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28

When I was a boy I learned about a tribe of natives that had an initiation into manhood which involved plucking a hair from the tail of a live deer. These people had developed a mode of stealth that allowed them to walk right up to deer head on without the deer sensing their presence or noticing their advance. I adopted the technique for moving through the ...


15

I'm from British Columbia, lots of BC is technically a rain forest, which pretty much means you're always starting your fire with wet wood. The trick to getting wet wood to light is to generate a lot of heat when you first start your fire, that means using lots of extra kindling. Cut triple or quadruple the amount of fine kindling and build yourself a ...


14

I think a list of dangers is potentially useful, but not a "single answer" question so I'm going to make this a CW -- Add your stuff here: Hypothermia Dehydration Hyperthermia/heat stress/heat stroke Falls leading to mechanical injury or head trauma Getting lost and dying of dehydration/starvation Water born illness through drinking tainted water (...


13

All land in the UK is owned by somebody, therefore, all trees and their produce (including firewood) are owned by somebody. You could be charged with theft if you take logs, kindling etc. without permission. The Jeremy Vine Show on BBC Radio 2 on 6th January 2012 discussed this very topic following the storms in the UK around that time, that left a lot of ...


11

There are two important factors when bowmaking: Flexibiliy, i.e. how easy the wood is to bend Strength, i.e. how much force you can put into the wood before it breaks. If you are just interested in a toy bow that doesn't shoot to hard or far then flexibility is your main concern. You want thinnish green wood which tends to be the most flexible. If you ...


10

For the purpose of my answer I'm going to assume there aren't any special considerations like a tall tree on a small lot. In general I think this is the best procedure: Cut down one tree. Trim off all the branches. Build a big pile of small branches that aren't useful for firewood. a. Load this stuff into a trailer and dispose of it as appropriate when ...


10

Yes, some sources create toxic smoke/fumes, notably: Oleander Rhododendron Poison Ivy (smoke can cause lung damage in some cases) I'm not sure of a comprehensive list, but be wary of any poisonous wood / shrub, it's probably more likely to burn toxic. As pointed out in the comment, unless you can identify vines well then it may be a good idea to stay ...


10

I have to say that "eating with" falls under the same rules as "eating". Don't go out in the woods and put something in your mouth unless you know exactly what you are dealing with. Many woods are toxic. Also remember that "wood" doesn't just come from trees, but all woody plants, which is why some shrubs are also listed here. Specifically avoid the ...


9

I think the most likely is actually hypothermia. All it takes is being a little unprepared and getting caught in wet and windy conditions a little above freezing. If you don't deal with that right away, things just deteriorate and then dealing with it properly gets less and less likely until you're unable to deal with anything at all. I'd say number 2 is ...


8

I would say it depends on what other materials you have and how cold the water is. So if the water is cold, it's really important to stay out of it. If not, you can maybe endure having your feet hanging in, for example. It also depends on how much time you have to build the raft. If you're in an emergency situation, don't even try a burn out canoe, it's too ...


8

Poisonous plants are typically more dangerous when you burn them, at least that's true with plants that have oily toxins (poison ivy/oak). Toxins in plants aren't necessarily vaporized when burned. Smoke is a particulate, not a vapour. If you are burning something toxic, the toxins can potentially be carried by particles of smoke and be inhaled which is far ...


7

At least for some species, Rhododendron wood is not especially toxic when burned. I've seen (and used) many species of Rhododendron in the Chinese Himalaya as firewood, in both outdoor and drafty indoor conditions. This included seasoned and unseasoned wood, and large enough quantities of smoke that my Rite-in-The-Rain notebooks still smell like bacon. ...


7

Heartwood, assuming the definition on Wikipedia as basically just the middle of the tree that is no longer growing, is indeed what you will be burning most of the time as fuel for your fire. Considering it has not been growing for some time, it may well be somewhat drier than the surrounding sapwood, and therefore actually burn better. That said, the ...


7

Since you didn't limit the question to materials found in nature: I've lit wet firewood in the rain using pieces of waxed cardboard. They burn very fast and hot. And wax firestarters are essentially waterproof themselves, so they're pretty reliable even in wet conditions. You used to be able to get waxed cardboard from any supermarket, in the form of ...


7

I have ruined more than one hatchet in my lifetime trying to split large logs in half. The trick is to not try to spit them down the middle as you would with an axe, but to chop around the edges of the logs and split off smaller pieces all the way around, making the log smaller and smaller as you go. One technique is to make "helper" chops in the top around ...


