A-Z of Bushcraft Series

The A-Z of Bushcraft Series are a great set of short bushcraft videos. Enjoy! (and don't forget to rate them!)

A for Axe
Andrew demonstrates how to use an Axe skillfully and safely. From chopping logs to making spoons, the axe is as handy as a Knife in Bushcraft. Find out how to sharpen your Axe. Andrew used a hand forged Gransfors Bruks axe from Sweden who are famous for their axes and edge tools.

B for Bowdrill
How to start a fire by rubbing two sticks together. Andrew demonstrates the action of using friction to create embers with a Bowdrill- the ultimate Bushcraft skill.

C for Cordage
Andrew demonstrates how to create string from natural materials in the woods. Learn how to use the bark of Willow tree saplings to make strong bonds.The use of ropes for hunting, pulling, fastening, attaching, carrying, lifting, and climbing dates back to prehistoric times and has always been essential to mankind's technological progress. It is likely that the earliest "ropes" were naturally occurring lengths of plant fiber, such as vines, followed soon by the first attempts at twisting and braiding these strands together to form the first proper ropes in the modern sense of the word.

D for Drinking
Humans can't live without water for more than 3 days so Andrew shows you how to filter your water supply. Learn about basic techniques to rid river water from debris, use military issue iodine filters and other high technology filters.Water filters are used by hikers, by aid organizations during humanitarian emergencies, and by the military. These filters are usually small, portable and light (1-2 pounds/0.5-1.0 kg or less), and usually filter water by working a mechanical hand pump, although some use a siphon drip system to force water through while others are built into water bottles. Dirty water is pumped via a screen-filtered flexible silicon tube through a specialized filter, ending up in a container. These filters work to remove bacteria, protozoa and microbial cysts that can cause disease. Filters may have fine meshes that must be replaced or cleaned in order to stay effective.

E for Energy
Bushcraft is growing in popularity, in part due to the threat of an Energy crisis and Peak Oil. When the fossil fuels run out, how will we work with nature to supply our needs? Andrew visits the Center for Alternative Technology in mid Wales, UK to discover more about photovoltaic solar panels and renewable energy.

F for Fire
Andrew shows you how to light a fire in harsh weather conditions using the bark from a Birch tree. He also gives top tips on using other items to get that fire going.
Birch bark was a valuable construction material in any part of the world where birch trees were available. Containers like wrappings, bags, baskets, boxes, or quivers were made by most societies well before pottery was invented. Other uses include:
  • In North America, the native population used birch bark for canoes, wigwams, scrolls, ritual art (birch bark biting), maps (including the oldest maps of North America[citation needed]), torches, fans, musical instruments, clothing, and more.
  • In Scandinavia and Finland, it was used as the substratum of sod roofs, for making boxes, casks and buckets, fishing implements, and shoes.
  • In Russia, many birch bark documents have survived from the Middle Ages.
  • In the Indian civilisation birch-bark, along with dried palm leaves, replaced parchment as the primary writing medium. The oldest known Buddhist manuscripts, from Afghanistan, were written on birch bark
Birch bark also makes an outstanding tinder, as the inner layers will stay dry even through heavy rainstorms. To render birch bark useless as tinder, it must be soaked for an extended period.

G for Gathering
The largest annual UK gathering of people with an interest in Bushcraft & survival skills takes place in Wiltshire. Andrew meets some of the instructors, learns a few new skills and finds out what attracts people to the woods.

H for Help
How to signal for help in a survival situation. Andrew explains the use of pyrotechnics, mirrors, mobile phones and other methods.

I for Identify
Finding out which trees are useful for Bushcraft. Learn the difference between Ash, Beech, Holly, and Elder trees. Just one in an exciting series about old skills in a new world. Trees are an important component of the natural landscape because of their prevention of erosion and the provision of a weather-sheltered ecosystem in and under their foliage.
Trees also play an important role in producing oxygen and reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, as well as moderating ground temperatures. They are also elements in landscaping and agriculture, both for their aesthetic appeal and their orchard crops (such as apples). Wood from trees is a building material, as well as a primary energy source in many developing countries. Trees also play a role in many of the world's myths.

