Jon's Bushcraft
October 1, 2014 1:55 PM   Subscribe

Ever wondered how to make a basket out of willow rods or birch bark? How about a bow drill for lighting fires? Maybe you'd rather make your own cordage out of nettles and then use it to make a wood-and-thorn fishing hook? All this knowledge and more can be your at Jon's Bushcraft. (Bonus: he also makes fine art.)
posted by showbiz_liz (12 comments total) 55 users marked this as a favorite
"Orbs and Rushes" is great.
posted by kenko at 1:57 PM on October 1, 2014

I loves me some bushcraft. Don't forget to get a knife!

Mora knives are about the best value for money out there. $10 gets you a knife for a decade. Just don't leave it wet or it'll rust on you!
posted by leotrotsky at 2:03 PM on October 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

Oh wow. I've been having recurring dreams about a wizard casting me back in time and I have to try and survive and be useful to the society in which I find myself. I'm gonna study these guides, hopefully they'll make me useful.
posted by DGStieber at 2:09 PM on October 1, 2014

About 45 minutes ago, asleep in a drooly feverish heap on the couch, I had an incredibly realistic dream about making my own yew longbow.

so apparently the mefi update includes mathowie beaming FPPs directly into our brains i guess
posted by poffin boffin at 2:18 PM on October 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

I had a bit of an obsession with bushcraft as a kid - "Tom Brown's Field Guide to Wilderness Survival", "Two Little Savages" by Ernest Thompson Seton, and even "The Odd-Lot Boys and the Tree-Fort War".

I think I still have a few sticks with blackened tips in a box somewhere from my many childhood attempts to make a fire with no matches. (All attempts: Failures.)

I never was able to remember what would be edible if I ever got lost in the woods, either. (Other than... hmm... maybe cattail roots?)

In fact, I was such a failure at everything woodcraft (other than not getting lost - I was always able to find my way back to camp) that the only thing it did for me in the long wrong was deceive me into thinking that I enjoyed camping in the rain. I was almost thirty before I realized that camping in the rain sucks.
posted by clawsoon at 2:31 PM on October 1, 2014 [5 favorites]

If you like this stuff check out the publications of the Society of Primitive Technology. They have a couple of collected books at least. Some of it is a borderline woo I think (vague memories of a few "ancestor wisdom" lines) but otherwise cool stuff.
posted by curious nu at 4:54 PM on October 1, 2014 [3 favorites]

Oi wow totally relevant to my interests. Bookmarked, I will make these this winter, thanks.
posted by Meatbomb at 4:54 PM on October 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

I have made nettle cordage. I used to volunteer with a conservation group, and during a quiet moment one day at a site, when I was waiting for the kelly kettles to boil, the leader showed me how to do it. We followed a similar technique to the one outline above, but the nettles were dried before use, and popped open using or hands rather than hitting them with a stick. The opposite twist thing is spot on, though. The leader had tried doing it with two electric drills, but found it too difficult to control the speed.
posted by Solomon at 11:44 PM on October 1, 2014

Lovely. Wasn't expecting him to be English. Now tempted to book a place on one of his courses.
posted by Hogshead at 2:47 AM on October 2, 2014

clawsoon, maybe we were separated at birth? My favourite books were Two Little Savages and Cache Lake Country. I spent much of my youth doing survival stuff and making/fixing things. It was a lot of fun, and I still have the scars to prove it. I'm past the real survival stuff, but all that experience has made camping easy and moderately comfortable, and I can impress my kids with my arcane knowledge of plants and making traps. Also not enthusiastic about rain. I'd be scared to re-read Cache Lake Country now because I can barely stand to stay in the city as it is...
posted by sneebler at 7:53 AM on October 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

sneebler, did you know that Two Little Savages was set in the Don Valley, not too far from what's now Castle Frank Station? That was an eye-opener for me when I learned it as an adult; Castle Frank is only two short stops over from the central station in Toronto's transit system. What was a childhood dream wilderness is now deep inside a major metropolis.
posted by clawsoon at 8:52 AM on October 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

Cool - I always thought it was in NY State or somewhere like that, maybe because being American is that little bit more exotic. I never did figure out where it took place, so Thanks! (As an adult, my experience of TO revolves around Honest Ed's and some nearby punk club we played at in the '90s. ;-) )
posted by sneebler at 9:00 AM on October 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

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