Friday, 22 January 2010

Rough Close Bushcraft Meet - Jan 2010

Organised on Bushcraftuk forum, this was my second meet with BCUK members. Meeting up with fellow bushcrafters (Jimbo+ his Bro) we turned up on Saturday morning (after the rain had stopped from the previous night!)
Time to un-wrap my x-mas presents, a new 2010 DD frontline hammock, double base layered with fly net! Sweet sleeping ahead!
All set up! Tarp-Hammock-AFrame.. What i love about the new setup is how neat and tidy you can keep your pitch, specially when you make an A-frame for your bag! As Jimbo noted, when you have a ground dwelling tarp setup, it tends to end up like a messy boys bedroom with bits all over the place! Easier to pack away when time to leave!
There are some definite modifications needed to the hammock after spending the night in it. Being a wet and cold weekend, I found a few problems. 1st, the webbing soaks like a sponge from tree water, and even a drip cord attached doesn't help much, so a new looped system with carabiners is a must for the next excertion. 2nd, my thermarest mat slipped in the night and ended up at my side, the cold ended up getting through to my shoulder and froze! So a modification with some velcro to hold it in place, and a possible under-blanket/quilt required! I may make one, or purchase, not sure yet! (and a packet of Deepheat to apply just in case for the morning!) Instead of a thermarest, ive seen two thick bin bags used, full of leaf litter, published on youtube by the Silverfox. Lighter to cary than a thermarest, but could be a problem drying the litter out with all that wet weather!
My A-Frame set-up! (cheers Wayland for the idea!) Keeps the bag nice and dry without having to get out a ground sheet!
A spacer stick through the five loops helps pushout the fly net to give extra headroom when inside!
The All New 'Fire Crane' Grill Cooking System
The all new (prototype!) 'Fire Crane' Grill Cooking System.. or as we discussed (Jimbo + Bro) around the fire late Saturday night, the 'Camping Cooking Crane', or the 'Bushcraft Grill Cooker', or the 'Bushcrafter Culinary Camping Cooking Crane System'???
Now the way it works is.. hovering like a crane funny enough, over the open fire. The main benefit over a standard grill on legs is its adjustable height over an open fire.
The Two loops for adjusting the height attached to an upside-down 'V' stake.
With a two loop system at the end of the wire cord, (soon to be more loops for finer tuning heights!) the steel wire cord can easily be pulled, and secured on a different loop to raise or lower the height over the heat! Because as bushcrafter know, when you add more fuel, the flame height rises, and when the flame hits your food or tins, this is when you get blackening and over cooked food! (Badly Burnt Sausages!!)
Well first impressions.. cooked my sausages like a dream in a shallow dish!
The picture (4 above) showed a 'long pole over reach system' used, but Jimbo sujested another use of poles, where there supporting hazle rods created a frame directly over the fire! (above pic) Both setups were perfect for the 'Crane', but this setup was less obstructive to walk around, and has better potential for other uses, like hanging things from like further pots, gloves or clothes to dry off on! The whole system with both methods can easily be picked up and lifted off the fire, and placed to one side, removing the entire grill off the heat. I think this method is the future of the 'Crane' system. (this method still uses the same 'V' stake to tie it off(out of sight right-hand-side of image))
Even my Lancashire hotpot in a plastic handled pot came out perfect! Now I mention plastic handle for a reason, because as you know, plastic melts! But as the 'Crane' proved, you can even balance reasonable object off from centre out of direct heat, the 'Crane' still holds, without tipping or sliding!
The design 'IS' for single items only though, and I wouldn't recommend heavy items too close to the edge! Being on a single suspension, it is prone to off balance with item off centre. But saying that, as our test showed, there is quite a bit of manoeuvre. (but as it is only a prototype and not on the market, I don't have to waste time on disclaimers.. yet!!)
Jason (Jimbo's guest) also found it can take quite some bashing, with the 'Crane' being bashed a few times hard, with a 4inch sway, and still the pot held its position!
Time to see if it toasts well?..
Perfect toast!
Now you might be saying..'well its just a rack.. with some wire!'
But apart from solving the problem of being an adjustable open fire cooker, the whole point of the project is to make it a minimal Bushcraft item of kit for the bag!
Here it is at the moment, all wrapped up! (I'm working on the wire idea as its a bit messy! and OTT!)
The main idea apart from adjustable heat over an open fire, is 'small and compact' (lightweight bushcrafters might have to wait, this is 'drawn steel', not titanium.. yet! ill have weights on a latter blog!)
.. all the steel rods for the grill, slide and fit inside the side tubes..
well.. all but two cross rods and the threaded nut rods.. and the chains and steel cord!.. There is a reason for some of this 'none compact wastage!' (the extra rods outside of the tubes) I have more to do.. the complete system will be four tubes.. I've to include two more tubes. These extra two tubes will be cut in half (creating four small tubes) for a legged grill system. (Simple grill on legs!) Thus the loose rods above will be contained inside tubes!
A simple legged grill system will be a further benefit to the original 'Crane' system, making it multifunctional.. But further to that, the 'Crane' system, can be turned into a 'Raised Box Crane' system! .. Confused?.. well..
The supporting legs can be upturned 180 degrees, to raise the corner chains, and allow better access to the 'Crane grill' creating a 'Box Crane Grill'.. sounds confusing, but the ideas are in my head and will be shown in a future blog when 'MK II comes out'.. creating a system which will comprise of just four tubes to carry, and chains! Allowing for a..
'Crane System'
Standard 'Leg Grill'
and a 'Crane Box Grill'!! (p.s hope you noticed the extra loop in the photo!.. might add more!)
The grill with leg supports in the making!
On a different note, the only other DIY thing I've done for this meet, is spray my lantern luminous orange.. so its more visible in the dark!

Rough Close Bushcraft Meet - Sep 09

Organised on Bushcraftuk forum, this was my first meet with BCUK members. Meeting up with fellow bushcrafters (Jimbo + his Bro) for the two day meet, we had a fantastic time, and settled in very quickly amongst the trees and other Bush type people! Highly recommended for anyone trying to introduce themselves into a new group, everyone was friendly and full of helpful tips and advice along with general chit-chat! The car park is a reasonable distance, so if your not too keen on running with ultra-light packs, and want to take those extras for tinkering with, Rough close is perfect! It also has very clean and very warm toilet/shower blocks situated an a beautiful log cabin!
A basic set-up for the first meet of two tarps ground dwelling, (one small, and another 3x3 DD tarp) All three of us managed to get under the 3x3 (for extra warmth for those cold morning hours!.. Honest!) I ended up being spooned by my close friend Jimbo, as I found my 3 seasons Marmot sleeping bag was not warm enough, even for mid September! A rethink required!
First one up, better get a brew going for some morning warmth. Even though we had a small imprint fire the previous night, there was still some small embers at the bottom of the ash which I found, and managed to re-kindle to heat some water.. for the sleepy heads when they woke up!
One of the many things to explore in the woods of Rough Close.. a wooden carved mushroom! And as we found (Wolfcrafter and Jimbo Bro) mushroom season had already started!
In the middle of the night we were invited to join the 'Gin-Gan-Gooley' Scout sing-a-long in there amphitheatre fire pit! Great for the kids and those with a fluffy mind set!
Some time for Whittling!.. no seriously, these were brought with us to admire, (there's not that much time at the meet!!) Jimbo made the elegant straight staff with the leather cord and small man face.. I whittled the completely over the top dragon staff.. which has no practical use, other than testing my skills at carving ash wood!
A very primitive try at trying to figure out how the primitives attached flint axe heads to handles!.. Hmm! might have to do some more history reading on this one!