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Sunday 24 February 2013

The Love of a Leuku

I must confess that although mora knives are by far and away my favourite cutting tool I do not go anywhere without my Leuku. I have used this tool for shelter building, stickmaking, splitting wood, chopping trees, preparing game, filleting fish, preparing bow drills, basically anything that a normal knife or axe would be used for..

Now I have many,many of these Samiknives, in different sizes and grinds, but I have a predilection for the typical Finnish grind of a steeper primary bevel with a small micro bevel

here you can see the typical finnish grind..
which becomes more pronounced at the belly of the blade as this is the area takes the most use when the knife is used properly.
and a more typical Swedish Scandi Zero grind, with a much more obtuse bevel, probably more robust but I personally don't feel this grind gets as sharp as the Finnish grind.
and my favourite tool, I made this one from a Lauri Blade and a block of curly birch, you can see just how much this knife has been sharpened by the slight change in the blade shape, believe you me it takes a lot of use and many many sharpenings to even make this sort of difference on the blade!
The one common thing you will find on all my leukus is Brass.. The Sami considered brass a sacred metal and according to old Sami tradition brass has magical properties.
The brass on the knife can keep evil spirits away, and brass also has healing powers and can be used to stop bleeding, remove abscesses and take away pain.
I have even heard of top Leuku makers refusing commissions simply because the client didn't want any brass on his Leuku!
 The least I can do is honour that tradition.

Wednesday 20 February 2013

Tricky Tracks

There is a wood we occasionally use that has a lot of dog walkers and unfortunately this can make observing tracks quite difficult, however there are a few that are relatively easy to identify..can you guess what these are in the pics below?

a confusing set with dog tracks over the top of something else...
the toe pads and nail prints should give this one away easily

can be tricky with a forest full of domestic dogs, but the size and position of the pads make this one recognisable..

Sunday 17 February 2013

Debris Shelter...or not?

By it's very definition a shelter is meant to shelter, however rain is not always what you need protection from, at times it's snow, cold or even wind and the later was what we needed protection from today, so we just needed to make something simple that broke up the constant battering from the wind gods..
you can see the state of these woods and the damage the wind has done lately, so we just needed something to break up the chill factor
we choose a small tree that had fallen and built up a simple framework that had it's back to the breeze
covered it quickly with a few cedar and spruce boughs
and all cosy underneath with plenty of leaf litter.. This shelter was set at 45 degrees, a little too shallow to prevent rain from getting in, but it certainly stopped the wind!
It only took about an hour to put this together, we could have spent another couple of hours covering it in leaf litter to make it waterproof or just took 5 minutes and stretched a tarp over it to make it waterproof..what would you have done???
Sometimes the wind can be a killer and just getting out of it can raise the temp by quite a few degrees, and this was the case we say over here "we have a lazy wind, it goes through you instead of around you"..

Wednesday 13 February 2013

Gorse Flower Snack

These little flowers are now starting to come out in force

A beautiful eyecatching flower it's also useful for it's edible properties. It makes a nice nibble although I wouldn't eat too much as it contains some slightly toxic alkaloids. It used to be a tradition over here to gather them at easter and dye white eggs yellow!
I have read that it's supposed to taste like coconut, but I definitely don't find that as I love coconut! To me it's got a slightly bitter taste but not that unpleasant, it can also be used to make tea, but there are better brews out there!

Sunday 10 February 2013

Tarp Tent

A tarp is an essential piece of outdoor kit, anyone who has built their own debris shelter knows just how much time and effort goes into one and a tarp would be a God send when shelter is needed.. there are many tarp configurations and here is a neat one , all you need is a tarp and some tent poles
the poles should be about 14inches longer than the diagonal length of the tarp, simply fit them diagonally
and that's it, a shelter/tarp/tent, prop it up like a lean to, sleep under it like a dome tent, or even suspend it for a roof, and best of all this arrangement doesn't need trees!

The poles are handy for numerous things too like a fishing rod, tie them together for a lightweight fiberglass bow, or even use them for arrows..

Tuesday 5 February 2013

They are Everywhere !

The deer population in Northern Ireland is growing steadily, no matter where you go they seem to appear from nowhere, as Davy noticed when out the other day and he took this pic.. Sometimes we wish we had our bow at the ready when we see them but then we realise, why should we kill such an animal when we have no real need of it's meat, such a shame to take it's life for no real need.. a true hunter and bushcrafter knows when to kill and when to watch..and there should be much more watching!

Sunday 3 February 2013

Mora Classic #2 Modified

Most of you will have heard of if not have used (and if not why not?) the wooden handle Mora Classic series  knives. However I know there are certain hesitations with people over this knife due to the lack of a guard, however there are a few simple mods that can be done to make handling this knife a little more safe,
firstly strip the red ochre paint from the handle by burning or sanding
then cut a few cross cuts into the handle with a knife or a saw, it's surprising just how much extra grip this modification provides,
lastly, cut a small choil in the blade
should the worst happen and your hand slide down the handle, this little choil will prevent your hand sliding the full way down the blade and thus prevent a serious injury!