Month: January 2024 (Page 1 of 2)

Mobile Sit Spot

Ive discovered I have a mobile sit spot. My van! It comes down to perspective. I can either be working in it, cooking, cleaning etc or simply sitting enjoying everything around me and having the birds and weather come to me.

I often txt a mate pictures of sunsets as an attempt to introduce him to something else. A state of mind. I sit there most nights watching the sun set and it takes my mind some where else. Ill keep doing this until eventually he sends a picture back to me.

The pics below are of just one night. I sat there for two hours taking pictures and watching the colors change through the spectrum.

The colors just kept getting better and better. The best ones are always at the near end.

Bush Knots Course (Amended)

Its taken me over 6 years learning , amending and improving the knots Ive come across.Ever since my first bushcraft course and I couldn’t remember how to do a bowline after many years of using knots in arboriculture and rescue work.Ive narrowed it down to just over 20 core knots for bushcraft. Not including climbing knots (another section entirely). With another hand full of secondary knots that are worth taking the time to understand. I hope this can be used as a cheat sheet for fellow bushcrafters interested in becoming more proficient with knots for their craft.

Core Knots

Friction knots

Taut Tarp hitch,midshipman’s hitch variation

Prusic, variation larks head

Lashings (Pole to Pole)

Square lashing

Diagonal lashing

Shear lashing

Round lashing

Tripod Lashing

Uses

Square lashing – binds two poles together at a 90 degree angle such as in a ridge pole for a shelter or a ladder style pack frame.

Diagonal lashing – braces a rigid structure roycroft pack frame

Shear lashing – joins two poles together to form legs ie instead of three legged tripod only two legs for a tree less tarp set up.

Round lashing – securing two poles together to form an end join as in to extend a pole for a longer saw handle.

Tripod Lashing – as name suggests for making a tripod

Hitches (Cordage to Pole)

Half hitch

Truckers Hitch (Improved)

Clove hitch variation with stop knot lock, with half hitch lock on side, spar hitch, picket line or ground line hitch, constrictor with slip ends

Siberian hitch

Timber hitch

Marlin spike hitch

Round turn and two half hitches variation anchor hitch, double turn and two half hitches

Knots (cordage to Cordage)

Overhand knot, variation double overhand stop knot

slip knot

Fishermans variations double fishermans,tripple

Bowline – yosemite, double, scotts lock, bowline in a bight, twin bowline.

Sheet bend variation double sheet bend

Square knot

Whipping knot

Arbour knot or Canadian jam

Figure 8 standard or trace, inline, on a bight

Tarp corners

zip tie

Secondary knots (worth knowing)

Mechanical Advantage

Flip Flop Winch

Paring ladder

rope break

Fishing knots

Surgeons knot (also for bootlaces)

Trilene knot

Palomar knot

Snelling

Other

Panic knot

Post hitch

Alpine butterfly

Soft shackles

reever knot

Climbing knots would be another section

USES This is why I never fall into the question of which 5 knots? There are 7 just for a tarp.

Tarp knots

Siberian Hitch, Taut tarp hitch, prusic, truckers hitch, fishermans, bowline, sheetbend.

Siberian hitch or bowline for an ridgeline attachment point

taut tarp hitch for guylines

prusic to tension the apex points

fishermans to form the prusic

truckers to tension the ridgeline

sheet-bend in case you require lengthening the ridgeline

Are We There Yet

My Local camp spot became a little busy and I decided to travel into the hills to find another, to escape the heat. One place after another being filled up. I ended up on a bit of an adventure and turned up in the middle of BUTTF$KNOWHERE at a mates recommendation. Found a great little camping spot , drop pit toilet included. Ended up visiting places I hadn’t been in years. many having changed and no longer recognizable.

sunset at my standard camping spot
serenaded by maggies at dawn
a park where I went with my grandparents as a child
the old trees were still standing. I luv the old heritage buildings
this place seemed so large when I was a child. It was being Robinson Crusoe. now it seems so small
the pines shaped by the ocean and the wind
great views I spent the day here
still more natural navigation pics
finding shade on a hot day
twisted by the weather. these were here when I was ten
left by a fellow wanderer
twisted branches
cant escape the magpies
cliff face
the pebble beach where I grew up
stopped to avoid the lycra wearers and have a wine tasting
new camp spot where I met the swannies down under https://www.youtube.com/@theSwanniesdownunder

nestled in between the vineyards
moon rising in the background
sunrise

Magpie Whispering

Its not the first time Ive been accused of starting a Magpie adoption agency. These guys came for another visit while I had my leg up resting.They stayed for over ten minutes picking up the crumbs on the floor I couldn’t even see. Quite content in their mischief. Not as much chortling today though. One female in particular seems to like to visit.

