I have designed a new wilderness shirt, which a friend has now made for me.
The material is worsted wool, with leather sewn across the shoulders and around the collar. I have also sewn leather along the bottom edge of the two breast pockets. The buttons I have made from Moose horn.
The back of the shirt is longer, so that it covers my backside.
The shirt has a poly-cotton lining to reduce wind penetrating.
There is a leather baffle in the front to also reduce cold air penetrating inside.
I am very pleased with the end result and it is incredibly warm. A belt warn over the shirt, around the waist helps to hold in warm air.
Christmas came early for me when Teres bought me a pair of Reindeer skin trousers, something I have wanted for many years.
They are made to my specification by a friend of ours who designs and makes both traditional and modern Sámi clothing.
They are very warm and comfortable but one problem I have found is that keys in my pocket have stretched and discoloured the Reindeer skin, so Teres came up with the idea to make a special leather pouch for my keys which I have now made.
When I do not need my keys, I pull a leather cord which draws the keys up inside the pouch
The pouch is easy to make. You cut out two bell shaped pieces of leather which are joined together at the top. Sew both sides together
and make a small hole in the leather at the top, through which you put a leather cord (I used a four-strand round plat to make my leather cord). Attach the end of the cord inside the pouch to your keys and make a knot or attach a metal ring to the opposite end and the pouch is completed.
It is very similar to the previous one I made but the sheath is made from only Lapp leather
Someone has translated all the Saami symbols into English for me but I did not think it would be right for me to use them in a knife sheath design so I decided to design my own, based around some of the symbols I have seen.
The star in the centre represents the stars and constellations. The circle around the star represents the sun and the moon. From the circle come trees representing the forest with its trees and flowers. The outer diamond shape represents the mountains and the land and the four areas inside represent the seasons and the elements; fire, air, earth and water.
Another item I recently purchased was a small hatchet to use for carving as I left my Elwell axe at my cabin
Ignore the Wilkinson Sword stamp on the handle because the hatchet is actually made by a Finnish company called Fiskars. Other companies such as Gerber and Stihl have also put their stamp on Fiskars axes.
Its a very will balanced tool and good for splitting logs (the way the axe head is fitted into the carbon fibre handle means you can use a baton on the back of the head), carving such things as cups and spoons (with a little re-profiling of the cutting edge) and chopping
The axe head produces a really nice shower of sparks when used with a firesteel.
The sheath is rather disappointing and so I set about designing and making a leather belt sheath
Unfortunately I didn’t take a series of pictures during its construction to enable me to produce a tutorial.
The handle of the hatchet is hollow and while initially I considered fitting a survival kit inside, I decided to put a chainsaw file inside instead to remove burs or nicks when sharpening the blade.
I split down a piece of Ash and carved it to the shape of the handle and so that it would fit inside the handle.
I then carved out a groove into which I glued a cut down file.
When I used the hatchet, the file hit against the inside of the handle so I had to carve this piece of Ash to glue halfway up inside the handle to prevent the file moving around.
I paid £17 for this hatchet and think it is worth every penny!!
The morning started with me sanding cups and Teres sewing leather bags
The temperature was -2 degrees and it had been -7 in the night but at least it was sunny
After cleaning the cabin (as it would be our last day there) we decided to go walking in the forest, to the peak behind the cabin.
The forest is so quiet for birds at this time of year but is very peaceful listening to the wind in the trees.
and from time to time we could see back across the lake
As we walked further we noticed that the berries and leaves had been stripped from the ground flora which is apparently typical of bear feeding. A little further on I looked to my left and saw a fallen spruce with the root plate raised vertically
at the base of the root plate was a large hole in the ground which was a bears den (bjorn ide in Swedish).
I got to about 30 metres from it but could not get a clear photograph and unsure if the occupant was at home I was unwilling to get any closer!! You can see part of the hole slightly right of centre in the picture below.