6

In the US southwest, Juniper was commonly used by native peoples. I've heard it said that one can still find living Juniper trees around the southwest that have apparent 'slices' taken out of them where material was removed to shape a bow. Also, a quick google search turned up this site with a seemingly comprehensive list of woods that will work for bow ...


6

When I was a kid I repeatedly made simple bows from hazel trees/shrubs. The main advantage here is that it grows in very handy, more or less uniformly thick branches that are very appropriate in size to use as bows (also make good walking sticks/spears). As strength/durability of the bow was never an issue we used freshly cut, green branches - obviously a ...


6

Overall I think you should be okay with just making sure that the contact points on the oars are a bit padded, or at least, the contact point is not sharp. That way it shouldn't rub on the oar and degrade or scratch the finish. Rubber is a common way to keep oars in place without scratching the finish. You could consider using guitar hooks to keep them in ...


6

Many pine woods will leave your food tasting of turpentine. Depending on the wood, it won't be enough to be toxic, but will still (imo) be a very unpleasant flavor. Generally, due to my experience (in the southeast) this has developed into "don't use evergreens." Avoid woods with much rot. Avoid wood with mosses, fungus, etc. Burn larger diameter wood when ...


5

When I built my canoe, the front and back keel stems needed to be bent. I steamed the wood by putting it in some ABS pipe and putting that over a kettle. It's been over 25 years, but I think there was cloth stuffed at the top of the pipe to keep the steam in, or something like that. I left the wood steaming until it was warm and soft, and then clamped it in ...


4

There's no safe wood I've found that's made food taste really bad - generally if it does taste absolutely foul I'd be wary that something else was up. In the grand scheme of things though, it depends what you class as "bad". Different people prefer different flavours, and in that sense using different types of wood can definitely make foods taste different. ...


4

While looking for mushrooms mid-morning in the summer, I saw a deer perhaps 50' away, in brush maybe 5' high- it was upwind of me and couldn't smell me. It was browsing and slowly moving as it ate. Slowly, stopping frequently, and gradually approaching, I stopped and listened. I'm sure the deer was able to hear me but not see or smell. I kept my head and ...


4

Five hours from San Francisco is enough to reach a good chunk of the Sierras and even further north in the area of Lassen and Shasta. There are large areas of national forest within this range. Generally the national forests will have less restrictions than national parks, particularly popular ones like Yosemite. Each national forest will have its own ...


3

Turns out options are limited to mostly Big Sur. Luckily, there are a tremendous amount of trails and campgrounds in the area. A good place to start looking for camping in the Big Sur is their hiking page. This lists their backcountry trails, some of which allow dispersed camping. Big Sur wilderness falls into two categories: Los Padres National Forest, ...


3

I normally baton with a large knife, but the principle remains the same (driving a wedge to split the wood). I taught myself how to baton in order to quickly make kindling from larger sections, often quarter-rounds, while my little cousin was around. Batoning can be performed on logs or thickers sticks, depending on your needs and the size of your wedge. I ...


3

This summer I went out canoe camping in some light rain that turned into a torrential downpour and wouldn't stop. When it finally did, there was a puddle in the fireplace and we had no dry wood. We had a little paper with us, and we got tinder from the inside of logs, and all those tricks, but nothing worked and we had a small child with us who was getting ...


2

From the link @Amine posted, the following areas are key: For the keel area check the joints between planks and frames visually, looking for gaps or any sign that the plank is not tight against the frame. Then use a screw driver to test the wood for softness on both plank and frame near the mating surface. Try to slip the pry bar under the frame and pry ...


2

There is one very efficient trick I will call reverse chopping. (No idea if this technique has a proper name, feel free to correct my answer.) The problem with a hatchet is that it is quite light weight, so there is not a lot of force available for splitting logs. The trick here is to inverse this scenario, so that the weight of the log will work in your ...


1

In general, the splitting force necessary to split firewood depends on the length of the wood, the width of the piece, the species, the knottiness/curvature, pre-existing stresses, and the degree of moisture. Additionally, machine-split wood tends to fracture where it went through the grate/splitting cross and not along the grain of the wood, making it ...


1

In such cases the kindling material found on the ground might be also wet: try searching for thin dry branches on the lower parts of trees. Especially the pine trees are "built" in a way that the lowest branches die and dry as the tree grows - the rest of the branches are usually thick enough to keep this bottom part dry, and as so, perfect to be used as ...



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