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


Then I carved the two halves into the required dimensions


and cut the pieces to length beginning with the two uprights


and then a horizontal piece


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


I cut a groove across the bottom of each upright


into which the saw blade fits


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


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


as a burin


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


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.


Autumn in Lapland 27th – 29th September 2008

Snowing first thing this morning, but then changed to rain. The cloud cleared mid afternoon and then it was clear and sunny.

Cleaned the cabin this morning and put the boat back into the boat shed.

Using some off-cuts of wood I made a simple frame for a hacksaw

which I wanted to cut off some parts of the reindeer antler to take home.

This afternoon I went fishing with my friend Anki who wanted to show me the best places to fish. Unfortunately neither of us had a bite.

As it was such a lovely clear night I decided to test my camera for photographing the stars. In England you can use the Pole Star or North Star to help you navigate at night as when you walk towards it you are travelling true north, but here the Pole Star if directly above and to photograph it I had to lay the camera down on its back.

If you look at the bottom of the above picture you can see the saucepan shaped “Big Dipper” and if you take a line from the two stars at the right hand end (about six timed the distance between those two stars) you come to the Pole Star (it’s the brightest star on the right of the picture).

On the horizon, to the north I noticed a pale glow in the sky and as I watched it gradually became brighter and it was clear that it was the start of a display of the Northern Lights. It certainly wasn’t the best display I have seen, but was still a nice farewell on my last night at the cabin.

28th September

This morning I boarded the cabin windows and closed it up ready for winter.

I spent the next two days living with Ingvar and Anki learning more about life in Lapland, their family history and growing up following the family Reindeer herd in all weathers and living off the land. On Monday we visited Kiruna

and on Tuesday morning I left to return to England.


My bucksaw featured in a previous picture and is quite simple to make. There a many different designs of bucksaw and this is mine.

I prefer to use an Ash sapling, but Hazel, Wych Elm and many other woods will work just as well.If selected carefully, all the parts for this saw can be cut from one sampling. The two vertical piece have a groove cut in at the bottom using either a knife saw or piece of flint. This is where the saw blade will sit. About 25mm down from the top of the two vertical pieces I cut a small groove around into which the tensioning cord will sit. To secure the horizontal piece in place, I make a mortise and tenon joint.

Finally I make two wooden dowels which fit through the holes at each end of the blade to help hold it in place, put loop of cord around the top and using another piece of wood, twist the cord to tension the saw frame. Now it is ready for use.