On Discovering Self

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

Friday, April 27, 2012

Nothing Like First Ember With Bow Drill

    As I have said it before, no matter how many times I create an ember using some method for fire by friction, it fascinates me. Over the years, it has never become old, it is and always will be a "gift of fire" every single time.
   I had the very fortunate moment at the 2012 Hardwoodsman Meet, to not only make a new friend, but to capture his first attempt at making fire by friction. He was elated, surprised, hurried, excited, thrilled and absolutely giddy about getting his first ember. And it won't of course be his last time. Once you are on the path to using natural means to make fire and natural tinders to sustain it, there is no turning back. Like my friend Ross, with the Arctic Mouth Drill, my friend Grizzly Adams will be making and searching for even more ways to fuel his addiction to making fire by friction. (pardon the pun)
   So here is that moment, when it all comes together and you know for the first time that it is possible and that you just know you can do it again...

   I hope you give friction by fire, especially with the bow drill, a try. It is a firecraft skill definitely worth pursuing.  We will re-visit this topic time and time again, as firecraft is so important to bushcraft. In point of fact, nearly half of all the lessons for BushclassUSA Basic and Intermediate Classes are dedicated to the process of making fire. It is that important. So until next time. Happy Exploring.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Display of Skills: The Arctic Mouth Drill

   As it was my privilege to attend the 2012 Hardwoodsman Meet near Ashland, MO, I was truly impressed with the incredible display of skills by many of the BushcraftUSA members that attended. I met some of the finest woodsman in the country, and felt as if I was in the presence of giants. One of woodsman that showed up and goes by the screen name "Redmech", took the time to demonstrate a fire making method known as the "Arctic Mouth Drill." He had posted video and some of his success with it on the BushcraftUSA forum website, but this in person demonstration was to me an amazing show of "mad" bushcraft skill. We were in near darkness with just our flashlights kind of guiding us around. Redmech kept working with his knife in near dark, to prepare his little drill set. It is based on the standard bow drill for friction fire, only it is much smaller and can fit in the palm of your hand. He worked steadily, and continued perfecting the tools until he had success. Here is the video I was able to capture of that moment. I am still amazed.

I hope you were amazed as much as I was. This is something that I will have to try at some point, just to learn yet another method of starting fire. I was very fortunate to be able to create my first ember with a hand drill on that weekend, but I will save that story for later. I am still amazed by all that talent and skill shown on that weekend in April, when some of the best took the time to share what they know, to help us all become better woodsman. If I am ever considered by some to be a good woodsman, it will be because I was able to stand on the shoulders of giants. Happy Exploring.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Hardwoodsman Meet 2012

   I know that it has been some time since my last post, but I have been busy with some really great bushcraft adventures. From April 18th to the 22nd, I attended the 2012 Hardwoodsman Meet held near Ashland, MO. It was in the Pine Ridge Recreation Area campground in the Mark Twain State Forest. For me it was five days of solid bushcraft. I met a band of brothers I will never forget. We all shared a love for bushcraft, and we were all able to share with each other that incredible adventure. There were sessions in training on several subjects, including bow drill fire, wilderness first aid, improvised backpacks, insulation beds, water purification, plant ID, knots, split wood fire building. The competitions on Saturday, kept us all on our toes. The fellowship was incredible, and I now have a group of friends that will continue to share their adventures with me as we learn together. The event was put together by Iz Turley of Turley Knives and sponsored in part by BushcraftUSA and Bushcraft Outfitters. It was an incredible time.
   Here is a video montage of some of the best moments from the meet. I hope you enjoy.

I am sure that more of this adventure will need to be shared, but I will save that until later. Until then, Happy Exploring.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Bushcraft Is Not Just For Boys...

