About Primitive Technology

Primitive technology is a hobby where you make things in the wild completely from scratch using no modern tools or materials. This is the strict rule. If you want a fire- use fire sticks, an axe- pick up a stone and shape it, a hut- build one from trees, mud, rocks etc. The challenge is seeing how far you can go without modern technology. If this hobby interests you then this blog might be what you are looking for.

Also It should be noted that I don’t live in the wild but just practice this as a hobby. I live in a modern house and eat modern food. I just like to see how people in ancient times built and made things. It is a good hobby that keeps you fit and doesn’t cost anything apart from time and effort.

IMPORTANT: This WordPress site, my Patreon page (https://www.patreon.com/user?u=2945881&u=2945881&ty=h) and my YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/c/PrimitiveTechnology) are my only online presence at this stage. I do not have a Facebook page and if you see any they are fake.


Q. Where is this?

A. Far North Queensland, Australia.

Q.What stops the rain from washing the mud off the hut walls?

A. The roof. You’ll notice the eves of the roof extend out from the walls- this keeps the walls dry.

Q. What dangerous animals are there?

A. Only venomous snakes and I need to watch where I step. Crocodiles don’t live where I build these huts and there are no large land predators in the bush here (that I’m aware of).

Q. How do I know what good clay is?

A. Look in creek banks and under top soil. Wet some and roll it into a coil as thick as a pencil then wrap it round a finger. If it doesn’t completely break apart then it’s suitable.

Q. How do you keep mosquitoes away?

A. Smokey fire tends to keep them away especially inside a dwelling.

905 thoughts on “About Primitive Technology

  1. I love these shows they remind us of the inventive self reliance the human being has but has lost over the years. How often do you make shows and do you have anymore projects planned?

    Liked by 7 people

  2. You live in modern facilities, but I was wondering do you ever camp out and sleep in the huts you’ve made? If yes is it pretty frequently? and how comfortable are the beds you make?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi man, just wondering if your worksite/constructions were impacted by Cyclone Debbie. If so, was it partially or fully destroyed or did it manage to survive?


  4. I got fascinated with this kind of hobby/lifestyle watching “Alone in the Wilderness” by Richard “Dick” Proenneke. It’s been really compelling to see your videos. For me It’s really get off your butt kind of motivation.
    Question: How would you go about understanding resources for a different physical environment?
    Did you research your environment before picking a spot?
    I have the Rocky Mountains as my backyard and I’m sure it would be helpful to understand what exists organically to use.

    Liked by 5 people

    • This is the spot I have and must use the resources here. My aproach is to look for what I’m interested in using and if it’s there I use it. I tried looking for lime stone and copper but there doesn’t seem to be any here. I’d say go out into the Rockies and look for water,stone, clay, firewood and ore and see what you can do with it. Thanks.

      Liked by 12 people

  5. Hello! I tried to do this recently but I couldn’t get the fire inside the mound to start properly. The fire kept going out and the amount of smoke it was producing was insane. I’m not sure what went wrong – whether the mud was too wet, the holes too small (although I tried to make them roughly the same size as the ones in your video), or perhaps I packed the wood too tightly. Has yours ever not lit properly? Thoughts?


    • I’ve always had it work. To get it to catch ensure all the wood is dry in the mound. Maybe leave the mound to dry for a day, it’ll still work if a bit damp though. Make a good fire in the top hole and then it should burn back down into the mound as normal. Thanks.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. (In no way is this comment meant to be racist)

    Hey PT I’m from Aus as well and I was wondering, I walk barefoot sometimes but do you have any indigenous blood in you because you seem to walk around with ease out in the Bush

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not indigenous to Australia and don’t know where I specifically come from in Europe. Incidentally, the ancient Greeks, who saw little need for foot ware preferred being barefooted. In contrast to this, there are Aboriginal tribes here in Australia who did make sandals for use in hot sand. Thanks.

      Liked by 6 people

  7. I live in in outside of the Appalachian Mountains in North Carolina, and your videos inspired me to try some of these challenges. We don’t really have good moldable clay in my area. Is there another type of moldable substance that I should look for while undergoing these challenges?

    Also, thanks for giving me a reason to not stop watching YouTube. I can say that I have never seen a channel before that has gotten so many views and the only comments I see are compliments and genuine questions.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You could try pine pitch if you have it or carve pots directley from stone. If the clay is bad it might be refined by disolving the dirt in water and then pouring the muddy water off into another container. When it settles it will be a finer grade of clay but this may still give no of good clay (I’ve tried with bad soil before and the pottery gave mixed results, though processing makes it slightly better). Glad you like the videos, thanks.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Have you ever done any research into permaculture? (The late progenitor of the idea, Bill Mollison, was from Australia, as is his immediate student base) If so, what techniques or particular topics interest you?
    If not, may I interest you in a conversation among peers? Nothing political, just several very experienced people like yourself speaking candidly about their experiences and frames of mind. If this is something that interests you, I’d love to set something up via Skype or Google hangouts or some such conferencing platform.
    If this doesn’t interest you, I understand, and will continue to loyally watch your channel. It’s inspiring and truly makes me happy.
    Excellent videos. Well executed and perfectly edited. Watching you build and listening to the noises of the forest as you work is, for me, a weekly meditation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes permaculture is good. But in this area probably the best people to learn about substance gardening is from the Papua New Guineans. They traditionally clear an area and plant a variety of root crops, sweet potato, cassava, yam, tarro. The highlanders traditionally consumed sweetpotato as over 90% of their diet in both weight and calories. Thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Thanks for the videos you shared. The tile of your tiled roof hut. They look brittle. Do they break easily? Or are they like a plate? Will they handle a meal if you made a plate with it?


