Thursday, 29 September 2016

How to Make Pine Pitch Glue

There are several different types of natural glue that can be made and pine pitch glue is arguably the easiest due to the ready availability of ingredients, and the simplicity of manufacture. 



There are three components going in: The Pine resin  (clear, runny, solid all mixed up), charcoal acts as a temper (and stops the finished product being contact sticky) and beeswax prevents it being too brittle.


This is a 330ml drinks can with the sloping top cut off carefully with scissors, and several holes have been punched in the bottom but more on that later.


The charcoal needs grinding up and the finer the better for the finished product. Ground up grass and  dried herbivore poop can also be used but charcoal's OK for me thanks!


The beeswax in this picture is shaved from a larger block. Not much is needed.


The reason for the drinks can with holes in is that because the pine resin isn't of a regular standard or purity (pure stuff is called rosin) it needs a melting in a rudimentary filtering system, and a holey can is about as rudimentary as it gets. I've seen muslin suggested but I reckon you'll lose a lot as it gets stuck in the material. I'd guess if this was an uncut can the pine might have filled say 60% of it. It is inside the tin from the first picture.

 

It will start smoking almost a split second after hitting the heat and the length of Elder in the top is to help to encourage the lumps to liquefy. Keep the heat low as it can spontaneously erupt into flame without so much as by your word. The shot on the left is with the heat off temporarily to show the initial clear resin issuing out of the drink can holes.


Even at this early stage the untreated pine on the end of the elder stirring stick is taking on very glue like qualities. 

 

Once you've got all you think you can out of the drinks can (you don't get that much out considering the amount that is melted) it's time to add the charcoal and beeswax. Theories on the amount vary but I'm not  at the stage of being overtly scientific so at a guess I'd say 15-20% of the total is charcoal with  about a rough teaspoon of beeswax. Once it is all melted and combined, again over a low heat stir a pencil sized stick around around in the liquid and twist t around. The pitch will slowly go off and set. You can squeeze it into shape with your fingers when it goes a matt colour but a word of warning, try too soon and it will be hot.


And this is my pine pitch glue 'lollipop' just before it had finished setting. Will certain types and colour of charcoal make a difference? Maybe, Are there good and bad beeswaxes to use? Possibly, are there better types of coniferous to consider using? Quite possibly. I'm not claiming to make the perfect pitch but it does for my hobbyist bushcrafting needs and that'll do for me. Have an experiment. To use it apply a gentle heat to the end and drip it into place.


I recently used some on a 1-2-1 day with Will Lord making an atlatl that had the crested flint tip held in place with pine pitch glue and nettle fibre. You can  buy glue sticks from Will but it's rather satisfying pulling it together yourself.

Dave Watson Friction Firelighting 1-2-1

If you are a hobbyist bushcrafter (or anything similar to that) then there's a good chance that you'll know that Dave Watson (Woodland Survival Crafts) is synonymous with traditional fire lighting methods, a view that was heavily reinforced in me when flicking through his many articles in some of the early Bushcraft and Survival Skills magazine issues. That's not to say Dave is all about fire because he did many non-fire articles, he runs a series of different courses and is an established IOL trainer and assessor. 



Pic from The Bushcraft show 2016.


 I've become reasonably competent with a bowdrill and regularly update and tweek this labour of love blog page. In early 2014 I arranged a bowdrill 1-2-1 with Jason Ingamells at the World of Bushcraft to talk through all aspects of bowdrilling and to critique how I was doing it.

I did realise that whilst I can source materials, bring them home and make a set to use I've never done so whilst in a wood all in one go. Anyone who has read any of my most recent blogs will have seen me droning on about my sabbatical, well unlucky, here I go again. I attended my first Wilderness Gathering this year and approached Dave about a) Purchasing a hand drill and b) Sorting out a 1-2-1 with him.



Dave sends out clear directions to join him in the woods, the entrance is something you may well overlook in isolation, but it is very near a prominent road sign (which is mentioned) and this Woodland Survival Crafts sign really helped too.


