Fire by hand drill

Fire by hand drill

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Hand drill sucess

Hi all,

I have made a few posts recently about trying the hand drill.

Well today I had a sucess. I just put the video on to try and see what i was doing wrong in the kitchen (raining outside) and an hour and about 20 failures later the magic happened. It just felt right. Still a long way to go though.

enjoy and all comments welcome.


The knife I used as a boy


Myself and a friend were chatting about what we used to use for bushcraft when we were young lads.

This is of course before the "you must have a good knife to be a bushcrafter" mentality set in.

Persoanlly I had a rambo type survival knife which myself and my brother got for christmas.

I cant remember but it was a mass production job with a tang  that appeared to be a screw welded to the blade.

However the amount of fun I had with it far outweighs the quality. It was pressed into service as a survival knife, spear, throwing knife, hammer, pry bar and lots more and never failed.

Amazing what you can get away with when you dont know that your knife is 'inferior'

Unfortunatly I left it stuck in a tree in the rain for a few months and it rusted to nothing.

(image borrowed from

I then moved onto this scout knife which I still have. I got it on the isle of Man. It is carbon steel with a smaller handle for a boys hand.
Not sure who made it,, but it is marked sheffeild. I like to use it now and again to get all nostalgic and misty eyed.

I got so attached to it that when my brother threw it at a tree and it bounced off and went in the river i dived in after it without hesitation, nearly drowning in the process. Still it has alot of memories and hopefully I will pass it onto my kids some day.

Great little knife.

Hi if you didnt know already Mora are on Facebook!!


Spoon knife holder

Hi decided I was sick of sticking my spoon knife in bits of foam to stop it impaling me or my kit.

I had seen little spoon knife holders and decided to have a go at making a basic but functional one.

The wood is from an old banister and the little peg which holds it closed is Yew.

The string is flax.

I just need tol do a bit of shaping and polishing to finish it up. Does the job alright.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Debris shelter

I re-visited the site of my debris shelter and was pleased to see it still standing
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Friday, 25 March 2011

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Hand drill practise

Tried ivy + elder and elder+ clematis.

Two of us were working at it for about 3 hours. Had a laugh and made a lot of progress in terms of technique, how the set is carved.

Even a light breeze can take away a lot of heat.

Good laugh too.

Not long now.............
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Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Skinning a road kill squirrel

I was lucky to come across a very fresh squirrel which I decided to harvest.

I gutted it and was going to eat the legs, were the best meat is, however the meat had been tainted by a ruptured gut. so I gave it a miss this time.

The skin was fair game though.
A simple cut here and there and using the thumbs to separate the skin from the flesh I had it off in no time. I just pulled it off over the paws and head. I trimmed any bits that I didn't want and scraped excess flesh off. Then I poured salt all over it to dry it and save it for later tanning.

I quite enjoy it in that you can examine an animal up close and study its muscle structure and things.
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Monday, 21 March 2011

Fire by friction photo

No its actually a drawing I did not a photo. I know its brilliant you don't have to tell me. I am waiting for an offer from the tate modern to buy it.
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Arrow head from below

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Hand drill

Drill socket and a blister. All in the name of fun.
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A little arrow head

I made a new copper pressure flaker so I made a little arrow head. Not bad shape, very sharp, about 20 minutes I think but I often loss track of time when I am flint knapping. It is incredibly absorbing.
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More handrill

Clematis and elder. Lots of smoke.

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Flint oil lamp.

I made a lamp yesterday with natural materials.

I had a piece of flint with a large depression I used as a well. The wick was made from dry nettles mixed with cat tail down.
Oil was olive oil but any fat would do.

Worked quite well.
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Western red ceder.

The inner bark of dead branches makes brilliant tinder when shredded and buffed. Wish I had a saw with me to harvest some of this bone dry wood.
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Sunday, 20 March 2011

A simple olive oil lamp

Kitchem roll wick. Tin foil and oil oil. A shot glass of oil burned for about hour I think.
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Saturday, 19 March 2011


More bow drill today. Made a few modifications.

Did some hand drill today as well. I got lots of smoke from elder drill on lime board. Also got smoke from honeysuckle and lime.

