torstai 27. joulukuuta 2012

Woodsworking tools: billhook (vesuri in finnish)

Billhook is traditional clearing tool in Finland and typical model have around 20cm blade which ends into hook that works also like small scythe (pull cut). Mostly I use that hook for moving cut branches away and it also protects blade when you cut near ground (hook hits ground when blade is untouched).
There´s one and two handled model and it´s very handy for clearing saplings and even small trees aswell as general purpose bladed tool for all kind of heavy woodcutting. Novadays Fiskars made some 95% of billhooks in Finland and it´s modern glassfibrereinforced plastic handled with teflon coated blade. It´s great and strong tool, but not so traditional. There´s still makers of traditional billhooks and here are few:
Härmän Taonta
Metallituote Saarela Oy

You can also find often very good old handforged billhooks from fleamarkets, (like ebay). Here´s one I just got for 15€:
Seller said that it´s from 1930-1940 and maker unknown. Overall length is 55cm and cutting edge around 23cm, blade 5mm thick. It´s little heavier side and can be used one or two handed (barely). Blade is very good condition and ready to work. Handle is roughly carved (replacement I think) and have bit leuku like poll. It´s attached into blade with two flathead screws. I think I´m going to make new bit longer handle at some point. Tip: Billhooks could be very good low cost alternative for heavy leuku when you just cut hook off to get like sheepfoot style tip. (it´s known to be used like that among reindeer herders of Lappland, where axe have mostly no use cause there´s no big trees).

perjantai 7. joulukuuta 2012

Snowcave (lumikammi in finnish)

Snowcave (in finnish lumikammi) is very handy shelter which can save your life in winter. I started to make one in our backyard.
First you collect pile of snow let´s say 2x3m and some 1,5m high. Then wait for few hours so snow becomes harder (you can beat pile with your shovel a bit to make process faster) after that if you want you can push around 30cm stick around pile to avoid thinning it´s walls too much when digging the cave. If you want to make things simple and there´s two guys digging you can do it from opposite directions and close one end of the tunnel at the end. Then you make breathing hole into ceiling with skipole or like and you can leave it there so you can open breathing channel if snowing. You can also make your "bed" higher than cave floor to let cold air go down there. Doorway you simply close with your rucksack for example.

My pile was too short cause there was lack of snow, but right now it´s snowing so I can lenghten it and then sleep on it overnight later. So, to be continued...