Monday, 8 September 2014

The Gilwell Reunion

Woodlife Trails usually do courses in Hatfield Forest so when The Gilwell Reunion dates came through they clashed with a festival that they normally do a stand/ display at. Pablo and I therefore peeled off from the others to head to Gilwell Park so that he could do his tracking and talks and I'd have his back whilst he did so. We were also looking to promote Woodlife Trails offering bespoke Scout leader training.


So that I was neither use nor ornament (other than minding the stand in Pablo's absence) I said that I'd bring along my poshcraft jerky rig (or the long version is hereso that I had something to 'show and tell'...Plus a few samples that I'd previously made. I'm pleased to say that it generated a lot of interest.

 Pablo had recently dislocated his shoulder so putting up the stand was a bit of a laugh with three hands! It included a selection of the massive 'Table of Death' artefacts, as well as a quiz (which was linked to a prize draw on the Scout Activity Centre table).

Once there Pablo and I got the store sited and set up and this gave me time to set up my poshcraft jerky stand properly for scouters to see, sadly in a shaded area. There was a lot of jerky stand interest too which was pleasing.

We even found time to have a quick look around at the local flora and fauna around the table's immediate location with some interesting results. 


The stand soon took off and participents visited on a regular basis. The pictures above show stand, plus the Scout Activity Centre which we were next to.The Gilwell Reunion is pretty much a weekend for adults involved in scouting were they can meet, greet, try and buy without a host of kids to look after and with Chief Scout Bear Grylls expected at this year's weekend, Pablo and I had expected to be busy...we were! The Woodlife Trails stand was in the Orchard in an area along with notables such as Bison Bushcraft and Shark Tinderbox and of course IEAT.

I decided to make a tarp tent for my Saturday night accommodation, partly because it's a great 'tent' and it was there for me to possibly 'show and tell' (like the jerky) if I got the chance. I also packed my ETA stove in case I fancied a cheeky bannock or brew and went armed with some 'out and about' milk...No powdered stuff for me.

Once there Pablo and I got the store sited and set up and this gave me time to set up my poshcraft jerky stand for scouters to see, sadly in a shaded area, and then to get my tarp tent set up...except I'd not packed my 3m x 3m tent but a DD Tarp M by accident! Plan B was a ground level 'tent' using a ridgeline I had in the car boot.

It was a little nerve wracking being on the stand covering Pablo's back because, whilst I'm no novice, I still have much to learn and I was apprehensive that folk would ask me questions I couldn't answer but I was pleasantly surprised. 

By mid afternoon there was a large gaggle of people surrounding our Chief Scout. it was a whistle stop tour but it was disappointing that he completely missed out the corner that contained all the outdoorsy/ bushcrafty stalls! He did look a little orange too.


A quick sit spot early on Sunday morning and then back to see what the morning bought. The Reunion Sunday was a bit after the lord mayors show in feel and a lot of stalls started calling it a day from about 12:00. Woodlife Trails stayed until a draw was made by the Scout Activity Team from scouters who participated in the stands' tracking challenge. One lucky team won two course spaces and one winning member in particular was ecstatic. 


I never got to use my bannock dough as I got given a breakfast ticket in the White House restaurant and decided to sit in there and have it with a back copy of Bushcraft magazine which I purchased off their stand contained within Bison Bushcraft's tent. Very civilised.


It was a pleasure to be sited next to the Andy and Marcus from Green Outdoors, a really friendly and helpful pair and some top kit, the tarp tent they had up particularly caught my eye, not sure about the tarp dress mind you...

...It was also very generous of Bison Bushcraft to display a Woodlife Trails badge on one of the supporting pillars in their stand (in a kind of 'Pablo sneaked it in and I photographed it' sort of way).

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

More paracord knitting

If you are swinging by this blog because you have seen it mentioned in the survival paracord bracelet article in Bushcraft and Survival Skills magazine then thank you very much for looking, I hope you find something of use. If you are swinging by anyway...thanks as well for looking! Indeed many thanks also to Ian Nairn who did the bushcraft on a budget article and felt that it was worth mentioning this blog, not sure I'm worthy.


