Friday, July 30, 2010
Why primitive skills?
When I teach a class on survival/preparedness, I throw in a little bit of primitive skills techniques. Such as: need some cordage? This plant works, etc etc. Ever start a fire with two sticks? I show them a simple bow drill. Found a patch of ripe berries? Make a simple bark container. Things like that. I find that people who really take off on primitive skills start out with just a few "teasers" and the bug has bitten! Primitive skills is a longtime hobby of mine. I enjoy knapping, stone work, pottery, basketry, cordage, leather in all its forms from raw to finished project and wood working. I'm not a purist. I use metal in most of my projects. I use a drawknife and spokeshave when I work on a bow. I use an old copper soldering iron head to bop off really big spalls from a flint nodule. Then I use horse shoe nails or a hammered copper flaker to flake an arrowhead or knife blade. I use my Swiss Army Knife (SAK) blade to cut material for my basket projects and the awl in the process of making a basket. I use an old beat to death brick hammer to chip hard stone into a semi finished ax head before finishing it with abrasion techniques. At times I use all stone age tools such as stone, bone, and antler just to see how far I can go. Since its a hobby anything go's. I think that's what makes it so interesting. Some foks go to extremes and will try to do these techniques as close as possible to the original formula. No metal, nothing modern at all. Sometimes even the clothing has to be "period correct"! That's all fine and well. Its a hobby and you can take it to the level you want.