What's stopping you... from carving (and other activities)?

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Paul_B

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
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639
Lancashire
Just a light hearted thread about hobbies you wanted to try and why you haven't tried it already!

I'll start with wood carving. I see all these newbie carving projects and want to try it. Ok not the spoons, sick of spoons if I'm honest. I see really good carvers doing simple looking pieces of work that I really should be able to attempt, but I don't. Why?

Carving needs wood and I never like nicking wood from somewhere when I'm out and about. It's not my wood. Not the reason. Cuts aren't neither. Tools? A knife and axe I suppose are all that's really needed, perhaps a folding, pruning saw. Well I've got knives. Can borrow an axe and saw. Space? No garage or shed. Back yard perhaps in summer or dining room if careful.

What's stopping me I don't have a clue.

So is there something you really wanted to try but have a mental hill to actually start doing?
 
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Toddy

Mod
Mod
Jan 21, 2005
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Flint knapping.
I know how to do it, I have the stuff to do it, but I cannot get myself sort of mentally in the groove to do it.

While on that topic though, does anyone on the forum knap flint arrowheads ?
 

Paul_B

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
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Lancashire
No doubt a good thing to hone skills on but, well they're rarely as nice looking as an owl bookmark as shown on the thread that got me thinking if carving again.
 

Paul_B

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
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Lancashire
I keep meaning to visit the stone age mine/quarry in the Langdales sometime. Not flint but stone axe heads from there have been found as burial goods right around Europe. I think it's amazing that stone age society was connected so widely.
 
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Tengu

Full Member
Jan 10, 2006
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Yes, and then you get a hoary old timer who has been doing it all their life, and no doubt come from a long line of specialists in the craft...and they smile at you and tell you it is easy...

...No better way to get intimidated.
 
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Van-Wild

Full Member
Feb 17, 2018
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I don't carve spoons. I have a metal one.

But I do fashion pot hangers, tent/tarp pegs, snare traps, flat bows.

Sent from my SM-G903F using Tapatalk
 

John Fenna

Lifetime Member & Maker
Oct 7, 2006
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I carve - and enjoy it!
Spoons, spurtles, walking poles, campfire gadgets etc - love it all.
The only thing stopping me flint knapping is I have run out of flint (again!)
I also sew (clothing and kit), make my own billies (from bikkie barrels etc), do leather work etc, have forged and made knives by stock removal .....
I have tried a lot of stuff - and all that is holding me back from trying more is that I cannot think of something else to try! :D
 

SimonL

Full Member
Oct 13, 2010
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Farnborough, Hants
What a very interesting subject !
If I was to be brutally honest, it's probably a number of things:
1 - Lack of knowledge (but this could EASILY be remedied)
2 - Lack of time (erm, that's an excuse not a reason !)
3 - Lack of tools (see point 2 above)
4 - Lack of inclination (see 2 & 3 above)
5 - Lack of motivation (see 2, 3 & 4 above)
Slightly more seriously though, probably the main reason is not being able to "justify" investing the time and effort.
If I have a trip to plan, I will spend time looking for places of interest and things to do/see in that area - I don't know if I will go there again, so want to make the most of it. Often I will end up not getting to a fraction of the places I had earmarked, but that's just the way it goes.
I have made a point, this year, of trying to learn to identify different native (UK) trees, not for any particular reason, but simply because I spend a huge amount of my "free time" walking in woods, it is where I feel most at home, learning the names of the trees helps me find a connection with them.
Tengu's post above this one probably sums up what we can all so easily relate to - I can make a "functional" spoon, but it isn't going to be hanging in the Tate any time soon. Just "having a go" is something we seem to have left behind - we can't all be skilled craftsmen/women at everything, but perhaps we have lost the fun of "having a go"....
My next activity to try is shorter, more concise posts ;)

EDIT: Yeah - OK, 2 more posts arrived since I started on mine...hmmm...
Like John's idea about carving turtles, never thought of that !
 

Paul_B

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
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Lancashire
My biggest issue is starting. Something about not wanting to mess up so I don't start. I think it's the "giving it a go" thing. I just need to go for it.

Obviously I grew up with a folding knife and whittling sticks. I can tell you that I became a dab hand at putting points on sticks!
 
