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Topics - Rancid Crabtree

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Archery / Russian Boar with my bow
« on: January 21, 2018, 04:46:53 PM »
So why would a bowhunter go after hairy, tusky, swine on a game ranch/preserve/reserve/high fence operation/enclosure/cage/pen/or whatever judgmental term you want to apply to the act of chasing game where the high fences surround the land? After all, nobody in their right mind would do such a thing. Right, I6've never taken my bow out to a game ranch/preserve/reserve/high fence operation/enclosure/cage/pen/or whatever judgmental term you want to apply to try and arrow an animal. I?ve never had reason to but after thinking about it briefly, does a bowhunter need a reason to bust through knee deep snow in frigid temps looking for groceries? that's up to you. For me the list of reasons is pretty long for why I would try my hand at this sort of adventure for the very first time. In less than a month I will be bowhunting in Hawaii and there are several new pieces of gear I hoped to evaluate in the field before trying them for the first time 4,500 miles from home. With this adventure, I did it to: (in a very particular order):

1.   FOR THE PORK!!!!! I LOVE PORK!! And I would rather fill my freezer with natural, hormone and antibiotic free meat that I personally harvested than plastic wrapped meat on a foam tray from the local grocer.
2.   Test (in a hunting situation) a new drop away rest I`ve spent a year designing and building.
3.   Test new (heavy and high FOC) Aluminum arrows I built for my Hawaiian bull hunt on something besides foam.
4.   Test a new (to me) broadhead for the Hawaiian bull hunt on a real-life critter. In this case it`s a Woodsman broadhead.
5.   Test two new bow camera mounts that I designed and made that I hope to use on future hunts.
6.   Test/evaluate the use of a hip quiver (have never used one for hunting before) that I hope to use on more spot and stalk hunts and especially for the Hawaii hunt.
7.   All my WI tags are punched leaving no big game bowhunting in January for me to do the above.
8.   This particular target species does not exist in my home state so I have to travel if I hope to pass an arrow through a Russian boar.
9.   I`ve never gone after hogs before.
10.   Self-filming with two cameras under spot and stalk conditions in close quarters. (This adds a level of difficulty to bowhunting)
11.   Adventure. (who doesn`t want new/different bowhunting adventures?) It pleases me to close the distance on an animal and successfully execute a shot.
12.   Education (every time we pursue a different species we learn something new that we can apply to other hunts. Every time we send an arrow into an animal we learn about its performance/lethality)
13.   News Experiences (I`ve never been to the Michigan`s UP before. I`ve never seen Escanaba in Da moonlight.)
For some, there is no way, no how and no reason that could compel them to pick up their bow and seek to arrow a boar within the confines of a fenced operation. (unless somebody else paid the fee for them). And that`s ok. Your time, your money, your choice and until now I too didn`t have enough reasons to do it.  I wasn`t against it, I just never had a desire. This particular fenced operatron happens to be 370 acres (just over 9, 40s) of thick woods, open hardwoods and open areas. and is larger than any lease or farm I have hunted in Wisconsin by more than double the size (that`s one hell of a big pen).

I drove up the night before and got to see Escanaba in Da moonlight.

The lodge looked modest from the outside but the accommodations were outstanding. Despite the frigid temps, the night was warm and comfortable.

The next morning was even colder. This is defiantly Hawaii.

