Multi purpose backpack

Having made a bucksaw in my previous post I had the idea to use the frame for making a backpack.

For this I inverted the saw blade and put on the blade cover

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I have a Reindeer skin that I sleep on and by cutting some small slots down the edges of the skin I can thread Hazel wands through

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to form a bag

Lacking rawhide I used parachute cord for lashing.  Firstly lashing the skin to the frame

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and across the front of the skin

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The top of the skin acts as the pack lid

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and with a couple of carrying straps attached the pack is complete

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Now to be honest this needs a bit more work to really be usable but I have posted about it to hopefully inspire others to develop the idea.  After all, in addition to a backpack you have;

by withdrawing the Hazel wands, a skin to sit and sleep on

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and by removing the blade guard and flipping the blade over, a bucksaw

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New axe project

I was keen to test out my new axe so I decided to make a “bucksaw”.  My first task was to split a piece of Ash in half

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Then I carved the two halves into the required dimensions

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and cut the pieces to length beginning with the two uprights

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and then a horizontal piece

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I used a mortise and tenon joint to join them together, which I have to say was not easy with a knife!

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I cut a groove across the bottom of each upright

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into which the saw blade fits

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I twisted up some Hemp as a tensioning cord and with a piece of Ash this works as a windlass to tension the blade

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On another piece of Ash I scored a groove using this piece of flint

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as a burin

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this acts rather like a small plane as you draw it along the wood, shaving off small curls of wood

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The saw blade fits into this groove and this piece of Ash acts a blade guard.

Now in the process of making this bucksaw I had an idea for another potential use for the frame and this is what I will posting about next time.

Starting a rib basket for Mungo

So to answer Mungo’s question in my previous post…..

Take the basket rim

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and the central rib (if you wish to make a basket with a handle this would be another Willow hoop) and using a cross lashing secure the two together

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Now take another wand and weave in a figure of eight over the rim from front to back

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across the front of the rib

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and then behind the rim

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and over the top and this time go behind the rib

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and over the rim from the front

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and then across the front of the rib

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After you have done this a few times two holes (top and bottom of the figure of eight)  will have been created looking like this from the side view

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and into each of these you push the end of another rib

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At this stage you should then have five ribs.  Now continue weaving between them all a few times and with the resulting holes created between each rib you push in another six ribs, giving you eleven in total and this is what you will have

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Hope that answers your question :>)

Willow basket

I wanted a basket for carrying kindling from my woodshed for my woodburning stove, so I went for a walk and collected some willow wands.

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Firstly I twisted two thicker wands into a circle to make a rim for the basket.

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I weaved in the basket ribs

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I continued weaving between between the rib, filling in the basket

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As I filled in the middle of the basket I did not weave to the basket rim.  This creates two opposing handles for carrying the basket when it’s full.

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This handle is very different to those on other baskets I have made

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My weaving skills are still rather slow but after three hours the basket was completed

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And the finished basket is certainly fit for purpose

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YOU CAN BUY A SMALL WILLOW BASKET MAKING KIT, WITH INSTRUCTIONS HERE

New axe for carving

It can be difficult doing fine carving with a large axe.  My small forest axe isn’t too bad (though the long handle can get in the way), but the axe I have in Lapland is considerably larger.

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so I was keen to have a small carving axe to take with me on my next trip.

My friends Will and Sue gave me an old Elwell axe head which with some work would be fit for purpose.  My first task was to carve a handle from green Ash.

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It took me four attempts before I achieved a size and shape I was happy with.

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Before fitting the head to the shaft, I re profiled the axe head with a file to make it more comfortable for carving.  This included a finger recess on the underside

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I also re profiled and sharpened the cutting edge.  On the right side of the blade I put a hollow grind and on the left a flat grind.

When making fine adjustments to the shaft to fit into the eye of the axe I used a flint scraper (a piece of broken glass also works well).

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Once the shaft was a good fit in the axe head I cut a slot across the top of the shaft, fitted the shaft into the eye of the axe and then drove an Oak wedge in to the slot to make a tight fit.

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Then I cut off the protruding part of the shaft and wedge.

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With a couple of coats of linseed on the shaft the axe was finished

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Using an old piece of leather and some brass rivets I made a sheath

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I used the spare popper from my Fjallraven trousers for securing the sheath in place.

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Cup, bowl, plate and spoon

During the process of constructing the livestock handling facility I had to fell some trees, including this Birch

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Using wood from this particular tree I have been busy carving

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Notice in the picture above that I use my axe as a “bench stop” to carve against and I have a piece of Hawthorn as a mallet.

I have made a cup, bowl, plate and spoon.  The plate and bowl are inspired by a piece of work made by my friend Sue Holden.

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As I carved the handle of the cup I found a fault in the wood making it impossible to have a usable wooden handle.  So using a lap joint I secured a piece of bone as the handle.

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Livestock handling facility – Part 2

Once a few posts were in position we were ready for the rails.

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Most of the rails had to be drilled and were then secured in place with 200mm coach screws.

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It was difficult to achieve nice even curves with straight rails but with careful consideration and some cutting

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we were achieving the desired shape.

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With the outside of the pen completed the crush (used to secure individual animals while being examined) had to be lifted into position.

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The remaining posts were put in and all rails attached.  All the gates were hung and the facility was completed.

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The team