Baskets and stone hatchet

 

I made 2 types of basket and a celt hatchet for this video.

The first type of basket made was a coil basket. Bunches of palm leaves where wrapped in thin strips of lawyer cane to for a coil. This was then coiled into a spiral with each coil being tied to the last to keep it in place. This was done by sewing a new section of coil to the previous one. The basket was given a flat base so it could stand up but could be made any shape.

The second basket was made of lawyer cane. It started with thick strips of cane placed on the ground crossing in the centers to form an asterix shape. Importantly another half a lawyer strip was added so that the number of spokes the basket had was odd- even numbers don’t work with this type of basket. The canes were tied together in the center with a strip of bark and a piece of cane was woven in a spiral around the spokes like a spider web. When the base was wide enough the spokes were bent up to form the vertical sides of the basket. The weaving continued up the walls to the top and the ends of the spokes folded down back into the basket.

The coil method was very time consuming (about a week on and off) and made a heavy basket but used simple materials and had few gaps in it. Long grass could be used instead of palm leaves and any type of ties could be used to bind the coils. This type of basket can look very neat if done carefully (the one I made was rough). Also I would add that circular or rectangular mats might be made using this method and these materials. This might provide thick padding against the ground for sitting and sleeping and when finished could be rolled up and stored out of the way.

The woven cane baskets were much faster to make (2 or 3 hours each including harvesting materials). They used fewer materials and were lighter too. I could have easily made them bigger but wanted them to fit through the narrow door of the tiled hut.

The baskets will be used mainly for storing charcoal inside huts out of the rain but are also useful for carrying leaf mulch for the garden. They have flat bases meaning they can stand upright and even be stacked on top of each other.

I also made a small celt hatchet for lighter work. The big celt I made is useful for chopping bigger trees but is overkill for saplings and smaller trees. The method used was basically the same for the big celt though this time I used no fire hardening. The handle came from a branch cleared from the the sweet potato patch and had sat for a few months seasoning on the ground. It was much harder to shape than green wood but was hard enough to not need fire hardening. So far I’ve used it without the handle splitting though the basalt head chipped when trying to chop dry eucalyptus branches (an especially hard wood)- I re sharpened it and it works on other woods OK.

56 thoughts on “Baskets and stone hatchet

  1. Awesome. I like basketry and containers in general. I agree the coiled takes longer to build and can be heavier depending on the materials but is tighter for small items that might otherwise fall through a woven unless the woven is lined with another material. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. G’day mate, I absolutely love your work please keep up. Just got a few questions: What part of North Queensland are you from? Are you afraid the Wet Season may affect your past and current projects (Waterlogging your hut etc)? Will you eventually move on to hunting; there are wild boar and kangaroos that you could hunt? How was your Christmas? VB or XXXX?

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    • Far north Queensland. I raise the floor level for the huts with soil dug from drainage moats around the huts. But rising damp may be a problem. We’ll see. You can hunt boar but not wallabies. We’ll see- I was never taught to hunt pigs despite the popularity of pig hunting here. Maybe a woomera would work. Xmas was good and saw relatives, ate lots- just like most people Xmas. Thanks Dominic.

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  3. Looked a bit tedious. Wonder if some sort of jig could be rigged to assist with the coiling. Nothing fancy. Just something to hold and aid with the turns. Love the vids! Thanks for sharing!!!

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  4. Thanks for the video dude. Me and two of my friends really like the videos a lot and this summer we plan on going to some land my family has and doing some of the stuff you did. I don’t know if it will because good because I don’t know if there are as many rocks there but we’ll try our best. Btw we’re in South Carolina so if you have any info about things here it would be helpful. We’re also doing a bit of research ourselves.

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  5. Great Videos! Been following your work for a while now and am now at a point where I am planning my first outing. My mate and I are from Townsville and are trying to find a spot to give this a go. Do you have any advice as to how to find a location? I am pretty sure you can’t do this in a national park? Any help would be appreciated, look forward to the next video.

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  6. You have mentioned that you are going to try and refine iron soon, I was wondering how you are going to make a furnace hot enough to do so. What refractories are you going to use and how are you going to refine the ore?

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    • It might be a while as this is our wet season. I’ll just use mud for the furnace and use natural drat and charcoal. Alternatively I could build a wood fired kiln with a properly proportioned chimeny for draft. It could be a cross draft kiln. The ore could be mixed with charcoal powder for reduction (kilns are highly oxidizing). The temperature of a kiln can reach 1400 c max- iron smelting requires 1200 c. The product would be no different to a bloom produced in a traditional charcoal fueled bellows powered bloomery furnace. Let me add that this will be a major project with many failures before success. Thanks.