The first impression is good as you head down a track through thick forest. As I was here to bother wood with friction I decided to try and take in what tree species I could see. The base camp is very spacious with an impressive yurt style hub. 


A smiling Dave strode over to meet me and we had a brew in the yurt whilst I gave him a potted history of where I was at with my friction fire lighting. In compiling different wood combinations for my afore mentioned bowdrill blog page I have used fair weather and Limpet shells for a bearing block to ensure continuity, so it would be interesting to get to grips with a wooden one again. We then took our brew outside where Dave had placed a large amount of bow drill kit. He then proceeded to burn in a depression with arguably the slowest, most laid back bowing action I've ever seen.


But no time to sit back and admire, it was my turn. Again this wasn't a session to pop an ember but a chance for Dave to see me bowing and to analyse my stance and style. Apart from moving my foot a microsmidge closer to the drill I got a tick (as in on a chart, not one giving me Lymes disease). 


We then went out for a bimble through the woods with Dave talking through the various woods with their uses in various parts of a bow drill kit. In this shot we are looking at a Laurel for the bearing block. If you ever meet up with Dave ask him to tell you his Laurel joke...

 

Dave also explained about actually making a bow from fresh wood with a view to using it a few weeks later, but also to use it here and now. This is a length of Hazel the he, and then I, shaped. He also showed me a useful variation on the notches for the cordage too.


It was at this stage that I revealed I had  an unopened bag of survival ration Jellybabies but Dave declined any, so as I started on a slow sugar rush we went off to talk about drills, looking at various lengths, sizes and indeed colour analysis of the inner would which can tell you a lot about possible water content, age etc. 


I usually go for a drill that is elbow to wrist in length but the one I was going to use is around 5cms longer so again, that was going to be interesting. I'm not the worlds best at shaping drills so I often stopped and took it over to Dave just to assess it using the you can cut more off but can't stick it back rule.

 

Two bases were to be made; one Lime and one Sycamore and a Froe, saw and axe were used. The Sycamore was a rather tricky attempt and although my splitting resulted in a slightly tapered end, Dave was pleased with the effort and said it had come out as well as expected. It does reinforce the point that a baseboard doesn't have to be  geometrically perfect via a circular saws attentions to work. Two bearing blocks from the Laurel were then completed I was shown a nice precision cutting technique that I was, to be fair, a bit ham fisted at but it works well with a board depression too and will be worth mastering. And that was the set pretty much ready.

 

We checked the bow and it had adopted a narrow curve so it had a bow sting added and now was the moment to test it out. Mindful of seeing how slowly Dave bowed at the beginning I tried to emulate it...But was told to slow down. When I first taught myself I used to go from nought to nutter in the blink of an eye, only learning it wasn't necessary much later on. When you've got a natural rhythm worked out changing it is something you have to think about but sure enough the smell, smoke and dust duly arrived at laid back miles per hour.


Whilst the ember coalesced I made up a  tinder bundle with a little Reedmace seed at it's centre and decided to show Dave how I'd prepared it (y'know whilst I was here and all that). when I offered the coal up to the bundle I had a bit off an issue because it had adhered to the ember pan and broke up a little but was still viable enough to produce flame.


After a quick break for some tuck we were on to the next part of the fire journey, namely the handdrill. I brought along the set that I'd purchased  at the Gathering and had a basic run through whilst there. I was doing a little and often at home and had made some smoke and even got an 'ember' on the end of the drill but was finding that my hands were getting a bit sore rather quickly and I'd hit something of a wall. 

Dave wanted to test the set to check it was OK (it was of course), I'd set my camera up in time lapse mode and I rather like the one above as Dave is testing the set I'm meaning business by peeling off my hoodie.


As with the bowdrill earlier Dave asked my to start so he could see how I shaped up position and technique wise. He gave me some drill speed to pressure guidelines and also suggested that I needed to get my body over the set more and involved.


