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Making Willow Bark Cordage

Source: http://buzzardbushcraft.blogspot.com/

We thought we would make some more willow cordage, it’s that time of year again when the sap is up and the bark is easy to peel, so it’s the best time to make it for the little projects we will be doing over the winter months.

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First thing to do is cut some willow poles, it’s best to get them as straight and smooth as possible, lots of knots and branches cause a lot of hassle when taking of the bark.

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At this time of year it easy to peel the bark, cut a line down the pole with the tip of your knife, then using your thumbs, peel the bark from the poles

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or you can bend the bark backwards and pull it down the pole, either works well..

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once peeled, score a line across the middle of the bark with the tip of  your knife, don’t cut too deeply or you will cut all the inner fibers you are trying to remove, it’s a score not a cut!

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You can simply bend the bark till it cracks and peel it that way but it’s not as easy and the outer bark doesn’t peel as easily this way. Simply use your hands and bend the bark backwards as you strip the inner fibers, try to work around any knots and make sure you don’t end up with any outer bark on your fibers as this will make the end result brittle and difficult to twist.

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Once peeled you will end up with a pile of inner fibers, but if you simply dry them now, when twisted into cordage they can become brittle, but if the task you’re undertaking doesn’t need a lot of strength from the cordage then you can simply use it now.

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better quality cordage can be made from boiling the fibers in a lye solution, put the ashes in soft water and add the bark, don’t make the solution too strong or it will destroy your fibers, so will boiling it for too long, adapt the strength and time to the amount of fibers you are preparing.

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you will notice that the fibers soon start to turn a red colour, once that happens you are nearly done

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take them out and dry them. Once dry you can split them up into finer fibers and then moisten them to make your cordage the same way you would with any natural fiber.

Here you can see the difference between the prepped fibers and the unprepped stripped fibers, willow bark makes a very decent quality cord and preparing it like this is certainly quicker than retting lime bark!

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15,000 Year Old Technology can Save Your Life – Bow and Arrow

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Bow and Arrow have been the weapon of choice for the better part of 15,000 years until the invention of modern firearms.  There are many reasons bow and arrow should be part of your survival plan.  Here’s a list of reasons you should not only incorporate one in your bug out supplies, but also practice using this tried and true ancient but very effective technology.

Portability:

Bow and Arrows are portable and light.  Take down bows are best suited for travel with out taking up much room.  “Take-down” simply means that the bow comes apart in three pieces: the middle grip section and the two limbs. It is simple to take down – just the twist of a couple lug screws. The fact that it comes apart makes it very portable. You can stash the bow in your pack or Bug Out Bag. It’s perfect for a Bug Out Vehicle or BOL (Bug Out Location) cache as well. And importantly it is very light weight so packing a bow in if on foot is easily accomplished.

There are many types of bows, but they all use the same method of launching a projectile faster than otherwise possible with human strength alone.

Common types of bow include

  • Recurve bow: a bow with the tips curving away from the archer. The curves straighten out as the bow is drawn and the return of the tip to its curved state after release of the arrow adds extra velocity to the arrow.
  • Reflex bow: a bow whose entire limbs curve away from the archer when unstrung. The curves are opposite to the direction in which the bow flexes while drawn.
  • Self bow: a bow made from one piece of wood.
  • Longbow: a self bow with limbs rounded in cross-section, about the same height as the archer so as to allow a full draw, usually over 5 feet (1.5 metres) long. The traditional European longbow was usually made of yewwood, but other woods are also used.
  • Flatbow: the limbs are approximately rectangular in cross-section. This was traditional in many Native American societies and was found to be the most efficient shape for bow limbs by American engineers in the 20th century.
  • Composite bow: a bow made of more than one material.
  • Takedown bow: a bow that can be demounted for transportation, usually consisting of 3 parts: 2 limbs and a Riser.
  • Compound: a bow with mechanical aids to help with drawing the bowstring. Usually, these aids are pulleys at the tips of the limbs.

