Category Archives: Customer Posts

A Woodlorean’s Birch Bark Canoe

The following post was kindly written by Woodlore customer Tim Farrington, seen below in his finished birch bark canoe: Tim Farrington's birch bark canoe

Having first seen Aaron York’s Abenaki canoe in Ray Mears’ book Bushcraft, and then watching the César’s Bark Canoe documentary on the National Film Board of Canada’s website, I was eager to find out more about these amazing crafts.

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Bergans Lavvo 4-6 Person Tent Review

The following review is easily the toughest test we’ve seen of one of our favourite group shelters, the Bergans Lavvo Tent. Pitched in the vast wilderness of the Cairngorm mountain range in the midst of Hurricane Bertha, the Lavvo became a welcome shelter for Julian and his team at Cairngorm Wilderness Contracts, a company dedicated to maintaining safe access routes throughout the mountains and wilderness areas of the UK.

The team's Lavvo Tent, pitched on Cairn Gorm Mountain

The team’s Lavvo Tent, pitched on Cairn Gorm Mountain

Hi there Woodlore team,

Firstly, a huge thanks to you all for a top notch service once again. We order quite a lot of gear online for our company and for our own personal use, and yours is by far the best service we have ever had; consistently good and very fast, thank you.

Our latest purchase was of a Bergans Lavvo 4/6 Person Tent – fantastic price and a great bit of kit. As a company that specialises in hand-building mountain paths, mainly in the Cairngorm Mountains Range, we are out there in all of the worst weather that comes with working on the highest area of land in the UK!

The Bergans Lavvo could not have arrived at a more opportune moment; the day after receiving it, the tail end of Hurricane Bertha hit, and boy did it hit! Torrential rain and very high winds with gusts of around 80+ mph and a pretty cold wind chill, gave us and the tent a stern test… Continue reading

Richard Spencer Shares his Finished Knife Handles

It’s been a while since we shared any of your creations, so we thought we’d come back with a bang. Australian customer Richard Spencer displays not one, but two of his knife handles, made using the classic Hand Forged Knife Blade:

Dear Team,

What’s better than one of Julius Pettersson‘s blades? More than one! I am very lucky to have two of them:

A fine-looking pair of hand-finished knives

A fine-looking pair of hand-finished knives

The lower blade is set in the traditional way, with antler segments separated by some oiled birch in the middle and the tang hammered at the end. This was great fun, but it is possible to avoid all the filing and drilling – start haunting second-hand market stalls…

I found the top handle in a car boot sale. The blade to which it belonged had rusted very badly and it took almost no effort to remove the old corroded loose tang and so rescue the horn, alloy and some of the leather segments.

There’s a section of epoxy putty behind the guard to get the spacing right and there was a very large hole in the horn handle, so the Pettersson tang had to be set in epoxy, but it is rock solid. The nicest thing being that the old handle has been given new purpose.

Very best wishes to all of you!

Richard Spencer,

Northam, Western Australia

First Course of the Woodlore UK Season

The first of the Woodlore UK courses took place over the Easter bank holiday weekend.  Here is some feedback from client Stuart Mason after he attended the Woodlore Introduction to Bushcraft course:

I got back today from my Introduction to Bushcraft course, taught by Keith and Mark.

I wanted to say how much I enjoyed the course, how much I learned, and home much stuff I thought I know that I unlearned! The pace and content of the course was ideal, and I have nothing but praise for the skills, patience and friendliness of both Keith and Mark.

Shelters on the Woodlore Introduction to Bushcraft course

Client shelters on the Introduction to Bushcraft course

In terms of expectations, the washing facilities were rather tough – but then I guess you don’t yet have the mastery over the weather!! Ice cold water (with ice crystals!) in a bowl.

The packing list was very useful, and I came more prepared than required, which is far more preferable to the alternative. So, I’ll be looking at the other courses available, and will now be trying to persuade a few friends to try it too.

Stuart Mason

Chris Lucas’ Julius Pettersson Knife

Here’s another fantastic knife from one of our customers; we particularly like the compass detail on the butt of the handle:

Dear Woodlore,

Around a year ago I purchased a Julius Pettersson Knife from you. What a fantastic blade. As a chef I use quality carbon steel knives every day, and this is certainly a great blade. I waited so long to find the right materials in which to make the handle. I was able to obtain from a friend a nice burl piece of Tasmanian myrtle beech wood for the handle, along with pieces of fake ivory for the ends and spacers.

