferry's coming and going, beyond that perched on the cliffs Dover castle.  The National Trust has nominated the white cliffs as one of the Great Britain's top ten autumn festival walks Great British Walks White Cliffs of Dover the walk featured is actually on the other side of Dover, one for later.

Eventually the GPS told me I had completed 5.1 miles outward leg, strangely this wonderful bench was at the same point LOL...I tend to use the App Endomondo which is good for collecting useful data for training, it also verbally calls out the miles completed and time per mile including current total time. I keep a training record online with Endomondo and most of all the basic is free..endomondo

This was the view from the bench, stopped for a water break and took in the view, then turned around and started on the inward route home. The weather really warmed up for the second leg.

We eventually completed the walk in 3 hours 21 minutes and actually I stopped on several occasions to take pictures and chatted to someone close to home, so it could have been quicker walk. I good walk to get my legs moving again.

Thanks for reading.