Monday, February 15, 2010

Making Mukluks

I was perusing the blogs I follow on Google Reader this morning as I sipped my tea and I came across a great post on Skills for Wild Lives.  In the post Nick talks about making a pair of mukluks.  What's so great about mukluks besides being a fun word to say because it sounds dirty but actually isn't?  Well in extreme cold, dry conditions they are warm, lightweight, and flexible footwear.

Lately I have had the strong desire to do some winter camping but it's difficult to get away for an overnight.  So I have been settleing for reading blog posts like Nick's, Backyard Bushman's, and the guy's over at Winter Campers.  Not quite the same (O.K., it's not the same at all) as getting out there and doing it, but it helps to kindle my desire, and keeps my mind from settling into some form of urban atrophy.

What do you do when you can't get out and practice your passions?


Wandering Owl said...

I mope and blame it all on the way society is set up. Then I do some reading about it, then get tired of the reading and want to do the living it. Then mope some more - kind of a vicious circle, but one day I'll jump out of it!

Mel said...

I remind myself that my kids won't be little forever and one day soon it will be easier to get away (and that I'll miss their littleness).

Le Loup said...

Well there is always more research to do on the net, and always more work to do inside and out! But when winter comes I am out there!!!
I do most of my 18th century historical trekking in winter, no bugs, no snakes, no ants or mossies. And we can safely light camp fires!
If you really want to do something, then you have to make time for it. When it comes time to die, what are you going to say, " Gee I wish I had been able to get more work done!" I don't think so.
Le Loup.

Sarah Lou said...

Shovel snow--at least I'm getting fresh air and exercise!

South Foot said...

I'm with Le Loup; however, the combination of living in a city where most of my wilderness options are LNT, and the fact that I’m a bushcraft newb is no recipe for wilderness success . . .

On the other hand, i recently sewed a holster for my tomahawk onto my army surplus bag with sinew my mother gave me and a few straps of old saddle leather. One way or another we all overcome this goofy modern habit.

Brad Freidhof said...

make little popcan alcohol stoves and experiment to see which ones work best. Collect items that I can include in my next class and share with my friends and read comments to see what everyone else is doing. Always looking to steal a cool idea.

Hendrik M said...

If I can't get out, I do what you do - read blogs! Additionally, I take day walks and play with gear at home, getting ready for a trip which inevitably will come =)

South Foot said...

Dear Norseman,

Yesterday I went out to my local state park area and found materials to make pitch glue. when i collected materials for my bow/drill fire set, however, i had a hard time getting the drill to spin. It seemed like whichever direction i pulled the bow, the drill would just bend that direction. I concluded that i needed a denser would and i immediately though of ironwood. alas, i couldn't find any near my location before the sun began to set. Should i be on the lookout for ironwood before my next attempt or would you suggest something different?

Anonymous said...

South Foot,
What type of wood did you collect? Ironwood is really, REALLY hard stuff. It would make a good bearing block, but a poor spindle or hearth board. They problem could be that your cordage its too tight around your spindle. Try loosening your cordage a touch, and also square off the edges of your spindle (instead of it being round).

Le Loup said...

South Foot.
If I may offer some advice. The bow needs to have some spring to it. I know that some illustrations show a bent limb that is not flexible, but flexible is better.
If you need to add tension, you can do it with your fingers by pulling up on the string.
Use a leather thong for a string to start with, I used a leather thong when doing demonstrations. This advice is just incase you are using cordage and it is sticking/binding.
Norseman is correct re ironwood, too hard. To make fire with a fire-bow you have to produce TINDER from the fireboard, or the drill-bit, or both. Two soft woods will work better and quicker because they are both producing the TINDER DUST that falls through that "V" in the side of the fireboard.
If you are in the US, try using yucca stems or willow or similar soft woods.
I will give you a tip that I have not seen anyone else use. Get some tinder. Fungus or punk wood, there are many others. Even charred cotton or linen cloth will do until you learn about plant tinders.
When you finally produce that smouldering coal in the tinder dust on the tinder board which should be under your fireboard, don't try and add dried grass etc and blow it into flame. Instead, add the extra tinder, the charred cloth or whatever and transfere the smouldering ember to that.
After you have been using the fire-bow for a while, your breathing can get heavier. If you are not careful you can finish up blowing all that tinder dust away!!! Add the spare tinder first to increase the smouldering ember and then add it to your dried grass nest or whatever you are using.
Regards, Le Loup.

South Foot said...

In regards to what type of wood i was using; cedar for the bow, cedar for the drill (which never felt right) oak for the bearing block and hearth board. i used some random twine from the back of my truck for rope, cuz it was too cold to make cordage. all i have for cordage is skinny hemp and i don't know how to make 3-ply. The leather sounds like a good idea. thanks for the help.
- South Foot

Anonymous said...

South Foot,
Keep the oak bearing block, and trade out the oak hearth board for cedar. Cedar is the hardest wood that you should use for a bow drill. It's a great wood to start with though because it requires you to perfect your technique in order to successfully get a fire going. Keep at it!