feather sticks

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steve a

Settler
Oct 2, 2003
811
4
south bedfordshire
Can anyone give me some pointers on producing decent feather sticks. I seam to produce too thick a shaving or shave the feather off the stick. I'm currently working on Chestnut which I understand is supposed to be an ideal wood due to the straight grain. My Knife is a Bison Forrester and it takes a good edge, so I know thats not the problem it seems to be my technique, any advice.Thanks
 

Adi007

New Member
Sep 3, 2003
4,080
0
I find that the trick is to use a straight arm and work from the shoulder and not work the elbow. That way the strokes are cleaner and you have better control over the cuts. This results in finer "feathers".

If you are cutting from the elbow you are more likely to shave the feathers all off. Kneel down. and hold the stick in your left handby your left knee. Press down with the shoulder on the wood with the knife at a shallow angle to the wood and you will find that you can control how far and how deep the cuts go better.

That's my 2p anyway!
 

boaty

New Member
Sep 29, 2003
344
0
54
Bradford, W. Yorks
www.comp.brad.ac.uk
Practice and practice and practice :-D

I'm teaching my step-son basic knife-use and, although it sounds daft, I'm getting him to practice feathering photocopier paper as finely as possible. The point being that he's learning the correct movement and technique for controlling the thickness of cut, without having to worry about developing the force needed to cut a stick

Oh and a razor-sharp, single bevelled, convexed edge, knife helps :lol:
 

Adi007

New Member
Sep 3, 2003
4,080
0
Wood shaved into thin strips with a knife ... also called fuzz sticks, although most of the images that you see about the place are pretty poor ones that look more like little Xmas trees made out of wood.

the naughty boy said:
what r feather sticks and what r they for? :-?
 

sargey

Mod
Mod
Sep 11, 2003
2,685
6
cheltenham, glos
i also find that it's easier holding the knife edge up/ towards your knuckles, brace the pommel of the knife against your chest then pull the wood across the knife using your back muscles.

cheers, and.
 

TAHAWK

New Member
Jan 9, 2004
254
2
Ohio, U.S.A.
Adi007 said:
I find that the trick is to use a straight arm and work from the shoulder and not work the elbow. That way the strokes are cleaner and you have better control over the cuts. This results in finer "feathers".

If you are cutting from the elbow you are more likely to shave the feathers all off. Kneel down. and hold the stick in your left handby your left knee. Press down with the shoulder on the wood with the knife at a shallow angle to the wood and you will find that you can control how far and how deep the cuts go better.

That's my 2p anyway!
Good tip. Less chance of over-travel.
 

Adi007

New Member
Sep 3, 2003
4,080
0
Exactly TAL ... not only does over-travel strip the feathers off your stick leaving you with another, thinner stick, but it also risks you ploughing your blade straight into the ground :shock:
... or your leg! :shock:
 

Ed

Admin
Admin
Aug 27, 2003
5,927
18
47
South Wales Valleys
not only does over-travel strip the feathers off your stick leaving you with another, thinner stick
If you do strip off any feathers save them till the the end. When you have finished and just insert them in amongst the cuts....... no waste!!

:)
Ed
 
Mar 2, 2004
325
0
d,uh...i just realised you talking about leaving the cuttings connected to the stick. whats the benefit of this? isnt it easier to just make a big pile of cuttings? seems like too much work to me. ...enlighten me please.
 

gurushaun

Forager
Sep 12, 2003
212
0
54
Modbury, Devon/Cannock Staffs
TNB If you leave the feathers attatched to the stick then you can use the body of the feather stick to form a pyramid with several othe sticks so that when you put you burning bundle of primary tinder inside there is plenty of thinner wooden curls for the flames to catch, and plenty of air around to encourage them to burn. Also it stops fine shavings from blowing away. :-D

Cheers

Shaun
 

Adi007

New Member
Sep 3, 2003
4,080
0
Also, by leaving the feathers attached to the main stick, it makes the flame transfer from the fine kindling to thicker kindling easier, therefore you get a faster fire!!!!!

:chill:
 

steve a

Settler
Oct 2, 2003
811
4
south bedfordshire
Adi, many thanks for your tips, practiced at the weekend and produced the best ones yet. Finally made six and decided to 'field' test them, lit the feathers and main sticks caught alight,and produced a good start to the fire,so now just practice practice practice until I build the skill and speed. One more question, which part of the blade do you think is best to use, I've heard that if you carve with the curve of the blade this will produce a tighter curl, but I must admit I found it easier to 'feather' by using the part of the blade next to the handle.
Maybe I'm weak wristed !!!!!
 

Adi007

New Member
Sep 3, 2003
4,080
0
It does, but I'd leave that until you get used to the standard technique (which is what I normally use anyway). Strength will come from practice!

When using the curve of the blade I tend to angle the tip of the blade down about 10 degrees as it bites the wood better and cuts easier.

steve a said:
I've heard that if you carve with the curve of the blade this will produce a tighter curl, but I must admit I found it easier to 'feather' by using the part of the blade next to the handle.
Maybe I'm weak wristed !!!!!
 

ditchfield

New Member
Nov 1, 2003
305
0
32
Somerset
I sometimes start using the middle of the blade and slide it diagonally across, you seem to get more control this way. I also find that a serated blade works well if you have one around, although this isn't practical as few people carry one of these out and about (me included).
 

Adi007

New Member
Sep 3, 2003
4,080
0
It's all about control. The sharper the edge and the more comfortable the handle, the better the cut will be. This is one problem with having too many different knives or swappng too often - you never get to the point where it is a extension of your arm/hand.