I drove to the main building for breakfast and to meet my guide Don. During breakfast, Don asked several questions to establish my level of hunting and bowhunting experience. He was particularly interested in my broadhead of choice. When I informed him, I WAS NOT using a mechanical head, he seemed at ease. When I showed him the long, 3 bladed Woodsman I think he was even more assured that there were no concerns with the one part of our gear that is ultimately responsible for killing. He then shared horror stories of past experiences with clients using mech. Heads. He was blunt and had lots of first hand experiences to form that opinion as he has been doing this for many years.
After breakfast we spent more time talking in his truck about bowhunting which Im pretty sure allowed him to gauge who he was dealing with. Since this was a meat hunt, I told him I?d heard that uncut (not castrated) boars are not good to eat so I would target a sow. He said that boars that are sub-200 Lbs. have great tasting meat and that I should not hesitate to go after a boar. I also explained to him all the new items I was hunting with hoping to evaluate their effectiveness in advance of my Island hunt. Despite my never having sent an arrow towards a hog before , he felt no need to tag along or participate in my day beyond showing me the property. He deposited me and my gear in the snow and drove off. The temps were in the teens, the wind chill even colder and enough to make you want to cover any exposed skin.
The boars are skittish, wary, jumpy and not at all tolerant of humans (can you really blame them?) There eyesight is far better than I had imagined and I immediately wished I was smart enough to wear snow camo instead of the brow/green I had on. Their nose rivals a deer and once I encountered that, I noticed they never stopped testing the air for humans constantly harassing them. Getting in bow range was not easy. It has to be done from down wind or you can forget about getting close.

After busting through knee deep snow and glassing only to be busted on many occasions when I was still more than 100 yards away, it was clear this was not going to be like walking into a pen and shooting a pig. There were no stands, no blinds to wait in or behind, it was the sort of on-the-ground, spot and stalk I was looking for. These pigs were educated and not at all interested letting me get anywhere near them. I had underestimated these hogs. Frankly, I expected it to be easier than it proved to be, after all, I was only trying to kill a pig in a pen.

Here is a brief video of what it looked like.

The hogs never stopped moving. I would imagine is warm weather they may lay around and avoid exertion but it was cold with deep snow so they stayed on the move. They were never in one place very long and would suddenly have a desire to be elsewhere (and always in a hurry). The biggest boars were solitary. I would see them at great distances that would challenge a rifle shooter. The fact that they are so dark coupled with the white background helped me spot them but this hurt me because the hogs used that to their advantage due to my dark camo. Often times they knew where I was before I would spot them in the forest.
When I would spot a large group, there were a few occasions when I would anticipate where they were headed next and played the wind and could close the gap to 40 yards but the act of withdrawing an arrow from the hip quiver, nocking an arrow, starting and zooming camera #1 and then camera #2, clipping on a release and successfully executing a draw cycle required too much motion when dozens of eyes were always scanning. Ultimately, I would be spotted and it was off to the races after a grunt and blow from one or more large sows. More times than I can count I dropped to my knees and whispered a curse word or three only to stand up. Brush off the snow and start over.

I realized very quickly this pork was not going to be plastic wrapped on a foam tray. This would require effort and the snow and cold and self-filming, compounded the event. This was an honest to goodness challenge and I was loving it. Clearly these are not tame hogs. These are not pet pigs in a cage. They are wild in every sense of the word and wide ranging even if not Free ranging.
The deep snow and the short legs of the hogs meant the hogs would create runs through the forest that were narrow but well packed down. These trails were not a quiet walk due to earlier freezing rain that created a layer of crunch and the cold of that day made the snow actually squeak under my size 13 pac boot but the trails were clear indication that the hogs prefer walking there than busting a new trail. Likewise, Don`s 4x4 also created packed down trails the hogs were happy to use.

