Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Modified Swedish Torch

I have been fascinated by the idea of the Swedish torch for some time, but the found it unpractical since the cuts in the logs were often done with a chainsaw.  I should have prefaced that comment by saying when I first came across information on the Swedish torch the ones I saw were made with a single block of wood using a chainsaw to make the air channels.  Then I saw a blog post (which of course I cannot find now) that showed making a Swedish torch out of small diameter limbs lashed together.  Brilliant I thought!

That was about 2 years ago...

I have been meaning to experiment with the idea, but I just did not make the time.  That happens to me.  A lot.  That is something I need to work on, but I will blog about that elsewhere.  I find the best way to force myself to learn a new skill, or hone an existing one is to teach a class on it.  Then I have others depending on me, and here are the results.

Batoning the cedar log.
Photo by R.T.

Lashing split-wood together with jute twine.
Photo by R.T.

Inserting River birch (Betula nigra) bark as tinder.
Photo by R.T.

Lighting with my ferro rod
Photo by R.T.
Fire started.
Photo by R.T.
Billy pot on the torch.
Photo by R.T.

The advantage of the Swedish torch in wet, or snowy conditions is that it gets your fire up out of the moisture and it creates a ready made pot stand so long as the wood you are using is roughly the same length.

The only thing I will change the next time is I will use a light gauge wire, like florists wire, to wrap the bundle in.  The jute burned through (which did not surprise me) but how rapidly the fire spread into the interior of the torch did surprise me.  I can definitely see some huge advantages to the Swedish torch in non-wet conditions to, such as greatly limiting fire scars.

Have you ever made one of these?  What are your thoughts?

Friday, February 3, 2012

A new blog... A new direction...

I am going to be starting a new blog.  Now worries, I am not abandoning this one.  There are just some topics I would like to explore that are not a perfect fit for Midwest Bushcraft.  I am going to call my other blog "Journey to Gentleman".  On it I will chronicle my attempts at self improvement.

I was inspired to start down this road by The Art of Manliness, and while bushcraft fits within what I see as this self-styled "journey", many of the other aspects do not mesh with the theme of this blog.  So if you are interested I hope you will consider following my Journey to Gentleman, and possibly give me encouragement, or perhaps direction when I stray along the way.