Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Learning from YOUTUBE - SIGMA 3 SURVIVAL SCHOOL Youtube "Spoke Basket" lesson

I enjoy watching YOUTUBE videos demonstrating wilderness survival and bushcraft skills, and sometimes I take advantage of the lesson and actually try it out. Such was the case with this excellent tutorial from SIGMA 3 SURVIVAL SCHOOL instructor Josh, instructing viewers on how to craft a "Spoke Basket":

This morning, after getting off work, I went to a nearby micro-wilderness and tried this method using a common material growing abundantly in the creek bed there, Willow. I didn't have time to craft Yucca cordage, nor was there any in this area anyways, so I opted to shortcut and tied my spokes together using Jute cordage:

Tying the spokes together
I was excited for the skill practice session and got started right away. When I was pretty far along I realized I had skipped a step and failed to cut one of the spokes off at the base and leave 9 spokes rather than the instructed 10. I also took a step not instructed and bound the spokes together at their tops, weaving the green willow pieces in between the spokes. It just made it easier for me than trying to bend and manage the spokes as I went:
Binding the spokes up
As I worked on the project, I could not help but be mindful that I was standing on ground where Aboriginal peoples had hunted and gathered starting 9,000 B.C. It was a beautiful sunny day. A frog gently croaked nearby, birds sang songs and made calls. Somewhere not too distant, a Red-Tailed hawk screeched. Maybe the real benefit of the primitive project is being outdoors, and being reminded what a precious gift the natural world is.  The basket began to come together, though a little crooked here and there and somewhat porous. Nonetheless, it'd hold berries and acorns, and that was all I'd intended so it was good by me:
Basket coming together
I had some interesting experiences selecting material. New green branches or shoots fractured easily and were worthless. Too dry and they snapped too. It was necessary to choose seasoned, live Willow branches, flexible but not prone to fracture. For a cutting tool I had carved a wooden handle and fitted a steel Survival Point made by my friend Dan at HARDWOOD HOLLOW BUSHCRAFT & TACTICAL. It was easy enough to just trim the leaves off the Willow branches with just a few quick strokes of the blade.
Once I reached the size and depth of basket I wanted, I bent and tucked the spoke ends into the rim of the basket as demonstrated on the video. The final step was to craft a handle, and again I used Jute cordage as a shortcut and tied the handle on:
Finished product  
I have to admit, it's a bit rough, but I was pleased with this first effort. Total time spent was maybe 2 hours. I think next time I will take my time and be a bit more careful in material selection.  Seems like in spite of my efforts, branches would sometimes fracture or ends slip out of the spokes [which might be due to the missed step] but that might just be the nature of such baskets.
So, I hoped you have enjoyed this post. I close by offering my thanks and appreciation to Mr. Josh and SIGMA 3 SURVIVAL SCHOOL for sharing their knowledge.  Be sure to visit the  SIGMA 3 SURVIVAL SCHOOL website and their YOUTUBE channel.
Happy Hiking!

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