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Wednesday 27 November 2013

Waxing my Swedish Snow Smock

I've got a couple of these but don't wear them much as they're not waterproof, but I figured I'd wax one and see how it fared
I made a mixture of 5 parts vaseline to 1 part beeswax, now this isn't the mix I normally use, I normally use candle wax instead of beeswax as this makes a thicker firmer wax coating.. but as this is a light weight garment so I figured flexiblity would be more important

I dabbed the mixture on with a paintbrush and melted it with a hair dryer, after it cured it still remained tacky and sticky, I probably should have used my regular mix.
However I will try it out over the next few months and report back on it's preformance.

Sunday 24 November 2013

Tim Lloyd Blacksmith - Campfire tripod

I was recently contacted by Tim Lloyd, a blacksmith from Dorset, who asked if I would be interested in reviewing some of his bushcraft products, I told Tim I would gladly do it but with the understanding that I would be honest in my review and that in the past other would be makers have then backed out when they heard this thinking that just because they sent it free that I would give a glowing review, well I'm afraid that's not how it works!
Anyway, Tim duely sent the items of what he calls his 2 in 1 tripod, and below you can see what comes with this package
left to right..a trammel hook, chain and hook, S hook, 2 uprights and a cross piece
 Tim explains his set up thus..
"To give you a bit of background. The tripod is what I call a 2 in 1 design. Conventional tripods are normally attached at the top, with mine the three legs are separate. This means that you can either use it as a tripod by placing the 'U' shaped leg into the ground first then adding the other two legs. (I normally add the two legs over the thicker and doubled back bit of the 'U')
Or it can be set up by driving two of the legs into the ground and placing the third between them. This is really good for cooking multiple items. For example hanging a Dutch oven on one side and a kettle on the other. You have two sets of hooks if you want to try that. "
all seemed very straight forward and I've tried it out a couple of times in the past few weeks so here follows my initial impressions

Made from 3/8" steel rod, a little over 4 feet long and weighing in at around 4lbs, it's actually a very nice little set up. Not a particularly aesthetic design lacking twists and turns in the steel like some I've seen, but then it doesn't need to be, it just needs to do what it's intended for and it does that very well.
I taped it all together and used it as a walking stick when walking into the woods, a little heavy maybe but it was ok, easy enough to carry without having to tie it to my back or use a carrying strap, so provided you don't have miles to walk it's actually not too much to carry as long as you're not going ultralite!
Very,very easy to set up, string the chain from the top and using the extra hook allows for multiple heights when cooking over embers or heating over flame, the tripod is always a handy design if ground is rocky or frozen and is a tried and tested design particularly from Pioneer days.

set up as a hanging rack it's really lovely, very simple to do and gives absolutely loads of room to cook, heat or just keep food or coffee warm, this is my favourite way of utilising this setup and you can see why, easy enough for a base camp when it could be used by a number of people at the same time. If I was to make one addition to the rig it would be to weld a U shape to each upright about 18 inches from the end, the cross piece could then be lowered and could also then be used as a spit for roasting rabbits or pheasants, but this is just an idea.

the chain and hook could be used here but this trammel hook is just superb and allows height adjustment extremely easily, I've seen these used in old cottages in the past so not only is it effective but it gives a great sense of nostalgia too especially for the would be wild west pioneer!!
I really love this little item!

easily adjustable and very effective, just a brilliant addition to this set up.

All in all this is a superb campfire set, easily carried, versatile and effective and you can't ask for better than that, it really does come with a very high Buzzard recommendation.
 As I said this is an initial review and I will update the post in 6 months time after it's been used thoroughly, but from first impressions this will end up being a favourite piece of kit!
If you are in the market for a similar rig I would suggest you get in touch with Tim, I don't want to mention price at this point just suffice to say it's probably the best price I've seen these for sale at ever considering what you get.
Tim can be contacted at
drop him a line and get yourself a great christmas pressie that will last a lifetime..A brilliant rig!