Chris' finished knife

Chris’ finished knife

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Greetings from Alaska!

It’s always a pleasure to hear from our customers around the world, especially when they’re in the thick of it and putting their kit and clothing to the test. So it was great to receive the following message this week, courtesy of Kristian from Denmark:

Dear Woodlore,

It is now 4 years that I have been using my Swazi/Ray Mears Tahr Anorak. I’m here in Alaska, and recently I’ve been on an expedition on Kodiak Island, crossing the island on foot. And I pretty much live in the jacket every day. I’m writing this just for you, because I am a happy customer 🙂

Here is a picture of me and the Swazi in the Kodiak wilderness:


Kristian in his Swazi Tahr Anorak, on Kodiak Island

Kristian in his Swazi Tahr Anorak, on Kodiak Island


Next stop – to cross New Zealand on foot in October, with only flour, rice, water, a rifle, knife and, of course, my Swazi Tahr Anorak.

Thanks again, sincerely and big smile,

Kristian Jersing

Steve Watts’ Julius Pettersson Knife

The following post was kindly supplied by Woodlore customer Steve Watts, who created his own handle for the Julius Pettersson Knife Blade:

Hello to all my fellow scar collectors,

Here’s my meagre attempt at doing this blade justice. I caught the knife handle-making bug from one of those birch and antler kits – wow was I chuffed with the result… at the time! Now I see the tiny misbalance and subtle vulgarity of my naivety. Damnit, and I was so happy too. Many knives later, I’m kidding myself I can do the truly beautiful Julius Pettersson blade. I nearly cried when I first saw it in my hand (great delivery service by the way)…

Steve Watts' Julius Pettersson Knife

Steve Watts’ Julius Pettersson Knife

I am afraid that I did the deceptive Brass and Linseeded Hickory. I was tempted to crudely mark my name into the wood like on all of grandfather’s tools that I used to make it. I am sad I won’t see how it looks in 50 years, I think the ol’ fart woulda liked it.

Happy trails everyone,

Steve Watts

David Jack’s Julius Pettersson Knife

The following entry was kindly provided by Woodlore customer David Jack:

Dear Woodlore,

I finished the handle for my Julius Pettersson Knife Blade a couple of weeks ago, and thought I would share the results. I took the knife out for the weekend and it’s a real step up from my Mora Clipper Knife. It’s the traditional Saami design with antler and birch bark spacers, however I used Alder root instead of curly Birch for the wood.

David Jack's Julius Pettersson Knife

David Jack's Julius Pettersson Knife

It was over a year from deciding to make it to completing it, but it was a constant little project I spent my spare time on when I liked, and a really great way of bringing some bushcraft inside (without making too much mess!).

I’ve already started to make my firesteel out of some of the leftover Alder, and recently received my Large Crooked Knife Blade, so I don’t feel lost when I can’t get outside to do bushcraft (although hopefully that won’t happen too much considering what the weather has been like!) .

Many thanks to all the Woodlore team for the inspiration and the usual outstanding service!

David Jack

They Filled up Our Heads to Spare Us Our Backs

Here are some lovely words and pictures from Woodlore student Tom Wilson, who attended the Woodlore Fundamental Bushcraft course on 27th May this year. He felt inspired on the train on his way home to write the following:

A leaf litter shelter built on the Fundamental Bushcraft course

A leaf litter shelter built on the Fundamental Bushcraft course

From the tarps and the shelters we did rise,

With stretches and yawns, our smiles reached to the eyes,

And so one by one we all made our way,

Back to where last night our fire was laid,

Awoken the embers from their ashen bed,

To their breakfast of wood, good, dry, wholesome and dead.

So soon was the kettle put on for a brew,

Talk began on what we were to do,

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Kelvin Wong’s Julius Pettersson Knife

The following post was kindly supplied by Woodlore customer Kelvin Wong, who used the Julius Pettersson Knife Blade to create his own custom Bushcraft knife:

Hi everyone,

I’d thought I’d share some photos of my new Julius Pettersson knife. It is my first attempt at knife handle making and I’d love to hear what you think.

Kelvin Wong's finished knife

Kelvin Wong's finished knife

I used reindeer antler pieces, purple and white liners, and a piece of dyed box elder burl, with nickel silver end cap and bolster. The end piece of antler was a bit small and didn’t polish up as pearly white as the front piece, but I am still quite happy with the results.

Any comments/advice on how to improve would be appreciated!

Kelvin Wong