On Discovering Self

"Walk in Peace... Learn from Nature... Find Yourself...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fire by Friction

   One of the most primitive bushcraft skills is being able to make fire by friction. Most would call it rubbing two sticks together. Many believe that every boy scout or girl scout learns to make fire in this fashion. But the truth is, fire by friction is one of the most difficult things to get right, and it is a very select few that ever get the hang of it. I believe it is still something worth chasing if you have never done it before and something that you need to continue practicing once you do figure it out. I enjoy trying out many different types of wood and materials for the spindle and the hearth board. One of my favorite setups is using willow for a spindle and box elder or cottonwood or aspen for the hearth board. Pairing willow with any of these three gets me a successful ember nearly every time. But what about the rest of the parts? Are there any other tips to finding the right kinds of wood? More after the jump.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Kitchen Knife To Bushcraft Knife Mod

The $1.50 Thrift Shop Bargain Knife
 In my last article I talked about the importance of cutting tools and how they are the single most important piece of the bushcraft kit. Cutting tools were a large part of aboriginal and bushcraft life. And they were made from any material at hand, that would lend itself to holding an edge. Our paleo ancestors adapted and improvised and so it is with us as bushcrafters today. A knife gives us power, it can grant us energy, it can be used as a weapon, serve to help heal us, to build a shelter, ensure we have sustenance, reduce our fears, allow us to make and build other tools. It is an extension of our imaginations. The more we can relate to our knives, the more we can learn to relate to ourselves because it becomes part of us and links us to our past.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Of Cutting Tools and Pottery of the Past

Some cutting tool artifacts from the Mankato, MN area
 It is said that the most significant tool for survival is a cutting tool, and in modern bushcraft terms that means a knife. There is so much discussion about knives and knife making and the benefits of this kind of steel or that kind of blade geometry, or what blade length is best, etc. on the bushcraft and knife forum websites. As I thought about this, I thought it would be an interesting notion to look back say 2,000 years and wonder what was the discussion like back then. Did our aboriginal forefathers and mothers have the same discussions and arguments over who made the best flint knife or spear point? Did they argue over whether certain kinds of flint were better then chert or quartz or obsidian? Was blade length also a discussion point? Did they have celebrity knife "knappers" who held bragging rights over who made the best cutting tool or spear points? Did they have swap meets for their stone knives and scrappers? Did they form social groups and clubs dedicated to certain styles of knapped knives? Could a good flint knapper charge outrageous prices for his or her work? Did they offer any life-time warranties? (tongue is in cheek now) Let's look some more after the jump...