I recall Ian sending me some pictures of some bracelets he'd made using my paracord article which appeared in the magazine's  issue 38 edition May/ June 2012 and he was hooked which is often the case with 'paracord knitting'. I often say to those that I show that I'm hooked and I'm taking them down with me. Flippin' Nora, that article was over two years ago!

I've also done a similar two part article for Scouting magazine and the Scouting website, the Scout Association's Outdoor Adventure Manual and latterly I did a fairly comprehensive paracord  blog  here which focused on maximising the tying and usage of the basic cobra weave. This page presents some other easy to do weaves to make bracelets, woggles and key rings like the original one I did and to provide a link to the big paracord blog article for anyone swinging by.

Right, let's kick off with an easy to do bracelet...The jig you can see in the background is explained here

Before I start I think that the clip and the protruding paracord looks like a catfish...jus' sayin'. Load the clips as per the instruction on the other page but put an extra turn in as shown above. This weave is about 4" to the 1" so not as good as the  1 foot to 1 inch of the cobra weave.

 Take the lengths under the bits that are between the clipped ends and then round and over the top.

Once the ends habve been crossed over, take them under the suspended lengths between the clips. The trick with this one is to keep a slight tension on the working ends and the etxra turns through the top half of the clip help the rigidity too.

You will soon get going and you can maximise the turns and neatness by cajoling the turns in to place.


This bracelet is started by looping one length as shown. Each inch of this knot is made by about six inches of cord (that's 15cm to make 2.5 cm to the younger demographic). Now align them and wrap the end of one length around itself three or four times (from right to left in the pic).

Push the end of the length through the loops and fashion a knot like the one shown (Google a Jack Ketch/ Hangman’s knot). It doesn't have to be anything flash as long as it is neat, secure and points the cordage to the left...Trim off the end on the right of the knot and seal the end with a lighter but beware, paracord is nylon and burns hot and needs a moment to cool down. Now tie both ends of the paracord with a doubled up overhand knot in the ends (a double version of the ‘conker’ knot for any knotting Luddites out there) and check it fits through the loop fairly snugly because this is what secures it and obviously it needs to hold.

So that’s the preparation now completed, onto the paracord knitting itself. First, make a loop in the light green length as shown (over then under to form the loop). Now push a loop of the olive green paracord through the light green loop from underneath.

Get the olive loop to about the size shown and then gently but firmly pull on the light green length. And on it goes. Each time you pass a loop through you then pull the slack out of the first one.

Once you get going it should come together quickly. Once you have reached your desired length, push the end of the paracord length through a loop instead of a loop through a loop. Pull both ends together and tie the doubled up overhand knot back in and seal the ends of the paracord with a lighter.

The finished bracelet. 

This design is also suitable for making a smart looking key ring. The method is the samed but it is started off by tying the paracord to a split ring, the start of which is shown above.

The knotting needed to make the chunky key ring below will be recognised by Scouters as the friendship knot used to in a woggleless scarf, although if you have paracord there shouldn't be a need to be without a woggle


Start off with two lengths of paracord formed into a cross, the piece running top to bottom (the grey length in this picture) must be on top. Cross over the (orange) lengths running from left to right as shown. Take one of the grey ends (in this case the lower one and cross it over the first length of orange paracord and then under the second.

And repeat the same process with the upper grey length and then pull the knot tight, but not too tight at this point. As previously stated you basically form a friendship knot which is also a type of knot called a sennit which can also be fashioned from a three length/ six strand combination.

Repeat the above steps again and then turn it over and pull the orange paracord at the bottom a just enough to be able to carefully add a metal split ring. Once the split ring is in place, just keep going until you reach your desired size of key ring or start to run out of paracord. Snip the ends close to the body as usual.

To finish it off, as usual, take a lighter and gently singe the cut ends and squash slightly to melt and secure them with a rivet like finish. This makes a nice chunky key ring. 

And on the types, styles, widths, variations go. I'm sure I'll put some more designs up at some stage in the future but to be honest a lot of designs out there are either complicated or make really wide bracelets and to my mind the standard bracelets are big enough on the average wrist, although a super chunky bracelet will give you a massive amount of usable cordage...once you've unpicked it!