I have attended a 1-2-1 bowdrill pimping session with Jason Ingamells at The World of Bushcraft centre some time ago, however, I haven't done one of their regular skills workshops...Until this week when I attended the kuksa carving class.
In the first official week of my sabbatical I made my way up to Bedford and being a bit early had a quick stooge around part of the rather large lake behind the centre and indeed the centre itself.
I chanced upon the dug out canoe that they are taking to The Bushcraft Show, with and without instructor Jay in it. I have to say that I was well impressed and that they are going to try and coax the sides out at some stage to make it wider. If you have followed it's conception on social media you'll know how much work has been needed. Good effort.
It was also good to see one of my paracord instruction sheets I did for the centre still kicking around with the said cordage. And so to the afternoon. Joe was taking the session for the four attendees, and it turned out that three of us (including Joe) were involved in Scouting, and I told Joe that I had mentioned him in this blog Incidentally Jason and course manager Kevan Palmer contributed an article to this outdoor Scout Association book.
It kicked off with what wood could be used (we had sycamore for our session) and some kuksa examples. It was about now that I was pleased to be attending as I can make a usable spoon but if it's not done in five minutes flat I lose interest, coupled with woodwork being the only thing I got a D for in a senior school report I had no choice but to knuckle down.
There was also a safety talk concerning the axes, saws, knives and crook knives that we would be using. And then Joe introduced small bite sized sections of work to be carried out.
And so that sort of set the pace and the pattern of the afternoon; demo, practical, demo, practical...
With courses of any kind you never quite know what sort of crowd you'll be in with but I have to say that the four of us got on famously to be honest. Note my rather fine clothing catalogue pose in the above picture.
The demo, practical, demo, practical continued, except when it went demo practical, tea, chocolate. Luckily we all managed to take this change in tempo in our stride.
Joe had mentioned from the start that no one would finish their kuksas but the whole object of the exercise was to make sure all the attendees were competent in the skills needed. The curved crook knife was introduced towards the end once folk had spent some time fashioning the basic shape. I elected to press on with some exterior wood removal rather than the bowl as I have a Ben Orford crook knife that will make mince meat of the internal bowl wood, and this pick knife when it comes to the finer detail.
And to another magazine like cheeky pose with my 'finished' work. I have to say that I am rather pleased with the progress made on my embryonic kuksa, not only how far I got but the quality and early symmetry was pleasing on the eye. I am cautiously optimistic that it will finish up as a decent bushcraft brew holder. Should it crash and burn well these things happen and I've had some practical experience of the process-The whole point of the session I guess.
I had had genuinely pondered leaving my wallet at home but decided to take it 'just in case'. I weakly caved in and purchased a Petroxmax FT3 Dutch oven (meal for one sort of size). I've liked the look of this brand due to the thought expended on the useful lid design, but that's another blog I guess. I'm kind of hopeful this will work with this bespoke trivet out and about. I told the guys in the centre that I absolutely won't be buying anything from them at the forthcoming Bushcraft Show...We'll have to see won't we?!