Archive for the ‘How-To’ Category

Bow drill

June 13, 2015

Took a few pictures of my bow drill and setup for drilling antler buttons and thought I would share them.

Work bench – Bottom right is a wedge vise I use to hold the antler slices down while drilling.

Top right is a stone that may have been used for either drilling or fire starting as the hole in the middle is tapered on both sides.  It works great to hold the rotating shaft holding the bit.  I put just a little bees wax on the shaft end for lube.

Next down is the bow.  Privet branch that I didn’t even bother trimming, broke it off to use 3 years or so ago and still works so why change now.

String is a length of artificial sinew doubled and twisted.

Then there are 3 different sized bits on shafts.  I cheated here and used store bought dowels.


The wedge vice in use.  Antler slice is put under the left side and wedge is inserted under the other side. If I need to clamp a thicker piece the pivot screw in the center can be backed out to adjust the opening.  Likewise a thicker wedge can be used.


This is the basic setup for drilling. Normally you hold the stone in one hand and the bow in the other but it’s hard to hold the bow, pivot stone and take a picture with only 2 hands. 🙂  Bow string wraps around the shaft of the drill which tensions the bow and allows it to rotate the drill when moved in a sawing motion from side to side.  As the bit turns in one direction and then the other as the bow moves back and forth the cutting edge of the bits are not sharpened at an angle like a standard drill bit is but are flat. They still have a point and around a 30 degree taper from the outside to the center.


This picture gives a bit better view of the string wrapped around the shaft.


And a closer view of the vise in action.


Antler slice drilled through supporting the drill shaft.


Closeup of the drilled slice.


Bit removed from hole.  You can see the taper from edge to center here.


Three different sized bits and two different antler slices with different sized holes.


I’ll post more later on making the bits. These 3 are all made out of coat hanger wire. End heated, pounded flat, ground or filed to shape and then reheated and quenched to harden.  The temper color can be seen on the one to left of the above picture.

Hope y’all enjoy.


Made a hands free axe carrier

June 12, 2015

Was over on Survival Sherpa and saw the one Todd made and decided to add a carrier to my beater hand axe.

This is the finished product.  The head cover is one I made several years ago out of a scrap piece of leather that fit around the head without cutting. Punched holes in it top and bottom and laced it together.

Axe in carrier

Axe in carrier

The button I used is a piece of antler that I drilled (with a bow drill which I’ll post about in another entry) and tied on with another piece of leather thong.

Closure side

Closure side

To attach the strap and help support the axe I added a piece from the bottom to the closure strap, again by punching holes and lacing on with leather thong. The other end of the strap I just fed through the lace at the end of the cover and tied the strap around it.  Gives some adjustment and if I need to at a later date I can always make a slit in the head cover, feed it through and tie it around.

Head cover closed

Head cover closed

Button hole is just a slit in the leather.  Easy on, easy off.

Head cover open

Head cover open

Thanks to Survival Sherpa for the idea!

The Twisted Knot Woodshop

July 6, 2014

The Twisted Knot Woodshop.

Bunch of interesting stuff on this site.

A Drill Bit Sharpening Jig You Can Rely On – YouTube

July 6, 2014

A Drill Bit Sharpening Jig You Can Rely On – YouTube.


Gonna have to see about building one of these little jewels too. After I build one of the sanding stations….

Make An Inexpensive Sliding Moxon Vise – 144 – YouTube

July 4, 2014

Make An Inexpensive Sliding Moxon Vise – 144 – YouTube.

Gonna have to get busy. Been wanting a large bench vise and looks like I’ve found the plans to do what I need!

A DIY Home Wind Turbine For Just $30? Here’s The Blueprint | Co.Exist | ideas + impact

May 15, 2014

A DIY Home Wind Turbine For Just $30? Here’s The Blueprint | Co.Exist | ideas + impact.

This is just awesome! Not simple but doable with minimal skills and materials.

How to cut coins to make jewelry

May 15, 2014

How to cut coins to make jewelry. Several good ideas here. Love the quick vise from a strap hinge!

Woodworking : How to make your own strong casein wood glue from milk

May 15, 2014

Woodworking : How to make your own strong casein wood glue from milk. Gonna have to give this a try.

The Woodwrights Shop | PBS Video

February 8, 2011

The Woodwrights Shop | PBS Video.

So glad these are online now! Really great stuff!

Winding Sticks – Joel’s Blog at Tools for Working Wood

February 6, 2011

By definition winding sticks are two matching sticks that are used to help determine if a pieces of wood is in wind (twisted).

via Joel’s Blog at Tools for Working Wood.

Another tool I need to make. Just got to get that storage shelf done, so I can build the work bench, so I can build the other work bench, so I can build the work shop, so I can build…