Monday, February 18, 2008

Carving my first spoon

Basswood Spoon
This is the first spoon that I have ever made. I made it for my wife tonight while she was at work. I carved it from piece of dry Basswood (Tilia americana) left over from making a bow-drill for a survival class I had taught a while back.

I started by splitting off a section from the large piece of wood that you can see my puukko’s stuck into. I used my larger puukko like a froe with and I used a piece of pine like a mallet to drive it through. Then I used the smaller puukko to rough out the spoons general shape. I carved the depression of the “business end” of the spoon with a hoof knife. I was very pleased with the way that it turned, but more importantly so was my wife!

The finale on the spoons handle is carved in the shape of a morel mushroom. It is a fitting totem because my wife is highly adept at finding the elusive fungus.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Wax Stove

Making a “DIY” Wax Stove
I had wanted to make a wax stove since I first saw on at the Bushcraft Living forum a couple of months ago. The biggest stumbling block was finding a tin that I thought was suitable. After checking several craft stores unsuccessfully I stumbled across a perfect tin for .35 cents at a local thrift store.

To make the stove I gathered together a piece of corrugated cardboard, a carpenters square to use a straight edge, beeswax ingots a small puukko knife and the tin.

While I melted the beeswax using a tin can and a Swedish Army surplus Trangia alcohol stove. I started to measure and cut the cardboard to fit.

I cut two long pieces that I cut center slits in about half their width that allowed them to be put together to form a cross. I can be seen in the photo on the right hand side. Next I cut four smaller pieces that I used to insert into the open spaces created by the center cross piece.

Once I had all the pieces inserted and the wax was melted I poured the wax slowly into the tin. I was careful to be sure that I filled each of the chambers created by the cardboard wick equally.

Here you can see the stove in use. I knew from article I had read that lighting the wax stove can be difficult so in order to light it I laid the lit paper match right on the center of the wick and left it there; allowing it to completely burn up. Keep checking back for a future field trial on my new wax stove.

Friday, February 15, 2008


I am an outdoor educator from the Loess Hills of Iowa. I teach people of all ages natural history by relating it to cultural history. I have found that by teaching people how to use elements of nature with bushcraft/woodcraft skills they tend to be more respectful of our natural resources.

I have learned a lot of what I know from my father and grandfather who kept me out of the house and in the woods growing up (I could never thank them enough for that). I have learned from other teachers along the way, and through A LOT of trial and error. I have worked in the natural resources field since 2001. I worked as a farm hand, in a wire harness factory, in a major sporting goods warehouse, as a restaurant manager, as a wilderness ranger, a park aide, and a naturalist.

Al those jobs are pretty varied, but I learned a lot from each of them that I use when teaching bushcraft courses. The most important thing they have taught me is to be adaptable. My philosophy on bushcraft and life can be summed up with a quote from Theodore Roosevelt.

"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."-T.R.

My hope is that as I learn new skills, and perfect old ones, I will be able to record and share them on this site. So please keep checking back, and feel free to contact me with questions, comments, or advice!