I give a good go but felt spent and frustratingly Dave reckoned 10% more umph would have seen an ember. Well I say frustrating but equally I was also buoyed that I had come so close. A rest was needed and that rest came in the shape of a play with a pump drill, so no rest at all! I'd made one at home that didn't gather enough momentum so it was handy to not only see one close up but to get some usage muscle memory. I did however think 'Damn, another project to add to the list'.


But there was no escaping the hand drill, so by the power of more consumed Jelly Babies I had another crack. Remember the slow and smooth drilling mentioned earlier? Well by the end of this attempt I was grunting and gritting teeth but when you've got a master fire maker issuing encouragement and telling you that you are close you just do.


I'm glad he did too as he suddenly exclaimed 'You've got an ember'. Seeing it whisked me back to September 28th 2008 because that was the date that I made fire using a bowdrill on attempt number five. I arrived at this ember along a different route (a purchased set and help) but that matters not one bit.  


When I practice bowdrill I often don't blow the coals to flame but as this was the first hand drill coal it needed closure. Again I had a minor wobble when blowing it into a flaming mass but I got there in the end.


I'm glad I brought along a smaller second camera as Dave grabbed it and captured the moment for me which was peachy. What a way to finish the half day! I packed up my stuff and bid Dave farewell. 

This experience reminds me of Andy "Bravo Two Zero" McNab's autobiography when he said during weapons training after passing an officer asked why they were doing it as they already used them. He got kicked off the training because you can always learn something new however small. I've had really useful nuggets about shaping bows, dimensions, knotting bowstrings, caring for a new ember, loading  a drill, cutting bow notches, tinder bundles, speed, positioning, cutting depressions, wood analysis and probably loads more besides.

 

On the drive home I could occasionally smell the smoke on my hands (friction smoke smells different to smoke from a fire somehow) and it was a constant reminder of a successful and enjoyable experience. I also checked my hands when I returned home to see what state they were in after my hand drill exertions and I'm pleased to say that there were signs of wear and tear but importantly, no blisters. Dave doesn't go on social media and gets a lot of clients by word of mouth and reputation and I'm no different. 










Monday, 26 September 2016

Bushcraft & Survival Skills Article Guide 61-90

I have all the Bushcraft and Survival Skills magazine issues and it became harder and harder to find a specific article quickly. I therefore started out on a labour of love and listed the articles by issue on a Word  document and then on a bushcraft forum. Latterly I then switched to this 'blogified' version. I've divided the blogs up into 30 issues per page with The article reference blog page for issues 1-30  found here and issues 61-90 found here.

The main reason that I swapped from the forum to this blog was that once I uploaded updates onto the former  I couldn't alter previous ones and so errors etc stayed in place so I therefore have the luxury of tweaking the blog lists as and when I find an error. I've also  highlighting certain regular contributor names so that individual articles can be dug out.

I have run out of colour combinations so inevitably I've had to omit a few and indeed I've clumped some together eg Woodland Ways and the magazine contributors  due to multiple writers being involved.  This list is a one size fits all so some contributors may be on one blog page but not another and if you spot an error etc do let me know please.

The article reference blog page for issues 1-30 can be found here and issues 61-90 here.


 

Issue 61

Ben & Lois Orford-How to make a Kydex Sheath
Ray Mears Q and A feature/ How to Tie and Evenk
Lofty Wiseman-Parting Shot
Jamie Dakota-Given the Forecast we Were Hopeful
Geoffrey Guy-Fur and Feather
Man in the Ice (Konrad Spindler) book review
Olivia Beadsmore-The Son of a Survival Expert (Perry McGee)
Craig Fordham and Dave Watson-Mastering the Bowdrill
Jason Ingamells-Have a go at Making Rawhide
Tim Gent-Of Mossies and Men
Grant Neale-Petromax Feature
Ian Nairn-Budget Pimped Tomahawk
My Year Without Matches Escaping the City in Search of the Wild (Claire Dunn) book review
Grant Neale-Head and Feet Kit Review
Paul Kirtley-Foraging for Early Greens
Olivia Beadsmore-The History, the Ritual, the Power and the Physics of a Fire Walk

