Sunday, June 10, 2012

Barrytown knife making trip with scouts

Sunday, June 10, 2012
oldbearnews editorYup - it was this time of the year again where we are taking a group of scouts over to the Westcoast of New Zealand - Barrytown to be exact - and do one of the many wonderful activity on offer.  This time - same as last year - knife making with Steve and Robyn, although to be fair we took another troop across (Cust scouts)!!
We left bright and early on Friday and arrived shortly after 9pm, set up camp - munched on some pizza (even though the maths employed by Brush was a bit - urm - in-correct!!) and looked forward to the coming days activity!

Next question -- I KNEW we had packed a tin opener - it was just a case of finding it.  Eventually after a mummy look the missing tool was located and that opened the door for some 'wriggly worms' in Tomato sauce to be cooked for breakfast!!

Knife making starts at 9 am with the lighting of the fire.  Amazing what a couple of squirts of medicinal water can do for effect! wrooom and hey presto - we have a flame!!  Oh, did I hear someone suggesting we should have brought Marshmellows??? 
Soon there was no excuse and it was hands on deck for everyone.  I did warn the scouts that they better start lifting some weights - a 500 g tin of fruit would do the trick!!  In the end a two handed job was easier and required a bit of co-operation.  TEAM-work!!  Normally you hold the steel with one hand and hammer with the other.
After the basic forging and tempering of the blade you work on the belts, grinding away the un-wanted bits.  The steel coming away from the forge and tempering process is an ugly black or gray and as we want a nice mirror type finish we have to remove the dust and grime first!! The on goes the bolster / handle and vola - it almost LOOKS like a knife is being made.  At this point everyone gets excited - cause you can see the end product!!
There are many more steps in place before you get to have lunch and while 'the happy bunch munch on their lunch' (scouts grace - try and say that 3x really fast) Steve has to work of the xtra bits.  The gaps are filled with a polymer resin - food grade - and the dust can be quit dangerous, whence everyone inside the house eating while Steve is doing the final shaping!! Notice that Steve is wearing a complete self-contained breathing unit!! I loved taking this pic - sparks everywhere - which means that the steel is really hard and will take a good edge, and of course it looks spectacular!!

There is always time for some play time and apart from the chucking of some axes and ninja stars on a solid wall of timber - there is always time to go for a wee walk and use the big swing - and it is BIG!! To get some height everyone has to pull (Team-work again) and then let go and you start swinging from about 4-6 meters of the ground.  Funnily enough there is a little round pond in front of the swing - and the suggestion that this was NOT repeat NOT an invitation for some spectacular diving - worthy of Olympic status - was readily agreed too!!
After the handle was on and the basic shaping was done and well some more steps - came the final last step - wet polishing with a dry polish finish!! Time to sit in the sun and tell some jokes or share anecdotes of the days event!!
Hurrah's - all the final knives - laid out and ready.  Haven't done they well!?!? The timber used is Rimu - a NZ native tree - which you can no longer log - so comes from re-cycled timber!! I actually love the grain and color  of the Rimu!!
Each knive is very individual and as you can see there are some good for stabbing and some good for skinning!!  Having already made 3 knives from previous trips - I decided not to make one on this trip - rather I will be waiting until the Damascus Blades come on-stream and - uhu then watch out!!

The next Day we went on a short walk. There are some good 3-5 hour walks near Punakaki and  we had already been there before once - so knew the area well.  Basically we wanted to show the youth what was needed to organize a hike - in terms of gear / preparation / carrying all gear etc etc.  As it rained I did not bring my camera - but someone else did and I am waiting for some pictures to add here. Given the good and organized nature of the Cust Scouts (and the 1:1 ratio of leaders to kids ) we where finishing the walk (and the Duck soup for Lunch) reasonably early - so headed of the the Beach the light a beacon fire (4 pm).  We had to, as at 9pm time it was high tide and the Tide does come right up to the shore - leaving no room for any on beach activities!  Next day - by mutual consent we stomped around Shantytown for a bit - did the gold digging and had a ride on the Steam train, and sent th eyouth on a treasur hunt, before we drove back up to Arthurs Pass and had a good lunch there - and then back home by 4.30pm-ish!!  Yes - another successful trip to the West-coast completed!! A N D contrary to popular belief - this old gezzer did NOT repeat NOT cut himself on any of the knives or during the whole weekend.
Next year - Greenstone (Jade) carving in Hokitika.

Oh nearly forgot - there is this story that was started by one of the leaders - and sort of helped along by the youth - I shall endeavor to copy and paste here!!  Have fun 

The book of Sir G.H.

Chapter One

Verse 1:  The inhabitants of Cust built a scout den.
Verse 2:  Following the word of the scout leader Hamish, a large food store was built for the purposes
               of scouting.
Verse 3:  The foodstore was moved from scout camp to scout camp and it was lent to some scout 
               leaders who used to go to a scout den in Christchurch but they had left when it was taken
               over by an evil empire.
Verse 4:  To support the annula pilgrimage to the West Coast, the Cust scouts prepared a mighty
                food parcel that contained:
Verse 5:  24 Pre-cook sauages frozen
Verse 6:  8 tins of 420grams of beans to keen the scout leaders of Christchurch regular
Verse 7:  8 tins of spagetti as the scouts of Cust did not like eating worms
Verse 8:  3 tins of beetroot as Cust scouts like beetroot
Verse 9:  1 420 grm tin of peaches
Verse 10:  12 litres of Raro drink mix as scouts drink nothing less
Verse 11:  Enough tomato sauce for the weekend and maybe even enough for a tomato suce fight!
Verse 12:  Half a big jar of raspberry jam and the same of marmalade
Verse 13   Enough coffee to see Sir GH through the weekend
Verse 14:  A roll of foil
Verse 15:  A big bottle of meths for Broom (in case he forgets his medicine)
Verse 16:  A big bottle of white vineger (for salad dressings)
Verse 17   A little bit of veggie oil but not much (see above)
Verse 18:  A box of cardbox ...... no its Weetbix 1Kg
Verse 19:  Full bag of sugar
Verse 20:  A pack of Bin bags
Verse 21:  Loads of washing up liquid
Verse 22:  approx 24 tea bags
Verse 23:  and loads of hand wash
Verse 24:  Sir G.H was tasked by Ladle to bring 4 cooked ducks (tomorrow evenings job)
Verse 25:  And would you like me to bring some meat for Saturday and Sunday evening meal?

Chapter 2:
Verse 1:  We arrived on the mini bus with the smell of vomit all the way and passed through
               Kumara and made a big fuss.
Verse 2:  We also got pizza.When we got there we had to unload a thousamd bags (well which
               seemed like it) then sat down and ate the pizza.
Verse 3:  And they went and made knifes in Barrytown.

Chapter 3

Verse 1:  They went and made their knives and even Reinhold did not cut himself!
Verse 2:  When we arrived at the knife making place, we got out and went to the house to get the
               shirts, goggles and gloves, as we waited for the other people we grabbed some throwing
               stars and hatchets on the veranda and through them at this massive board.
Verse 3:  Meanwhile, Vinnie was put to work under the glare of a mystery star in the North.
Verse 4:  The Norse Gods came to Hokitika and sent a massive flood to the sleeping quarters but only
               managed to get one person in hot water.
Verse 5:  Despite the moist misty weather we walked into the bush and cooked a duck soup
Verse 6:  The Cust Scouts enjoyed the alfresco meal
Verse 7:  After the hike we tried to burn some timber on the beach
Verse 8:  Sir GH decided some fresh mussels would be in order = so we offered some weight training!!

Chapter 4
To be continued . . .  .

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