In this episode, I’ll show you how to make a comfortable bushcrafting chair out of a few sticks and a little string.
Step 1 – Finding suitable wood
For this seat, we need three wooden poles. These must be stable enough to bear the weight of whoever wants to sit on them. When choosing the pieces of wood, you should, as always, make sure that only dead wood is used. In addition to the aspect of not damaging living trees, it also has a convenient background. With fresh wood, you always have to expect that there is still some moisture and resin in the workpiece and leak out in different places over time. In my search, I opted for secluded beech wood. All bars have a diameter of approx. 10cm are dry and sufficiently stable to hold my weight individually. Of course, rotten wood is not advisable.
Step 2 – cutting the workpieces
For the two outer poles, two branches with a length of approx. 1.50 m to 1.80 m are required. With these two bars, it doesn’t matter that they are straight. Here you can also use slightly crooked workpieces. A wooden rod with a length of 1m to 1.50m can be used for the seat itself. This bar can be a little thicker so that the later seating comfort is a little more fabulous.
Step 3 – smoothing the workpieces
After the branches have all been sawn to the correct length, all protruding branches should be removed. In this step, you can remove the branches with a hatchet and any remaining bark remnants. Removing the bark residues ensures that the pieces of wood used can withstand the weather for longer. Not only does moisture collect under the bark, but also insects will quickly find a new home here. When you have now sawn, debarked and smoothed all three pieces of wood, the assembly begins.
Step 4 – frame construction
The frame structure itself consists of two long rods. For this purpose, these are tied together on one side, similar to a tripod. For this, I use a rope made from natural products such as hemp. Of course, you can also use paracord. However, I advise against it if you do not want to dismantle this seat immediately after use. If the bushcrafting seat remains in the forest, I ask you not to use plastic-containing cords. The connection itself is kept quite simple and essentially only consists of a few loops and a final knot.
Step 5 – the seat
After the two long poles have been connected, this frame should be set up once. On the one hand, you can see whether the newly created connection is holding. On the other hand, you can use the third rod to try out where it should be attached. Once you have decided on a position, you can begin to attach the last piece. To do this, we put the frame construction back on the floor. After the piece has been placed on the two legs of the frame structure, both sides can be connected. It would be best if you made sure that the connections are sufficiently stable and resilient, as this is where the highest loads occur.
Step 6 – commissioning
After all, connections have been made; you can set up the construction and try it out right away. The two long poles are leaned against a tree trunk with the upper part. However, the angle to the tree trunk also determines the seat height and stability. And the bushcraft chair is ready. The entire construction should be set up in about 15 minutes after the workpieces have been found. The short construction time makes this project ideal for a shared adventure with children.
When I’m out in the forest, I always enjoy having some tools with me. The backpack is certainly a little heavier, but there are countless possibilities. My son was there again on one of my last tours. At the time I write this blog post (early 2021), he is ten years old. It’s always lovely to see the enthusiasm with which new things are tried. We had set ourselves the goal of building a bank. We had an axe, a saw and a paracord with us as tools. To find a suitable workpiece, forest areas in which there are deciduous trees are suitable. Conifers are usually not very ideal because they contain much resin. Now and then, you will find places where some medium-sized trees such as birch, beech or oak have been fallen due to the last storm, are relocated. Of course, you have to be careful in such places whether the tree trunks are still under tension. We found just such a place, and we immediately started to sift through the wood. Since the logs had fallen for some time, it was safe to move between them.
What should a suitable workpiece look like?
Trunks that do not entirely rest on the ground are best. These pieces are usually dry and have a firm consistency. If you tap the wood with your fingers, you can hear a bright sound. If the sound is dull or if the wood is a bit musty, it is usually not worth sawing out a piece. The length can be chosen freely and is only limited by the total weight you can carry yourself. Depending on the length, the trunk section must, of course, have a suitable thickness in diameter. After all, this piece of wood is supposed to withstand the weight of the people sitting on it. The comfort of the seat is, of course, greater the deeper the seat is. If in doubt, choose a larger diameter. In our case, we have chosen a reasonably short piece of about one meter. The diameter is about 25cm and therefore sufficient for the expected weight.