  10. Hi, have you ever tried the “fire plough” method for lighting a fire? What do you think about it?
    Your videos are very interesting and well made, i’ve seen all of them, keep working and uploading!


    • Yes. I can get smoke but can’t get fire. My opinion is that with practice it is achievable but I’d rather the hand drill as it concentrates the heat in one spot as opposed to a long trough. I have successfully used the fire roll method which is a similar action but haven’t done it with natural materials (i.e. cotton buds instead of tinder). Thanks.


  11. Hi John, I was wondering what camera do you use to film your videos? I was thinking of getting a camera to make my own personal videos and I considered yours good quality


  12. I was just shown your videos by someone at my makerspace after I happened to mention a rocket mass heater. I’ve suddenly (unsurprisingly, to me) caught an interest in this sort of thing, but I have an issue: I live on a half acre between two highways, I don’t know that there’s much I can use. What’re my options?


  13. Hello, I was wondering, what, if any, laws govern what you can and can’t do out there in the woods? You chop down many trees and start many fires. I’m curious as to the legal perspective on this. You say you buy the land to film your videos? I’m a huge fan of your videos and look forward to seeing more.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. You previously mentioned using a Nikon.
    Do you only film as much as you can on a single charge, and then recharge at home and return, or do you have to tote out a bunch of spare batteries?
    Or do you bring a generator to charge your camera equipment?
    Basically, how do you manage your electricity needs for filming?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have a house on the property so I charge it there, it’s quite convenient. The battery for this camera would probably last a few hours of filming but it would be best to take a few if your heading off for a few days. Thanks.


  15. I don’t know if you know this already, but there is another way of making charcoal. I stumbled upon it when I did researches after watching your charcoal video. If my understanding is right, it is a very old method.
    Here is the link:

    The pdf on the site is in english. The direct link to the pdf:

    Please keep up your work! I think you are helping to make the world a better place by encouraging people to see the treasures of nature!


    • Possibly the next revolution will involve self replicating machines. Example: a robotic frenel lens that focusses sunlight to melt sand and flux to make glass for more frenel lenses and machine parts. Left in a desert of sand it could be like a self replicating solar factory. An engineer could come up with a better idea than this though, it’s a thought experiment rather than a serious suggestion. Thanks.

      Liked by 3 people

  16. Thanks!!!!! You changed my perspectives about living in the wild particularly on tools and gears. Your videos are perfect no useless chatter and fuzzy explanations. Very inspiring after a maddening week working in an office. If you find the subject interesting can you please make some more videos on growing food and foraging. Thank you again for your inspiring videos.


    • I started a sweet potato patch this week. Also considering fishing and possibly bow hunting. I’ll keep an eye out for edibles, so far I’ve seen gooseberry and atherton oak nuts. Was hoping to see moreton bay chestnuts at the new property but only found a few trees. Thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I always wondered when you are mixing the clay in say a mud pit, do you ever worry about the mud and clay mixing? Does that compromise the clay? Or do you just take the top portion and leave the layer that has come in contact with the mud?


    • It’s not to bad, the majority of the mix will remain clay and after a while the pit becomes coated in clay protecting future batches (also makes the pit water proof so it holds water days after rain). Thanks.


  18. I love your videos. I noticed in one of your videos you mentioned having a stone hut. You said its in ruins now but I’m curious. How long did it take to you to find all of that stone and assemble the hut. Did you use any limestone mortar? how big was the hut? Thank you for your awesome videos!


    • Over a year to collect stone. No mortar (dry stone technique). 2.5 m x 2.5 m floor plan, 75 cm thick wall, 1.5 m high wall. The total height with the dome would have been 3 m high. Based on the Trulli houses built in Italy. Thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Hi John, can you tell us, what time period do your projects fall under? Stone age, Bronze Age? How far into the past are we talking about here? Thanks.


  20. ur video is really amazing, especially when you make a fire stick. I want to try make it but i don’t know the type of wood should i use, can you give me more information about it, hope you give me an example wood so i can search on google. thank you mega much


    • I use Abroma molis which is similar to hibiscus, both make good fire sticks. I’ve also used fiddle wood, African tulip and lantana. I might have also used fig tree timber at some stage. Any low density wood with a soft pith core will work well. Best to research in your local area to see what was traditionally used. Thanks.


  21. Hey John, first of all I really enjoy your videos ive been watching since the beginning. I was wondering about your type of content, your videos show ideas that were developed during the Neolithic revolution (Agriculture,Pottery,Long term Shelters). Would there be more room on your channel for more Weapon or tool crafting? Or The harvesting of wild game? (I understand the current situation with youtube being very strict on those types of videos) or maybe fishing? I and many people in the bushcraft and survival community would greatly enjoy these types of videos, and to no offense to you at all but these videos about shelter making, Pottery, furnaces, etc. Are getting slightly repetitive.



    • I’ll have to try for feral animals like pigs or legal native animals like fish. In this country you can be fined $10 000 for killing a bush turkey as well as receiving jail time. So we have to be careful what we hunt. Having said that, I’d really like to do hunting and then leather work resulting from that. Thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Hi. Started watching your channel today, seen most of your videos. I am really inspired, and as a student, I have lot of free time this summer, and huge forests, (important: not my property) next to my house. Can I build a hutt there on a little piece of land there not breaking trees (there are plenty of broken ones), and just make a little camp for myself there, or it’s illegal. I live in Canada. Thanks in advance 🙂


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