Spoon carving from a Bushcraft perspective with Jon Mac...
I am a spoon carver who lives and works on Dartmoor in Devon.
I carve spoons and Kuksa from green wood, using the three principal bushcraft tools. The knife, Axe and hook knife. I find spoon carving gives me a greater understanding of these tools as I can demonstrate a precision of craft in the finished spoon. I have developed my own spoon carving knife 'The MaChris' which is made by 'Chris Grant' a fantastically talented bladesmith.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Friction Firelighting...

I have had a spate of enquiries for friction fire lighting courses recently, perhaps people are preparing for the cooler months. You need very little to make fire:- dry sticks, cord and a sharp edge tool. The edge tool need not be anything more than a piece of flint or glass. The cord can be a boot lace or perhaps hand made nettle cordage. The type of wood needed is commonly found in the hedgerow:-  Hazel, Birch, Sycamore, Maple and Willow to name a few. These trees are common here, there are others you can use...

spoon carving first steps

You will need to make a kit up like this either from wood you have seasoned yourself, dead standing or hanging dry wood you might see in the forest...

 

On the left of the picture is the drill, to the right of that is the bearing block, then above that is a small sliver of wood to catch the ember, then the bow and finally the hearth. It is best if the hearth and drill are made from the same wood, preferably the same branch. The bearing block can be made from any good tough hard wood, this one is made from Oak...

spoon carving first steps

One end of the drill needs to be carved almost flat to increase friction...

spoon carving first steps

The other end pointed to decrease friction...

spoon carving first steps 

The length of the drill is about a hand span or longer, as I have quite large hands...

spoon carving first steps

And the width of the drill is about the same as your thumb...

spoon carving first steps

Your hearth needs to be about as deep as your little finger...

spoon carving first steps

And you will need to carve a depression in it to accommodate the drill...

spoon carving first steps


spoon carving first steps

You will need to condition the hearth by drilling into the depression you made and seating the drill...
 This is the way to lace up the bow and drill... with the drill situated on the outer side of the cord...

spoon carving first steps

Put a little green matter into the hole in the bearing block to act as a lubricant...

spoon carving first steps

Take this upright stance, bracing your left hand, holding the bearing block, against your right shin...

spoon carving first steps

And apply downward pressure whilst bowing with your right hand fore and aft Before long the drill will smoke and sit snugly into the depression, it will look like this...

spoon carving first steps

Next carefully chop an eighth slot into the depression, this is important as it is the device that catches and gathers up all the fine hot coal you will shortly produce...

spoon carving first steps

Pop the little ember catcher under the hearth, load up the bow, and carefully, and without wobbling or squeaking, bow. After some time the hearth will produce smoke that will eventually thicken. Carry on for a few more bows and stop. Carefully remove the drill and let the coal coalesce...

spoon carving first steps

No need to rush at this or any moment, catch your breath, with a small piece of dry twig, restrain the coal and roll the hearth away...

 

The coal...

spoon carving first steps


spoon carving first steps


spoon carving first steps

As you can see here, my clients had previously prepared a bundle of dry grass and Birch bark to receive the precious coal...

spoon carving first steps

Placing the coal into the bundle and gently blowing and encouraging fire...

spoon carving first steps

A little more encouragement...

spoon carving first steps

SUCCESS...!

spoon carving first steps

They had a splendid time with tea and home made cake supplied by Sarah...
If you are interested in visiting us and learning about these and other skills then send an E mail to...
firststeps@thewood.eclipse.co.uk

ENJOY....