Finnish Bushcraft

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Martti

Full Member
Mar 12, 2011
915
13
Finland
Beckolja ?
This is the same product that is known as "pikiöljy" in Finnish. The Swedish one seems to be also a mix of some kind of oil to the pitch oil. Actually some of my manuals go with the tradition that it is best used as it is in raw state, taken that your skin can handle it...
 

Martti

Full Member
Mar 12, 2011
915
13
Finland
While these are not exactly Finnish designs but rather Khanty (who are distantly related to Finns by language) I have added them to illustrate the general usefulness of the birch bark. The first drawing is from U. T. Sirelius' book "Ostjakkien ja vogulien tuohi- ja nahkakoristeita" (1904) and the rest from Tyyni Vahter's "Obinugrilaisten kansojen koristekuosit" (1953).

The design is painted or dyed but scratched to the surface of the bark; were scratched the tone is light.

1. A water container



2. & 3. Containers for food and water.



 

Martti

Full Member
Mar 12, 2011
915
13
Finland
I went through dozens of patrol reports from 1942 to 1944 to compile this list of the equipment that the troops recommended to their superiors. I can try to provide a more detailed description of the items if needed.

SUMMER
- Lace boots (dry weather) or rubber boots (wet)
- Oilskin gaiters
- Flannel underwear
- Short oilskin jacket
- Zeltbahn
- Oilskin rucksack covering

WINTER
- Footwraps
- Felt shoe with leather top (dry weather) or leather boot (wet)
- Calfskin coat lined with thin windproof cloth or fur vests
- Anorak
- Zeltbahn
- Plywood ahkio (sled)
 
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Martti

Full Member
Mar 12, 2011
915
13
Finland
While going through some German photographs taken in Lapland during the World War Two, I found these two and though they make a nice comparison of the two different clothing strategies employed by the two nations to withstand the winter.



 
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Martti

Full Member
Mar 12, 2011
915
13
Finland
I mentioned earlier that kuksas were not used by Finns. This is not quite true since they were used but only inside a house. The one I photographed earlier today at the Finnish National Museum is made out of curly birch and is a typical two handle design. The diameter was maybe around 10-15 centimeters.



There was also an interesting trio of sharpening stones probably from 1000s or 1100s. The stones were attached to the belt through the hole. The cube with a number at the foreground is around a centimeter in width.



Finally I would like to show this excellent photograph of a reconstructed belt with all of the "gadgets" from 1000s or 1100s. The later designs included a pouch for the smaller stuff but the basic looks stayed the same. Photograph by The Museum Centre of Turku.

 

Martti

Full Member
Mar 12, 2011
915
13
Finland
I recently found references to a "new" method of carrying items that was used in some extend in southern Finland. A bag, usually of hemp, was tied with straps to form a simple backpack. As this is a very simple item it may have been used in various cultures other than the Finnish one. If you are familiar with this technique, please let me know! Illustration from Hanna Snellman's book "Tukkilaisen tulo ja lähtö", pg. 143.

 

Martti

Full Member
Mar 12, 2011
915
13
Finland
I think that one of the best shelter design you can carry with you is the traditional loue. Here is a simple pattern for two man loue from a 1936 edition of Pieni retkeilyopas book. Depending of the material (linen is adviced), the weight of the final product should be about from one to one and a half kilograms.



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loue_(tent)
 

Martti

Full Member
Mar 12, 2011
915
13
Finland
An interesting pattern there. Thanks for that!
No problem! However I noticed that there is a small mistake in the measurements. The middle 2,6 meters should naturally be 2,8 m as it is longer than the other two! Other measurements are fine.

P.S. I found great blueprints for Finnish 1940s' backpack frame if anyone is interested.
 
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RonW

Native
Nov 29, 2010
1,557
76
Dalarna Sweden
No problem! However I noticed that there is a small mistake in the measurements. The middle 2,6 meters should naturally be 2,8 m as it is longer than the other two! Other measurements are fine.

P.S. I found great blueprints for Finnish 1940s' backpack frame if anyone is interested.
Let's see'm Martti!!

As far as the loue is concerned.... If it stands so tall, doesn't it catch more wind?? And do you need to secure the top to the ground somehow?
And I see some angles is the flat drawing, but when put upright these are gone. Would the tension on the fabric do that?
 
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Martti

Full Member
Mar 12, 2011
915
13
Finland
Let's see'm Martti!!
Here is the front view of the plans, send me a PM if you need the rest in full size. I also have manufacturing instructions I can translate into English if needed. The frame was originally developed in 1943 for Finnish long range patrols which carried over 50 kilograms of material several hundred kilometers behind Soviet lines.



As far as the loue is concerned.... If it stands so tall, doesn't it catch more wind?? And do you need to secure the top to the ground somehow?
And I see some angles is the flat drawing, but when put upright these are gone. Would the tension on the fabric do that?
Loue can be put up as tall or shallower depending the current wind speeds. Generally you can use the taller setup all around the year in Finland as wind speeds rarely are high in forests. The top is only secured to a tree. Some of the designs have angles, but I think that they are not necessary if you can cut the fabric without angles.
 

forestwalker

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
I saw that shelter design years ago in Nalle Coranders books, and was intrigued. My impresssion is that it would be difficult to rig it to work well in conditions with unpredicatable wind direction and rain since it is so "open" . Or does one spread the base open more and the top a bit lower then?
 

Martti

Full Member
Mar 12, 2011
915
13
Finland
My impresssion is that it would be difficult to rig it to work well in conditions with unpredicatable wind direction and rain since it is so "open" . Or does one spread the base open more and the top a bit lower then?
That is true but as I said, wind is rarely a problem in forests where it was designed to be used. In other conditions a laavu or erätoveri might suit better.
 

forestwalker

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
That is true but as I said, wind is rarely a problem in forests where it was designed to be used. In other conditions a laavu or erätoveri might suit better.
I'm in the forests as well, so it would suit me well then. Going to lock for some polycotton, that would work well even if I have a fire going (I have seen a nylon tent burning, even if it was only a demo and not for real).
 

Martti

Full Member
Mar 12, 2011
915
13
Finland
I finished reading Toini-Inkeri Kaukonen's 100-page study Alusvaipat eli villalakanat or "On the history of Finnish woolen bed sheets" from 1961. Still during the 1950s some two percent of the rural population slept on the floor of their houses (which was customary up to the mid-19th century) and used woolen bed sheets on top of layer of straws. The sheets were not called blankets, although they basically were one and the same thing. The benefit of making twill woolen ones instead of linen ones was that the first ones lasted up to twenty years and had to washed only once during a year, after or during the winter.

It is not mentioned on the article but I suspect that the bed sheets were also carried by hunters and fishermen and used on top of a layer of spruce needles if they did not have a reindeer or sheep hide with them. The oldest reference we have on these is the 1483 inventory (in Swedish) from the castle of Viipuri.

Finally two photographs of the designs used in the bed sheets.

East Karelia


East Karelia
 
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RonW

Native
Nov 29, 2010
1,557
76
Dalarna Sweden
They don't look like real blankets to me, Martti. Not as thick and fluffy, but more like a flanel kind off sheet.
Either way, a sheet like this on a thick bed of spruce should keep you warm.
Tack!