Issue 62

Ben & Lois Orford-Grow Your Own (wood)
Bjorn Arnfred-Bow Hunting in Uganda
Grant Neale-Growing Risk of Limes Disease
Lofty Wiseman-Nothing as Frightening as Fear
Olivia Beadsmore and Snjezana Jojic-Recipes for Cough Medicines and More
Tim Gent-Keeping Things Dry Afloat
Dave Watson-Something for Everyone
Geoffrey Guy-If You Go Down to the Woods Today
Epic Survival (Matt Graham) book review
Grant Neale-'Camp Kit' Showcase
Jason Ingamells-Practical Uses for Rawhide
Ffyona Campbell-Spring Wildfood
Flint and Steel kit Showcase
The Ash Tree (Oliver Rackham) book review
Ian Nairn-Budget Tom Brown Tracker Knife
Grant Neale-Portable Stoves on the Go
Jon Ridgeon -Two Designs for a Home-Made Cherry Picker
Paul Donovan-Navigation, a Basic Skill

Issue 63

Ben & Lois Orford-How to Make Wooden Tongs
Naomi Walmsley-Bare Hands Cooking
Lofty Wiseman-Time
Dave Watson-Propeller Thingamajig (Whimmy Diddle)
Pablo-The Senses and Fieldcraft pt I
Tim Gent-A Very Long Walk
Ian Nairn-Budget Bike Tyre Sandals
Craig Fordham-Know Your Knots
Bushcraft, a Family Guide (John Bow and Owen Senior) and the Usborne Outdoor Book (Alice James, Emily Bone and Briony May Smith) book reviews
Jason Ingamells-The Ash Tree
Olivia Beadsmore-The Bushcraft Show 2016 Review
Ross Douglas-Designing my First Bushcraft Knife Showcase
Grant Neale-Sleep System Review
Giles Newman-Spoon Carving
Paul Kirtley-Kit Considerations

Issue 64

Ben & Lois Orford-Blade Show and Beyond (USA)
Noami Walmsley-Let There be Light
Lofty Wiseman-After the Show was Over
Tim Gent-Coranoe
Ian Nairn-Budget Insect Repellent
Dr. Sarita Robinson-Can Bushcraft Improve Health and Well-being?
Out on the Land-Bushcraft Skills From the Northern Forest (Ray Mears and Lars Falt) and Grand Adventures (Alistair Humphries) book reviews
Jason Ingamells-The Birch
Olivia Beadsmore-Will Lord, Flintknapper Extraordinaire 
Grant Neale-Gerber Showcase
Grant Neale-Outdoor Watch Showcase
Pablo-The Senses and Fieldcraft pt II
Dave Watson-Versatile Reedmace
Giles Newman-Carving a Flower Spoon
Nick Allen-From Online to Offgrid

Issue 65

Ben & Lois Orford-Making a Folding Bucksaw
Naomi Walmsley-Travelling Light
John 'Lofty' Wiseman-Writing a Book
Nick Allen-The Legend of Fire
Ian Nairn-Budget Hammock Quilt Blanket
Will Lord-Thriving not Surviving
Jason Ingamells-Common Hawthorn
David Thompson-The Man Behind the Leatherman
Coast Hunter (Fraser Christian), A Natural History of the Hedgerow (John Wright), Whittling Handbook (Peter Benson), Commando Dad: Mission Adventure (Neil Sinclair), Thirty Years in the Wilderness (Chris Yarrow), How to Read Water (Tristan Gooley), Good Food for Outdoor Adventures (Tanya Krezevska) and Survival Advantage (Andrew Lane) Book Reviews
Grant Neale-Bushcraft Christmas Gifts
Tim Gent-How we Stopped Moving
Pablo-The Senses and Fieldcraft pt III
Giles Newman-A Few of my Favourite Things
Ben Abbott-My Bushcraft Journey

