Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Steam Bending a Pack Frame

               Otzi the Iceman was found with several interesting items that give us clues to his style of life and the equipment that he deemed a necessity for existence. By studying these things we can also learn what is truly a necessity for traveling over distance and being Self Reliant.  We do not have to carry exactly the same items that Otzi carried to manifest this vision in our modern times but yet we should look to the type of items he carried for better understanding. As I created what I call the 5 C's of Survivability I looked closely at the kit contents of many peoples cross culturally but Otzi optimizes this mentality. Above all we see that Otzi needed some type of device to carry his gear over distance, in this day we have many modern packs and frames many of which resemble in design his own pack frame made from wood. As stated we may not need to carry exactly the items that Otzi choose in a day when Modern Steel is far superior to either Stone or Copper, but understanding his technology and being able to recreate it only makes us better woodsman more able to become reliant on what is around us to improvise gear long term or in the sour of the moment when needed. A pack Frame of sorts for bearing a load can be accomplished in many ways but the fact that Otzis frame was actually a bent and formed piece of wood shows the he had the skill known today as heat or Steam bending. 
            It is my belief that this is a very important skill that could be used to recreate many useful items from the landscape to include a Pack Frame, Snow Shoes, Boats, sleds etc...


             Several pieces of wood were discovered near the axe and bow: a two-metre-long U-shaped rod of hazel wood and two narrow wooden boards of larch wood measuring 38 and 40.3 cm with notched ends.
The pieces are thought to be the parts of a backpack. The hazel rod served as the frame, while the two boards served as horizontal connecting pieces. The pieces were originally bound together with grass string. Remnants of the string were found beside the wood pieces.
Numerous pieces of hide and clumps of hair indicate that a hide sack was attached to the frame to carry the Iceman’s possessions.

            This frame not have been to unlike the Seneca Style Frame illustrated in Ellsworth Jaeger's Book of Wildwood Wisdom (1945).

This Seneca Style frame is a personal one that hangs in my Living room

          Steam bending works well especially if the wood is pre-soaked in water. After soaking the wood fibers can be pre stretched by gently bending it around a large tree just be careful not to over-bend and stress the fibers creating compression fractures on the inside or de-lamination fractures on the outside of the bend. Get a large kettle and fill it with water placing it on a hot fire so that steam is emitting from the boiling water. Place the area of desired bend into the steam for several minuted then gently bend that area with you hands  as shown below


        Gently work the bend till you get the desired result, attaching a tension loop at the base of stick after it is initially bend will help hold it as you increase the bending, once you reach the desired bend you can place the bent portion next to heat to speed the dry process and set the bend.

Adding Forks to a Tripod Set up will also help hold your work piece so you can tend fire.

I will add a link to the video of my Camp Kitchen setup here as it makes working with this stuff a bit easier as well-

1 comment:

  1. Unique Outdoor Survival Skills

    Don't you find it ironic that even with all this scandalously expensive education, people today know so little?

    If they can't even fix their car, how are they supposed to handle a - let's say - long term food shortage?

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    Not to mention trapping, catching, skinning and cooking a rabbit...

    These may seem advanced outdoor survival skills now, but back in the days, they were merely called "Living".

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    Click here to watch video!

    Thanks again.