Out on the land by Ray Mears

Out on the land by Ray Mears and Lars Fält.  It’s that time of the year when the nights draw in and many people turn to the comfort of an armchair and an open fire.

Even the most hardy of us who would be out in all weather find ourselves sitting indoors -brushing up on skills, servicing equipment, planning next years trips or learning different methods / places to visit through various means.

This book I am writing about is one of those books that you can’t put down and even when you’ve finished it it’s the type of book that stays on the coffee table and is picked up and shuffled through many times.Out on the land by Ray Mears and Lars Fält

This book by Ray Mears and Lars Fält is a fantastic beautiful must-have for every Bushcraft enthusiast!

 

Out on the land by Ray Mears and Lars Fält: The Authors

Ray Mears is well know in the UK, Europe and Worldwide!   This book is written together with Lars Fält, the founder of the Swedish army survival school and instructor of the Parachute Rangers.

Lars has an enormous knowledge of life and survival in the wilderness of the Northern Hemisphere and is also the author of 10 books on this subject.

Ray’s has an enormous knowledge base, lots of experiences and a natural and peaceful approach to life.  His documentaries have and still are an inspiration for everyone.
Northern Hemisphere

In this wilderness, knowledge of the forest, Bushcraft, is indispensable and you have the best opportunities to apply it correctly.

Instructive and inspiring

The landscape, cultures, knowledge and traditions of the traditional inhabitants, the trees and animals, every piece of wilderness is covered.

This book has been in development for 30 years.

It contains an imaginative voyage of discovery through the impressive forests of the Northern Hemisphere.

Out on the land by Ray Mears and Lars Fält is full of information and covers every aspect of being in the wilderness in both winter and summer (clothing, kit, skills, cooking, survival).

Revealing the age-old traditions and techniques, and how to carry them out yourself.

Out on the land by Ray Mears and Lars Fält
Lighting a fire in the snow

I love the way that this book refers back to the indigenous people of the Boreal Forest and shows how bushcraft was not just a way of life but a way of surviving.

This book describes extensively how you can live in this environment and what is needed for this.

Apart from a beautiful book Out on the land by Ray Mears and Lars Fält is also a reference book for anyone who would like to experience this.

This book is a great source of information on methods, utilising natural products, recipes and much more.

What do I think about this book?

Like I said Out on the Land is a wonderful book that you will find difficult to put down!

Out on the land by Ray Mears and Lars Fält is full of impressive photos, stories, where and why these methods are used and awe inspiring. Which will get you outside and practice what you have learnt.

Loue Tarp

If you want to have a look at some of the equipment used in this book such as the Loue Tarp have at look at Ray’s website Woodlore.

Ray Mears has and still is a great inspiration to me.  I love his documentaries I learn a great deal from these especially his carving tuitions and fire lighting skills

Where to buy?

Interested readers can purchase this book in many languages from amazon.

Ray Mears Documentaries

One of my favourite episodes is when Ray is in Sweden.

This episode he starts of in the South, paddling with Lars.

Learning how to harvest fatwood to turn into pine tar and then ventures up North to learn day to day bushcraft from the Sami and learn about the importance of a Puukko.

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Sami Coffee / Tinder Bag

Sami style coffee bagI’ve been wanting to put one of these bags together for a while. The bags the Sami make are made from reindeer leather but as it’s not easy to get hold of in the uk so much I’ve used a 1.5mm veg tanned leather.

The actual use of the bag has many uses but I wanted 2 bags one for ground coffee and one for tinder.

I made the template out of cardboard and used the circumference of a cd and then just extended the neck, what I have done for future bags is extended the length of the neck from the original design as it was a little too short.

I cut out the back and front and measured the middle section and cut that out.

The weaved tin thread was purchased direct from Sweden it is a typical thread used in Sami craft (duodji).

First thing the thread is platted together and then using glue fixed to a piece of leather the same length as the area it will cover on the face of the bag.

Using thin nylon thread the weave is stitched to the leather then that piece of leather is glued to the front of the bag and then stitched.

Using a stitch marking wheel the stitch is marked out and the side panel is stitched onto the front (with bag inside out) using artificial sinew.

The securing leather is stitched onto the back panel then this is then stitched onto the side and front panel as before.

First attemptThe bag is then turned the correct way and there you have it your own coffee/tinder bag.