Arrows:

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An arrow usually consists of a shaft with an arrowhead attached to the front end, with fletchings and a nock at the other. Modern arrows are usually made from carbon fibre, aluminum, fiberglass, and wood shafts. Carbon shafts have the advantage that they do not bend or warp, but they can often be too light weight to shoot from some bows and are expensive. Aluminum shafts are less expensive than carbon shafts, but they can bend and warp from use. Wood shafts are the least expensive option but often will not be identical in weight and size to each other and break more often than the other types of shafts.

Source Wikipedia

Affordable

A good pretty good bow should only cost you a couple hundred bucks and if you take care of it, you can expect it to last your lifetime. Not only is the bow itself affordable, but the ammunition (arrows) are cost effective too. Once you hone your shooting skills, you should be able to retrieve your arrows after shooting and reuse them over and over again. With a little practice, you can also easily make your own arrows using wooden dowels or even natural-found wood and plant shafts.

Versatility

Modern technology of arrows have come a long way. Carbon fiber arrows are ultra lightweight and have a tip that accepts different screw-in arrow tips for hunting everything with small game stunner tips, broad-head razor large game tips, standard practice tips, hook tips and line for bow fishing and even batman style grappling hooks. You can hunt anything from squirrel to deer using a bow with various arrow tips. A large selection of arrow tips can be easily stored and doesn’t take up much room.  Of course there is always flint knapping so that if there was ever a need to make my own arrow points.  With practice you can do it.

Paperwork

Legal limitations and laws are much more lax on the bow and arrow than they are with guns and bullets. You don’t have to mess with paperwork and permits, even though, in the right hands the bow and arrow is equally deadly. The less you have to deal with this stuff the better.

Silent and Deadly

The bow and arrow is a very quiet weapon. You never know when you might need the convenience of a weapon that is nearly completely silent as well as deadly.

Many Uses

Bows and parts of bows can have multiple uses.  The first and most obvious multi-use piece is the bow string. Bow strings range in length from 4 feet to 6 feet and are incredibly strong. You could use a bow string in a variety of ways:

  • Bow drill for fire
  • To build a snare for trapping
  • Emergency Cordage for shelter or tiedown
  • A sling or tourniquet
  • Trotline fishing

If you are packing a bow then you are probably packing a few arrows as well. Arrows can be used as spears and gigs for small game and fish. They can also be lashed to a longer shaft and used as a larger spear for big game such as wild pig. This larger spear can be used in self defense as well. Imagine a spear with three arrows lashed to the end and each of the arrows with a razor broad-head on the tip – you can’t even buy a spear that effective.

Some Negatives

Bow and arrow require skill to use.  It’s not like a point and shoot weapon.  So if you do invest in a bow for packing or survival purposes, so yourself a favor and practice.  There are some guides for bow hunting in our library  to help out with techniques.  It is also a weapon that carries a certain amount of respect. Ninety-nine percent of being able to effectively use the weapon is the skill itself – not the equipment. The skill will always be with you.

Plan, Prepare, Protect yourself and your family.

We would love to hear any ideas you have on the multi-uses a bow and arrow would provide.

http://www.shtfandgo.com/

 

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8 Most Important Bush Crafting Skills

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1:  Shelter

Shelter is an important aspect of every outdoor venture or survival situation.  Your first layer of shelter is the clothing on your back, this provides you just enough to stay warm and dry for short periods of time. Your second layer of shelter is a stationary structure whether it is a small tent or a full blown log cabin. Knowing how to either aquire or make shelter for you and your family in an emergency is an important skill.

Take shelter in your vehicle if travelling to your family designated meet zone or safe zone.  If SHTF it’s best to stay away from urban areas and park or set camp off  main roads away from view.  Back country roads and crop fields may provide the seclusion needed to avoid possible unwanted human contact.  If you’re on foot or traveling with a small group, try to set camp near a secluded water source.

2:  Water is Life.