Tuesday 19 November 2013

Guest Author -- Geoff Guy on Deer Stalking

A very special thanks to Geoff for his contribution, all copyright for this article lies with him.

Thanks to Buzzard Bushcraft for posting this, hope you like it.

Deer Stalking
Getting food from the wild has always been part of bushcraft but in the UK is probably one of the most problematic areas of the pastime due to laws and legislation related to the use of firearms, bows and traps.
Deer, their meat, hide, tendons, bones, antlers, hooves, organs and teeth would all have been used by our primitive ancestors and nowadays the only common legal way of ‘taking’ a deer in the UK is by stalking and shooting with an appropriate firearm. Other than for their desirability as food deer also need to be shot to manage their population, in the UK there are six wild species of deer, bearing in mind that only two of those species are native and that they have no natural predators their population is large and increasing. Deer can damage agriculture, forestry, timber and conservation areas.
For all my deer stalking I use the rifle pictured here; a Tikka T3 chambered in .243 winchester fitted with a T4 silencer, a leopould scope and a bipod.

Today there are two main target species, Chinese water deer (CWD) and reeves muntjac. CWD were introduced to the UK at the end of the 19thCentury, first appearing at the London Zoo and Woburn abbey, after several escapes and releases they became established in Bedfordshire and have now spread. They are unique among the wild deer of the UK as they have no antlers, instead the bucks sport a set of large curving ‘tusks’. These are also present in the does but are much smaller and do not generally protrude below the lip. This species can be taken between the 1stof November and the 31st of March
 Muntjac are another introduction to the UK and they can be a serious nuisance in woodlands as they are partial to feeding from regenerating coppice and wild flowers such a bluebells. They can be shot all year round as they have no established breeding season. Like the CWD the bucks have tusks, but they are smaller than those of the CWD, they also have short backwards pointing antlers and some rather unique facial features;

A young muntjac buck showing the long ‘pedicles’ (the structures on the skull where the antlers grow) swept back antlers, distinctive skull ridges and corresponding black markings, you can also see clearly just in front of the eyes the massive sub orbital scent glands.
Once all the preparations are made you can start stalking, make sure you have the wind in your face so your scent is not carried to the animals ahead of you and use your binoculars regularly, you would be surprised how often you can’t see a thing but once you look through your binoculars you can see the tell-tale signs of a deer’s presence such as the deer in this picture which you might never spot without binoculars;

Once you have spotted a deer that you are going to shoot you need to ensure that you can get within range and and that it is safe to take a shot;
For example it would not be safe to shoot at this deer, you can’t see what’s behind it and a bullet will pass through the animal if you hit it and if you don’t a .243 rifle like the one I use will send a bullet about seven miles if fired in the air at a 45 degree angle. NEVER TAKE A SHOT LIKE THIS.

This is much better, there is a field rising behind the target animal which will stop a bullet making this a safe shot.
Aiming for a chest shot to destroy the heart and lungs, once you have fired and hit the animal it may run for a while before dropping to the ground if you placed the shot correctly. Once you have approached the animal and confirmed that it is dead you now need to carry out the gralloch, this is the process of removing the animals digestive tract to avoid any contamination of the meat.
More to follow on how to carry out the gralloch, skin a deer, prepare a flint scraper for fleshing hides and working with and curing deer skins.


Sunday 17 November 2013

Purple Loosestrife

a rather common waterside plant, but one that has great medicinal value
This plant is used by many indiginous people especially the north american indians.
It's primary function is as an antidiarrheic, but it's great for bowel conditions and as a throat gargle for minor infections. It's also good as an eyewash for conjunctivitous and the juice of the plant helps stop nosebleeds..a good one to keep in the natural medicine cabinet.

Saturday 9 November 2013

Twig Tongs

Tongs are a handy thing to have around a campfire for lifting things that maybe hot, or removing things from cooking vessels, even lifting coals or embers from the fire. There's a number of ways to make these but this way is the simplest

cut a fork with equal thickness branches, thin the insides slightly near the joint and taper the ends into a flat at the tip
simple as that, these ones were made to lift my char cloth tin from the fire.