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Ideas for woodcraft from nomadic peoples.

Ideas for woodcraft from nomadic peoples.

by Angus ~ 20 September, 2017 ~ 2 comments

In Siberia, there are some indigenous peoples who continue to live as they have for hundreds or thousands of years.  One such is the Evenks, who are nomadic and live off reindeer (both domesticated and wild) and they build a teepee-shaped houses out of wood and cover it in skins.  When they move on they take the skins with them.  They also have other clever innovations with could provide inspiration for the British woodland owner, such as a “fridge” built high up so as to be out of reach of animals, and they have clever animal traps made with logs.  Some of these seem to be intended to crush the animal and others to trap it (images below).

One tradition they have is that instead of burning their dead or cremating them they leave them on high platforms so that the corpse can be eaten by birds.  This particular idea may be less useful to the British woodsman and might even be frowned upon, especially in the Home Counties.  Read more...

Siberian ideas for a log cabin

Siberian ideas for a log cabin

by Angus ~ 25 August, 2017 ~ comments welcome

Building a log cabin in Siberia is an art that has been developed over hundreds of years and takes account of material available and the extremes of weather.  For example, it may look as though the same logs are used for the whole cabin but in fact for the bottom three layers the Siberians use larch which is more resistant to rotting and carrying water upwards.  Above that they use Siberian pine which is in much greater abundance  - indeed its availability must be one of the reasons that so many of the buildings in Russia are built of wood, even today.  Between the logs moss is wedged into the gaps to prevent draughts and to seal the building from insects.  This moss, again, is freely and abundantly available in most of Russia. Read more...

Communicating through a note on the windscreen

Communicating through a note on the windscreen

by Angus ~ 22 June, 2017 ~ 2 comments

Woodland owners can be enraged by finding a note on their windscreen.  Most people have got used to texts and emails and even speaking directly, but the note on the windscreen is an art form of its own and one that presumably goes back well over 100 years - perhaps even back to the Egyptians of you include the note left on a chariot seat.    These notes can be very helpful ("I've left that fiver I owed you under the front wheel") or distinctly rude ("don't park in front of the gates - next time I'll let your tyres down"). In most cases this is one-way communication,  so the car owner has the frustration of not being able to answer back and often you don't even know who has left the note.  Surely this anonymity encourages people to be much ruder than they would be face-to-face, a bit like the phenomenon of the abusive posters on online message boards. Read more...

Hedges in towns and cities.

Hedges in towns and cities.

by Chris ~ 8 June, 2017 ~ comments welcome

Hedges originally served the function of corralling animals; however they also offer habitats for many plant and animal species and they serve as important ecological corridors.  Now another role for hedges has been suggested - that of combating air pollution in our towns and cities.

Urban air pollution has been linked to Read more...

A reflector oven

A reflector oven

by Angus ~ 28 May, 2017 ~ 2 comments

This clever device redirects the radiation from an open woodland fire to create a cooker so that outdoor cooking can be about much more than just frying pans, kettles and grills.  With a reflector oven you can cook both sweet and savoury -  bread, cakes, pies, scones, fish and vegetables.  The reflector oven bounces the heat around inside, and also contains it, so that whatever is on the shelves is baked as well as it would be in a conventional oven.

This particular model was invented by Svante Freden, a Swedish manufacturer - who apparently fabricates these devices in a "small outbuilding" in Sweden and retails them for about £50 each - they can be bought from Proadventure who have s shop in Llangollen, North Wales, as well as a website with lots of camping kit. Read more...

A tale of two saws

A tale of two saws

by Nick Reckert ~ 24 March, 2017 ~ 5 comments

A few years ago I bought six acres of neglected coppice-with-standards: oak, ash, hazel, sycamore and birch. The coppice-stools are tangled and overgrown, and the standards are tall and bare-stemmed. My aim - to coppice the wood systematically for domestic fuel - dictated the equipment. I’ve never liked chainsaws, so planned to use hand-tools only. Since my wood-burner gobbles up to 15mof logs a year, and I work alone, am in my mid-60s and have had a quadruple bypass, this may have been ambitious.

I used bow saws at first, but they were too clunky Read more...

Wood products, old and new

Wood products, old and new

by Chris ~ 24 February, 2017 ~ comments welcome

It is a truism to say that trees provide wood or timber.  Timber (or lumber in the States) is wood that has been processed into planks or beams, part of the process of wood production. Timber may be supplied either rough-sawn, or surfaced on one or more of its faces. It is available from many species, usually hardwoods; but it is also available in softwoods, such as white pine and red pine, because of their low cost. Finished timber is supplied in various standard sizes, mostly for the construction industry—primarily softwood, from coniferous species, including pine, fir and spruce, cedar, and hemlock, whereas hardwoods are for high-grade flooring and furniture. Read more...

Red Squirrels Find Sanctuary in my Wood

Red Squirrels Find Sanctuary in my Wood

by Peter Trimming ~ 2 February, 2017 ~ 2 comments

I purchased Snighow Wood, in Wasdale, with the intention of maintaining it as a wildlife habitat; specifically red squirrels. Formerly occupied by red squirrels, greys had moved in some years previously. The timing of my purchase (end of December 2015) was fortunate, as greys had been (largely) removed from the area about a year previously, by the West Lakes Squirrel Initiative. With the choice of three plots of woodland, I chose the one which I thought most suitable for the squirrels, and requiring the least amount of work. There was hazel to be coppiced, rhododendrons to be tackled and paths to be cleared or created! Read more...

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