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Stew

Bushcrafter through and through
Nov 29, 2003
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Aylesbury
stewartjlight-knives.com
I carve - and enjoy it!
Spoons, spurtles, walking poles, campfire gadgets etc - love it all.
The only thing stopping me flint knapping is I have run out of flint (again!)
I also sew (clothing and kit), make my own billies (from bikkie barrels etc), do leather work etc, have forged and made knives by stock removal .....
I have tried a lot of stuff - and all that is holding me back from trying more is that I cannot think of something else to try! :D
My bigger issue is lack of time - I have plenty of projects to do!
 

demographic

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Apr 15, 2005
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One of the blokes I was working with last year carved an excellent gargoyle which I thought was pretty damn impressive but I'm just not making spoons, its just not happening.
 

Bishop

Full Member
Jan 25, 2014
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Inside the wire, Llanelli
Having to share my tiny shed/workshop with the wife's mobility scooter is certainly not helping :aarghh:
On the plus side I did gain somewhere comfy to sit whilst working but Oh the earache when she finds sawdust on it lol

There's definitely an element of pathos that sometimes stalls the mind and stays the hand when attempting something new for the first time. The certainty there's always going to be somebody out there with more patience, practice, better tooling etc banging out a better whatever. Pay this emotion no heed and have at it! Bushcraft after all is about acquiring skills, whatever you make does not need to be a work of art. It just has to be functional.
 
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Paul_B

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
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Lancashire
For me I see carving tools online and think £25 spend and I've got the tool to get started. Then I think that money could be better spent elsewhere. I'm basically too tight to invest in a hobby I have no idea that I'll keep up. That miserly lethargy is not a good trait to have.

BTW where do you lot get your wood? I don't feel right getting wood when out and about. It feels like nicking it. For example, I see perfectly straight sticks that would make great walking staffs or sticks and look like I could carve something into them. But cutting them down? Not right without permission surely? Probably would not do any harm long term but still. Is this valid or completely an excuse?
 

Stew

Bushcrafter through and through
Nov 29, 2003
5,438
473
Aylesbury
stewartjlight-knives.com
For me I see carving tools online and think £25 spend and I've got the tool to get started. Then I think that money could be better spent elsewhere. I'm basically too tight to invest in a hobby I have no idea that I'll keep up. That miserly lethargy is not a good trait to have.

BTW where do you lot get your wood? I don't feel right getting wood when out and about. It feels like nicking it. For example, I see perfectly straight sticks that would make great walking staffs or sticks and look like I could carve something into them. But cutting them down? Not right without permission surely? Probably would not do any harm long term but still. Is this valid or completely an excuse?
Speak to tree surgeons. Make it known to friends and family that you'll take some. I have a shed full of Cherry, Whitebeam, Yew, Apple, Laburnum,etc from doing just that. Sensible thinning of sticks can help the other shoots grow.
 

Paul_B

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
4,555
639
Lancashire
Actually I know of a guy on another forum who makes fine furniture as a hobby. He has a network of contacts for wood. Some are leftfield sources you'd not think of such as dock workers. Apparently some ships from south America I think use locally sourced, common and cheap woods for a one shot purpose I can't remember. That wood actually tends to be a rare wood over here that is perfect for furniture making. Stuff like mahogany type of wood hot not if you get my meaning. This guy just picks it up the next time b he's up there visiting relatives or on holiday.
 

John Fenna

Lifetime Member & Maker
Oct 7, 2006
21,854
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I grow some of my own wood - Willow, Ash, Hazel and Hawthorn in my hedge - and get more from friendly landowners.
Some I pinch when out walking.... my hedge is only short!
 

Paul_B

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
4,555
639
Lancashire
Years ago my parents had 8 poplar trees cut down. Some were rotten but others were solid. Missed my chance there I think.

There's a nature reserve near us that we walk in a lot. I've seen bundles of recently chopped down wood in habitat piles. I've seen some were decent diameter for a carving project. Just don't feel right taking from nature like that. They cleared another section recently too. Should I?
 

Woody girl

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Mar 31, 2018
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I'm sure one or two bits won't be missed. I'm always gathering bits here and there for various projects or firewood. Skips can be a good source of wood too depending on what you want to do with it.
If you see the local council pruning or chopping down trees don't be afraid to ask. They are usualy only to keen to save themselves work to get rid of it.