I have been using Gransfors axes for many years now and there’s no doubting the quality of what you get. Hand forged in Sweden by blacksmiths of great experience they are tools to use, cherish and pass on. What comes out of the box however, may be a little different from the nurtured and well-worn implements that you will see put to work by our instructors.
From time to time people comment that the helve on the axe that they have just bought doesn’t display the patina that they may have seen on other axes and this is true. Gransfors make strong working tools that are good to put to their intended task from day one but it takes time for your axe to pick up the distinctive marks and wear that make it your own.
The Woodlore team got the opportunity to hone some essential skills earlier this week as part of the field staff’s annual training. At the top of the list was a renewal of our essential 1st aid skills which will ensure that we are prepared for anything that the season can throw at us and more importantly, be better informed and able to prevent situations reaching the point where intervention is required.
We have recently been sent the following, lovely post, from long-term Woodlorean Bosco Li. Bosco has successfully tried his hand at making a pair of beautiful Sami shoe bands, after seeing them on his Arctic Experience Expedition with Woodlore:
I remember hazy childhood days when we had the luxury of daydreaming about the world and pondering fanciful thoughts. I recall one such recurring whimsy being whether I’d prefer living in the freezing cold or the sweltering heat if I were forced to choose. I’d mull over the pros and cons endlessly, until I concluded the answer would simply be whichever one I was more adept at thriving in! To that end, many years later I booked and was fortunate enough to learn about arctic survival with the Woodlore School of Wilderness Bushcraft.
It has never been so busy in the Woodlore Leather Workshop. Becky, our resident leather worker has been beavering away recently making numerous products, including sheaths for the new Ray Mears Bushcraft Knife and the new Ray Mears Leather Strops. Becky has also been engrossed in building up stocks of our very popular products in readiness for the upcoming Christmas rush. During this busy time Becky thought that it would be nice to give you a little insight into the ‘goings on’ in our leather workshop:
I love to see a batch of finished work but Keith has worked some camera magic here – the lighting has really brought out the lovely variety of colours and natural markings in the leather.
In July this year we were joined by Woodlorean Tim Kershaw who attended his first Woodlore course in 1997. Tim kindly sent us some words about his experience 20 years on:
James Smith attended his first course, the Fundamental Bushcraft, with us in April this year and caught the ‘bushcraft bug’. Here is a short review from James after completion of his second course, the Carving Master Class with Ray Mears, which he booked very shortly after returning home from the Fundamental Bushcraft course:
As anyone reading this may appreciate, completing the Woodlore Fundamental Bushcraft course can leave you with severe withdrawal symptoms! This was certainly true for myself. So before I’d even unpacked all my gear I jumped at the chance to attend a Carving Masterclass with Ray Mears.
Many aspects of bushcraft require patience and observation: carving is no exception. As students we were encouraged to take our time, deal with problems early on (‘a philosophy for life’) and also factor in some breaks. After all, tiredness and very sharp tools do not mix well…
Throughout the course Ray and his assistants were constantly on hand to offer advice and guidance, all within easy reach of the campfire kettle. Slowly but surely we turned humble pieces of birch into spoons.
Spoons?! On the surface it can seem like no big deal. But there are many valuable skills and procedures involved in the creation of even the most utilitarian of objects – skills that we are increasingly losing touch with. If you want to gain a new appreciation of simple, everyday objects, try making some of them!
Now, I just need to befriend a tree surgeon…
– James Smith