Sawing the sections
To sit comfortably on the bench, one long side is now removed from the tree trunk piece. The aim is to get a flat surface over the entire width of the beam. So that the stability does not suffer too much, it is advisable not to split the trunk directly in the middle. It is possible to saw off a piece over the entire length, but it is quite a laborious task. I prefer to saw across the workpiece with a saw at intervals of about a hand’s breadth. The cut should be so deep that it corresponds to the portion to be removed.
Manufacture the seat
When the trunk has now been sawed, the tree trunk’s unneeded part can be removed with the axe. It is best to start with a middle segment. I hold the workpiece upright with my left hand and then use the axe with my right hand. By sawing, the pieces come off quite easily. When all segments have now been removed with the axe, the fine work can begin. With the axe or knife, you can now work on the seat as finely as you would like to do it.
Find and saw wood for tripods
The main piece is now finished. Now the pieces of wood are missing with which you can make the two tripods you need. Six sticks of the same length, if possible, with a diameter of about 4 cm or a little more are needed. Of course, you have to take the total weight into account here too. In our case, sticks a little more than 40cm long and about 4cm in diameter were sufficient. Again, dry and stable dead wood from deciduous trees should be used.
Tie a tripod
To tie a tripod out of three sticks, you need a little bit of Paracord. A 2m long piece of string should be sufficient. I am placing the three sticks next to each other so that there is no space between them. The cord is attached to one of the outer sticks in the middle and then wrapped around all sticks. It would be best if you made sure that the bars stay tightly together. Towards the end, you can wrap the end piece between the sticks a few more times. The end of the Paracord should then be knotted tightly. The tripod is now ready and can be set up.
Assemble the bench
Time for the last work step now. Take the first workpiece and place it on the two tripods. After a slight fine adjustment, the bench should be ready.
The high point is to try out the bank and see if everything will hold up. All work steps can be carried out in about 30 minutes and are ideally suited as a small leisure project. Besides, there is, of course, the time to find suitable wood is not included.
Today we’re going to look at how to make a rocket stove with an axe and a saw. The construction does not require any other materials such as wire or the like. This is a variant that can be used to boil water yourself. Even in wet weather, this variant works very well because, with the correct selection of the workpiece, the inner dry wood is used to generate sufficient embers. In this construction, the physical effect is used, in which hot air rises faster than the colder ambient air. This is, among other things, the reason why this variant works better the colder the ambient temperature is.
Search / select wood
The first step is to choose a suitable piece of wood. There are a few things to consider here. Only one tree that has already died should be used for this work. There are several reasons for this. On the one hand, the principle “Leave no trace” applies to me. So, avoid all traces as much as possible. Therefore, damaging or even cutting down trees that are still alive is an absolute NO-GO for me. But there are also purely practical reasons to concentrate mainly on deadwood when searching. Most woods are much better to use as fuel than fresh and, therefore, still damp wood. Exceptions here are woods with a very high proportion of resin. Many conifers are part of it, but birch is also an excellent raw material for a fire. Birch burns very well, even when it is wet. This is also one of the reasons why birch bark is very popular as a tinder material.
(But I’ll show that in more detail in another video)
However, there is one more thing to keep in mind. If you want to use this rocket stove for cooking, you should avoid wood that is too resinous. During the incineration, many particles then settle on the cookware, which then has to be removed with incredible difficulty. So think a little about the work that follows.
Wood that lies on the floor is usually more humid, possibly even slightly rotten. These woods can no longer be used and have a poor calorific value, and are usually the basis of many insects’ lives. It is best if the part of the tree trunk is suspended in the air, i.e. not touching the ground. If you knock on wood, you can already tell from the sound how much moisture is still to be expected in the wood or how strong the decomposition process has already progressed. A bright sound is usually auspicious.
Let’s come to the size that is well suited for this project. I prefer woods that are no more than the length of the palm of my hand. There are several reasons for this. Firstly, these are easier to edit in the following work steps. Second, these sizes can still be easily edited with handy tools. For thicker workpieces, you usually have to provide makeshift tools. (How to split very thick tree trunks with a small axe, which I will describe in detail in another video.)