With the wind in my favor I headed towards a wooded edge of a clearing with enough clumps of trees to provide cover where I could wait. Also, I needed a break from walking the deep snows. While I waited, I practiced all the actions required to capture the event on the two cameras. More than once I was very happy to be wearing my Black Claw Bow holder since setting the bow in the snow was not an option and there was no place to hang a bow on a tree or stab a bow holder in the frozen ground. This was the exact reason I designed the bow holder because it kept my bow upright, at the ready and on my person while allowing both hands to tackle the tasks of self-filming and keeping both hands in a warm pocket instead of holding the bow.
From time to time a large boar that never objected to breaking a new trail, would pass by but always in excess of 100 yards, occasionally a group of hogs would pass but all my filming movements would get me busted. The lack of heavy cover made it difficult set up on a location that blocked my movements but sitting still seemed to make more sense than simply chasing pigs over the 370 acres so I waited. I lost track of the number of times I got as far as clipping the release on the string. Clearly, I was too close to the trail so I backed deeper into the woods but even then, I was getting busted. When I was about to move to a different location I spotted a group of 3 boars cutting through the woods in my direction. This time I started the cameras far earlier than ever which is a risk since one of cameras was filming in slow motion and using up memory and battery life is big gulps. I clipped my release on the string but left the bow in my Black Claw bow holder since it was exactly where I needed it to start the draw cycle.
The lead boar walked by at 30 yards. I was able to get away with the draw but then he turned and faced me. He stared directly at me for several seconds and then turned. Even though he was quartering away I could still see his eye meaning he could still see me. The 2nd and 3rd boars were behind a tree and the tree I was standing near blocked their view. I put the 30 yard pin on the far side shoulder hoping to drop my woodsman behind the near shoulder. In real time, it looked like a typical quartering away shot. The boar expired in less than 50 yards.
Since the pig was down within eye shot, I went looking for the arrow. By the time I placed back in the quiver the blood-soaked fletching was frozen solid. As I approached the boar I was surprised at the impact point. Later, when I viewed later in frame by frame arrow flight, it showed just how much the hog had moved before the arrow arrived. My lumbering 691 grain arrow going 221 feet per second caused my broadhead to impact the near side ham, plunging forward, through the vitals, the opposite shoulder blade, exiting just behind the ear. The heavy arrow passed completely through about 35 inches of moving hog and performed exceptionally.

I recovered the arrow and already the blood soaked fletching was frozen solid.

Here I break down the shot thanks to the bow mounted camera.

I dragged the boar a short distance to where it could be reached by Don`s 4x4 and I took a few pictures, then waited for him to arrive. This gave me time to review the footage which is like opening a gift on Christmas morning. Did I get a toy, or socks? This time it was a toy. Both cameras proved themselves and I learned a great deal about the changes I need to make before self-filming my hunt in Hawaii. Had I not made this effort, I would not have seen the shortcomings of the 2 camera system but I still have time to improve the camera setup. Likewise, the hip quiver was a huge success and requires no upgrades.

The new Drop away rest I`d spent so much time developing worked flawlessly as did the heavy arrow and woodsman broadhead.

When Don arrived, we took more pictures.

We loaded the hog and headed back to the main house to dress the hog, talk about the day and get something to eat. In my opinion, the entire event was challenging, physically demanding and in no way could be construed as killing a pig in a pen. In fact, I`ve had archery deer and bear harvests that were far easier and less demanding than this. This hog hunt was enjoyable and educational and allowed me to evaluate new gear I have never taken afield before and most importantly I was heading home with a bunch of pork and footage to put together. I also left with something else. I left with zero regret, guilt, shame or hesitance to say I took a hog with a bow and arrow inside a High fence. and enjoyed it very much.

I enjoyed a daytime drive along the shores of frozen lake Michigan as the hog chilled in the bed of my truck.

When I got home I disassembled the hog and learned more about the damage the head did. To say Im impressed is an understatement.

Archery / Hawaii bowhunting blog
« on: December 30, 2017, 11:05:43 PM »
In mid February Im taking my wife to Hawaii for a week. Im not really a beach guy so Im going to be doing some bowhunting while there. I'm still uncertain as to exactly which islands I want to hunt and what species aside from pigs (staying on Kauai but may island hop for other species) but Im going to make some new arrows and perhaps a different broadhead for this trip. I'll take the longbow and that setup is already sound and ready but I'll also take my Bowtech RPM 360 (set at 64 lbs) so Im going to make some heavy arrows ( around 10 grain per pound for 600+ gr) arrows. Ive Already ordered some 100 grain brass inserts and other items for the build.

