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Thursday, 29 September 2016

Blade Scratch or Crack?

I bought a couple of bushcraft blades from a maker a few months back, and having a little spare time I thought I'd put some spare tan micarta handles on one. The blades came with the scale still on after heat treating so I thought I'd remove it and fit the micarta..This I did,then fitted the handle then I started work on finishing the knife

as I did I noticed dimpling on the blade, this to me is a worrying sign as it can mean over heating on this part of the blade,but the more I worked on the blade something became evident,a scratch or was it a crack???

generally, as it's running horizontally I would have considered it a scratch and not worried, but the dimpling around it has me convinced that it's a crack, I'm a bit miffed to say the least.. I'm going to work the blade and see what happens with it over the next while but it has made me cautious over buying scale covered blades in the future.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Chicken of the Woods

It's always nice to find something a little different from the usual fungi we come across at this time of the year, and although we have found these before they are usually quite rare where we are
This is a young specimen so we will be back to check on it in a while (as long as no one else finds it in the mean time!!)

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Foraged Fungi Lunch

Was out for a little forage recently to a spot I know to find some lovely Chanterelles

There were so many I could have filled a basket and as you can see here the large ones, placed next to my stick, were the size of my hand. I only wanted a few for lunch so I picked half a dozen and left the rest to do their thing.

I also managed to find a couple of small puffballs to add to the mix so these were quickly chopped and added to the pan

a few minutes on the campfire and it provided me with a very tasty lunch. 

I know people hold Chanterelles in high regard and while they are nice I do tend to think they are a little over rated.

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Simple Pegged Pot Hanger

There are hundreds of different types of pot hangers and everyone has their favorite, some are quite elaborate and some not so, some take lots of fine carving detail, some don't, however there is one we make that is quick, simple and works very well, we call it a peg hook but really it's a pegged pot hanger.

cut a couple of hook sticks

cut a wedge out of the end off each hook, so that they face the opposite way when joined together

use an awl to drill a hole through each branch when placed together, you can cut a square hole with your knife the way Mors does if you prefer but an awl is very easy.

cut a small hardwood peg and gently hammer it through the holes so that it holds the two hooks together.

Trim the peg so that it's flush with the branch.
as you can see it looks very simple when put together

and that's it !!!

You can add an extra peg for security if you think you need the extra strength but I've never needed it and this hanger has often held cast iron dutch ovens!
A little piece of wire or a nail will give you extra piece of mind if you want but it's really not necessary.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Goose Quill Floats

When I was a kid and fished a lot, we didn't have plastic floats, we often made our own from balsa wood or other natural items, the king of which were porcupine quills. Due to a lack of porcupines in Ireland we, instead, used quill floats from geese, swans or other large birds. I haven't made these for 40 years, so recently having had the opportunity to use what a goose can provide I decided to make some.
these are from a greylag, take some large feather with stable quills
trim the vanes off close to the rachis
burn off any loose filaments and then sand the quill carefully till its smooth
wrap with thread and varnish ( I think we used cellulose dope or shellac years ago)
Paint the tips with a bright paint, we used to use moms nail varnish !
All set and ready to go, a little nostalgia that brings back great memories of fishing on reedy river banks catching small perch, roach, rudd and gudgeon, they were halcyon days.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Simple Improvised Lure Saved the Day.

It's been a long long time since I've fished a rock mark, I normally fish from the boat these days, but I thought I'd head out to a place I haven't fished in 20 years. The weather wasn't great and I really didn't plan the trip but grabbed a bag and got to the mark at midway on the flow. However on opening my bag I realised I hadn't brought any lures, just line, weights and hooks, so breaking out in a panic and not fancying another 50 mile round trip to get them I searched along the rocks to see what I could find..the result... one pigeon feather! So I whipped it onto a size 1/0 o'shaugnessy and added a 3oz lead and started the day by casting to the horizon..

After an hour I hadn't had a thing, but with no option other than to try or give up I kept plugging away, it wasn't long after I had my first take and landed a nice little mackerel, then the fish came on..

you can see the improvised feather lure over the mackerel in the above pic.

I ended the day with 8 mackerel, 3 coalfish (we call them 'blocken' locally) and a pollock, all in all a good day which could have been a waste were it not for the luck of a simple feather.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

The 12 Buzzard Bush-rites.

We often get asked by people what steps they should take when learning bushcraft, what to practise and what to learn when it comes to simple practical skills, as a matter of fact we get asked this so often that over time we developed the 12 Buzzard Bush-rites.
These are little steps to take when first setting out on your bushcraft journey, they are only to help and guide and give an idea of what a beginner might like to try out when starting off, they are by no means exclusive but they do set a good foundation on which to start building your knowledge, (there are another advanced 12 bush-rites but these come later with much experience and practise).
I thought you might like to see them.
1. Build your own debris shelter and spend the night in it.
2. Make a fire from a spark using tinder gathered only on the day, nothing preprepared or brought along
3. Find water, filter and purify it and make a bush tea.
4. Be able to identify 10 native wild plants and know their uses.
5. Make your own knife from flint, bone or steel.
6. Get an ember from a bow drill set you've made yourself.
7. Be able to pick out the north star.
8. Use a bush medicine to heal a small wound, cut, bite or sting.
9. Make 10 feet of natural cordage.
10. Prepare a complete meal from  the wild using only food you have fished, foraged, hunted, trapped or gathered by yourself.
11. Carve a spatula, spoon, kuksa or bowl from wood and use it.
12. Pass on your knowledge freely asking nothing in return.
I'm sure each person has their own ideas as to good beginners lessons and I'd love to hear your suggestions.
Buzzard Blessings to you all.