Natural wood candlesticks may add just the right touch for decorations at special events, or for mantels in cabins and other camp buildings. Wood from the woodpile or wood from dead-and-down trees may be used. Avoid using green wood.

Equipment needed: 3/4" bit and brace; vise; crosscut saw; sandpaper.

Materials needed: wood as desired; small nails or screws or glue. Steps

1. Choose pieces of wood; saw in desired lengths, leaving bark on. Add feet (Fig. X-32 b) if desired.

2. Mark places for candles, make small dent with nail, and bore 3/4" holes. Hold log in vise for boring holes (Fig. X-32 a).

3. Nail or glue bases or feet to tops, for steadiness.

Candlesticks Of Logs

Wooden Book Cover

Book covers may be used for memory or log books, and for albums. The wood may be decorated in a variety of ways -with raised figures or letters, with paints, with burning or carving. Hinges may be of leather, or of strips of copper or brass, or they may be purchased ready to screw in place. The book may be tied together with a leather thong.

Wooden Book Cover

Equipment needed: crosscut saw; sandpaper; egg-beater drill; wax and other finishing equipment; ruler and pencil; tools for decorating.

Materials needed: 2 pieces wood the desired size-plywood is good, or other thin wood; hinges and screws or brads; thong to tie; paper.


1. Plan size of book. This will be guided by the purpose, and by paper to be used. Draw lines with ruler (Fig. X-33 a).

2. Cut two pieces the desired size, keeping edges square.

3. From one piece (front) cut hinge piece (Fig. X-33 a). Make this in good proportion to the cover. There are now two pieces for the front, one piece for the back.

4. Sand all edges and sides (follow grain of wood).

5. Mark places for hinges and for holes for thong (Fig. X-33 b).

6. Bore holes. Sand.

7. Decorate as desired. Consider the hinges and the thong in planning any decoration.

8. Place hinges.

9. Insert paper punched to match holes. Thread thong through back cover, paper, and front cover. Tie with square knot on top (Fig. X-33 c).


Stools for cabins, tents, or campfire seats are good projects if rough wood is plentiful, and if a few carpentering tools are available. Logs from the woodpile, cross sections or slabs from sawmills, may be used for the seat; legs are rough sticks from the woods or the woodpile.

Equipment needed: knife; crosscut saw; clamps; bit and brace with 1" bit; plane or drawknife; wood glue; sandpaper; ruler; oil and wax.

Materials needed: slab of wood as smooth as possible on top-pine is best for beginners, 14" x 8" is a good size; 4 sticks for legs, about 12" long, 11/2" thick.


1. Select logs and sticks. Leave bark on underside of seat and on legs for rustic appearance, if desired.

2. Smooth top with plane or drawknife (Fig. X-34). Sand or leave tool marks.

3. Mark places for holes, placing them at equal distances from the corners (Fig. X-35 a) on underside. Make holes with bit and brace, using a jig (Fig. X-35 b); this consists of a board nailed to a base at desired angle. The bit rests against this angle to ensure each hole being drilled at same angle. Holes may be bored all the way through, or only three-quarters of the way.

4. Whittle end of each leg to fit hole snugly. If holes do not go all the way through seat, put a little glue in hole, and hammer leg in place (Fig. X-36 a). If holes go all the way through, fit wedge into leg at top (Fig. X-36 b) and saw off any part of wedge that protrudes.


5. Even off legs at floor, so that stool stands evenly.

6. Finish top by sanding and waxing, or by oiling, as desired.

Variations: Make seat from a thick cross section of log, with three legs (Fig. X-37).

Use slabs to make a "Paul Bunyan campfire seat" (Fig. X-38).

Paul Bunyan Campfire Seat


Signs for tents and cabins, route signs on roads and paths, and signs leading to and designating special points of interest are all needed in camps, and the camper-craftsman can make them look rustic and out-of-the-ordinary with twig or block letters, roughhewn or natural backgrounds, and so forth.

The first requisite of a sign is legibility; this is obtained by contrast in color, by size and shape of letters, and by selection of the appropriate materials for the sign. Letters may be painted, sawed out of blocks of wood, constructed of twigs, or written in rope. An arrow may be added to help in showing direction. Capital letters are easier to make and to read than small letters. Signs used on trees should be hung from branches or lashed in place, instead of being nailed to tree.

Signs made of unfinished wood will weather and grow dark. A stained, dark background, used with shellacked or varnished letters, will stay more legible than one that is not finished with some protective material.

Equipment needed: saws-crosscut and coping; jack-knife; egg-beater drill; hammer or screwdriver; sandpaper; glue; finishing equipment-wax, shellac, stain, etc.

Materials needed: boards, slabs, logs, etc., as needed; twigs, finished wood, rope, etc., for letters; brads, double pointed tacks, screws, etc.



1. Make a plan and design for the sign. Make a paper pattern of letters, blocking in to be sure of good proportion, good spacing, good legibility. Make letters large enough to be seen easily from distance.

Letters may be made of twigs (Fig. X-39 a), or of blocks cut from outdoor plywood or plank (Fig. X-39 b). Sand and varnish well before nailing or screwing to signs. They may be made of rope-using script (Fig. X-39 c). Or, they may be carved out of the background (Fig. X-40 b) by intaglio; stenciled (see Chap. VII on Printing and Stenciling); or painted free hand-block in first with pencil.