J for Japanese Waterstone
How to keep your Knife as sharp as possible by using the Japanese Water Stone. Andrew gives you a full instruction on how to use the stone.
Sharpening stones, water stones or whetstones are used to grind and hone the edges of steel tools and implements. Though it is sometimes mistaken as a reference to the water often used to lubricate such stones, the word "whetstone" is a compound word formed with the word "whet," which means to sharpen a blade, not the word "wet."
Sharpening stones come in a wide range of shapes, sizes and material compositions. Stones may be flat, for working flat edges, or shaped for more complex edges, such as those associated with some wood carving or woodturning tools. They may be composed of natural quarried material, or from man-made material.
Stones are usually available in various grades, which refers to the grit size of the particles in the stone. Generally, the finer the grit, the denser the material, which leads to a finer finish of the surface of the tool. Finer grits cut slower because they remove less material. Grits are often given as a number, which indicates the density of the particles with a higher number denoting higher density and therefore smaller particles.

K for Knife
Andrew gives top tips on using the cutting tool as a professional. Find out what makes a good knife and how to use a it skillfully and safely.
Knives were used at least two-and-a-half million years ago. Originally made of rock, flint, and obsidian; knives have evolved in construction as technology has with blades being made from bronze, copper, iron, steel, ceramics, and titanium. Every culture has a unique version of the knife. A knife may be either a fixed-blade or a folding version with blade patterns and styles as varied as their makers and countries of origin. Due to its role as mankind's first tool, certain cultures have attached spiritual and religious significance to the knife.

L for Laughter
How to survive in a hotel room. Top tips from the master of survival. How to find and cook tasty food, find a drinking supply and using towels in life or death situations.

M for Medicinal
Nature can be your Medicine.Andrew shows what to look in wild plants which can be used to heal. Filmed on the beach and in the woods of Gower in South Wales. Many plants synthesize substances that are useful to the maintenance of health in humans and other animals. These include aromatic substances, most of which are phenols or their oxygen-substituted derivatives such as tannins. Many are secondary metabolites, of which at least 12,000 have been isolated — a number estimated to be less than 10% of the total. In many cases, these substances (particularly the alkaloids) serve as plant defense mechanisms against predation by microorganisms, insects, and herbivores. Many of the herbs and spices used by humans to season food yield useful medicinal compounds.

N for (K)nots
Learn all the knots you will need to enjoy the wilderness. Reef knots, bowline, lashing together knots and lots more. Just one in a series about bushcraft and survival skills.
Knots invariably weaken the rope they are made in. When knotted rope is strained to its breaking point, it almost always fails in or near the knot, unless it is defective or damaged elsewhere. The bending, crushing, and chafing forces that hold a knot in place also unevenly stress the rope fibers and ultimately lead to the reduction of strength.
There are a large variety of knots and each knot has specific properties and suitability for a range of tasks. Some knots are well-adapted to attach to particular objects such as another rope, cleat, ring, or stake. Other knots are made to bind or constrict around an object. Decorative knots usually bind to themselves to produce attractive patterns. Choosing the correct knot for the job at hand is one of the most fundamental aspects of using knots well. However, if memory is limited, three of the most useful knots are the bowline, the sheet bend, and the clove hitch.

O for Outdoors
We visit the Outdoors show (which ironically is indoors) in Birmingham, UK to meet fellow bushcrafters, wooden canoe makers, discover the latest in light aircraft and go seeking love in the woods.

P for Plants
Which wild plants can we eat? Andrew goes foraging in Wales. UK to show you the pig nut, Hawthorn, nettle & wild garlic amongst others.

Q for Quiet
The future of Bushcraft lies in the next generation. So Andrew trains a group of young people to walk silently in the woods. They also learn how to eat worms, just in case the chip shop is closed on the way home.

R for Razor
How to use a Cut Throat Razor in the woods. Look your best in the wilderness by having a shave with a Cut throat Razor. The ultimate close shave for Bushcrafters. Andrew teaches you all the skills of mastering the blade.
A straight razor is a razor with a blade that can fold into its handle.They are also called open razors and cut-throat razors.
Although straight razors were once the principal method of manual shaving, they have been largely overshadowed by the safety razor, incorporating a disposable blade. Electric razors of various types have also been an available alternative especially since the 1950s.Despite that, straight razors still hold a market share, and forums and outlets provide products, directions, and advice to straight razor users. Straight razor manufacturers still exist in Europe, Asia (especially Japan), and the United States. Antique straight razors are also actively traded.
Straight razors require considerable skill to hone and strop, and require more care during shaving.These methods were once a major portion of the curriculum in barber colleges.

S for Shelter
How to construct your sleeping area when sleeping in the woods. Learn what a 'basha' is and what makes makes a good hammock for the outdoors. Andrew will show you how to tie the best knots and how to stay dry in the wild.