Issue 66

Ben & Lois Orford-Antler Stash Pot
Naomi Walmsley-Waste not Want not
Lofty Wiseman-New Year's Resolutions
Survival Hacks-Creek Stewart Book Review
Dave Watson-Build a Mini Shelter
Norfolk Fire Poker Showcase
Will Lord-Getting to the Point of it (Stone Age Arrows)
Jason Ingamells-English Yew
Dave Canterbury-Ten Must Have Items for Food Gathering
It all Began in the Desert (Petrommax Feature)
Tim Gent-Building a Coracle
Grant Neale-Outdoor Footwear Review
Ian Nairn-Budget Hammock Underblanket
Richard Harpham-The Art of Journeying
Pablo-The Senses and Fieldcraft pt IV
Paul Kirtley-Ideas for Extending Your Bushcraft Year Into the Winter
Nick Allen-Burns Night for Bushcrafters
Ultimate Mapping for Kids (Justin Miles) book review
Ben Abbot-How to Make a Bow Drill

Issue 67

Ben & Lois Orford-Treevolution From Tree to Treen
Naomi Walmsley-Sit Spots and Sit Mats
Lofty Wiseman-The Will to Live
Cast Iron Cooking (Rachel Narins) & Paddles and Polar Bread (Dave Bliss) Book Reviews
Fraser Christian- Forest Fodder (A Feast of Late Winter Woodland Food)
Nick Allen-Make Your Own Ghillie Suit
Will Lord-Backpack of the Winter Hunter
Kevan Palmer-How Bushcraft can Improve your Health!
Dave Canterbury-Alternative Fire Methods
Hans von Oppersdorff-Open Country Stalking
Tim Gent-Using a Coracle
Richard Harpham-Dave Canterbury Interview 
Ian Nairn-Budget Soap
The Bushcraft Quiz
Richard Harpham-Developing Your Paddling Mojo
Paul Kirtley-Spring into your Bushcraft Year
Ben Abbott-Set up your own Tarp Shelter

Issue 68

Lofty Wiseman-Sleep
Naomi Walmsley-Natural First Aid
Fraser Christian-Making Your Home in the Wilds
Jason Ingamells-On the Trail of the Brown Bear
Letter of Hope
Real World SAS Survival Guide (Big Phil Campion) and A Tale of Trees (Derek Niemann) Book Reviews
Tim Gent-Cooking With a Reflector Oven
Olivia Beardsmore-An Interview With the Human Powered Adventurer (Richard Harpham)
Ian Nairn-Up the Creek Without a Telegraph Pole
Richard Harpham-Reducing Your Footprint
Ben & Lois Orford-Treevolution How to Make a Shrink Pot
Paul Kirtley-Top Ten Trees for Bushcraft and Survival
Ben Abbott-How to make a Canvas Stool

Issue 69

Ben Abbott-How to Make a Water Filtration System
Naomi Walmsley-Fish Skin Leather
Alex Drew-Birth of Trashtag
Primus Kamoto Open Fire Pit Product Showcase
Lofty Wiseman-Elf and Safety
Richard Harpham-Planning Tips for Longer Trips and Journeys
Jason Ingamells-Fire the Unknown
Kevin Richardson-Australian Snakes and Snake Bite First Aid
Fraser Christian-Seashore Risotto
The Long, Long Life of a Tree (Fiona Stafford) and The Nature Fix (Florence Williams Book Reviews
Tim Gent-Tackle, Tactics and Tide
 David Thompson-Morakniv Adventure 2017
Ian Nairn-Budget Wool Shirt
The Bushcraft Quiz
Dave Canterbury-Bark Baskets
Ben & Lois Orford-Making a Wooden Parang Sheath
Geoffrey Guy-Building a Log Cabin
Richard Harpham-Exploring the Ancient Ridgeway Trail & Tuning Into the Solstice
Ben Abbott-How to Make a Catapult