My first attempt used a black spun copper thread and black thread. I wasn’t to happy with the stitching so changed the way it was stitched. Also this bag has a carved piece of antler as a clasp for the retaining straps

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Sami Knives and Sami duodji

Sami Knives and Sami duodji

I really love the intricacy of the carvings in sami duodji.  I’ve always wanted a handmade Puukko (sami knife).  The chance of purchasing one came whilst taking part in the Fjallraven Classic in Sweden last year.

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Why did I want one?

Many reasons really, the fact that they are a true all round knife, handmade and they can be so artistically made as well.

Sami Duodji

Sami Knives and Sami duodji is so beautiful and the hours that go into their work is unbelievable.

The Sami people, also spelled Sámi or Saami, are the indigenous people inhabiting the Arctic area of Sápmi, which today encompasses parts of far northern Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Kola Peninsula of Russia.

The Sámi

The Sámi are the only indigenous people of Scandinavia recognized and protected under the international conventions of indigenous peoples, and hence the northernmost indigenous people of Europe.

Traditionally, the Sami have pursued a variety of livelihoods, including coastal fishing, fur trapping, and sheep herding.

Their best-known means of livelihood is semi-nomadic reindeer herding.

Currently about 10% of the Sami are connected to reindeer herding and 2,800 are actively involved in herding on a full-time basis.

For traditional, environmental, cultural and political reasons, reindeer herding is legally reserved only for Sami people in certain regions of the Nordic countries.

Having such a strong tie to reindeer, the basis for most of their handicraft, antlers, leather and bone are all used in many different ways.

Sami Knives and Sami duodji

Puukko or Leuku?

Sami Knives and Sami duodji
Puukko from carved antler in a antler and leather sheath.

The Puukko: The basic components of a puukko are a handle and a blade along with a sheath, which can usually be attached to a belt but sometimes to a shirt or coat button.

The blade is short, typically no longer than the handle and often less than 4″ (100 mm)

The Knike makers put great pride in carving their Sami Knives and Sami duodji Puukko’s handles and the sheath are made from reindeer antler this is normally carved as well.

The carvings are coloured with powdered bark.

The Sheath

The sheath is normally made from birch burlap and / or reindeer antler, the end of the sheath is normally curved to assist in gripping the sheath when wearing thick mittens.

Over generations, this knife has become intimately tied to Nordic culture and, in one or another version, is part of many national costumes.

A good puukko is equal parts artistic expression and tool. Making it requires a lot of different skills: not only those of a bladesmith, but also those of a carver, a jeweller, a designer, and a leatherworker to make the sheath.

Sami Knives and Sami duodjiLeuku: The handle is generally made from birch for better grip when used in snowy conditions.

This provides better control over the blade, particularly when using draw strokes, which are preferred when handling the knife with gloves.

The tang runs through the handle. The handle has no crossguard. Traditional material for the sheath is reindeer leather.

The blade’s edge often has a Scandinavian (or “Scandi”) grind, i.e. a single flat bevel. The blade should be strong enough to split (reindeer) bones, and tempered to sustain low temperatures. Some Sami knives have fullers.

The Sami people typically use two knives.

Components used.

Sami Knives and Sami duodji
Birch Burl Kuksa

The basic components of a puukko are a handle and a blade along with a sheath.

These are to be attached to a belt but sometimes to a shirt or coat button.

The traditional material for the handle is curly (masur) birch, great sallow root, birch bark, horn (especially elk and reindeer), scrimshaw and bone are also used.

The handle is made from various materials between spacers.

Today, however, industrially made puukkos often have plastic handles like the Mora Knives.

Sami Craftsman

I came across a Sami craftsman through instagram one day and found myself looking through his photos of his fantastic Sami Knives and Sami duodji covering kuksas, puukko’s (Sami knives) and other Sami handicraft.

The craftsman name is Jørn Are Keskitalo from Kautokeino in Northern Norway.

His work is typical Duodji.  Duodji is a traditional Sami handicraft, dating back to a time when the Sami were far more isolated from the outside world than they are today.

Duodji tools, clothing and accessories are functional and useful, and may also incorporate artistic elements.

This Sami duodji artist is able to bring function and art together in a delicate way.

These functional items include knives, jewelry, bags, kuksas, certain articles of clothing, etc.

His facebook page shows his work and you can purchase from there or contact by email.  Have a look at some of his work on his instagram feed @jakesk9
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