|DILBERT by Scott Adams|
The more you know, the less you carry.
- Mors Kochanski
Bushcraft: Bits and Baubles
One of the great ironies of our time is that low-tech bushcraft skills are being furthered and spread on the internet, a high tech platform.
Many traditional skills and approaches are being recovered, advanced, adapted, and more importantly, shared by people from around the world. Instead of going extinct or languishing in some small, isolated community, this wealth is being spread far and wide.
In this post, I'll present a few, choice bits I've recently come across.
Vertical Fire Logs
There are skads of videos on how to make and use these in several variations.
Max Egorov (Advoko MAKES) is producing bushcraft videos, often mixing high and low tech. His approach is both innovative and experimental. It's well worth checking out his other offerings.
Here, I'll present one that briefly covers several versions of vertical fire logs, vertical grilling and a great recipe! Great ideas come thick and fast, so I'll give a time guide of highlights:
0:00 - 0:27 Introduction
0:27 - 1:12 Digression (?) An interesting but more complex Log Stove
1:12 - 2:00 Split Log Stove and Tent Warmer
2:00 - 4:05 Digression (?) Frame Saw from blade and field materials
NOTE: Elsewhere, Mors Kochanski suggests carrying a saw blade around the waist
in a belt constructed as its sheath.
5:15 - 5:50 Log Dogs
5:50 - 6:15 Vertical Log Stove
6:15 - 8:30 Spiral Cut Potato with Sausage (vertically grilled)
8:30 - End Getting fancy plus Vertical Slotted Grill
Pine Tar Extraction
Pine tar (aka Stockholm Tar) is a thick glop at the heart of many marine recipes for wood preservation. It's also medically useful as antiseptic (farm veterinarians still use it for treating wounds in stock animals).
Again from Egorov, his is the simplest and one of the more reliable methods I've seen (he calls it 'oil' in the video):
Where's this one been all my life??
If you have line (and what boat doesn't?) this winch can be improvised in the field. It generates a huge amount of force that can move your vessel/vehicle, logs, rocks or even uproot trees.
Take care to stay out-of-line with the tensioned lines... should they break, whiplash can be deadly.
Other videos mention the use of stakes to stabilize the winding pole (perpendicular to the line of pull), but correct set-up (shown in this but not all videos) minimizes the need. Worth looking around, though.
Creek Stewart has a number of short, to-the-point videos covering a range of skills.
NOTE: A good piece of on-board gear is the Maasdam Rope-Puller. It's like a come-along, but uses a clutch to pull along a length of line for much less set-and-reset. Rated at 3/4 tons of pull.
Here's a trick for those times we're caught out longer than we expected, perhaps without the durn compass. It's getting dusky going on dark and we've got to get through a stretch of woods or brush and end up near our boat. A bearing with a compass helps, but keeping true is tricky in the dark.
Hence, the Pole Compass, from the late, great Mors Kochanski... he has many offerings emphasizing a practical minimalism:
Note that this method only works when you know the direction you want to go. It's an aid, not a substitute, for orienteering!
Roycroft Ski Shoes
Snow shoes are extremely useful to us some winters, but a pain in the neck to stow the rest of the time. Not only do these Roycroft Ski Shoes come only when called into being, but they are just SO COOL!
This video starts with a comparison with other types of snow shoes before taking a closer look at their construction.
This one gives another take with a little more detail, and presents a binding system I find simpler and more intuitive:
Here's another one I missed despite a life out-of-doors:
When making shavings for a fire, one usually whittles away from one's self (safety first!), most often spraying them in a wide arc across the wet ground.
But I seen it done better in some video... DUH!
Stick your knife by the tip into a log or plank with the blade facing away from you. Holding it firmly by the handle, draw your shaving stock toward you at an angle to the edge. Rotate - to catch an edge rather than a flat - and repeat. Shavings accumulate docilely around your knife's tip.
NOTE: Hold your stock from the end toward you and keep your fingers your side of the edge.
Rules of Three
Rules of Three help prioritize your focus in survival situations.
- You can survive three seconds without hope.
- You can survive three minutes without breathable air (unconsciousness generally occurs), or in icy water (loss of motor functions generally occur).
- You can survive three hours without shelter.
- You can survive three days without drinkable water.
- You can survive three weeks without food.
Once you find a useful tidbit, chances are there are a hundred related approaches. It's easy to get lost in the wilderness of the internet. But oh, the riches it holds!
Let's make the most of it!