Campcraft is the term generally used to describe the skills needed for comfortable living out-of-doors. These skills usually include outdoor cooking, fireplace and fire building, ropework, toolcraft, trailing, using compasses and mapping, and the erecting or building of shelters. These skills and the activities that grow from them are the basis of a good camping program, when the emphasis is on learning to know and to use and to enjoy the out-of-doors. Learning to live with the woods as well as in the woods means that a good camper is a good woodsman, a good cook and fire builder, a good conservationist. This book is written to help integrate arts and crafts into all parts of this living in the out-of-doors. Here we will deal mainly with the craftsmanship that may grow with progressive steps in the various skills.
The camper brings good craft techniques into his camping when he learns to make a fuzz stick for his firebuilding, or when he makes a well-finished article of camp furniture with his lashing. As he uses his imagination and craft skills to make a better design, or a more beautiful article, he has become a craftsman as well as a camper. Good workmanship and good use of tools and materials will spell the difference between a beginner's project and a craftsman's article.
The chapters on Knotting and Braiding, on Whittling and Woodwork, on Mapping, on Indian and Pioneer Crafts, all present projects that may grow from a campcraft skill. This chapter presents some additional projects. Books listed at the end of this chapter will provide material for learning the basic skills of knot tying, lashing, use of knife, fire building, cooking, compass work, and so forth.
TOOLS and MATERIALS used in CAMPCRAFT.
Lashing is a method of binding sticks together with cord, twine, or rope. It is used to make camp furnishings, temporary construction, and small craft articles (see any campcraft book). A piece of equipment will hold together and serve a utilitarian purpose if not neat and trimmed, but it takes on the quality of a craft project when these details are made part of the activity. The appearance of the article is measurably improved if the ends of the rough wood are sawed or trimmed with a knife, and if the lashing is well done, with ends tucked underneath the windings. Pieces will hold together better when the joining parts are notched and fitted. Good planning for the particular piece, with much imagination and creativity in making use of what is at hand to develop a one-of-a-kind piece and to add ingenious touches, will make the project more satisfying and more interesting (Fig. XI1-1).
This is made with four sticks, lashed with square lashing at the corners. Measure picture, with mat if desired, and cut sticks to overlap about 1" at corners. Notch sticks where they join, so they will fit firmly. Lash with hard-finished cord, such as Derrycord or Belfast cord. Cut ends to slant, to show grain of wood, or trim with knife. Small picture frames for postcards or photographs may be made with twigs and string (Fig. XII-2).
This is made with a series of very fine straight sticks, held together with the Malay hitch-see Figure XII-3. Measure sticks for table top, and collect very fine shoots, rushes, cane, or bamboo, about the thickness of a pencil. Trim ends so they are of same length and smooth at ends, and bind with fine cord with Malay hitch (Fig. XII-3). Fasten end of cord with square knots, leaving enough cord to tie around roll, for transportation. Make table frame as desired, with lashed sticks.
This is a more advanced project that calls for the same Malay hitch, and also for good toolcraft, conservation, and craftsmanship. (For details of how to make, see books on Indian Lore, end of Chap. XIX; also The Junior Book of Camping and Woodcraft.) About 100 sticks of willow, arrow-wood, or other straight wood, 31" long and thick as a large pencil, are needed, with linen or heavy waxed thread, and 4 lengths of strong cord or string (Figs. XII-4 a, b, c).
The Chippewa type table is a special lashed table that is a whole kitchen in itself (Fig. XII-5 a). It may be made in different ways, with a series of table tops, or with a fire in the center and pots hung from cranes crossing the frame. (See The Junior Book of Camping and Woodcraft).
A table may be made between two trees, with spaces left for dishpans or basins (Fig. XII-5 b). Posts may be placed in the ground where trees are not available in convenient spots, though tables lashed to trees are sturdier than others.
Any book on campcraft has many suggestions for lashed tables and similar objects. Well-trimmed ends and even tops for the tables are important craft details, and safety details as well.
A good sharp knife and skill in handling it will make a camper's life easier-and more fun. Making shavings and fuzz sticks for starting fires is a test of both skill and knife care. Shavings may be made from any stick picked up at the cook-out site, to make the simplest, most effective tinder. When shavings are left on the stick, the product is called a fuzz stick. Small fuzz sticks (Fig. XII-6 a) are made from short pieces, with five to ten shavings made on one side; the small fuzz sticks are piled one on top of another to make the base of a fire. A craftsman's fuzz stick will be larger (Figs.
XII-6 b, c) with shavings on the stick all around, and a pointed end to stand the fuzz stick in the ground. With kindling piled around the fuzz stick, fire building is simple. Fuzz sticks are especially good to make when wood is damp or wet, as the inside of the stick is always drier than the outside.