Ive contacted as many guides/outfitters I could find with internet searches as well as contacting some locals with pig problems. We will be staying on the SE coast of Kauai using the Kauai Marriott Lihue as home base. Sadly it looks as though the Axis deer will be in very early velvet development at that time of year so they may be off the table. I'm building heavy arrows with extreme FOC because I hope to hunt Vancouver Bulls (Feral cattle)

Outdoor Related Craft Projects / Beaver and Elk mittens
« on: January 03, 2017, 07:25:48 AM »
My brother traps and got a beaver. He tanned it himself and wants a pair of chopper mitts. Since the hide was not professionally tanned its not been thinned and its not as soft or pliable as I would like but the fur is great.

In the picture below, the head is to the left. The thickest part of the hide is near the neck and down the spine. Its thinner at the belly so each mitten will have varying thickness unless the leather is thinned.

The thickest portion is nearly a 1/4 inch. Your seeing the finger tip area (thickest) and the thin part is from the other mitt in the wrist area. These thicknesses need to be the same or the mittens will be too stiff.

Thinning and oiling makes the hide a bit more flexible but the hide is not as flexible as a professional tanner would make them.

Then the two halves are sewn together inside out.

With the aid of time and a broom handle they are turned right side out. Its delicate work not to damage the hair.

I made the liners for the mittens using polar-tech fleece. Its thick and warm and soft.

Here my hand model wears them.

The liners are inserted into the mittens and my hand model shows how the finished mittens look. They are heavy and thick and warm. They should last a long time.

Archery / Early season deer decoying (video)
« on: October 03, 2016, 05:37:54 AM »
Saturday's East winds didnt work for our stands so I set a decoy on a greenfield. Here is how all the deer (and other animals) reacted to the buck decoy.

General Discussion / A happy/satisfied customer tale
« on: August 29, 2016, 08:40:36 AM »
As a consumer, we all make purchases and then immediately determine whether we made a good choice or not. We are either happy or unhappy with what we bought and that covers both the end product and the customer service. Many times we read online about deal gone bad and poor customer service and a warning of regret to others but I have a story opposite of the usual complaints. 

I have a positive story of a recent purchase. I was in the market for decals/stickers for the work truck and stumbled across Rooted Decals in a Facebook group I belong to. I know how much bowhunters like to display thier pride in Bowhunting with stickers on their trucks so I pass this along. I messaged Andrew Burke to ask questions about the custom brand logos for our company. He was very friendly and easy to work with and turned around my 7 custom decals in just a few days. I got 6 decals for the truck box and 1 for the rear window. 

If you are in the market for custom graphic for your ride or any application for quality decals at a fair value, give them a look right here on Facebook.

I am in no way compensated by or affiliated with Rooted Decals. I am only a happy customer sharing a happy customer tale.

Outdoor Related Craft Projects / The M.T.A.B.S. hunting seat
« on: August 18, 2016, 07:46:26 PM »
I like to hunt from the ground in natural debris blinds and pop ups at times but I don't like the available options for ground blind chairs. I hunt river bottoms that are soft ground so chair legs sink which means the need to also haul in some sort of flooring material. Couple that with the fact that chairs are clumsy to haul and expensive (Some are really expensive). I don't care for a stool because stools offer no back rest and stools are not comfortable because of that fact so any chair I use has to have a back rest. Most stools with back rest also include arms but arms get in the way of drawing a bow so it cant have armrests. It has to be easy to carry and light weight and cheap so when its stolen, I'm not out anything.
As part of a DIY, problem solving group, I've been looking for a simple, low cost seat for all manner of ground hunting for spring turkey, bear, deer and things like stream-side and Ice fishing, camping, berry and shroom picking, and any other use where a ready seat would be handy. A comfy, reliable seat that we can make ourselves that is really cheap since its likely to be stolen if left unattended.
This is the M.T.A.B.S.
Multi-function (Because you can carry your lunch and thermos and other gear in and deer heart and mushrooms and berries and small game or fish out with you)
Tactical (Because its painted black and its used for hunting so now-a-days, that makes it Tactical.)
All Terrain (Because it sounds cool and it can really be used in all terrains)
Bucket (Because it uses a 5 gallon bucket)
Seat (Do I really need to explain this part)
Its made of plywood and offers a back rest. The parts fit in the bucket. Its light weight and the cost of scrap plus paint.