You will need water.  The rule is 1 gallon per person per day in warm climates.  You and your family can survive on less, but it’s always best to have reserves.  You have many options once you find a source of water to treat the water to insure it’s safety and avoid health concerns.  If you know the water source is clean such as a well or city storage then it would be safe to assume it is drinkable.  If your only option is open water sources, you need to treat the water as unclean until treated.

Safe water treatment options.

Boil water after you have filtered out the large debri.  Boiling water will kill any bacteria or protozoa and male the water safer to drink, but will not remove heavy metals or smells.  After boiling let the water stand before consuming.

Add 4 drops of bleach per gallon of water and let stand for half an hour stirring occasionally.  Then consume. This also will kill bacteria and viruses but not address heavy metals.

Mechanical filtering and carbon filtering will remove all bacteria and viruses.  Mechanically treated water can also remove heavy metals, smells and radiation.  See SHTFandGO.COM for their line of mechanical filtering systems.

3:  Carry a Blade

A blade, machete, hatchet, axe or some other cutting tool is the most important tool to the Bushcrafter. It is as important as the sword to knight.  A good Bushcraft blade is sturdy and light and is made from the highest quality materials with the tang running the full length of the knife.  With appropriate use, the Bushcrafter can use this blade to give or take life.  A Survival Knife is just that, survival.  One can clean animals for consumption and make tools for hunting and trapping.

4:  Fire

The ability to make fire under almost any condition is essential part of Bushcraft survival.  Without Fire modern man is nothing more than a wild animal.   There are many techniques to building a fire; a fire drill, smoldering plants and trees, sunlight, striking rock that contains iron such as flint,  and of course matches, lighters, and modern fire starting tools.  Firecraft in the ability to create, control, and use fire to aid in one’s survival.  Another critical skill in Bushcraft is the ability to transport fire, usually by carrying a burning coal around in some type of dry sage grass to keep it smoldering.

5:  Rope, Cordage and Knots

The ability to tie or join two or more pieces of natural or man made material is a vital skill for survival.  By joining two or more pieces together, you not only increase the strength of the material but also the usability as shelter, a raft, a weapon or a sled.  Fishing and trapping are important survival skills and without the ability to tie knots and obtain or create cordage.

6:  Hunting and Trapping

Protien and fats are important to sustain nutrition.  Hunting and trapping is the pursuit of animals and fish for food.  A mastery of many elements in Bushcraft including tracking and ropecraft lead to the ability to hunt for food by use of traps, nets and snares or weapons that stab and cut.  The ability to capture and kill animals for food is a essential skill necessary to live in the wild. Once food has be caught and or procured, food storage and treatment is also a skill necessary to store enough food to last harsh winters.

7:  Tracking

Tracking animals and humans is an important part of Bushcraft survival.  Tracks made by humans and animals on the ground, when read correctly, show a pattern of the habits of the animal or human.  Once you establish this pattern, you will have the ability to continuously and carefully observe the animal’s movements and patterns.  It is important to recognize that animals you find in the forest are as much creatures of habit as human beings.  A particular animal you are stalking will follow the same path to and from water each day or to and from a food source.  It will hunt and forage in the same area and only leave when it is driven out by an outside force, predator, fire, flood or drought.  This pattern forming characteristic of all animals makes it possible for the experienced bushcrafter to predict the animal’s movements, and so he selects the sites for his traps, snares or ambush.

8:  Foraging

If you are just travelling from an emergency hot spot to your safe zone or to meet family, emergency food stores or food rations will be you best saurce of nutrition while you’re on the go. Once you are settled at a camp or in wild yoi’ll need a source of food.

Have you ever looked at a wild plant or bush, and wondered if you could eat it?  For the Bushcrafter, foraging is very important element to survival.  All hunters and fisherman know that if it was easy, they would not call it hunting and fishing, they would call it catching.  Being able to identify and eat plants without getting sick can make the difference between surviving and not surviving.