Saw off wood
It has been shown to me that I prefer to use pieces between 30-50 cm long in terms of length. They have the advantage that they are stable in the fire for a long time, can be quickly processed and do not burn too long. The burning time is sufficient for preparing a meal for up to two people, followed by coffee and warm up a little while the coffee is still being enjoyed. The burning time, however, is heavily dependent on the type of wood used and its quality. For sawing myself, I use a saw on tours that has a relatively long blade. Indeed, shorter saw blades can also be used, but I prefer to carry a few grams more with me and then have more comfort when working on the wood.
Split / split wood
As soon as the workpiece has been found and sawed out, you can start splitting. An old tree stump that can be used as a base is suitable for this. This has the advantage that the work can also be carried out quite quietly. Who would want to reveal their position to all hunters and foresters with loud noises? Stones are only conditionally suitable as a base. Here you have to reckon that the axe hits the stony surface while working with the blade and thus quickly loses its sharpness.
The piece of wood must now be split lengthways into three or four equal parts, if possible. The trunk must be divided along its entire length. It is also crucial that the parts are as thick as possible so that all aspects burn at the same speed later during usage.
Now that we have three or four pieces, the chimney can be carved out. This is done on the inside edge, lifted some chips. The result is a free space in the middle. This achieved that an internal tube is created that can be used as a stove pipe. Ultimately, the point is to enable the hot air to rise in a targeted manner. This makes a draft that will constantly draw in fresh air from below. The chimney effect has already been achieved. When all parts are put back together, you can look through the length of the workpiece once. The work itself does not have to be carried out too carefully. Likewise, not too much material should be removed, as it will only shorten the burning time. A reasonably small opening is enough for a good draft. I use my thumb as a measure of the diameter.
Cut the combustion chamber
There are now different ways to operate the Rocket Stove. I mostly cut a small combustion chamber into the bottom. For this purpose, a notch is engraved on the underside of a side part. For this, you can do the rough preparatory work with the saw by cutting a triangle. Then the opening is worked out a little more with the axe. But you can do that at will. It should just be such that the opening is enough to add fuel. This facilitates lighting during the first few minutes to light a sufficiently large flame.
assembling and installation
A relatively straight base is required to operate the furnace. There the parts are placed next to each other. Most of the solutions I see with others use a piece of wire to hold the pieces together. First of all, you must first have carried such a wire with you and, secondly, the wire must not have been left behind at the place later.
Attach side supports
I use material from the surrounding area to support the parts. A few small branches that are anchored in the ground to hold the side parts are sufficient. And you are done with the construction and can start operating. As it burns down, the small sticks are simply moved along the sides of the fire. You could also sharpen the underside of the individual parts. This means that you can even anchor the stove on the floor. This even saves you the side supports. So, leave the wire at home and use a couple of small sticks.
Collect birch bark
Birch bark is ideal as a tinder material. Usually, there are individual birch trees in many places in the forests, a pioneer plant. Some birches have some areas where the bark has already peeled off. It is better to use dead birch trees. You can then peel off the bark from these trees with a knife or axe. The birch wood can also be used as it contains quite a lot of essential oils, which enables it to ignite when it is moist.
Prepare the tinder
Now we come to the operation of the Rocket Stove. For this, we need tinder to get the flame so big that we can light the wood with it. For this, you can use the bark of the birch to light a flame with a few sparks from a fire steel. Chop up the birch bark a little and place it on top of additional tinder material. Old bark is suitable as a base to get the glowing nest into the combustion chamber. If you have fat wood, you can, of course, also use it.
As soon as you have lit the fire on the bark underneath, you can use a stick to push the embers into the combustion chamber. The chimney effect should set in immediately and ensure a reasonably constant flow of fresh air. After a short time, the fire begins to rise along the chimney pipe. The resulting heat flows out of the opening and can be used immediately to heat food or water. However, it is not advisable to place the mug directly on the chimney opening, as this interrupts airflow. Much smoke will usually be the result; two small sticks under the cup will solve the problem.
We are now able to manufacture a rocket stove ourselves with minimal effort. This gives you a controlled fireplace that is well suited to heating food and water in damp weather. It is also recommended to use it as a heat source near a warehouse. The wood consumption is meagre with good heat yield at the same time.