Still getting the hang of posting on you-tube. Ill have to spend a day editing descriptions at some point.

Knuckle Dragging

You’ve heard of knuckle dragging well I was leg dragging today. Been a little under the weather with a mild bug, probably an upper chest infection and was resting up yesterday trying to work on a knot master class amendment and thought Id better do some rehab for the leg today. I hadn’t tried getting down the stairs to the beach as yet and thought a walk to the jetty would be a good goal. I made that easy and then my stubbornness got the better of me and well hows a walk to the river mouth sound.The last 200 meters there I was dragging my leg. It was screaming at me to stop and sit down but I knew if I did Id never get back up. It was a very long walk back to camp and straight onto pain killers.. The furthest Ive walked in two years, since the operation.

night before pics
the jetty of a night
coastal rock formations
cliffs
end of the beach
jetty closups
the water is almost lake like
sand dunes
river mouth entrance
finally at the river mouth
in the background is the jetty, dont know hoe far it was but it hurt
the last 50 meters and the stairs were the worse
the sea view from my van

I Always Have My Gooley In Hand

Catching up on my reading by the beach. I always try and keep one of my Gooleys close at hand.A great series of books by Tristan Gooley for a budding naturalist. You never look at the world the same way again after reading one of his books.

the view from my van as Im reading
maggies never far away

Primitive Shelter Craft Methodology

Shelter Craft Methodology comparing the Northern and Southern Hemisphere techniques. Many techniques of Shelter Craft used in the Northern Hemisphere are quite different to those that can be used in Australia based around the materials available. This revolves around plant morphology and transpiration. The leaves in Australia have developed differently to the leaves in cooler climates due to the amount of rainfall and light.

Id previously done some workshops with Alan Ainsworth who discussed this in depth. Al’s horticultural training goes into the morphology of plants. How they evolved differently in the Australian landscape. “The shape and size and volume of leaf litter in Australia is just different”.

This was also a conversation I had with Al Ainsworth several months ago that stuck in my head that I really wanted to post about. Building a debris hut in the Northern Hemisphere is much different to here. It would take little time at all to fill large garbage bags full of leaves in Europe and the US where the tree have adapted to try and absorb as much light as possible and have therefore become large palmated shaped. Where as in Australia the leaves are lanceolated in shape to conserve water. Meaning the leaves are larger in the Northern Hemisphere;

“Why do the leaves of eucalyptus typically have a grey-green colour? The reason is not driven by the plants themselves, but rather the environment they live in. The primary role of a leaf is to capture enough sunlight to allow the plant to photosynthesis. Here in Australia, our bright, sunny skies provide ample sunlight that is higher in ultraviolet radiation than in most parts of the world. This means that most trees are easily able to meet their requirements for intercepting enough energy from the sun, and in fact, they are in danger of being damaged by too much heat and solar radiation. Under these conditions, it becomes advantageous to deflect some of the sunlight that hits the leaf surface. The grey colour of the leaves, formed by a waxy layer called the cuticle, does just that. By preventing the leaf from overheating, the cuticle reduces the amount of water that the leaf loses to the environment.”

Many bushcraft techniques just don’t work the same in Australia like they do for our US and UK bushcraft brethren. The leaves here are combustible from the oils, there are less of them on the trees, smaller shape and shed at a slower rate. The smaller leaves don’t repel water as well and require 20 times more effort to collect enough. There is not the same amount of leaf litter as say there is on a beech Forrest floor.

The methodology for each country or more precisely geographical region must change according to the landscape by looking at what indigenous communities did to make shelters. In Australia the Gunyah Hut was a more common shelter than a lean-to for example.

The Methodology therefore changes according to the landscape! The hardest part of building a shelter is the gathering of materials. Many local indigenous therefore always returned to the same shelter site where even if a structure had fallen down the materials were still available to rebuild the original structure. Expenditure of energy!

