Sunday, June 17, 2007

Wood carved Spoon!

The bushcraft knife is pretty much the most important tool used in bushcraft today, it is one of the lightest and portable of all the cutting tools used in bushcraft today. But without the skill in using it it can be more dangerous than help. Carving a spoon can help you develop that skill....

Its seems the standard right of passage for all bushcrafters at some point it to carve themselves a spoon to use. This does number of things, it helps you get used to using the knife and developing skill in cutting and shaving, it can teach you about what cuts can and can't be done with certain types of wood. And its incredibly relaxing and satisfying creating something useful you can use on every outing.

My current experience started with a few nice pieces of Birch I cut from some "managed" silver birches in my local woods. They were just lying on the floor waiting to rot so I couldn't let nice wood like that go to waste could I? ;-)

After reading an article on bushcraftuk about carving spoons I decided to have ago. The tool's I used were my trusty frost knife, an Axe and a folding saw. The Axe and saw were both used to get me to a point in which I had a basic spoon outline, which in itself was developing skill in Axe use.

This was basically, splitting a log in half and the drawing a rough outline with a pencil on the now flat surface. The saw was used to cut "stop" cuts at the right points to stop the axe from splitting or taking off too much. BTW the wood was still wet at this point.

Knife work then began on the now spoon outline created. I had an idea of what I wanted, I just needed to remove all the bits I didn't want from the wood! heh

As you can see it is rough but taking shape nicely.

I carried on over the next few days doing bits when time permitted, each time getting that little bit closer. The bowl of the spoon was the most interesting part as I had a nice elegant shape in my mind, it was also gonna be the most challenging as one cut too deep could either split the wood or change the shape of the bowl.

The next stage was to use the crook knife to hollow the spoon bit out itself, this too a little doing to discover how to use it smoothly without making an ugly mess. I found it easier to use small controlled strokes. Once I was satisfied with the shape I went on to sanding from big grit to fine grit paper until I had a nice smooth finish.

And here we have the finished spoon, it will need oiling to make it more durable and water proof. Am very pleased on how it turned out.

I should point out that it is best to have sharp tools to work with, sharp tools are safer and make the job a whole lot easier.

A fun project and which I am pleased with as now I have my own a bushcraft spoon that can join me on my adventures. And I know it is mine. :-)


Monday, June 11, 2007

Bushcraft cooked fish!

I have been meaning to do fish for a long while cooked bushcraft style. Finally I decided to try it one weekend and this is the result.

Fish can been cooked a number of ways, de-boned, skewed, steamed, baked, or in leaves on hot coals. I thought I'd try wrapped in leaves on hot coals approach. The leaves I choose were Dock leaves as they were recommended on the bushcraftuk forum as safe to use not to mention very abundant this time of year! I picked up about 8 large sized leaves which was enough to wrap the fish up well.

I don't think it matters how you wrap them, I had about 3 layers of leaves on the fish as I was paranoid I'd burn straight through it to the fish. When I was out gathering leaves I also made a point in grabbing 1 large Nettle stem to use as cordage to tie the package together. Actually the first time I've actually used that particular skill for anything serious. I placed the fish on the hot coals I had prepared earlier and covered some of the top with hot ash and coals also. (To get an even cook)
After about 20-30 minutes I pulled the package out of the heat and opened it up. It smelt great.
After opening the leaves up gingerly I half expected the fish to be either a) Burnt to ashes or b) undercooked. Surprisingly it was neither and I had very succulent looking trout to eat. The flesh just fell away from the bone, it was perfect and tasted absolutely fantastic!

Bloody nice fish, best I have to say I've had in a long long time, full of flavour and tender to eat. Another item added to my bushcraft knowledge. You have to try it!