Back on crutches

It is now almost three months since I first hurt my back (Easter weekend).  The doctors and physiotherapists insist I do not have a slipped or ruptured disk and it is muscle cramp that is giving me so much pain.  I have only had a standard x-ray and have asked several times for a MRI scan without success.  I am now on the strongest pain killer available and it is not helping at all.  Once again I have to move around on crutches.

I have a variety of exercises I must do everyday to stretch my muscles, but this results in more and more pain until the pain is just unbearable.  I cannot remember the last time I slept for more than 2 – 3 hours.

Tomorrow I am back at the doctors and will now insist that I have an MRI scan.  We shall see what happens and it could be a while before I blog again.

In the mean time I wanted to show a video of a birch bark container I have recently made, but WordPress will no longer allow me to post videos…..managed to solve the problem now with “gigya” coding!!

The top and bottom are made from Sallow root bur.

Nattavaara Birch bark containers

As part of my new job, I have to make items to sell to tourists here in Nattavaara.  Just now I am busy working on the first of those items; Nattavaara Birch Bark containers.

I have used sinew to sew the containers and have burned “Nattavaara” into the bark.

While making a container I cut my finger.  I did not have any plasters so I took a piece of scrap birch bark and cut a slit into it

Then I wrapped the bark around my finger and pushed the narrow end of the bark through the slit to hold it in place.

A new knife

I have just completed a new knife to go with my new kåsa

I have used the same wood in the middle section as I made the kåsa from.  I makings are caused by a tree fungus that was in the tree

The darker wood is from a Sallow root bur

I have used sheath leather and3 pieces of Moose horn to make the end of the knife


A new kåsa/guksi

I have just completed a new kåsa.   Guksi (pronounced gooksee) is the Sámi name for a wooden coffee cup.

I made it out of a 15 year old Birch bur given to me by my neighbour and it was bloody hard work to carve (especially the inside)!!

The dark lines are caused by a fungus that would have been growing in the tree

I have soaked the cup in rapeseed oil to bring out the patterning in the wood

In the next issue of “The Bushcraft Magazine” (coming out very soon) I write about how to make a kåsa

Items I have made recently.

We have a lot more snow now and another 20cms is forecast to come tomorrow.

I haven’t been out and about much recently, but I have been busy making items to sell at a Christmas market this weekend.

I have used pig intestine to stitch the birch bark containers. I wrote about processing pig intestine here.

I am using the mystery braid a lot now in the leather armbands I make

Natural Lore Flint & Steel Set

I had been wondering what to write about, but then my friend Håkan made me this as a gift

It is a traditional snuff or tinder container,

made from Birch bur, thin strips of Pine and sewed with Birch root and he has set Reindeer horn into the top.

Inside he had put a Bic lighter as a joke and I will explain why…

I have started selling Natural Lore Fire Sets here in Lapland and I am using old PLASTIC snuff containers (people here throw thousands away every year and I thought I would recycle some) but Håkan thinks I should make something like the container he has made to contain the fire sets.

The fire set includes a specially made fire steel, with a piece of flint, some True Tinder Fungus

and some Hemp string in the top compartment

I am going to make a container like Håkan’s (without Reindeer horn in the top) to see how long it takes me to make one.  Maybe I can use them as a more expensive version of the Natural Lore Fire Set……we shall see.