About one month ago, so even before the bushcraft trip that I made to the Richard J. Dorer Memorial State Forest with my pal Sticker, I went out for a regular Saturday morning meet up. After waiting around for a bit I found myself more then ready to go on a solo adventure.
As it is with most of my solo adventures, I try to focus on practicing skills along with the chance to get out and observe and relax and to think about the things that matter most.
Now recently, my focus has been on boning up on my navigation skills along with those needed for direction finding and map making. And on this particular Saturday, although it was overcast and just a bit on the chilly side, I decided to make myself an Ottomani Sun Compass.
The Ottomani Sun Compass is basically a portable "shadow stick method" of telling which way is east to west and from there "calculating" north and south, that is to say "solar" north to south as opposed to "magnetic" north to south. One advantage to this method is that you do not need to wait for the sun to move thru the sky in order to establish an east to west line, that part is built into the "compass." All that is needed is to line up the point of the shadow of the compasses vertical indicator with an already established "east to west" calibrated line on the compass base. The calibrated east west lines drawn on the compass are to adapt to the changing seasons and the rise and fall of the sun above and below the equator as it moves thru the year.
As you can see thru the following video, I harvested the pieces I need to construct the compass from the materials I found in the bush and fashioned them in to the compass base and pointer. Then later I went out on a clear and sunny day, actually it was on Mother's Day, and calibrated the compass using the "shadow stick" method.
So here is the video and I hope you enjoy it.
Having the ability to find your direction with a number of different methods is a good thing to add to your bushcraft mentality. Finding the right materials and improvising with them is key to making the tools you will need to be comfortable in the wilderness.
I hope you found this little adventure with the Ottomani Sun Compass inspirational and that you will want to try making one the next time you are out on the trail. Thank you for watching and until next time, Happy Exploring.