Lots of smoke but no ember yet. Only a matter of time. If I had the stamina I would have an ember no problem.

Also practised floating hand technique which is difficult in terms of new muscles being used. I can float all day but the application of downward pressure takes a lot of focus.
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15 items update!!

I think that 15 items not including clothes would be to easy.

However 15 items where every item on you is an item would be hard enough.

As paul says- two socks count as two. A watch would be one. A wedding ring would be one. a survival kit would be about 20 not 1.

It would really make you think about stuff. A good challenge for anyone.

A bag of flour would be 1 but a bag of apples would be 8 or whatever. Make sense?

Lets say its for a weekend in spring in a dicduous wood with a lake near by.

So what would you bring? Post in comments and I will add them to the post as an update!

Friday, 18 March 2011

15 items

Is it a challenge to only take 15 items for a weekend

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Bow drill practise


Had a bit of bowdrill time today. 5 embers in a row with Hael drill and Lime hearth. I videod 4 of them but pressed record twice for the fifth, doh!

Here is a little video. Please dont comment about how handsome I am. My mummy tells me all the time lol.

Good new blog

A good blog from a good bloke. Check it out if you get a minute

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Huge Sycamore

And I mean huge! I have personally measured thousands of Sycamores. This is the biggest I have ever seen. Girth of 5 metres.

I have named him ' King Mega-Acer the first'
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Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Very good blog

A good lad. Kepis has a knack of making really nice things and making it look easy to.

Take a look if you get a moment.

Monday, 14 March 2011

A dander up Carnmoney Hill

I live in the shadow of an ancient inactive volcano.

There are lots of interesting things to find on the steep Hazel covered escarpments.

Pignut, delicious!
An old gnarled hedge row Ash
The ancient flint mine
The layers of flint are still visable
A fern grows in a mossy niche on the chalk cliff.
Wood sorrel. Looking  abit worse for wear. Still  nice to eat.
Jews ear. An edible fungus. One of the few I know for certain.
The cave hill overlooking Belfast.
The famous Harland and wolfe cranes
Boiling up water in a discarded beer can.
Sheep sorrel.
An early mature Oak. The thicker branches grow on the South side.
Some drainage works have been carried out. The result is that alot of flint has been brough to the surface. The place is littered with hundreds of bits like this. I had great fun knaaping a few blades.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Resin Blisters

I found some fir (Abies sp.)Today.

Resin from fir trees blisters is a very use full substance.

Mor kochanski uses it from balsam fir as an oinment for burns.

It is also good when mixed with tinder and can burn quite well too.

Of course don't take my word for anything, best to check these things yourself with a good book or 5.
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western red cedar

This is an import from America. Not as common as you would think.

The foliage has a nice sweet waxy citrus smell which is unqiue to WRC. The wood is excellent because it is strong and light. Its splits well. The inner bark makes great string to.
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Heavy rain

It absolutely raining cats and dogs here in Belfast. Oh wait there is some sun. No more rain.
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An afternoon in the woods.

Hi all,

Myself and a friend spent a few hours in the woods yesterday.

We did a bit of bow drill practice with a hazel drill and willow hearth. It worked very well indeed. Paul "master bowdrill" was on hand to give well needed tips to make the process quite easy!

A fire was started with natural materials and fire steel. Dried Goose grass, nettle stems and a bit of birch bark were the tinder!
Then the muffins and cream buns were eaten. We need to keep our energy up and of course they were gathered from the wild.

We also had a go at making an atal atal spear thrower. The set was made from hazel. The spear had a fetching of birch bark bound with willow bark and wool. We gathered the wool from nearby bushes which sheep had rubbed against. The binding was set with pine resin. Resin was gathered by gathering a fresh branch then sticking it on the fire. The heat pushes the resin out of the branch.

The spear threw well but the technique is one we will have to master and is not as easy as some people make it look.

We also gathered some wild food, birch sap and a few pignuts. The birch sap was ice cold and tasted excellent. I could live on the stuff!

All in all a good day out!
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Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Monday, 7 March 2011

A walk at Oxford Island

I went for a quick dander round the South shore of Lough Neagh.