Now that we are back from our 4th of July trip it?s time to start a storage shed project that been on the back burner for a while. My son and I are building the shed. Its time to take the garage back which has become the manufacturing area for Innovative Outdoorsman products and we need a better storage area for all the ladder and chain on tree stands and climbing sticks and deer decoys and other hunting gear and yard tools. We designed the shed and gathered all the supplies before the holiday. Its going to be a 12 x 12 shed with a roofed overhang on one side. The shed will have 8 foot walls and a couple windows. It will have double doors, a ramp for the riding mower and a roof vent because sheds can get pretty hot inside. The plan is to work on the shed in the afternoon/evenings after work each day as weather allows. I?ll use this space to detail the project as we make progress. Here is a drawing of the shed we designed and used to generate the bill of materials.

I know every state has different laws on fresh kill transport and western states hunters do things different than midwest hunters (we are midwest hunters that bring out game animals whole to transport them to our processing setup on the farm where we break them down and process them like livestock in a clean, butcher room setting with running water, tables, etc) so we prefer to bring out game animals whole.

Im in my 50's and hunt solo most of the time and have a bear hunt coming up this fall so my son and I upgraded my bear and deer loading gear for my truck because loading a bear or a large midwestern buck into the bed of a truck with a high bed is not an easy task for a single person. We hoped to make it easier.

After trying and testing out a variety of methods (not a bad way to spend Fathers day working with your son getting ready for bear and deer season) We ended up with a 7:1 ratio block and tackle (freshly re-strung with 115 feet of rope) and an 8 foot (trough style) ramp to keep animals centered rather than sliding off the edge. Here is a 1 minute video of the final product and a test pull of 225 lbs (I think it was actually more than 225 since the crate corners really dug into the ramp increasing the friction) Either way, he should be good to go for any animal he kills while hunting alone.

Outdoor Related Craft Projects / Truck bed storage solution
« on: May 17, 2016, 06:20:12 AM »
It was time to make some storage solutions for the back of the truck.

A short video showing how it goes on and off.

Outdoor Related Craft Projects / DIY pickup truck tonneau cover
« on: May 16, 2016, 07:04:23 AM »
Because we will be attending more and more sports shows , we need a bit more security in the long bed of our truck (8 foot bed). We looked at tonneau covers and didn't care for the fabric versions as they can be breached with a knife. Other versions did not do what we wanted and it seemed all came in Black and that is not an option as the items under that black cover in the heat of the sun would be cooked  in the incredible temperature that would be generated under a black cover. That heat would cook or bows and other gear.

So we opted to make a project out of it and make our own folding cover. It will be made from wood. We expect it to come in under $100, be about 50 pounds so one person can take it on and off and it will be the color of our choosing (a very light color). We may even decorate it our company logo. The frame will be pine and the cover will be 1/4" plywood. Everything will get two coats of raw wood primer and then 2 coats of paint in a color yet to be determined.

Until we began this project we were unaware that the bed of this truck actually tapers/narrows from front to back. We assumed it was a simple rectangle. The 3 sections of the cover will fold on themselves (3 hinges on each section) but would also be able to be opened individually as needed. Here are some pictures of the progress so far.

To match the curve of the tailgate we added a curved segment to the rear most section.

Construction is complete and its time to move onto the protecting it. 2 coats of Kilz primer.

The top side will be Behr Exterior "Silver Screen" in semi gloss.

But first, the underside (side nobody sees) will get two coats of exterior semi gloss in a camo green from a past project.

While the coats of paint dry, time to figure out how to project our logo on the cover so it can be painted on the top side.