T for Trapping
Some simple trapping techniques. Care should be taken and traps should only be used by experts unless it is a survival situation.

U for Utensils
How to make a wooden fork, spoon, pot hanger and support when out in the woods. Learn how to clean your knife using moss.

V for Vatality
How to take the tasty sap from the Birch tree skillfully in March. Andrew explains in this video how to drill & leave the tree in good repair.

Birch sap is the sap extracted from a birch tree, such as a Sweet Birch or a Silver Birch. The sap is often a slightly sweet, thin syrupy-watery liquid. The tree sap contains sugars (namely xylitol), proteins, amino acids, and enzymes.
Birch sap must be collected during a specific time of the year, depending on the species and geography, at the break of winter and spring when the sap moves intensively, typically between the first thaws and the start of bud development. The collected sap can be drunk as a tonic and it is a traditional beverage in Belarus (Belarusian: Бярозавы сок / biarozavy sok), Poland (Polish: Oskoła), Ukraine, Russia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland and elsewhere in Northern Europe as well as parts of northern China.

Birch sap collection is done by tying a bottle to the tree, drilling a hole into its trunk and leading the sap to the bottle by a plastic tube. A small birch (trunk diameter about 15 cm) can produce up to 5 liters of sap per day, a larger tree (diameter 30 cm) up to 15 liters per day. Birch sap has to be collected in early Spring before any green leaves have appeared, as in late Spring it becomes bitter. The collection period is only about a month per year. The price of birch sap is correspondingly high in some countries, e.g. in Japan reaching up to 50 Euro per liter.
Birch sap may be consumed both fresh and naturally fermented. It is a very refreshing drink.
Birch sap can also be used as an ingredient in food or drinks, such as birch beer or wintergreen flavored candy.

Concentrated birch sap is used to make birch syrup, a very expensive type of syrup mainly made from paper birch in Alaska, and from several species in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. In Russia this tonic is used as a traditional herbal medicine functioning as antiseptic, anti-parasitic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-itching treatment.
Fresh birch sap is highly perishable; even if refrigerated, it is stable for only up to 2-5 days. Shelf life can be prolonged by freezing or pasteurization. However pasteurization destroys some ingredients and can alter the taste of the product. Frozen birch sap is fairly stable.

W for Whistle
Andrew shows how you can make a loud whistle using a twig from a Willow tree. Using ancient skills to enjoy nature.

X marks the spot
Andrew travels to Sweden to make a high quality knife for using in his Bushcraft. Andrew gets a step by step guide under the tutor of Lars Enander- a renowned blacksmith for 30 years with Gransfors Bruks.
For over one hundred years Gränsfors Bruks has been synonymous with top-quality axes. The work of manufacturing and selling axes is currently carried out by a 15-strong team. 80% of the output is exported to 22 countries.
The experience and skill of the individual smiths is crucial to the quality and feel of the fine axes. Each axe is signed with the smith’s initials as a quality seal and guarantee. Axes are produced here for many different applications such as wood-splitting, woodworking, log-building, hunting and axe-throwing. The forge is located in the centre of the village where you hear the rhythmical pounding as you approach.

Y for Yonder
Andrew travels to Norway to construct a forest shelter and build a fire to survive in the snow.
How to get the best nights rest out in the wilds. Andrew invites you inside his Tent-Tipi to get warm by his wood stove.He explains why reindeer skin is good for insulation, gives you an insight into the thermarest roll mat and explains what makes a good sleeping bag. Discover how to catch some good zzzzzzzzzz when out in the wilderness.

Z for Zzzzzzz
How to get the best nights rest out in the wilds. Andrew invites you inside his Tent-Tipi to get warm by his wood stove.He explains why reindeer skin is good for insulation, gives you an insight into the thermarest roll mat and explains what makes a good sleeping bag. Discover how to catch some good zzzzzzzzzz when out in the wilderness.

Sleep timing is controlled by the circadian clock, sleep-wake homeostasis, and in humans, within certain bounds, willed behavior. The circadian clock, an inner timekeeping, temperature-fluctuating, enzyme-controlling device, works in tandem with adenosine, a neurotransmitter that inhibits many of the bodily processes associated with wakefulness. Adenosine is created over the course of the day; high levels of adenosine lead to sleepiness.
Children need more sleep per day than adults to develop and function properly: up to 18 hours for newborn babies, with a declining rate as a child ages.A newborn baby spends almost 9 hours a day in REM sleep. By the age of five or so, only slightly over two hours is spent in REM.

Last updated by Ryan Johnson-Hunt Jun 15, 2010.

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