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  7. Hi Primitive, love the vids. I live in SEQ, and a few years ago as a project, I explored the possibility of smelting iron from local ores. I was able to refine usable amounts of magnetite black sand from the banks of the river (living in Bris) and found oodles of what seems to be hematite dispersed in the alluvial soil out towards Ipswich. However, I employed magnets to aid in identification (not so primitive)… My question is, have you sourced any good ore at this stage + what mineral is it. Sorry if I’m jumping the gun for a future project. Northern Queensland has epic biodiversity, but I’ve often wondered about its abundance and availability of ores for pre-industrial metal-craft. Big cheers, and keep up the great work.

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    • Iron bacteria- orange slime that seeps out of the creek banks in poorly drained areas like where my huts are. I have a large pot of the stuff dried into an orange/yellow dirt stored in my hut along with charcoal for fuel (all on film). I’ve smelted some before and got a small amount of iron but that was outside the bush in a large clay furnace run by natural draft. In theory I could do the same in the wild with the same results. Thanks.

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  8. I absolutely love your vids and I would like to know some of your upcoming projects. I’m a huge fan and I’ve watched your videos from the start! Good job!

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    • I plan to do 1 project per month but if it takes longer will have to delay release. Bow and arrows are requested a lot. Metallurgy. I want to build a hut of stone. I’ve got 12 projects planned for the year and have to start most of them now so they’ll be ready on time. Thanks.

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  9. I can’t wait to see a stone hut! Also any metallurgy, and ancillary things like smoking meats, making simple clothing, etc. And I commented on one of your videos about soap making (ashes & water plus animal fat.) Keep it going! I am a yankee, and have made it to New Zealand but not Australia. Maybe next year.

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  10. Hey Primitive, you said this was just a hobby of yours. What do you do for a career? Is it in the architecture/engineering related field? Love your videos.

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  11. Great work mate. Love your work. Google Kevin Cashen, he is a knife maker in the States who smells river sand into usable blade steel. I make cutlery and I am going to run a smelt in the next 12-18 months

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  12. Like your vids mate.
    Love the choice to use a set camera and the decision not to narrate. Less is more, it adds a serenity and intrigue to your vids.
    I knew it was Australian by the sound of the bush, which you can hear clearly (apart from the odd plane).

    Show some of your failures, I think these days we don’t see failures a enough due to the stigma people attach to the word. Any young people watching will see that achievement comes through learning from failures!

    Without failure there is no progress, an arrow must be drawn back in the bow before to launching forward!

    I have subbed to you channel, thanks for sharing, looking forward to the updates.

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    • Thanks Daniel. I’d add failures but want to keep the videos short without any more information than necessary. In the sling video I showed misses though because they are quick and don’t take up much time. Thanks.

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  13. Hey, Primitive. I have had an interest in learning bushcraft skills for some time now and I just recently stumbled upon your YouTube channel. After seeing your wide variety of skills, I can’t help but wonder how you learned all of these things. How would you recommend someone else develop these skills.

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    • It’s from books and internet research plus trial and error. I wasn’t shown how to do these things but had to guess how they were done. My advice would be to start with basics like stone tools, fire making and shelter. Then move on to more complex projects. Thanks Jonathon.

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  14. I’m just a kid, but I am really into this stuff! The biggest basket I’ve made is smaller than a lunch box, but I think it is functional, anyway, I was following your rope strategy with different materials and it was only ten feet long. I have to keep it moist. I wonder If you could make a basket with it. Also, do you think mountains, valleys, flat land, or hills are more prosperous? Thank you for all you do!

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    • Try it out and see- the coil basket method is simple and works with many materials. If you can make rope with that material you could probably make a basket. Mountains are hard to move around in from all the climbing but have clean air and water. Valleys can get mosquitoes but are protected from strong winds, usually have water and are good for farming. Flat land an hills are average I guess. It also depends what’s on those lands as well. Thanks Shakti.

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  15. I made a basket very similar to your coil basket last year, made into a pack. A bit challenging with stone tools, but it was a success. Sometime I hope to try weaving birch bark into a pack-basket…as it is, most of the birch where I’m from are all new growth, and the common variety, Sweet Birch, is better suited for teas due to its content of natural methyl salicilate (wintergreen flavour) and xylitol.
    Really like your videos, keep up the excellent work😀.

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  16. An accountant during the week, a lone survivor during the weekends? Just kidding, amazing video’s I could watch them all day. You did the slingshot one, but I’d like to see more hunting types of video’s or ways to obtain fresh water.

    Anyways, amazing video’s I’m really enjoying them. Think everyone agrees that you are living the dream haha

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  17. i never realised how time consuming making baskets were, they look really nice though. would you consider including date and time stamps or time lapses in your videos for context?

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  18. Hello there, I absolutely love your videos and have been trying some simple stuff myself in my backyard x) I was able to make a small rope from some dry palm leaves. Tedious and hard process though, since the length of rope i can make from a leave is about 20 cm and connecting them to each other can be tricky (i’ll take suggestions if you can give me best ways of producing rope or a reliable string). That leads to my question: How are you able to, by hand, get such thin strings out of those saplings? Is it a characteristic of the wood you choose itself? Is there a technique?
    Thank you for your videos, terrific work! cheers from Portugal!

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