Issue 70

Naomi Walmsley-The Art of Felting 
Top 10 Fire starters
Lofty Wiseman-After the Show was Over 
Paul Kirtley-10 Beverages to Try (Ground Ivy, Stinging Nettle, Water Mint, Scots Pine, Wild Rose, Brambles, Wood Sorrel, Yarrow, Elderberry, Meadowsweet)
Fraser Christian-Winter Food Preservation (Home Brew, Salting and Pickling Vegetables and Preserving Meat).
Olivia Beardsmore-Experiences from Women in the Wild
Richard Harpham-'Magic Waters' Iconic Canoe Trips
Tim Gent-The Practicality of  Hats
Ian Nairn- Budget Wool Trousers
The Bushcraft Quiz
The Complete Coastal Hunter Gatherer Course Review (Fraser Christian)
Ben & Lois Orford-Restoring a Drawknife
Jenny Allen-Footcare
Colin Gibson-Make a 'Belgian style' Hexi Stove (squashed can stove)
Ben Abbot-How to Set up a Tarp with Some Useful Knots

Issue 71


Naomi Walmsley-Berry Merry Birthday (plus Sugar Doughnut and Toffee Apple Recipes)
Top Ten Sheltyers Using Natural Materials
Famous Last Words-Lofty Wiseman
Paul Kirtley-Ten Common Poisonous Plants you Should be Aware of
Fraser Christian-Fabricating a Recycled Recycling Stove! (tin barrel stove how to)
Judith Millidge-How to Own Your Own Woodland
Mark Hordon-Sharp Field Sharpening 
Tim Gent-Cooking With Fire Irons
Ian Nairn-Budget Mukluk Liners
Jason Ingamells-Cordage in the Wilderness
Ben & Lois Orford-Making a Drawknife Sheath
Christmas Gift Guide
A Guide to Spoon Carving and the New Wood Culture (Barn the Spoon) Book Review
Ben Abbot-The Good Life

Issue 72

Paul Kirtley-Top Ten Ways to Boost your Bushcraft Skills Through 2018 
The Bushcraft Quiz
Natural Navigation Methods
A Breath of Fresh Air
Olivia Beardsmore-A Parley with Ed Stafford (includes my question)
Richard Dalton-DIY Hammocks and Tarps
Fraser Christian-Preserving Wild Woodland Game (How to Make Confit)
Richard Harpham-Celebrating Canadian Canoe Culture
Tim Gent-Sámi
Ian Nairn-Budget Pemmican
Jonas Taureck-Through the Gobi Desert
Ben & Lois Orford-Ulu style knife
Naomi Walmsley-Winter Salve Recipe
Ben Abbott-How to Make a Collapsible Hanger

Issue 73

Paul Kirtley-Essential Tree Identification for Early Spring
The Bushcraft Quiz
Natural Navigation Methods
Lofty Wiseman-The Weather
Tim Gent-Pitching a Tent of Difficult Ground
Olivia Beardsmore-Farewell
David Thompson-an Invitation to You All
Fraser Christian-Wild Primrose Champagne
Richard Harpham-Spring in Your Step
Mark Hordon-Sometimes it's OK to Have a Damn Good Strop
Ian Nairn-Budget Possibles Bag
Canadian Wilderness Survival (Bruce Zawalsky) Book Review
Peter Myler-The Pathfinder Basic Survival Class (Course Review)
Ben & Lois Orford-Carving a Canoe Yoke
Naomi Walmsley-'Aha Aho Tracks in the Snow' (and What is a Flour Trail?)
Campfire Cooking (Tim Gent) Book Review
Ben Abbot-Lamb Curry in a Dutch Oven

Obviously the magazine hasn't reached 90 issues yet but the blog page needed a title. When this issue is reached I will start a 91-120 blog page.

Issues 1-30 can be found here, and issues 31-60 can be viewed here.