To extinguish the flame, you can pull the individual parts of the Rocket-Stove apart and press the embers on the floor. The flight of sparks is easy to control with this type of fireplace. In an emergency, the fire can be annihilated quickly with a bit of water if allowed to run directly into the chimney opening. The embers are, of course, not yet extinguished.
Sometimes you need a small container to catch a little water, hold small things together, or only a temporarily drinking cup. Today we will look at how a makeshift cup can be made from a round wood piece with simple means. All we need is a saw, a knife and a little paracord. But one thing at a time. Let’s start by choosing the right piece of wood.
Selecting The Right Stick Of A Tree
There are a few things to consider when choosing the appropriate piece of wood. First of all, I would like to ask you to use dead wood whenever possible explicitly. This behaviour is not only for the reason that no trees should be damaged. Even dry deadwood has the advantage that any moisture will not affect the taste.
Under no circumstances should poisonous woods such as yew be used. Most yew species, such as the European yew (Taxus baccata), contain very toxic ingredients such as Taxin B. Bark, needles, and seeds are poisonous. However, the red seed coat does not contain any toxins. Cases of fatal poisoning by yew trees are known from humans, cattle and horses.
The use of softwood can also be unfavourable, as these woods often have a high resin content. This resin not only sticks the tools used but is also very stubborn on the skin. The resins themselves leave a nutty to very bitter taste that can be very unpleasant.
When the right piece of deadwood has been found, the question of the right size comes up. Here I recommend a portion for the first attempts you can enclose with your hand if it is a drinking cup. Up to this size, the work steps can still be carried out quickly with a relatively small tool. If the pieces are too thick, a more extensive tool is needed rapidly.
The wood should also not have died for too long so that the structure is still firm and not decomposed by insects. If you knock on the piece of wood and make a dull sound, it may have become too damp. Elements of wood that do not touch the ground are usually more suitable, as these are dry compared to those pieces that lie directly on the ground. In terms of structure, the areas that have little or no knotholes are suitable. Branches that have grown out of the trunk leave most holes in the trunk that are not conducive to a cup’s function.
Saw The Workpiece To Size
When sawing out the workpiece, the length of the palm of the hand, including fingers, has proven to be practical for me. The longer the pieces, the more difficult it is to split them with small tools. The sawing itself should be carried out cleanly so that the edges do not splinter or break off. After the first cut, be sure to check the inside of the wood for damage from insects or fungi. If the tree is already severely damaged from the inside, further use is not recommended.
Split It Into Parts
The piece of wood must now be split into three or four parts. You can use an axe for this. It is also possible to use a knife and a wooden stick as a hammer. Please make sure that it is best to use a full tang/knife.Process individual parts with the knifeAs soon as the three or four parts are in place, you can start flattening the inside. The goal is to have a cavity in the middle when you put all the pieces back together later. So that you don’t accidentally edit the entire length, you can either mark it with a pen or use the saw. With the saw, you can cut the inside where the bottom of the vessel is to arise.
You should not work on the side walls.If you can work very precisely, it may work, but most of the time, the result is bad. Use the structure that resulted from splitting and leave it as it is. This gives excellent results in terms of water permeability.
Assemble And Tie With Paracord
The last step is to put the individual parts back together. It is, of course, more comfortable if you have identified the individual workpieces.As soon as all parts have been brought together, you can start to wrap a piece of paracord tightly around the bottom of the cup. Complete this process with a knot. The same must then be repeated on the top of the cup. When you have everything tightly wrapped, you can start with the first operational test.
Function Test With Water or Coffee
Finally, you can now test the cup by filling it with water and looking for leaks. If you want, you can still seal the seams with liquid wax. In my case, I didn’t do it.Please note that only drinking water is used in the test phase with a cup that is to be used for drinking.Subsequent rinsing is not possible due to the relatively rough wooden surface.
We have now seen how you can make a makeshift cup in a few minutes with an axe, a saw and two pieces of paracord. It is crucial to choose the right piece of wood. Here again, the important note that you must not use poisonous woods. Have fun! Cheers Sven