What is Bushcraft, and what does it mean to you?
For me, what I always deemed to be “Bushcraft” was “d***ing around in the woods with my friends having a fire, cooking some food over said fire and drinking some beer.”
The past few years, however, have really opened my eyes to a whole new, and undiscovered, country.
If you haven’t already read the first instalment of my Musings, please feel free to read it now, before returning to this second instalment.
There are people – such as myself – who like a tent, Therm-A-Rest [inflating mat], running water and a shower. Then there are those who rough it completely. Oh and the preppers, don’t forget the preppers [kidding].
Regardless, one thing is true about all of us: we’re all having a great time of it
For myself, I grew up in Scouting, Cubs, through to Venture Scouts; so I did actually learn one hell of a lot over the years. A lot of that knowledge was, not lost, merely put aside for a long time. I was more at home with my pre-packed foods and a gas stove, wandering about with my lightweight tent and down sleeping bag.
Since starting making blades, however, I have begun to re-find my skills. I’ve even bought a hammock, though I’m still not entirely sure about it.
Much of this is down to wanting to re-connect with my knowledge, and being able to pass it to my son whom has started to express a real interest in the outdoors.
His interest is probably mostly for the fire and knives, to be honest, but I’m happy to show him.
Some of it is necessity; such as knowing what my blades are likely to be put through. Regardless, it has opened my eyes to what is now a massive area of the outdoor market, with many, many different groups for whom to be catered.
So how do I go about making tools for such a diverse set of people?
It’s actually quite tricky.
Not only am I making tools for the Bushcraft (I’m now using that as a whole term) market, but also for the collectors, “glampers,” the “weekend warriors,” the shooters and fishers, and anyone that appreciates some very sharp steel and/or nice leather work.
Research is the key, and also my personal downfall.
Being a somewhat obsessive person – I do believe the boss would be happier if I was obsessive about tidying my s*** up – I like to research something until I am absolutely sure what I’m doing is the best way forward.
This research can take a couple of days, or a couple of weeks; the only issue for me is that I don’t sleep, and I mean at all.
Everything else kind of takes a back seat in my head.
Unfortunately, I believe this to be a side-effect of the depression. The need to make sure I don’t balls up is so strong that it kind of overrides everything.
So once the research is done and dusted, I can go about making my design choices.
Now, there are really only so many different designs for a knife out there: pointy one end, sharp on the bottom (other knives are sharp on the top, too, but they’re really not in my remit) and a comfy handle.
Where the diversity comes in is how you feel that the knife will be used, and what you feel makes it good.
There are many people who make copies of other great Bushcraft blades, others like to make bowies, folders etc.
For me, it’s a more classic looking blade.
Some have even said that a couple of mine look like kitchen knives (well, I did work in catering for 10 years) but they are my designs.
Each one has been thought about (a lot) for different demands of the outdoors.
I have blades that are suited to general Bushcrafting and hunting, some for small tasks and small game, skinners, choppers, and a couple that are being developed for specific deer hunting tasks.
I have designed and made axes, parangs and chefs’ knives.
Each and every one of my designs can be customised to your specifications; whether that is your choice of steel, scale material, or sheath type.
I believe that is a key point: the ability of the customer to make a standard blade design their own.
Custom blades are a whole different ball game… some people (yes, Mr Editor, I am looking at you) can be quite specific in their requests.
At the end of the day, you’ll never please everyone.
All you can do is what you think is the best.
Tim is referring to the very specific design I had in mind for my own custom knives, as produced by Tim himself.
My design was as peculiar as it was challenging to produce.
There are so many different people that enjoy the outdoors as their playground, and they all want something different in design and usage.
The world would be much duller (a lot more peaceful and quieter, but far, far duller) if we were all the same.
If there is anything you would like me to ramble on about, please let me know.
I may or may not necessarily know what I am talking about, but I can usually find something to say.