   One great hope of all good parents is that they can find an activity that they can share with their kids. They want to find something that is both a great adventure and an educational opportunity. They want that activity to spark their kids imagination, push them to succeed, and encourage them to keep going and trying new things. And if that shared experience helps them to grow together as friends, helps them to respect one another and to joy in each others accomplishments, than they will truly have found something worth sustaining and guarding for all its worth.
   A friend of mine was searching for some activity like this, to share with his three daughters. They had heard about bushcraft and they all talked about somehow finding a way to learn more about it. That's when he turned to me. He said he wanted to start learning bushcraft, along with one of his daughters. He said they were both novices and really needed to start at the beginning. I suggested they start by doing the lessons offered in the BushclassUSA section of the BushcraftUSA.com forum site. I offered to help them with the lessons, by accompanying them any Saturday morning they wanted to get out. I figured I was headed out to the bush anyway, so it would be good to have some company.
   Well, we have shared 3 good Saturday mornings and they have both completed their first lesson, by building a "Twig Fire" and Little Jon has even finished a second lesson,  "Lighting 5 Man Made Tinders with a Firesteel."
   But the best part really, is how his daughter has taken to learning the Bushclass lessons. She really wants to learn. He told me, she can hardly wait to get out in the wilderness and get started on another lesson. She is pushing him to keep going. I like that.
   If you have been following my blog, you have probably watched the video of our outing of April 7th. But I would like to share yet another video of Little Jon's daughter working on her first lesson and completing it in fine style. She proves that bushcraft is not just boys, it is after all, for everyone.

     I hope this will encourage all of you and especially any young women who are interested, to take up the wonderful adventure that is bushcraft. It is part of all of us, still at the core of our being, just waiting to be discovered. Just go out in wilderness. Go and build a fire and do it in a primitive way and feel a part of history. Than you will find more of yourself and it doesn't matter whether you are a boy or a girl. You are a bushcrafter. Until next time, Happy Exploring.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

On Sharing the Bushcraft Adventure

   Today was a great day. Every day I get a chance to get out in the wilderness and practice bushcraft is a great day. Today I had a chance to take three friends into the bush and share some of my experience with bushcraft. They are all new members of BushcraftUSA and are working on completing their lessons for BushclassUSA. We had a great time, even though it was raining and drizzling, and we still managed to get fires started and cook breakfast. I was able to share several examples of the bushclass lessons and assist them in understanding what they needed to do to complete their lessons. Little Jon was able to complete his lesson for "Student Practice for 5 Man Made Tinders" and his daughter worked on completing her lesson for "Student Practice for Twig Fire."
   I shared with them various cordage items that were results of bushclass lessons, such as the ridge line for a tarp shelter, twisted 2 strand cordage, and several knots in the line kit. So without rambling on to much more, here is the video of our adventure.

   As my tag line at the top of blog states, this is a place to "...Share Adventures In Bushcraft With Friends" Well today it became a larger adventure and a reality for a great group of friends. I am sure you will be reading much more about our adventures as they continue to follow me on my adventures and work on completing their lessons. Until the next time, Happy Exploring.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Improvising A Flint and Steel

  You may have noticed as of late, that the last few posts here have been on the subject of Firecraft. From the use of natural tinders, to the making of charred cloth, building a twig bundle fire, and also on using flint and steel, all are important subjects to touch on when it comes to polishing your firecraft skill set.
   This last week end, I had the chance to set a fellow BushcraftUSA member, Little Jon and his daughter on the path to understanding bushcraft. Little Jon decided it was time to start on his BushclassUSA lessons and he chose the "Student Practice for Making a Twig Fire." He did a fantastic job on this and I helped to cover the lesson for him by taking some video so that he will have something to post up for the lesson on the BushcraftUSA forum website. I am very proud of him as one of my students and his daughter is very eager to get started on her bushclass lessons as well. Here is the video of his first lesson, building a twig fire.

   So having gotten out in the bush on Saturday with some friends (even my bush buddy was along to help teach and he did a good job of that too) I was very eager to get yet another lesson done for myself for BushclassUSA. I chose to continue with the whole Firecraft theme of the last few outings and decided on knocking out the elective "Student Practice for Improvising A Flint and Steel."
   I really enjoy using flint and steel and natural tinders, and this day was just too beautiful to ignore. So here is the video I submitted for the class.

   I do hope you enjoyed the adventure in firecraft and I am sure there will be many more to come. If improvising a flint and steel looks like something you might like to try, get yourself an old file or a carbon steel knife or even a ready made steel striker and practice getting some sparks. It is a lot of fun. Until next time, Happy Exploring.