Fire by hand drill

Fire by hand drill

Friday, 30 September 2011

The forgotten Highlander and excellent book

Hi all,

Just finished this book and have to say it opened my eyes to the second world war. If you want to learn about a stiff upper lip through all levels of hell then read this book. The horrific nature of what this guy went through is often downplayed because it is obviously the type of him. A hero for all and an inspiration.

Highly recommend this book.


HI all,

Got some clematis through the post from a friend called Kepis who runs the excellent Kepis bushcraft blog.


Anyway. I have been missing out. Having trianed myself to get an ember on willow I got an ember in about 10 seconds on the clematis.

Amazing stuff.

Cheers Mark!!!!!

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Love this picture

Talk about being in the right place at th right time. What a magical picture.

This blog often makes me jealous and this is where the pic was found. Hats off to Fenlander, he knows how to do it right!!

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Transporting fire

This Ganoderma species will hold an ember for several hours smouldering away. It gives off immense heat and cannot be carried by hand. I fashioned a branch holder to carry it.

When you want a fire just put it against a tinder bundle and with a few blows, due to the intense heat you will have flame.

Excellent stuff. It means if you manage an ember from a hand drill you can prolong the ember for a few hours and even dry out tinder on it.

A very usefull resource.

This stuff can also be used to make amadou, however it needs chemicals which are hard to collect and process in a short space of time so I don't bother.

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Drying elder drills from green

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Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Tremendous photos!


Found these on a forum somwhere. Something about photographs that transport to you to the place they are captured.

Hand drill lessons

Hi all,

Still working at the hand drill and starting to get proficient now. Everytime you do it you gain experience which makes it easier next time. I would work at it all day long but unfortunatly my hands get ripped to shreds even now that they are heavily calloused.Very hard on the hands.

Anyway a few things I learned in a recent session.

While learning make sure your stuff is dry as a bone. This saves so much effort.

Downward pressure is the key. point the tips of your hands slighty down will improve the pressure you generate.

A tiny drop of honey or pine resin on your hands will give immense grip but will give you blisters too.

The drill should be long and straight and be 1.5cm thick when using elder. Make aure you have plenty of outer wall on the drill and a pith.

Drills you find on a tree are not so good as ones you pick green-debark-and dry and straighten. They allways seem a little decayed. If you must find on ein the wild get a dead one which is hard and still completely covered in bark and near the bottom of tree.

When drilling down on soft ground you loose so much power and pressure. Make sure your hearth is on a hard surface. A stump whatever, saves so much effort.

Make sure there is no movment at the hearth too. You will loose so much effort is it moves about.

Maximise friction at tip not at sides.

Notch should be bigger than 45 degrees and not go to centre of socket otherwise you loose so much surface area.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

A good day

Just spent today helping some people coach fire from sticks.

Lots of interested people today!
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Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Fly agaric

Some interesting info on this fungi I found today.


This section is about the use of the Fly-Agaric mushroom, for medicinal and spiritual use, by the Celtic and Pre-Celtic people of Ireland. This is probably the most well known fungi because of it's association with the fairy folk, was a very important fungi to the Druids of the Celtic tribes. It was referred to as the 'Flesh of the gods', or 'Food of the Gods' because they believed that they were in direct communication with the Earth and the Universe when they consumed this Fungi. Although all the Celtic people consumed Liberty-caps, the Fly-Agaric was usually only taken by the Druids and other magic users. It was considered too powerful for those not trained in the higher levels of the mind. 

This Fungus contains some very powerful psychotropic compounds. These fungi are the fruit of an Organism that can live to be thousands of years old. Most of this organism is the root system with only the fruit being seen here in the photos. The fruit of this organism is well known but few realise the fruit found over a certain area will usually all be from the one organism.
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My little one ready for special forces arctic survival training

Or maybe just building snowmen in the garden.
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Post-it sunshade

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Monday, 12 September 2011

Lime hearth x 18

I set up a little factory to make a load of good lime boards for Bow drill practise.

I am like so dedicated ha ha!!!!

Of course my little girl helped by lifting one and hitting the cat in the head with it. Mother was not pleased oh no.
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Mora carving knife.


If you dont have one of these they make wonderfull neck knives.

I needed a staff to make my way over steep ground and had to cut one using this knife because it is all I had with me at the time.

By putting tension on the pole by bending it and then rocking the knife in a pumping motion you seasaw through the wood quite easily. To go through a peice of wood like this with a baton would be very diffcult with this knife.

The knife makes a brilliant every day general purpose knife and is small, lightweight and easy to tuck in a pocket or hang around the neck.

The grind is scandi and the knife is very easy to sharpen.

As it is a carving knife it is obviously not designed for heavy work.

For carving, skinning small mammals and any other light work it excells though. The tip can be quite fragile as it is very acute. I have had to regrind my slightly as it snapped off a few times, which is easy with a diamond stone or similar.

The sheath is pretty crap and does not hold the knife well at all. I cut a slit down one side to allow it to expand when i push the knife in and this solved it.

I think this knife is only about £10 here in the uk.

If you have one of these and a larger general purpose knife like a lueku for heavy work and maybe an axe and saw you will have everything covered.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Purification of water by boiling in a beer bottle.


I was out for a wander today and was quite thirsty so decided to get a drink from a stream in the forest. I wasnt going to drink the water straight from the stream and risk an upset stomach so had to boil it.

I had a scout about and soon found an old beer bottle.
I washed it out in the stream because a small ecosystem had developed inside. I used a stick to loosen the dirt then shook it.
Then i filled it with water.
So i got a small fire going quickly behind a fallen tree root plate.
Tinder of grass and bracken.
I let the water heat a bit and then put a larger log on the fire and put the bottle into the fire. To sudden and it might crack. It took about 10 minutes or less to boil up to a good rolling boil which i maintained for several minutes.

A little video of the water boiling is above. Make sure that the bubbles are coming from all of the water and not just the top. The heat will kill everything. If there is organic matter in it, this can kind of sheild the bugs so boil it longer to compensate for this.

I then let it cool for a while and at the same time some of the organic matter sank to the bottom. I could have filtered it through my t-shirt but i am not to fussy.

Then down the hatch.

Some Sorrel growing by the stream.

I made a bottle holder from a mature bracken frond.

Simply bend it and bend it again and then trap the bottle neck in the bend. easy.

Lit my fire next to a woodmouse cone processing factory.
I also found this which is never good. Ergot, a very dangerous fungi which grows on cereal. Pic is poor sorry.