Backgrounds may be made of a single plank or slab or half-log (Fig. X-40 a, b, c, d). They may be made of plank cut in specific shapes (Fig. X-40e, f); or of two or three planks held together by lashed or nailed frame (Fig. X-40 g, h) or by cleats on back of sign, if back will not be seen (Fig. X-40 i).


FIG X-40.

Frames or posts for hanging signs may be nailed, screwed, bolted (Fig. X-40 e) or lashed (Fig. X-40 g) together.

2. Complete background piece-cut it out, sand it, get hangers ready, etc.

3. Make letters, using paper letters to check spacing. Drill tiny holes for brads in block or twig letters, putting two or more holes in each letter or twig. Whip ends of ropes. Fasten letters or paint or carve. Use small brads for block or twig letters, double pointed tacks to straddle the rope for rope letters. A spot of wood glue on the back of the letters or rope helps hold them in place. 4. Varnish whole sign for outdoor use, or paint as desired. If background and letters are painted in contrasting colors, the painting should be done separately, and the pieces allowed to dry completely before assembling.

Frame For Bulletin Board, Picture, Or Mirror

The project described here is a group project for an inside bulletin board. It is made of rough sticks with square lashing as the binding (see any campcraft book for lashing). Lashing is a campcraft skill which can also be an art if the lashing is done with fine cord, if the sticks are trimmed well, and if great care is exercised in making the lashing.

Equipment needed: rip saw and crosscut saw; knife; wood chisel; mallet; screwdriver; vise and wedge; egg-beater drill; yardstick and pencil.

Materials needed: piece of wallboard of desired size (be sure thumbtacks will go in the board easily); 2 sticks 3/4" thick for the frame, one for the length, one for the sides; wood for pegs; cord for lashing; 8 small screws.


1. Cut wallboard, if necessary, to desired size, being sure sides are straight.

2. Measure and cut the long stick, so it is about 2" longer than the board on both sides. Measure and cut short stick, so it is the same at top and bottom (Fig. X-41 a).

3. Put short stick in vise; draw line lengthwise down middle of stick (Fig. X-41 b). Cut in two, along line, with rip saw. Keep moving stick in vise, so the cutting edge of saw is near part of stick held by vise. Put small wedge in the sawed cut, to spring the two pieces apart.

Cut Wallboard

FIG-X- 41.

Do the same with the longer stick (this will take two or three people). You will now have two long and two short half-round pieces.

4. Place wallboard on floor; measure the sticks, determining best place to cross them at corners. Mark these places for notches.

5. With crosscut saw, cut to into back of top sticks, and into front of under sticks (Fig. X-41 c). With knife or chisel, chip out the wood between cuts, and make notch smooth. Do not make notch too big (Fig. X-41 d).

6. Trim ends of sticks with knife for beveled appearance (Fig. X-41 g).

7. Fit together, and drill a small hole in back of each joint, through under stick, and into top stick about half the thickness of the stick. Whittle small pegs, and peg the frame together from the back. Put a drop of glue into each hole before driving in the peg. Let dry, and trim off tops of peg, if necessary.

8. Fasten joints with square lashing (Fig. X-41 g).

9. Fasten screw rings to top stick, for hanging (Fig. X-41 g). 10. Screw wallboard to back of frame with at least two screws on each side.

Variation: Finished boards for frame will have less rustic appearance, but may fit into some buildings better than a rough stick frame. The notching for this type of wood may be made with overlapping corners (Fig. X-41 h). Mark places for cuts, saw through wood, chip out with wood chisel, and fit together. Drill two holes with small drill for each corner; whittle pegs to fit; insert with bit of glue on pegs, and clamp corners together to dry.


A good group project, in preparation for spring use, is the making of birdhouses to attract birds to the campsite. This is a fine project for small groups which will be camping during week ends the year round; the houses may be made in town during the winter, and the purpose of a spring week end will be to erect them where birds can be watched during the nesting season.

Equipment needed: crosscut saw; hammer and small nails or screwdriver and screws; paint, stain, etc.; brushes; bit and brace.

Materials needed: 6 pieces wood-finished or with bark on; twig for "doorstep"; ring for hanging.



1. Check a book that gives more detail about birdhouses, and decide on type to make. (The National Audubon Society's Circular No. 29, Bird Houses and Feeders, is recommended as inexpensive and complete.) Different types of houses are built for different types of birds; the example given here is for a bluebird home.

2. Cut wood so that there are six pieces, four for sides, one for roof, one for floor (Fig. X-42 a).

3. Sand edges, fit together (Fig. X-42 b).

4. Cut opening in front piece.

5. Nail or screw together. Make side so that it can be removed easily, for cleaning out house (Fig. X-42 c).

6. Place twig near opening for "doorstep."

7. Stain or paint green or brown, to make inconspicuous, unless the wood has natural bark on it or is weathered.

8. Put ring or hook on back or top to fasten house to tree or make pole with platform to screw to bottom of house (Fig. X-42 d).

Variations: Make birdhouses of different shapes and sizes (Fig. X-42 e).