Today I made a collapsible bucksaw. Thanks to @simon_a_bloke_in_the_woods for the inspiration and instructions. Works really well but will need to make a bag to store it in next. #bushcraft #outdoors #bucksaw #bucksaws
Recently there have been a lot of weather, snow and wind and rain, but you might never have known it walking down the quiet wooded path. The only evidence of rain was the absolutely sodden ground we moved across. The light breeze moved the trees in the sunshine, throwing shadows across our muddy footsteps as we made our way to the spot I’d found a few weeks earlier.
It’s almost a year to the day since coronavirus closed schools for the first time and the opening up of business and leisure is keenly anticipated by all of us. Schools have just reopened after the second lockdown in Scotland and there is genuine excitement at being able to go to school and back to work.
But our world still feels very small and so Young Johnston and I decided to create a new world. Not very far flung of course, just far enough to give the impression of being far flung.
I’ve been watching far too much YouTube lately while napping Mini Johnston and I’ve come across a couple of channels that are totally absorbing, partly through the personalities involved and partly through what they get up to. The first channel is called Simon, a Bloke in the Woods and the second channel is called Kent Survival.
But undaunted, and seeing this as a first “draft”, we continued to build.
Inspired by their first class bush rafting and my own live if the outdoors, I located a nearby woodland, and found a spot just off the beat and track. Or so I thought until I saw all the dog walkers who use the field next door.
We started by building a skeleton, a sort of double lean-to.
More shell was added ready to tarp over and a wall/fire reflector was added at the front.
We found some Y branches and created some hooks that allow us to keep our bags off the ground. I also created a special mallet for Young Johnston. So he could hit things.
And hit other things.
The tarp was added to the roof, attached with cable ties, gaps filled with bracken and logs placed to stabilise the bracken.
We decided we need a bench, again to keep us off the ground.
You don’t go out with a 5 year old without taking a bag of snacks.
Young Johnston worked on his own little projects, like an extra seat and a flag pole.
We also added more fencing. Although there is more fencing to be done.
Our little homestead is really coming together. We have a back door into the den, we’re still discussing whether to close it off or not.
The view from the inside.
And where we have got to so far.
After all of that, we were shattered. Thank goodness we had a bed to lie down in.
More fencing is needed, especially if the back door remains, as that is the side the wind usually comes from. More bracken could go on the roof and there are also a couple of holes needing filled in the tarp.
It’s one of these projects that will probably never 100% be finished. Young Johnston is pretty proud of his efforts and rightly so. And today it was announced the “stay at home” message and national travel restrictions will go by April. It’s great to have a wee local outdoor base, but we’re also keen to get back into the van and go off exploring.
When you own a house, you’re always saying you need more storage. For every new dress or outfit, you need a bigger or better wardrobe. When you buy extra kitchen rolls, because your young boys like to spill stuff, where do you keep them?
A van is the same. I built it with under bed storage, which seemed a good idea and is great for keeping the van tidy. There is loads of space under there too. Then I decided to make some shelves…. because… you know, I bought those extra camping mugs and I needed somewhere to put them…
Well, the new shelves were such a success I wanted to make more! Some would say having more storage means you just buy more things to fill it. As long as it’s bought in Tiso or GoOutdoors or some other outdoor emporium, I think I can live with that…
I cut some wood.
I fixed it together.
I oiled the wood with teal oil.
I added elastic to the bottom shelf to stop the small storage boxes I bought falling out.
I added the fittings for the two metal end shelves.
I placed the shelf unit in the van and started to install it. Some well placed brackets and it’s solid.
I re-organised some of my gear into the new shelves/boxes.
And here’s how it looks all finished.
The bed will now be smaller but can still hold two people. And there’s now more room for storing tents and other stuff under the bed. It’s great having a small table top now as well as part of the build.
I will need to stop building shelves. Otherwise there will be no room to sleep or sit. And the shelves aren’t full. So what shall I buy to fill them?
A February break with nowhere to go, what do you do? Bernie has been in need of some new storage and finally here was a few days where I could maybe manage some time in the garage. First thing to do was remove the walking poles, ice axe and their mount from the side wall and re-attach to the back door. You can see in the picture the mount marks left on the wall.
The big question was what would fill the space? I did a bit of googling. Instagramming. YouTubing. And tried out some ideas.
I settled on a pair of flat shelves, built as a unit. And something more like a wonky letter box. After a bit of carpentry and some oiling, here’s what I ended up with.
I had checked earlier where the van ribs were as I wanted the shelves attached solidly. I know for a fact someone will lean on them, fall on them or just feel like testing their strength. That certain someone helped me drill the holes through the metal ribs and drill the screws.
A spirit measure was used although that might not be clear from the pictures… #eversoslightlysquint
And here’s a look at how it all looks now.
It’s a job I’ve wanted to sort for a while and I’m chuffed with how it’s turned out. I was a little concerned the shelf unit might stick out from the side to much. It’s a small van and I used timber with a 100mm width. But it’s worked out perfectly for the gear I though would go in it and for clearance.
The wonky letter box shelf is for atlases, maps, flat items etc. The top shelf of the unit has been left empty at the moment. Free for drinks, phones or anything else I want to put down.
Once the latest lockdown is finished, I can’t wait to head off into the wilderness for some outdoor adventure.