The painting is complete so its time to fill in the blank slate

We want to paint our Black Claw logo on the rear-most section of the bed cover. But we may also add the Stay Sharp logo to one of the other sections.

To do this we need to project the Black Claw logo as a very large image (5 feet across), Since we don't have a projector we will make our own laptop projector. A couple of old cardboard boxes painted black inside.

The projection lens is an 8.5 x 11 lens from the dollar store.

The magnifying lens reverses the image so we had to flip it on the screen image.

I made the two boxes so I can slide the two to bring the image into focus.

The basement wall is the test backdrop and with the lights off it gets dark enough to be able to project using only the brightness of the laptop screen so we can pencil the logo in place to make it easier to paint following that pencil outline.

The projection is far clearer than this photo indicates but I could not use a flash.

After penciling the outline, it was time to paint.

One down, one to go.

While the primary concern and reason for this project is bed security we hope to make the folding cover as weatherproof as possible considering the fact that we have 3 sections and hinged jointsgaps. To make sure the seams are as small as possible the hinges were recessed in the wood.

To further discourage rain from entering through the hinge seam we thought the gap could be filled with flexible silicone rubber caulk. In order to make the seal as tight as possible the plan is to use a caulk gun to apply a bead (or beads) of caulk to one of the sides of the hinged joint and then close the cover causing the caulk to ooze out and fill the gap. To prevent the caulk from sticking to the other half of the joint, we applied a couple coats of paste furniture wax and buffed it. Once cured, the gap would be filled with flexible rubber and it wont stick to the waxed side of the joint.

The perimeter of the sections that come in contact with the side of the truck bed will get adhesive backed, rubber weather-stripping. This will quiet the vibration/noise that would otherwise occur between the hard plastic and the painted wood. It will help keep the paint from being abraded and will provide additional sealing from rain. It pretty cheap so if it wears it can easily be replaced.

Keeping the sections closed will be done with spring loaded plungers. We picked up a 10 pack on Ebay for $8. They have a lengthy throw distance but the handles were on the small side so we increased the size of the handles with short sections of micro diameter arrow shafting and J.B. weld. The nose of the retractable plungers will fit into holes we drilled through the hard plastic bed liner and metal of the bed. We used a 1/4" drill.

Because the sections fold onto one another I cant have a hard handle so we fashioned a handle from left over webbing.

The finished weight is 55 Lbs so its easy enough for one person to remove.

Here is a video showing how to install and remove the cover.

Archery / 2016 Archery bear hunting blog (the homemade edition)
« on: April 04, 2016, 07:31:26 AM »
I'll use this space to keep a journal now that Ive drawn a WI fall bear tag. I will be hunting zone D with Northern Bayfield County Guide Service

 I plan to hunt with a bow and arrow as I have no interest in hunting bear with a firearm. Im leaning towards using a traditional bow and most likely one Ive made myself. I plan to make my own broadheads and arrows as well as other homemade items for this hunt. Ive taken deer with all homemade gear but Ive not taken a bear so here's my chance. I have 6 months to prepare. I will chronicle all of that here.

The brown truck dropped off a 3D printer for archery and bowhunting related prototyping. (and for generally playing around)

As well as a variety of ridged and flexible filament to proto design concepts.

First up is prototyping a broadhead for an upcoming bear hunt.


We are playing around with the 3D printer making prototypes of things we have been wanting to make or improve upon.

First up is a vision of an improved version of an existing product to replace fletching. FOB's are a good product that can be made better. Not necessarily for sale but for personal use, education and enjoyment. I made the ring a bit smaller but the fins a bit bigger.

It weighs slightly less than the FOB brand

clearance from a drop away will be a bit better with this version.

They have a 4 degree offset but I want 7 but may increase that further. FOB's fins are flat. I made this with a curve or radius like an airplane wing to see if that will improve flight. (Again, experimenting)

Time to make a few more and test shoot them.

After test firing them they still hit my face. We are getting closer but time to improve further.