“Learning from the traditional custodians, they don’t really use leaves for sheltercraft. One of the most common things used was the bark from a paperbark tree. Probably the single most useful tree in Australia from a bushcraft point of view. The idea of using leaves for shelter is a real northern bushcraft idea just doesn’t translate well down here”. AA

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Leaf_morphology.svg

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossary_of_leaf_morphology

Knots – There’s No Right Way

There’s no right way just that which works and which doesn’t. If you cant remember a knot or cant do a knot, tie many is the saying. A mate called me up asking about the which 5 knots question and the conversation turned into how to teach knots to someone. This has plagued me for some time.

The hardest part would be the applications and having ready made projects available to manufacture the knots around. I think the easiest way would be to divide up the knots into sections as I did in the Bush Knots Master Course posts and Ive found the best way to remember is to make something with them not just have a piece of cordage in front of you.

Remembering you can fudge something with multiple granny knots, there is no right way. However there are better ways of doing a thing. The classic Bowline is a good example of this. As in the last post there are 18 variations or more of this knot. KISS Keep It Simple Stupid, pick the version that is easiest to do and remember under stress. I like doubles for strength and incorporate a locking feature. The double Bowline with a Scotts Lock is what I would choose to use. However to show that you first need to teach the basic Bowline knot.

Since doing the original Bush knots series linked below I have found multiple ways of tying a tautline hitch including the Midshipmans Hitch. None are wrong but I would show all of them and say which is easiest to remember.

I could quite easily do half a day on fishing knots and take someone out fishing and tying rigs, or knots for tying down loads on a trailer would be another half day. climbing knots,etc.

Setting up a tarp takes 5 different knots alone but to show a student do you teach to a certain level and describe easy knots or more advanced versions? On one course I participated on trying to show a Siberian hitch was over most of the students heads and the knots had to be dumbed down to suit the students ability. Velcro being the underlying problem.

I may have a student that says their not into fishing and wont require those knots. However a Surgeons knot can also be used for tying shoelaces so they don’t come undone and the trilene for attaching guy-lines to the corner of a tarp eyelet.

When I was learning to operate heavy vehicles we spent a good half day learning to secure a load with ropes. Nowadays its all strapping.However they had to teach to a certain level to avoid loosing a load on a heavy vehicle. I would like to teach to that same level.Even if it just for securing a load on a backyarders 6×4 trailer.

Only 5 knots

Bush Knots Master Class

Part 1 Intro

Part 2 Applications Lashings

Part 3 Fishing

Part 4 Mechanical

Part 5 Hitches

Part 6 Knots

Bowline Variations

The reason I’m so hung up on knot variations is that there are just so much better ways of trying knots than the standard versions.

Yosemite Bowline (Yosemite Finish) Water Bowline Round-Turn Bowline (Double Bowline) Bowline In A Bight (Not at the end of a line) Twin Bowline (Bowline Bend).

I wouldn’t use all of these, however I definitely prefer the Yosemite and Double bowline over using the standard form. I tend to prefer double knots when they are available. The bowline in a bite is much stronger for climbing work. The twin bowline or bowline bend is what I use for attaching to either side of a bearing block to incorporate the bearing into a hand drill. The extra loop is much easier on the thumbs.

Why to improve a bowline.

Scott’s Locked bowline an alternative to the Yosemite ?

Remembering the easier the knot to tie, the easier to remember under stress.

Just to be a pain here are 18 bowline variations

Joining Two Ropes Together – The Reever


I generally only use the surgeons loop, figure 8 bend, fisherman’s, and sheet bend usually doubles for bushcraft when joining two pieces of cordage toether. However I came across the reever knot that was more like a braid, which interested me. Ill be testing out this knot and where I can find an application for it that the others wont fit in.

You may be seeing a lot more on knots in the following posts. I lost my interest in bushcraft for a little while after a rather arduous trek, all of two kilometers of it and thought if my knee stays this damaged whats the use of trying to get back in the field. Then something snapped in me and I started pushing myself even harder than I was before. So screw it! I’ll be focusing on projects that are easier for me to manage for the blog in the meantime. In between working on the carpentry for the van and rehab.

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