1. Improved rest clearance.
2. Reduced face contact.
3. Reduced weight. (less than existing FOB and closer to 3 Blazers/glue)
4. Increased spin rate.
5. Increase total surface area of fins.
6. Airfoil fins rather than flat.

By making the annular ring smaller and pushing it forward 3/4", the facial contact issue improves as does rest clearance. I prototyped an early version yesterday but went back to the drawing board today.

Next up is a call for the stupid, smelly field carp.

I printed the pot for the call. One in black and another in Black and red and designed in some text just for giggles.

Then made aluminum sound boards

Aluminum and cooper

and a sliding top for the striker to change the tone.

Just waiting for the epoxy to cure to test them for sound.

A 3D printed shelf with hooks we made for hub style blinds.

Adding some hooks and shrink tube.

To quiet the shelf an old mouse pad and double sided tape was used.

Perfect fit.

Plenty of room on the shelf and to hang things.

Archery / Sherwood Forest Bowman (Sussex, WI) Traditional archery shoot
« on: February 04, 2016, 06:59:11 AM »
Sherwood Forest Bowmen in Sussex will be hosting an indoor 3D brush shoot and an outdoor 3D shoot Feb 6, 2016. Shooting hours are 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Breakfast, lunch, and beverages will be available. Traditional archery gear only.

For more info contact Greg Szalewski at 262 853 4648.

Address:N61 W25600 Walnut Rd. Sussex, WI 53089

Directions to clubhouse:

Outdoor Related Craft Projects / Badger Mittens
« on: March 30, 2015, 06:39:59 AM »
I was asked to make a pair of leather Chopper mittens for a UW Wisconsin Badger fan.  I will make these a two tone design using split cowhide suede for the palms and cow leather tanned to look like buckskin for the backs. The removable liners will be fleece with a Wisconsin Badger pattern.. Here is the starting point.

Leather parts cut out and ready for red trim.

The buckskin cow hide lends itself well to adding ink. Bucky badger added.

All the leather and trim and ink complete.

Then a deep soaking with a silicone waterproofer and set aide to dry while I work on the fleece liners. It darkens the leather but once dried goes back to its original color.

To make sure these mittens are warm I doubled up the fleece. Here are the pieces before sewing.

In progress.

The finished fleece liners with trim added.

The liners in the mittens.

My hand model wearing the finished product.

Outdoor Related Craft Projects / Steam bending snowshoes
« on: February 16, 2015, 06:54:23 AM »
Ive wanted to learn to make snowshoes for some time but never got around to it. Now is the time I guess. Before I make actual sized and wearable shoes I will start by making half scale versions. Here is the process Im using as I learn about steam bending wood. Im using oak since Ash is hard to come by. I shape and thin the oak stick in the areas where the bends are otherwise it will break and I have broken many until I got a pattern that works.

The form I made.

The high tech steam creator (since one cant buy steam, premade)

The steam chamber is PVC

After a hour of steam It can be coaxed around the form.

and the nose bent

After a day or two its dry enough to hold the shape and crossbars are added and its sanded because the steam raises hell with the wood

Then I lace the heel and toe with deer skin and varnish everything.

Since the prototypes are half scale and cant be worn I will turn them into art pieces. The first batch will have deerskin leather enters with artwork.

Again, these are half scale.

Then I thought, since this is the 21st century I would make electric snowshoes so I bought a small light and cordset and fashioned up a lamp but I wanted a lamp that I could customize or change with the seasons. For the lampshade I printed oak and birch skin on legal sized paper on my printer. For the frame I steam bent small strips of oak.

Then I thought about adding a background that appears only when the light is on. (with oak)

Then birch

Then I went kind of nuts because its easy to change the skins.

The sky is the limit for options in regards to silhouettes but then I had another thought on how to customize behind the bark only when the light is on.

Then I went kind of nuts.

Now Im thinking 2 snowshoes side by side to create a shelf or other ideas for how to use these half sized shoes.

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